Fall 2019 courses have ended—MPA core curriculum

Dec 22 2019
By Graduate Admissions Office

Our students wrapped up the classroom component of their courses, and will now spend their time preparing for exams and papers. Good luck to all in the MPA, MPP and PhD programs!

One distinguishing aspect of our MPA degree is the core curriculum. For more information on our MPA curriculum, please see here.

The Politics of Public Policy, or 501 (as it is commonly referred to here at the School and its networks), occurs in the fall semester of the MPA1 year. The entire cohort of approximately 70 individuals takes the class together. (In contrast to most of our courses, which have around ten students.)

501 provides MPA students with foundational skills in two critical and related areas:
1. Analyzing how political considerations affect policy choices; and
2. Writing about policy issues for political audiences.

The first half of the course presents a series of conceptual frameworks, looking at issues of identity, how public institutions respond to interest groups, and the role of public opinion. The second half of the course examines topics like political regimes and democracy, globalization, international organizations and security, and human rights. The course also addresses cross-cutting issues of implementation, leadership, and ethics.

Along the way, students are asked to complete several writing assignments, which will be discussed and workshopped in small sections. Students also have the opportunity to develop their presentation and public speaking skills. The course concludes with an extended group simulation, where students have the chance to practice what they have learned.

The goal is for students to emerge from this course with a stronger understanding of the interplay between politics and policy in both U.S. and non-U.S. settings, the ability to write a concise and persuasive policy memo, and experience with other forms of policy writing and presentation.

Photo credit: Andrea Vilan, postdoc RA at the School—the 2019 501/MPA1 cohort!