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Students in the Carsey MPP are required to complete five core courses, a Washington, DC colloquium during the January term, an internship experience, and a capstone project. These provide the foundational analytical, strategic, and communication skills for a successful career in the world of policy making. Students develop further depth in either a Policy Analysis or a Strategy and Communication track, completing two additional elective courses in one of the tracks. Courses in both tracks can also be taken as open electives. Further opportunities for depth and specialization in substantive policy areas are provided by open elective courses; these vary each semester.   

The program provides flexibility to students to fulfill the degree requirements, so individual student programs vary in elective selections and in sequencing of elective courses and the internship. Students can earn the Carsey MPP degree in as little as 14-16 months. To see examples of different possible schedules, click here.

Degree Requirements

The MPP is a 40-credit program, including:
  • Five required core courses   
  • January-term colloquium in Washington, DC
  • Two elective courses in a selected track
  • Three to four additional electives
  • Internship in a policy organization or institution
  • Capstone project

Required Elements

(Click on course titles to learn more.)

Introduces students to the real world of United States public policymaking while developing their skills as participants in the policymaking industry.  It is structured around a set of case studies of current or recently resolved policy issues as well as a set of readings addressing how policy is made in general.  Each student will pick a policy issue and will be required to produce a full set of written work on that issue.  

    Provides an overview of how economics can be used to analyze and design public policy.  Basic analytical skills used in economic modeling, and application to specific policy areas and problems.  At the end of the course students will be able to use basic economic models to analyze policy problems.  They will also be able to understand how market mechanisms work, when free markets perform well and when government intervention may improve outcomes.  

      An introduction to public policy analysis and the role of rigorous research in the policymaking process.  Fundamentals of the policymaking process; evaluation and design of research to inform policy decisions; effective team work to analyze issues and make policy recommendations; writing and speaking effectively to policy makers; analysis of research briefs and articles to evaluate the validity of their designs, conclusions, and potential use to policy makers.

      Provides an overview of basic quantitative analysis techniques that are common in public policy analysis.  Students will be trained to design high quality research and conduct statistical analyses.  By the end of the course students will be able to carry out basic statistical analyses, evaluate the statistical analyses in research reports and journal articles, and communicate clearly the results of analyses to both professional and general audiences.

      Analysis of what we learn about policy, its outcomes and the research and analysis on which it is based, by comparing policies and outcomes across national borders and other jurisdictions. Students explore how institutional structures affect the influence of scientific and technical data and knowledge across different institutional contexts, and how and why political actors “venue shop” for organizations they deem more likely to afford them the influence and policy making outcomes they seek. 

      This intensive January-Term course focuses on practical skill building and experiential learning related to policy making. The goals are: (i) familiarize students with public policy institutions and career paths across multiple sectors (e.g., government, non-profit organizations, think-tanks, research institutes, organizations that do international work); (ii) connect students to working professionals for networking and career building opportunities; (iii) provide  opportunities to interact with and question Washington, DC professionals, beginning to socialize students as public policy professionals.  Learn more...

        Designed for students to demonstrate the integration of their learning experiences in the program. The final products will be a written report/paper and an oral presentation. Capstone projects will be completed under the direction of faculty mentors and outside experts. The purpose of the capstone is a demonstration of student capabilities and an opportunity to work with expert mentors aimed at enhancing post-graduation employment choices.  There will be a capstone forum in which students will present their work to the Carsey MPP faculty and students.  

        One credit offering to identify and plan for the capstone experience.  Individual and group meetings.

        Actual experience in a policy setting. In some cases this will be a credit-bearing internship, supervised by a faculty member who will provide the academic structure to parallel the applied experience.  In other cases a policy internship may not be appropriate for academic credit; in such cases the internship experience fulfills the requirement but does not provide credits.  Carsey faculty will provide guidance and oversight for these internships as well.  


        Strategy and Communication Track 

        The Strategy and Communication track is for students who want policy careers as leaders, spokespeople or strategists.Specific courses are under development.   Learn more... 

        Policy Analysis Track

        The Policy Analysis track is for students who want policy careers as policy researchers, data analysts, and/or researchers specializing in evaluation.  Learn  more... 


        Click here for a list of approved electives for the Carsey MPP. This list is updated regularly. In addition to elective classes, independent studies with leading experts can be arranged to match specialized student interests. Recent examples include independent studies on trade policy and tax policy.

        Accelerated UNH Undergraduates

        Note that current UNH students can apply for an Accelerated option that would allow them to count up to three courses toward both their undergraduate degree and the MPP coursework.


        There are two provisions for the waiving of select requirements. Waivers do not reduce the total number of credits required for graduation.

        • First, for students who have been employed in public policy jobs previously, the internship may be waived.
        • Second, the PPOL 908: Quantitative Analysis for Policymaking requirement may be waived for students who have completed sufficiently advanced statistics courses as undergraduates.


        Prospective students interested in pursuing their MPP on a part-time basis should contact the Carsey School to discuss scheduling possibilities. In general, part-time students should expect to take four or more courses per-year—including the fall semester, January Term, spring semester and summer sessions. Note that the five core classes are offered during the day—each taught one day per-week. In addition the January Term Washington Colloquium requires spending a week in Washington, DC. Some electives are offered online and in the evening. To view sample part-time paths to degree, visit the Path to Degree page, sample Paths 4 and 5.


        UNH offers existing graduate certificates for students wishing to gain further subject matter expertise or skill development, and the Carsey School has a number of additional certificates under development that will soon be offered.  Carsey faculty and staff can help students select appropriate pairings between the MPP or MACDPP degree and certificate programs.  In general: 

        • Four to five courses are required
        • For those pursuing graduate certificates in conjunction with the MPP or MACDPP, a maximum of two courses may be applied both to the degree and the certificate course requirements while gaining both credentials.

        To view a list of the current certificates and some of those under development  please, click here.


        Image of Sarah

        Academic Partnership Coordinator:
        Sarah Dorner