Sep 21, 2018  
2014 - 2015 Graduate Catalog 
2014 - 2015 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy



View the Public Policy Faculty.  

The Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree is designed to prepare students for demanding professional careers as policy analysts. MPP graduates work in the public sector and with the broad range of private firms that interact closely with government entities at the Federal, state and local levels. The better the foundation, the greater the career potential; thus the MPP program at William and Mary emphasizes developing strong analytic and quantitative skills. A range of elective classes in various policy fields allows students to pursue their particular policy interests.

Program Structure: The MPP program, limited to twenty-five new students each fall, is a two-year, full-time program with a required internship in the summer between the two academic years. The first year consists largely of required courses grounded in economics, government and law. In the second year, a range of electives in public policy, law, business, marine science, and other disciplines is available. Areas of emphasis include education policy, environmental policy, health care policy, international policy, regulatory policy, and state and local policy.

Internships: The internship during the summer between the first and second years is an important, practice-based element of the MPP program. Students can intern in a range of organizations, including government agencies, private consulting firms, advocacy organizations, or other organizations involved in the public policy process.

Joint/Concurrent Degree Programs: Joint/concurrent degree programs are available with the nationally ranked schools of Law (MPP/JD), Business (MPP/MBA), Education (MPP/MEd, MPP/EdD or MPP/PhD) and Marine Science (MPP/MS or MPP/PhD), and with the Mathematics Department (MPP/MS in Operations Research). Admission to both programs is required, although in many instances students are accepted to a joint/concurrent program after their arrival at William and Mary.

Placement: There is strong demand for policy analysts with the quantitative skills that define the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy MPP. An important part of this demand comes from various levels of government, but there is also a large demand for public policy master's students in the private sector. Many large regulated firms have divisions which require the skills of a public policy analyst. Consulting firms and the not-for-profit sector are two other major employment opportunities commonly open to public policy analysts. For both internships and career placements, William and Mary's locational advantages (proximity to Washington, D.C., Richmond, Norfolk and several medium size cities) contribute to our effectiveness in career placement.

Special Opportunities: On the Williamsburg campus and in our offices in Washington, D.C., William and Mary's Public Policy Program brings the real world into your learning experience. On campus, the Center for Public Policy Research provides the base for  bringing client driven projects into the curriculum. First-year MPP students attend a three-day Washington conference examining the breadth of career opportunities available to policy analysts. We offer several "Policy Dialogues" each semester at which students have informal access to high-level policymakers and policy analysts. Other career events in Williamsburg and Washington occur throughout the year.

General Description

The university offers a two-year interdisciplinary master's degree program that prepares students for careers in public service by combining training in quantitative techniques and economic analysis with instruction in the political, legal, and organizational environments in which policy is made and implemented.

The goal of The Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy is to help prepare students for the rigorous demands of responsible careers in public service by providing them with the range of skills and insights that are needed; the analytical and quantitative skills that are essential professional tools; a comprehensive understanding of the policy-making process; and thorough grounding in the ethics of policy-making and the goals of public policy. We aim to train individuals who have the ability to make a major contribution to the efficiency and the responsiveness of government at all levels.

While the primary purpose of the program is to prepare individuals for public service, we recognize that the skills developed in the program are useful in other settings as well, including the private and the non-profit sectors and in the growing linkage between government and the other sectors. The Thomas Jefferson Program also includes an interdisciplinary undergraduate major in public policy, the Center for Public Policy Research, the Washington Program, conferences, lectures, and visiting faculty and practitioners.


Information concerning applying for graduate admission can be found on the program's website or a paper application can be requested from the Associate Director of The Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy. Beginning graduate students will enter in the fall. To insure full consideration for admission and financial assistance, applications, including all supporting materials and test scores, should be completed by February 15. Applications received after February 15 will be reviewed on the basis of available space. For admission to The Thomas Jefferson Program, an applicant must have completed the requirements for a bachelor's degree at an accredited college and must have the recommendation of the Graduate Admissions Committee of The Thomas Jefferson Program. All admissions must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Arts and Sciences. Applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination.

To be admitted to the program, a student must demonstrate, through his or her undergraduate record, scores on the Graduate Record Examination, and three letters of recommendation, potential for success in the required quantitative courses, the ability to understand the policy-making process, and the potential to function effectively as a professional in a demanding policy position. No single undergraduate major is required, but students will be expected to have completed course work in the principles of economics. In addition, intermediate microeconomics and introductory statistics are strongly recommended. Students whose preparation is deficient may be required to take advanced undergraduate courses before matriculating.

Academic Status

  1. Continuance in Program

After each semester, the student must meet minimum levels of academic progress.
The minimum requirements for continuance are as follows:

  After semester Cumulative Graduate Degree Credits Cumulative Q.P.A.  
  1 13 2.5  
  2 25 2.75  
  3 37 3.0  

A student who does not achieve the minimum level of academic progress for continuance or receives a grade below C (quality points = 2.0) in any one of the required core courses will be required to withdraw immediately from the program for academic deficiencies.

  1. Satisfactory Progress

In order to graduate, M.P.P. students must have completed 49 hours in the program with a quality point average (Q.P.A.) of 3.0. To continue in the program, a student must make satisfactory progress toward the degree requirements. Satisfactory progress is defined as achieving and maintaining at least a 3.0 Q.P.A. for each semester of graduate study. Students whose Q.P.A. falls below 3.0 in any semester will automatically be placed on academic probation for the following semester. Students permitted to continue in the program on academic probation must earn a minimum of 12 academic credits and a minimum Q.P.A. of 3.0 during the probationary semester. A student who fails to meet the probationary standard will be required to withdraw from The Program for academic deficiencies.

Programs and Course Descriptions

Description of Courses

Unless otherwise noted, all courses are graded using standard grading [A, B, C, D, F] scheme (See Grading and Academic Progress  in the section entitled 'Graduate Regulations ') and may not be repeated for credit (See Repeated Courses  requirements in the section entitled 'Graduate Regulations '). No credit toward a degree will be allowed for a course in which a student receives a grade below C (quality points = 2.0).

 Elective Courses [Not Cross-listed]

Public Policy  



    Public Policy