Why Policy Studies?

Missioncampus walkway

The Master of Arts in Policy Studies provides a transformative graduate experience enabling students to translate interdisciplinary understandings into the professional competence essential to making substantive policy contributions to their communities. The curriculum blends a strong theoretical base with applied experiences, allowing students to develop rigorous skills in policy research, analysis, and management. Students and graduates use these skills to influence public policies and their outcomes through government institutions, non-profit and non-governmental organizations, as well as for-profit entities.


In 2015, the MA in Policy Studies underwent process of self study and external review assessing the quality of its academic degree program. The final review highlighted program strengths that include rigorous core courses, excellent connections with regional organizations, and a growing alumni network.  The review also fed a strategic planning process in 2016 to architect the degree’s next stage of evolution and development.

Central to this process was a revision and rearticulation of the core values and learning objectives that underpin the program and its curriculum, below.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

  • Engage with diverse stakeholders in policy-making processes and with diverse forms of policy-making actions
  • Address the unequal impact of policy on diverse communities and stakeholders in the interests of equity, access, and inclusion

Public Good

  • Identify and propose policy mechanisms that support sustainable and ethical outcomes

Professional Competency

  • Apply management and leadership skills, including communication, collaboration, presentation, evaluation, and strategic planning to a wide range of professional policy positions across public, private, and non-profit sectors
  • Apply rigorous quantitative analysis and evaluation skills to solving policy problems

Critical Engagement

  • Critically analyze diverse theoretical, quantitative and qualitative approaches and perspectives as they frame policy problems, research, evidence, and solutions

Stakeholders—faculty, students, and alumni—responded to these revisions with high levels of support.  They noted that the revisions provide a strong and mature program vision, supportive of future student career trajectories and reflective of the type of work and skills alumni engage with after the program.

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