Master of Science in Public Policy

The Master of Science in Public Policy is designed for students with strong analytical backgrounds, such as those received in engineering, natural science, or an analytically oriented social science or humanities curriculum. Graduate studies in public policy focus on areas in which either the consequences of scientific and technological activity have significant public policy implications, or technical and scientific information is a significant input to the policy-making process. Current areas of specialization for the School include science and technology policy, environmental and energy policy, information and telecommunication policy, and regional economic development policy.

The MS in Public Policy requires forty-six credit hours of study, including either: a) 3 hours devoted to producing a professional policy research paper or team research project or b) nine hours for a thesis. In general, it is expected that students planning to enter employment upon completing the degree will choose the paper or project option, while students planning to continue their graduate work will choose the thesis option.

The program requires a twenty-five-credit-hour core curriculum consisting of five substantive elements: policy and organizational analysis; ethics, philosophy, and public policy; economics and public finance; methods of analysis, including quantitative analysis and research design; and a capstone course in public policy analysis. In addition, there is a required one-credit-hour introductory graduate seminar in public policy. Based on prior coursework or a test-out exam, students may request up to 6 credit hours of exemptions from core courses. In individual cases, students may be required to take pre-core preparatory courses to be ready for graduate studies in particular methodological or analytical areas.

Core courses include:

  1. PUBP 6001 Introduction to Public Policy
  2. PUBP 6010 Ethics, Epistemology, and Public Policy
  3. PUBP 6012 Fundamentals of Policy Processes
  4. PUBP 6112 Research Design in Policy Science
  5. PUBP 6114 Applied Policy Methods and Data Analysis
  6. PUBP 6116 Microeconomics for Policy Analysis
  7. PUBP 6118 Public Finance and Policy
  8. PUBP 6201 Public Policy Analysis

Plus one of the following:

  1. PUBP 6014 Organization Theory
  2. PUBP 6017 Public Management
  3. PUBP 6018 Policy Implementation and Administration

Students must achieve a grade of B or higher in all core courses. In addition to elective courses in the School of Public Policy, students may develop their own programs of study by taking courses in other Georgia Tech schools, including those in the Ivan Allen College and the Colleges of Architecture, Management, Sciences, and Engineering. A summer internship, work experience, or co-op assignment between the first and second years offers students insight into a research or professional setting related to their career interests.

For the MSPP, students are encouraged to pursue one or more concentrations. A concentration consists of at least three 3-credit courses, of which at least one is the School of Public Policy. Students can pursue concentrations within groups already developed by the faculty (see above). Or, students can pursue an individualized concentration, with the written approval of the proposed concentration program of study by their advisor.


BS/MS Public Policy

The School of Public Policy offers a BS/MS program for students enrolled in the undergraduate program who demonstrate an interest in and ability for additional education beyond the BS degree.

Students in the BS/MS program will remain undergraduates until they meet requirements for the undergraduate degree, at which point they will receive their BS degree and be changed to graduate status. Students will be eligible to apply for the program after completion of 30 semester credit hours at Georgia Tech (i.e., at the end of their first year), and if they show appropriate progress in their degree program thereafter. Any student in good standing in the BS PP program is eligible to apply to the program. Admissions decisions will be based on GPA and judgments of the faculty who have served as advisors or instructors. Continuation in the program will require the student to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher in public policy courses. The program will not penalize students who opt out after the bachelor's degree. Students participating in this program will be eligible for the six semester credit-hour Graduate Course Option, which allows students completing both the bachelor's and master's in the same discipline to use up to 6 credit hours of graduate-level coursework in the major discipline for both degrees.

The graduate-level credits required in the BS/MS Program are usually as follows:

  1. Core-22 hours
  2. Electives-12 hours
  3. Research paper- 3 hours

Total 37 hours

Specific Requirements for the Program include:

  1. PUBP 6001 Introduction to Public Policy
    (1 semester hour, all other courses are 3 semester hours)
  2. PUBP 6010 Ethics, Epistemology, and Public Policy
  3. PUBP 6112 Research Design in Policy Science
    [NOTE: This course should be taken as an undergraduate instead of PUBP 3130 and will count for both programs]
  4. PUBP 6114 Applied Policy Methods and Data Analysis
  5. PUBP 6116 Microeconomics in Policy Analysis
  6. PUBP 6118 Public Finance and Policy
  7. PUBP 6210 Public Policy Analysis

Students must also take one of the following three courses:

  1. PUBP 6014 Organization Theory
  2. PUBP 6017 Public Management
  3. PUBP 6018 Policy Implementation

Students are required to develop, in consultation with their advisor, a six-hour concentration in an area or specialty relevant to public policy and management (e.g. environmental policy, science and technology policy, urban policy, economic development, information and communications policy, policy evaluation, public management).

Contact the BS PP program director for further information.