The Master of Public Policy (MPP), one of several public policy degrees, is a master's level professional degree that provides training in policy analysis and program evaluation at public policy schools. The MPP program places a focus on the systematic analysis of issues related to public policy and the decision processes associated with them. This includes training in the role of economic and political factors in public decision-making and policy formulation; microeconomic analysis of policy options and issues; resource allocation and decision modeling; cost/benefit analysis; statistical methods; and various applications to specific public policy topics. MPP recipients serve or have served in the public sector, at the international, national, subnational, and local levels.
Over time, the curriculum of Master of Public Policy and the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degrees have tended to overlap in many areas, due to the realization that policy analysis and program evaluation could benefit from an understanding of public administration, and vice versa.
Today, the core course offerings of many MPA and MPP programs are similar, with MPP programs providing training in policy analysis, and MPA programs providing coursework in program implementation. However, MPP programs still place more emphasis in policy analysis, research, and evaluation, while MPA programs place more emphasis on implementation of public policies and the design of effective programs and projects to achieve public policy goals. In recognition of the overlapping coursework and subject matter, some universities have begun offering a combined MPAP or MPPA degree, Master of Public Administration and Policy or Master of Public Policy and Administration. Several institutions use "public policy" as an umbrella term, which may house several programs such as an MPA and degrees related to highly specific areas focusing on fields such as survey research or nonprofit studies.
Over the years MPP programs have become more interdisciplinary drawing from economics, sociology, anthropology, politics, and regional planning. In general, a core curriculum of an MPP program includes courses on microeconomics, public finance, research methods, statistics and advanced data analysis, qualitative research, population methods, politics of policy process, policy analysis, ethics, public management, urban policy & GIS, program evaluation, and more. All these courses are designed to equip MPP graduates with skills and knowledge in advanced economic analysis, political analysis, ethical analysis, data analysis, management and leadership. Depending on the interest, MPP students can concentrate in many policy areas including urban policy, global policy, social policy, health policy, energy and environmental policy, non-profit management, transportation, economic development, education, information technology, and population research.