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Public Policy and Administration M.P.P.A.

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Degree Overview Open Accordion

CSU’s online Master of Public Policy and Administration (M.P.P.A.) program prepares students for leadership, combining academic theory with real-world experience.

What will a Master of Public Policy and Administration do for you?

Government agencies, international nongovernment organizations, and nonprofits actively seek out professionals with the specialized knowledge to develop policies that improve quality of life. With an interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates research-based academic theory with real-world experience, this master’s program will prepare you to take on a leadership role as a policy manager, generalist, or specialist in the public or private sector.

The online M.P.P.A. program is a professional master’s degree and requires the completion of 21 credit hours of core courses, 12-15 credit hours of specialization credits, an internship (3 cr.), and a capstone project (3 cr.).

Customize your education by choosing one of three specializations:

  1. The public management specialization offers a well-rounded curriculum ideal for generalists. You will gain the managerial and technical competencies to effectively deliver and manage public services at the federal, state, or local levels of government.
  2. The public policy specialization will give you the foundational skills to appropriately structure policy problems, propose comprehensive solutions, and carefully evaluate existing policies. By completing this specialization, you will be equipped to serve as a professional policy analyst or policy manager in both public and nonprofit organizations.
  3. The international policy and management specialization will equip you with a broad understanding of policy and management, both within and across countries. By completing this specialization, you will be prepared to pursue careers in intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, or as a U.S. foreign policy maker.

Study in a collaborative online program to gain applied skills

Hone your research and critical thinking abilities as you analyze a range of case studies. Through in-depth discussions with fellow students, you will expand your understanding of public policy administration and theory. Topics of study range from public budgeting and finance to policy process theory to environmental law.

Why earn your master’s online with CSU?

  • Learn in a challenging academic program guided by distinguished scholar-practitioners
  • Discuss course materials and case studies with fellow students from diverse backgrounds to gain new perspectives
  • Immediately apply the knowledge, concepts, and analytical tools in your current career and in your internship
  • Complete your master's degree online in as little as 24 months or take up to five years, depending on your schedule and goals.
Faculty Open Accordion

Robert Duffy - Professor

Dr. Robert Duffy is the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Director of the Master of Public Policy and Administration Program. Duffy’s research has focused on a variety of environmental and energy issues, as well as the role of organized interests in federal elections. His most recent book, with the late Gary Bryner, is “Integrating Climate, Energy and Air Pollution Policy,” published by MIT Press.

Martín Carcasson – Professor

Dr. Carcasson is the founder and director of the CSU Center for Public Deliberation (CPD). The CPD serves as an impartial resource for the community dedicated to enhancing local democracy in Northern Colorado through improved public communication, community problem solving, and collaborative decision-making.

Jessie Harney - Assistant Professor

Dr. Jessie Harney is an Assistant Professor in the Master of Public Policy and Administration program. Her research interests are in justice system reform, with much of her work focusing on: 1) how to improve the mental health of frontline workers in these systems; 2) understanding how the well-being of frontline workers impacts service delivery to system-impacted populations; and 3) understanding how to improve the well-being of system-impacted individuals and families through specific, direct services or policies.

Alexis R. Kennedy - Assistant Professor

Dr. Alexis R. Kennedy's research focuses on public management topics including the interactions between public, private, and nonprofit organizations in the pursuit of public outcomes, community engaged research, and social equity. Her articles have appeared in Administration and Society, Review of Public Personnel Administration, and Journal of International Development. In addition to her academic work, Kennedy has worked as a practitioner in the energy industry in New Jersey and as a public finance consultant for nonprofit and public entities in Colorado.

Allison C. White - Assistant Professor

Dr. Allison C. White teaches in the International Policy and Management specialization. Her research focuses on policymaking in authoritarian regimes, particularly in the area of electoral policy. She is also interested in corruption in those regimes. Her research has appeared in Journal of Public Policy, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, Ethnopolitics, Post-Soviet Affairs, among other outlets.

Curriculum Open Accordion

A minimum of 39 credits are required to complete this master’s degree program, which offers three possible areas of specialization:

International Policy and Management Specialization

Public Management Specialization

Core Courses

Public Management Specialization Courses

Public Management Specialization Electives (9 credits total)

Select 3-9 credits from the following:

Select 0-6 credits from the following:

Public Policy Specialization

How to Apply Open Accordion

Application Deadlines

Priority Application Deadlines
Fall:February 20
Spring:October 15
Summer:April 1
Final Deadlines
Fall:July 15
Spring:December 1
Summer:April 20

Capacity in this master’s program is limited. Applicants who complete the application process on or before the priority deadline will receive priority placement into the program for that term.

1Review Admission Requirements

The Master of Public Policy and Administration (M.P.P.A.) degree requires applicants to have the following:

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • A cumulative 3.0 GPA on all undergraduate coursework
  • No GRE is required. However, recent TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE examination results are required for international applicants.

Note that meeting the minimum department standards does not ensure admission to the program. Admission to Colorado State University graduate programs is based on several factors, including prior academic and professional experience and the personal statement.

2 Prepare Application Materials

Prepare the materials below and upload when you apply online.

Two letters of recommendation

Two professional recommendations are required from individuals who can speak to your potential for success in the program. You will provide information about your recommenders in the online application. CSU will contact them with instructions and a link to a secure form they will submit on your behalf. These letters should be written by a variety of individuals (advisors, professors, employers, supervisors, or individuals in similar positions) who have known you in different capacities. Letters should address your ability to successfully pursue and complete graduate studies, not merely attest to your character. The online application will prompt your reviewers to submit the letters of recommendation, but you should contact your reviewers in advance and provide each with guidelines for preparing letters of recommendation. You should also later confirm with the individual that the letter of recommendation was submitted.

Statement of purpose

Indicate your career goals and professional interests. Be sure to describe how the M.P.P.A. program and faculty will allow you to accomplish these goals.

3 Complete Online Application

Complete the online graduate application and pay the nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online). As soon as you have completed the required information, please submit your application. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete and all required materials have been received. When choosing program of study, please indicate your specialization of choice:

Public Policy and Administration/Public Policy (M.P.P.A.) – Distance

Public Policy and Administration/International Policy and Management (M.P.P.A.) – Distance

4 Request Transcripts

Request one official transcript of all collegiate work completed from all institutions attended. Transcripts from Colorado State University are not required. Transcripts must be received directly from the originating institution to be considered official.

Please Note: Students may be unconditionally admitted and registered in their first semester of courses with an unofficial transcript. Official transcripts must be submitted, prior to or during your first semester, before you can register for your second semester of graduate work. Failure to meet this condition will result in your dismissal from the Graduate School.

Electronic (preferred):
Digital Transcripts must be submitted by the originating institution using a secure service such as parchment, eScrip-Safe, the National Student Clearinghouse, or e-Quals. Transcripts received via emails are considered unofficial.

Use institution code 4075 for Colorado State University or if the secure service requires an email address.

Mail (if necessary)
Graduate Admissions
Colorado State University – Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

Check Your Application Status

View your application status at any time to ensure your application checklist is complete or to check on updates.

Once your complete application, including supporting materials, is received, the department admission committee will review your application and notify you of their decision.

For International Applicants

Proof of English language proficiency is required for applicants from countries or United States territories where there are official languages other than (or in addition to) English. This includes the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about English language proficiency requirements.


We love learning about your goals and answering any questions you have.

Alex Broz
Prospective Student Support Coach
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Program Details

Online with internship
$586 per credit
Same in-state tuition for all.
Learn more about financial aid and scholarships Tuition/fees are just part of the cost to attend CSU. Learn more about the full Cost of Attendance
Degree Awarded
Master of Public Policy and Administration (M.P.P.A.)
Time Frame
Can be completed in 2 years
Admission Reqs.
  • 3.0 GPA on all undergraduate coursework
  • Math Entrance Exam scores recommended for applicants who have not taken the required prerequisites within the past 10 years

Application Dates

M.P.P.A. Priority Application Deadlines
February 20
October 15
April 1
M.P.P.A. Final Deadlines
July 15
December 1
April 20

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