Master of Public Policy and Administration

Combining managerial skills with research analysis, the Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) is designed to provide the essential leadership, decision-making, policy development, analysis, advocacy, and effective communication skills needed for contemporary policy leadership within government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit corporations that engage in government relations.

Students will gain an in-depth understanding of policy writing, communication skills, data analysis, public sector management, grant writing, and other competencies from a mixture of full-time educators and career professionals who bridge the gap between academia and real-world application.

A variety of available modalities—including online, hybrid, and in-person options, makes the program accessible to students and professionals across the country. Grounded in the liberal arts tradition, the curriculum is designed for both existing government and nonprofit employees as well as recent college graduates who want to pursue careers in public service.

This 56-unit master’s program requires 15 months of study and is offered in an online HyFlex modality with an option for in-person attendance. See curriculum.

The next MPPA cohort will begin classes in Fall 2024.



Entrance Requirements

Students are required to have completed a bachelor’s degree. A single undergraduate course in economics, government, public policy, political science, and statistical methods is required; students may take these courses concurrently, if needed. Applicants must provide undergraduate transcripts, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation. No standardized tests are required for admission, nor does the program have strict GPA minimums.

The MPPA program builds upon the undergraduate work of many disciplines including political science, public policy, economics, environmental studies, health, medicine, and society, race and ethnic studies, women, gender, and sexuality studies, sociology, and spatial studies. 


MPPA class photo

MPPA - Washington DC

Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Effectively analyze and interpret research findings from the professional public policy literature in a non-partisan, non-ideological manner.
  • Communicate research findings and policy and political issues, concerns, and crises effectively using forms specific to the field of public policy, including white papers, policy memos, legislative histories, issue summaries, verbal presentations, and policy briefs.
  • Effectively communicate public policy research findings to audiences with less formal training in the field.
  • Demonstrate knowledge about best practices in public leadership and decision-making, including mastery of the principles of non-profit management and public budgeting.


Program Co-Chairs

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Peter Groff '85

  • Principal and Chief Strategist at MCG2 Consulting, LLC
  • Former president of the Colorado Senate
  • Appointee in the administration of President Barack Obama 
  • Areas of expertise: public policy; state, local, and national policy; political and policy analysis, public leadership.
  • B.A from University of Redlands, J.D. from University of Denver
  • Course(s): Communicating in the Policy Sciences, Public Leadership, Decision-Making During Crisis, Policymaking and Policy Leadership in Regional, State, Federal, and Nonprofit Agencies, Clinical Experiences


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Greg Thorson

  • Ken and Lynn Hall Endowed Chair of Public Policy
  • Professor of Political Science
  • Areas of expertise: public policy, education policy, healthcare policy, advanced quantitative methods.
  • Publication in Journal of Poverty & Public Policy, World Affairs, Congress and the Presidency, Political Research Quarterly, and the Journal of Politics
  • Ph.D. from University of California at Riverside
  • Course(s): Comparative Public Policy, Advanced Regression Techniques, Causal Inference, Research to Practice


Meet the rest of our faculty:


Terrance Carroll

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Terrance Carroll

  • Former Speaker of the House, Colorado House of Representatives​
  • Practice Lead, Government & Political Law practice, Sherman & Howard LLC
  • J.D. University of Denver
  • M.Div. Illiff School of Theology
  • B.A. Morehouse College
  • Course(s): Forging Compromise in Local and Regional Policymaking

Mitzi Johnson

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Mitzi Johnson

  • Former Speaker of the House, Vermont State House of Representatives​
  • Former Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Vermont State House of Representatives​
  • MPA Kennedy School of Government​ (Harvard)​
  • Course(s): Management and Budgeting in Public Agencies

Joan Brody

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Joan Brody

  • Founder and President, Joan L. Brody Grant Writing and Development​
  • Over 20 years of professional grant writing experience
  • Masters of Public Policy Kennedy School of Government (Harvard)
  • MSci in Criminal Justice, Northeastern
  • Course(s): Grant Writing

Nolbert Chavez

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Nolbert Chavez

  • Former Member of the Colorado House of Representatives​
  • University of Colorado Board of Regents Principal, Capitol Success Group (lobbying firm)
  • Masters in Urban and & Regional Planning (MURP), University of Colorado, Denver​
  • MA Political Science, University of Colorado, Denver​            
  • Course(s): Lobbying and Public Advocacy

Art Svenson

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Art Svenson

  • David Boies Professor of Political Science
  • APSA Distinguished Teaching Award winner

  • Two-Time Recipient of the Mortar Board Professor of the Year Award
  • Two-Time Fulbright Scholar Award (China)
  • Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Courses: Law and Policy