2017-2018 Bulletin 
    Jul 15, 2020  
2017-2018 Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Public Policy, MA

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The Master of Art in Public Policy (MAPP) builds knowledge of current government programs through debate and student engagement. Students learn a variety of technical skills, including assessment of political influence on policy choices, how to design more effective programs, evaluation strategies for the impact of existing programs.

While skills learned have wide applicability, the program is particularly strong in urban issues. CGU’s location in the Los Angeles metropolitan area provides firsthand exposure to the most pressing social and economic issues in the country, such as the growth of immigrant populations, suburban sprawl and traffic congestion, transformation of the economy from manufacturing to international trade and finance, education reform, and restructuring government to increase responsiveness. Concentrations allow students to focus on particular areas such as local education policy, behavioral and organizational evaluation, and health policy. These approaches complement the emphasis on modeling program impacts and evaluating the causal effects of government policies. 

The Master of Arts in Public Policy (MAPP) cultivates understanding of how government can improve social and economic conditions and builds knowledge of policy, programs, and the debates surrounding them.

Good decisions in public policy depend on high-quality analysis. The appropriate design of public policies and the question of whether a policy does more harm than good in improving social and economic conditions are at the heart of our program. Our graduates emerge commanding extensive analytical skills relevant to the study of government and nonprofit programs. Our proximity to the Los Angeles metropolitan area gives you firsthand exposure to the most pressing social and economic issues—the growth of immigrant populations, urban environmental impacts like suburban sprawl, environmental injustice, green energy infrastructure, education reform, and more.

Program Highlights

  • Areas of emphasis include diversity, education, evaluation, and health, or you may create a self-designed track of study based on your interests.
  • Graduate-only education is offered in small, seminar-style classes taught by highly knowledgeable faculty-scholars.
  • Pursue your MA in conjunction with another degree, such as a PhD in Psychology. You earn a diploma for each degree and “double count” some units from one program to the other to decrease your required total units.

Degree Requirements

Coursework.  40 units are required, with specific requirements in research and policy analysis.  Areas of substantive emphasis allow students to focus on a field of individual interest. Minimum requirements for specialization in a distinct tract are listed below.  Students may, however, take additional courses. Advisor approval is required for all enrollments.

Practical Experience Requirement.  Students who do not already have work experience in the government or nonprofit sector must gain experience while enrolled in the program.  Options available for obtaining such experience are provided below.

  • Policy Clinic.  Enroll in a course classified or designated a policy clinic.  Participation in a policy clinic may meet another program requirement at the same time.
  • Internship. Undertake an internship with a government or nonprofit organization.  With program approval, certain internships may qualify as credit-earning courses and may be used toward course requirements in the student’s area of substantive emphasis. Students interested in an internship opportunity should contact Career Management for assistance in identifying and qualifying for an internship.

Final Paper Portfolio. All students are required to submit two papers to the program office.  One paper must be written during the student’s first semester in the program.  A second paper should represent the student’s best work and may come from any subsequent semester that the student is enrolled in the program.  Papers are used for accreditation reviews of the program.

University Policies.  University policies detailed in the Academic Policies section of the Bulletin apply.

Core Courses (12 units)


Students may take either ECON 286 or SP&E 410. 

Students who have already completed a college-level course in microeconomics may use that course to fulfill the SP&E 313 requirement.  In this case, an elective may be substituted.

  • PP 330 - Public Policy Process
  • PP 338 - Policy Design and Implementation
  • SP&E 313 - Microeconomics and Public Policy

Students who have already completed a college-level course in microeconomics may use that course to fulfill the SP&E 313 requirement.  In this case, an elective may be substituted.


Research Methods (12 units)


Complete one of the following sequences.

Sequence 1

  • PP 481 - Quantitative Research Methods
  • PP 482 - Advanced Quantitative Research Methods
  • PP 487 - Applied Data Analysis

Sequence 2

  • ECON 381 - Probability and Statistics for Economists
  • ECON 381 382 - Econometrics I
  • ECON 382 383 - Econometrics II or OR ECON 383 384 - Econometrics III

Policy Analytic Methods (8 units)


Two courses from the following.

  • SP&E 315 - Game Theory
  • SP&E 471 - Strategic Models for Politics Economics & Business Decisions
  • SP&E 318 - Cost Benefit Analysis
  • PP 331 - Policy Evaluation
  • PP 484 - Experimental and Qualitative Methods
  • IST 370 - GIS-Essential Concepts
  • IST 380 - GIS-Special Topics Courses

Areas of Substantive Emphasis

Evaluation in Behavioral/Organizational Science (8 units)

A two-unit elective is generally offered to complement PSYCH 326.  PSYCH 326 and PSYCH 315Z should be taken before PSYCH 326.  Contacts: Tarek Azzam (Tarek.azzam@cgu.edu).

  • PSYCH 326 - Foundations of Evaluation
  • PP 331 - Policy Evaluation
  • PSYCH 354b - Evaluation Procedures I
  • PSYCH 414 - Evaluation Procedures II
  • PSYCH 315z - Comparative Evaluation Theory
Education (8 units)

Contact: Lucrecia Santibanez  (Lucrecia.santibanez@cgu.edu).

  • EDUC 407 - Public Policy and America’s Schools
  • EDUC 408 - Education Finance Policy
  • EDUC 630 - Policy, Practice, and High Performing Schools
  • EDUC 635 - Special Education Trends, Issues, and Policy Development
  • EDUC 650 - Federal Higher Education Policy
  • EDUC 654 - Legal Issues in Higher Education
  • EDUC 676 - The Politics of Urban School Reform
  • EDUC 699 - Educating Minority Students in Urban Schools: Policy and Practice
Health Policy (8 units)

CGH 304 - Environmental or Occupational Health or SP&E 348 - Regulatory Policy may be taken as an alternative to CGH 303. Contact: Darleen Peterson (Darlene.peterson@cgu.edu).

  • CGH 300 - Theoretical Foundations of Health Promotion & Education
  • CGH 302 - Epidemiology
  • CGH 303 - Health Services in the US and Abroad
  • CGH 304 - Environmental and Occupational Health

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