Originally published on Source by Rachel Gaisford

Beginning in Fall 2020, CSU’s College of Liberal Arts will be offering a new professional master’s degree focused on public service leadership. The Master of Public Policy and Administration blends academic learning with hands-on experience to prepare students to take on society’s greatest challenges.

“The MPPA is a well-respected, well-known and valuable degree for those with public service motivations and career aspirations,” said Susan Opp, political science professor and MPPA program director. “The experiences provided through the MPPA program are exciting, timely and – in most cases – life-changing to the students.”

Real-world experience in a world-class city

MPPA students have the opportunity to live and learn in the internationally recognized City of Fort Collins, recipient of the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Through internships and service-learning opportunities, students work directly with public service leaders to learn and practice solutions for some of the most complex issues facing the world today.

“The MPPA at Colorado State University provides an invaluable opportunity to combine the strengths of a growing land-grant university with the innovative nature of the broader Fort Collins community,” Opp said. “In short, there are few better places for students to study to become public service leaders than the world-class, award-winning City of Fort Collins and Colorado State University.”

A career with purpose

MPPA Program Director
and Political Science Professor Susan Opp

Graduates of the MPPA program will be ready to work as executives, managers, analysts and planners in a wide range of agencies and organizations.

“Students are provided the necessary information as well as many opportunities to practice concepts so that when they graduate they are well-prepared to assume leadership positions in the public or private sector,” Opp said.

The outlook for careers in public policy and administration is strong, with higher than average job growth expected in both the public and nonprofit sectors. According to 2017-18 data from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration, 95% of public policy and administration graduates find employment or opportunities in the field within six months.

A program for professionals

With professionally focused students in mind, the MPPA program will hold classes on weekday evenings. Students currently working in the field can maintain their career momentum while engaging face-to-face with a diverse student cohort and publicly engaged faculty.

“This program provides a venue whereby both traditional and nontraditional students can come together to acquire advanced skills that will help them become public service leaders,” Opp said. “Evening classes provide an avenue whereby working professionals can join the program, while more traditional students have opportunities to practice their skills in the community through internships and other public sector experiences during the day.”

Three specializations

Students completing the MPPA degree will select one of three specializations: Public Management, Public Policy, or International Policy and Management. Each specialization provides students with in-depth expertise in a substantive area of public policy and administration.

CSU’s MPPA program offers one of the only International Policy and Management specializations in the country.

“The MPPA program offers one of the only International Policy and Management specializations in the country and the only one in the state of Colorado,” Opp said. “This international policy and management specialization provides opportunities for students with global interests to engage with academic content while also learning applied skills to enable them to become leaders in globally focused government or nonprofit organizations.”

In addition to choosing a specialization, students can further focus their learning in a policy area (such as health or environment) or in advanced public management areas (such as city management or organizational leadership).

“All students receive opportunities to tailor some of their studies specifically to their own professional goals and interests,” Opp said.




MPPA vs. an MPA, MPP or MBA

For students seeking leadership opportunities in government, nonprofit and private organizations, it can be a challenge to decide which professional degree to pursue. While degrees in public administration, public policy and business all strengthen students’ skills in interpersonal communication, effective management and organizational behavior, there are key differences in the focus and outcomes of the degrees.


Degree Comparison Guide PDF

Apply today, lead tomorrow

The world needs innovative, visionary leaders with a passion for serving the public good. Through the Master of Public Policy and Administration, future leaders gain the skills they need to turn ideas into action.

“The MPPA degree is explicitly and intentionally professionally focused and designed to prepare students to lead in their chosen public service careers,” Opp said. “Students practice skills alongside both academic and professional experts so that when they graduate they are well prepared to lead.”

To learn more about the Master of Public Policy and Administration, including priority application deadlines, visit mppa.colostate.edu.