The master of public policy leads to a degree for aspiring or experienced professionals who seek career advancement through cutting-edge education and training in policy analysis and development in increasingly technical and global environments. The program prepares students to be reflective practitioners who develop, implement, manage, analyze, evaluate, and effect innovative change in the public and private sectors through a course of study that emphasizes the fundamentals of policy development; the role of technology, analytic assessment, and modeling for policy evaluation; and the implications of international and global perspectives on policy formation. Courses are offered primarily in the late afternoon and evening, as well as online, to fit the schedules of busy professionals.



See Graduate Admission Policies for general information on graduate admission to George Mason University. Specific information on application requirements and deadlines may be found with Schar Admissions. Completed applications for fall and spring semesters are reviewed on a rolling basis, with late applications considered on a space-available basis. Students may be admitted for nondegree study and apply a limited number of credits toward the master's degree should they choose to apply to the degree program later, in accordance with university policy.


Termination from Program

Students admitted to a Schar program will be terminated from Schar upon receiving one grade of F and are no longer eligible to take courses in Schar. Per university regulation, students are terminated from the university after accumulating grades of F in two courses or 9 credits of unsatisfactory grades in graduate courses. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see Graduate Policies.

Program Requirements

Students must complete 36 to 39 credits of coursework through a combination of core courses, electives, and a professional experience requirement. Appropriate professional experience can be demonstrated through previous employment or a supervised internship. Students will also be exposed to the global nature of public policy activity through the core requirement of international comparative policy assessment. 

Banner Code: PP-MPP-PUBP

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 36-39

Required Public Policy Courses

Students take one required course and one elective in each of the four elements below. 

Practice Element
Required Course3
Theory and Practice in Public Policy
Choose one of the following: 13
Advocacy and Lobbying
Policy Writing Fundamentals
US Institutions and the Policy Process
Analysis Element
Required Course3
Introductory Data Analysis for Policy and Government
Choose one of the following: 13
The Scientific Method and Research Design
Advanced Data Analysis for Policy and Government
Policy and Program Evaluation
Big Data Analytics for Policy and Government
Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis for Public Policy
Advanced Field Research for Policy: Theory and Method
Governance Element
Required Course3
National Budgeting
Choose one of the following: 13
Technology, Culture and Commerce
Culture, Organization, and Technology
Social Entrepreneurship and Public Policy
Economics Element
Required Course3
Microeconomics for Public Policy
Choose of the following: 13
Labor Markets and Policies
Public Sector Economics for Public Policy
Advanced Economic Analysis for Policy Research
Total Credits24

POGO 750: Topics in Policy and Government, as approved by advisor. 


Electives are chosen from one of the following policy emphasis areas. One of the courses in the emphasis sequence should have an international focus.

  • Economic Policy 
  • Education Policy
  • Global Medical and Health Policy
  • International Governance and Institutions
  • National Security and Public Policy
  • Public Finance and Budgeting
  • Regional Economic Development
  • Science and Technology Policy
  • Social Policy
  • Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption
  • Transportation Policy
  • Urban Policy and Development
  • US Government Institutions and Policy Management
Select 12 credits from the following in consultation with the student's advisor: 212
Grand Strategy
Ethics and the Use of Force
International Conflict and Crisis Response
Peace and Stabilization Operations
Topics in Public Policy
Transportation Economics
Metropolitan Transportation Policy
Telecommunications Policy
US Institutions and the Policy Process
Urban Politics and Policy
Cases and Concepts in E-Government
Media and Public Policy
Transportation Safety and Security
National Security Management and Policy
Air Transportation Policy, Operations and Logistics
Public Transportation Policy, Operations and Logistics
History of Military Operations Other than War
International Police Operations
Ethics in Public Policy
Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis for Public Policy
National Security Decision-Making Policy
Public Policy in Global Health and Medical Practice
Global Threats and Medical Policies
National Security Law and Public Policy
Science and Technology Policy in the 21st Century
Social Institutions and Public Policy
Illicit Trade
Transnational Crime and Corruption
Human Smuggling and Trafficking
Modern Counterinsurgency: Theory and Practice
Education and Public Policy (Topic Varies)
Political Violence and Terrorism
Critical Infrastructure Protection: Policy and Practice
Global Governance
Issues in Public Management
Global Development and Human Security
Global Business and Policy
Country Risk Analysis
Directed Readings and Research
Topics in Policy and Government
Topics in Policy and Government
Issues in International Security
Issues in International Management
Issues in Public Policy
Issues in Local Government Administration
Issues in Public Financial Management
Global Financial Crises and Institutions
Global Trade Relations
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy
Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad
International Business Transactions: Finance and Investment
World Trade Organization and Global Trade
Trade and Regulatory Compliance
European Political and Economic Union
Political Economy and Integration in Latin America
International Telecommunications
Introduction to Conflict Analysis and Resolution
Comparative International Health Systems
Introduction to the U.S. Health System
Integrated Health Systems Management
Total Credits12

Other courses must be approved by the advisor or program director.

Professional Experience Requirement

Certification that the student has experience in the public policy process outside the classroom and is ready to take leadership responsibilities must be exhibited by one of two ways: relevant professional experience, approved by the program director, or an approved internship.

Up to three credits of0-3
Total Credits0-3

Bachelor's Degree (any)/Public Policy, Accelerated MPP


Highly-qualified undergraduates in any major may apply to the accelerated Master of Public Policy (MPP) program. If accepted students will be able to earn a bachelor's degree in their chosen major and the Master of Public Policy with a reduced number of overall credits and within a reduced time frame, sometimes within five years. More information on bachelor's/accelerated master's programs may be found in AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. See AP.6.9 Requirements for Master's Degrees.


Please see Graduate Admission Policies for general information on graduate admission to George Mason University. Information specific to the accelerated Master of Public Policy program may be found on the Schar website.

To be considered for this accelerated master's program, applicants must have completed a minimum of 60 credits, including 12 credits of Government and/or Economics courses, and have a minimum GPA of 3.50 in all coursework applied to the degree.

Accelerated Option Requirements

While undergraduate students, accelerated master's students may complete up to fifteen graduate credits of which twelve may be counted toward both the bachelor's and master's degrees. Remaining credits may be held as reserve graduate credit and count only toward the master's degree.. The student must have a minimum GPA of 3.00 in each course. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in these courses and in coursework applied to their major.

GOVT 500The Scientific Method and Research Design3
POGO 511Introductory Data Analysis for Policy and Government3
POGO 611Advanced Data Analysis for Policy and Government3
or POGO 646 Policy and Program Evaluation
PUAD 662National Budgeting3
PUBP 500Theory and Practice in Public Policy3
PUBP 503Culture, Organization, and Technology3
PUBP 570Policy Writing Fundamentals3

Upon completion and conferral of the undergraduate degree in the semester indicated in the application, students must submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form to apply credits to the master's degree. Students must begin their master's program the semester immediately following conferral of the undergraduate degree (excluding summer).