Public Affairs

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Designed for mid-career professionals in the public, private and non-profit sectors, the MPA curriculum focuses on economic analysis, management, strategic thinking, ethical leadership, and negotiations. Students enjoy personal attention in small classes, and join a network of professionals and executives leading the charge to shape government, business and non-profits. 

Classes are taught by top faculty, researchers and practitioners who are on the leading edge of today's most pressing public policy issues: climate change, energy, education, poverty, and the political process.

The centerpiece of the program is a ten-week summer suite of classes offered in the intimate setting of the Goldman School, the top-ranked public policy analysis school in the United States, which can be completed in one summer, or split over two consecutive summers*.​

During the fall and spring semesters, students complete the program by taking courses in-person or online. 

Applying the skills of policy analysis and leadership learned throughout the program, students complete a Capstone Project of their own design. 

The collaborative structure of the MPA program facilitates a space for sharing of expertise and worldviews that not only enriches the academic experience, but also forges bonds that make your network as deep as it is wide.

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Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

Please click here for our application requirements.

Admission to the Program

Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume

We are interested in learning about your work and experiential background. Please upload your most current resume or curriculum vitae. If applicable, please also include honors, awards, publications, presentations, languages spoken, and associations you belong to. The admissions committee prefers to receive chronological resumes of 1-2 pages in length.


Applicants are required to complete two essays.

Statement of Purpose

Our essay question was created to provoke honest, thoughtful responses to help us get to know you. The admissions committee is interested in learning how your professional or other experiences and achievements equip you and motivate you to enroll in the Berkeley MPA. We are especially interested in understanding both your experience in leading, innovating with, inspiring, or managing other people, and your capacity to take full advantage of an intensive, fast-paced degree program.

You should describe what policy/public service issue(s) you are passionate about that motivates you to make an impact on the world. How have these interests shaped your short-and long-term career goals, and how will the Berkeley MPA enable you to build on your prior professional experience and achieve these goals?

Personal History Statement

The personal statement should give concrete evidence of your promise as a member of the academic community, giving the admissions committee an image of you as a person.

This is also where you represent your potential to bring to your academic career a critical perspective rooted in a non-traditional educational background, or your understanding of the experiences of groups historically under-represented in higher education and your commitment to increase participation by a diverse population in higher education.

Two Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation provide the admissions committee with third party, qualitative accounts of your potential for leadership and management.  

We strongly prefer that both letters of recommendation come from a current direct supervisor, former direct supervisor, or other individuals with whom you have had significant professional interaction. Please select individuals who know you well and who will take the time to write thorough and thoughtful letters on your behalf. The title or status of those you select is not important. What does matter is how closely your letter writers have worked with you and whether they can attest to your value as an employee, your professional accomplishments, and your personal qualities. We have found the most helpful letters to be recent, relevant, and written specifically for this application. We discourage letters of recommendation from co-workers, subordinates, family, friends, or professors.

You should obtain one of the recommendations from your current direct supervisor. If you do not provide a letter from your current direct supervisor, you are required to include an explanation in the Supplementary Data section of the online application.

You are responsible for ensuring that both required recommendations are submitted prior to the application deadline.

When completing the online application, you will enter the email address of your recommender and click the appropriate box to have the recommender complete an online recommendation. Your recommender receives an automated email with instructions to log in to the online recommendation form.  

We require two letters of recommendation. However, you may submit up to three if you like. The online application will prompt you for three letters of recommendation.  However, if you are only submitting the required two, just enter your own name into the third space.

GMAT or GRE Exam (optional)

GRE Scores are not required but may help you to demonstrate skills otherwise not present in your application.  If you wish to submit them, they can be either current or expired.

Master's Degree Requirements

To obtain the MPA degree students complete eight core classes, one capstone, and two or more electives, for a total of 27 units. Three-quarters of the courses are in the core curriculum, which emphasizes leadership skills, strategic thinking and multidisciplinary analysis.

During the fall and spring semesters, candidates may complete the program in residence at the Goldman School or by taking courses online.

During the Summer Core, MPA students will take seven required 2-unit courses taken in person and taught on the Berkeley campus. 

PUB AFF 201Confronting Public Policy Challenges2
PUB AFF W202Policy Analysis Toolkit Course3
PUB AFF 215Economics for Public Policy Makers2
PUB AFF 245Inferential Statistics for Policy Makers2
PUB AFF 265Financial Management and Budgeting2
PUB AFF 283Leading People and Organizations2
PUB AFF 285Ethical Issues for Policy Leaders2
PUB AFF 287Innovation, Strategy and Leadership: Making Change in Public Organizations.2


Public Affairs

PUB AFF 201 Confronting Public Policy Challenges 2 Units

Terms offered: Not yet offered
This course is designed to introduce mid-career executives to three things: a typology of “kinds of problems” that confront those leading organizations; a sampling of major problems confronting leaders in the next decades; and a sampling of solutions to problems confronting leaders. It introduces the rest of the Berkeley MPA summer core program with examples of the kinds of problems that modern leaders must confront and the kinds of solutions that must be devised.
The course features at least one article or book by a GSPP faculty member in each session except the last.
Confronting Public Policy Challenges: Read More [+]

PUB AFF W202 Policy Analysis Toolkit Course 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016
This course is designed to improve our abilities to think creatively and critically about public policy problems and solutions. The course provides the opportunity to synthesize the skills you have acquired through your summer core coursework and apply these skills to real world policy problems. We open the course with a discussion of what it is that policy analysts do and how their work fits into the broader policy process. We then move into an overview
of the policy analysis framework, drawing on the eightfold path you were introduced to in the Gateway course.
Policy Analysis Toolkit Course: Read More [+]

PUB AFF W207 The Capstone 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017
The MPA Capstone Course is designed to enable each MPA student to write their Capstone Analytic Project, which will address a specific policy or programmatic challenge facing a real-world client. The weekly course meetings are structured to help students further hone their creativity, their analytic capacities and their writing and presentation skills as they develop the project through its various stages. Participants work closely together to learn from and help
each other. Each student's final product, their CAP, is a thorough analysis of the client's problem or challenge that draws on the interdisciplinary methods, approaches, and perspectives studied in the Toolkit class and other classes in the MPA core curriculum.
The Capstone: Read More [+]

PUB AFF 215 Economics for Public Policy Makers 3 Units

Terms offered: Not yet offered
This course is designed to familiarize the executive student with the ways in which microeconomic analysis is brought to bear on public policy issues. You will learn (1) to identify the relevant economic questions concerning policy issues of interest to you, (2) to comprehend the economic arguments that bear on these issues, (3) to evaluate these arguments in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, and (4) when to utilize specific tools and methods from microeconomics
to address the policy issues.
Economics for Public Policy Makers: Read More [+]

PUB AFF 225 Policy Communications 1 Unit

Terms offered: Not yet offered
The Goldman School equips students to speak truth to power. In this course, the goal is to focus on the art and science of persuasive oral communication in policy. This course equips students with the best practices of oral communication and provides them with a safe space to find their voice. We focus primarily on persuasion.

Policy Communications: Read More [+]

PUB AFF 235 Research Methods for Policy Leaders 1 Unit

Terms offered: Not yet offered
This course presents an introduction overview of quantitative and qualitative research methods and an introduction to the research process in public policy decision‐making.

Research Methods for Policy Leaders: Read More [+]

PUB AFF 245 Inferential Statistics for Policy Makers 1 Unit

Terms offered: Not yet offered
In this course, we are going to study the use of research methods, statistics, and probability theory in public decision making. We will begin with case studies of important public policy topics where key decisions depend on the interpretation of results from empirical research or on probabilistic assessments of the likelihood of various outcomes. We will then study the basics of probability theory, statistical sampling, hypothesis testing, and inferring causality.

Inferential Statistics for Policy Makers: Read More [+]

PUB AFF 255 Risk and Decision Models 1 Unit

Terms offered: Not yet offered
This course examines mathematical models useful in policy analysis and management through a series of exercises and hands-on experimentation. It assumes knowledge of basic economics and introductory statistics.

Risk and Decision Models: Read More [+]

PUB AFF 265 Financial Management and Budgeting 1 Unit

Terms offered: Not yet offered
This course discusses methods for making organizations perform with an emphasis on managerial and financial accounting. Procurement, quality assurance, and performance evaluations of employees are also discussed. Managerial accounting is a set of tools used by managers for planning, implementation, and control. Financial accounting is a set of tools used by managers and outside observers for reporting on and analyzing an organization’s financial health.

Financial Management and Budgeting: Read More [+]

PUB AFF 283 Leading People and Organizations 2 Units

Terms offered: Prior to 2007
This course is designed to help students develop their skills for leading and managing large groups, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and public advocacy, with the goal of achieving positive social change. Materials include case studies, analyses, and works from several disciplines. This course will provide higher-level topics of leadership strategy, visionary management, and executive communication styles. It will examine specific tools useful to be
effective in the public sector and will explore techniques of negotiation that increasingly occupy the time of more prominent and influential public leaders.
Leading People and Organizations: Read More [+]

PUB AFF 285 Ethical Issues for Policy Leaders 1 Unit

Terms offered: Not yet offered
The objective of this course is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of ethical arguments in the process and substance of policymaking. Those who seek to govern well inescapably confront questions of value in their political, professional and personal choices. The discussion of ethical dilemmas is designed to provoke analytic reflection on the moral challenges and responsibilities for public policymaking in a democracy. The focus is on the many and often competing
obligations, commitments and values that should guide public actors, as well as on the public principles that guide the design of good public policy.
Ethical Issues for Policy Leaders: Read More [+]

PUB AFF 287 Innovation, Strategy and Leadership: Making Change in Public Organizations. 2 Units

Terms offered: Not yet offered
This course focuses on creating and implementing change within public organizations through the application of strategic planning, innovation and leadership. We will discuss where new ideas come from and how they can be generated, evaluated and implemented. The methods developed in other parts of the summer curriculum become the support for proving that new ideas are good ideas (or for finding out that they are bad ideas). We will explore how each method can be
useful to a leader (both formal and informal) at various levels within a public organization through case studies and real world examples. The course will introduce leadership themes which will be explored further in PUB AFF 283: Leading People and Organizations.
Innovation, Strategy and Leadership: Making Change in Public Organizations.: Read More [+]

PUB AFF W290 Special Topics in Public Affairs 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Not yet offered
Course examines current problems and issues in the field of public affairs. Topics may vary from year to year and will be announced at the beginning of the semester.

Special Topics in Public Affairs: Read More [+]

Faculty and Instructors


Daniel J. Acland, Assistant Adjunct Professor. Benefit-Cost Analysis, Behavioral Economics, Behavior Change, Public Health.
Research Profile

Sarah F. Anzia, Assistant Professor. Elections, Government, Politics, State and Local Politics and Policy, Public Sector Unions, Women in Politics, Public Employee Pensions.
Research Profile

Henry Brady, Professor. Comparative politics, public policy, electoral politics, political participation, survey research, program evaluation, statistical methods in the social sciences, social welfare policy, Soviet Union, inequality in America.
Research Profile

Jennifer L. Bussell, Assistant Professor. Africa, comparative politics, Latin America, public policy & organization, South Asia.
Research Profile

Alain de Janvry, Professor. Agriculture, Poverty & Inequality, Rural Development, Quantitative Analysis of Development Policies, Impact Analysis of Social Programs, Technological Innovations in Agriculture, Management of Common Property Resources.
Research Profile

Sean Farhang, Associate Professor. Law and Political Science, Law and Politics, Courts, Regulation.
Research Profile

Avi Feller, Assistant Professor. Program Evaluation, Quantitative Methods.
Research Profile

Lee Friedman, Professor. Economic Organization, Environmental Markets, School Finance, Utility Regulation, Environment, Regulation, Public Finance.
Research Profile

Alexander Gelber, Assistant Professor. Economic Policy, Labor and Employment, Public Finance, Tax Policy, Social Security, Family Policy.
Research Profile

Jack Glaser, Associate Professor. Political Psychology, Stereotyping, Prejudice & Discrimination, Research Methods, Social Psychology, Hate Crime, Unconscious Social Cognition, Racial Profiling, Policing.
Research Profile

Jennifer M. Granholm, Adjunct Professor. Law, Energy, Renewable and Clean Energy, Labor and Employment, Politics, Economics of Industry, Manufacturing and Job Markets.
Research Profile

Hilary Hoynes, Professor. Tax Policy, Labor and Employment, Youth and Families, Government.
Research Profile

Solomon Hsiang, Associate Professor. Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment, International, Coupled Natural and Human Systems, Political Economy, Development Economics, Applied Econometrics.
Research Profile

Rucker Johnson, Associate Professor. Poverty and Inequality, Social Welfare, Labor and Employment, Urban Economics.
Research Profile

Daniel Kammen, Professor. Climate Change, Engineering, Environment, Energy, Renewable and Clean Energy, Energy Forecasting, Health and Environment, International R&D Policy, Race and Gender, Rural Resource Management.
Research Profile

David Kirp, Professor. Children, Youth and Families, Education, Race & Ethnicity, Law, Politics, Ethics, Early Childhood Education, Higher Education, Community.
Research Profile

Amy E. Lerman, Associate Professor. Politics, Criminal Justice, Privatization, Public Opinion, American Bureaucracy, Political Behavior.
Research Profile

Jane Mauldon, Associate Professor. Demography, Children, Youth and Families, Program Evaluation, Race & Ethnicity, Quantitative Methods, Social Welfare, Health, Poverty.
Research Profile

Stephen M. Maurer, Adjunct Professor. Homeland Security, Innovation Intellectual Property, Open Source, and Innovation, WMD Terrorism, Biosecurity, Phramaceutical Innovation, Database policy.
Research Profile

Michael Nacht, Professor. US National Security Policy and International Relations, Science, Technology and Public Policy, Management Strategies for Complex Organizations.
Research Profile

Janet Napolitano, Professor. Education, Leadership and Management, Politics.
Research Profile

Michael O'Hare, Professor. Arts Policy, Quantitative Methods, Environment, Public Management.
Research Profile

Steven Raphael, Professor. Labor and Employment, Race & Ethnicity, Criminal Justice, Quantitative Methods, Economic Policy, Program Evaluation, Housing & Urban Policy, Immigration, Poverty & Inequality, Discrimination, Employment Discrimination, Labor Economics, Racial Inequality, Urban Economics.
Research Profile

Robert Reich, Professor. Industrial Policy, Labor and Employment, Leadership and Management, Politics, Poverty, Inequality, Leadership and Social Change, Macroeconomic Policy, Social and Economic Policy.
Research Profile

Larry A. Rosenthal, Assistant Adjunct Professor. Housing and Urban Policy, Law, Land Use, Civic Engagement.
Research Profile

Jesse Rothstein, Professor. Tax Policy, Economic Policy, Education, Labor and Employment, Program Evaluation, Public Finance, Quantitative Methods.
Research Profile

Richard M. Scheffler, Professor. Health Policy and Health Economics, Competition and Regulation in Health Insurance Markets, The ACA and Covered California, Accountable Care Organizations and Market Power, Organization and Financing of Mental Health Services, Social Capital and Health, Global Health Workforce, Pay for Performance in the US and Around the Globe.
Research Profile

Janelle Scott, Associate Professor. Advocacy Politics, Educational Equity, Policy Analysis & Evaluation, Politics of Education, Privatization, Qualitative Methods, Education, Race & Policy, Urban Leadership, Urban Schooling.
Research Profile

Jennifer Skeem, Professor. Criminal Justice, Health Policy, Children, Youth and Families, Psychology and Law, Risk Reduction, Mental Health.
Research Profile


Mia Bird, Lecturer. Economic Demography, Criminal Justice Policy, Social Welfare Policy.
Research Profile

Hector Cardenas, Lecturer. US-Mexico Binational Policy, Data Driven Decision Making, Information Technology Strategy, Public Sector Operations, Regulatory Reform, Criminal Justice Reform.
Research Profile

Brent Copen, Lecturer.
Research Profile

Timothy M. Dayonot, Lecturer. Negotiation, Mediation and Conflict Resolution, Legislative Advocacy, Government Management.
Research Profile

John Decker, Lecturer.
Research Profile

Daniel Heimpel, Lecturer. Children, Youth and Families, Journalism and Media.
Research Profile

Saru Jayaraman, Lecturer. Food Policy.
Research Profile

Dan Lindheim, Lecturer. Housing and Urban Policy, Budget, Finance, Labor and Employment, Poverty and Inequality, City Management, Education Finance & Policy, Police and Criminal Justice, Public Employee Pensions, Public Health.
Research Profile

Larry Magid, Lecturer. Politics, Transportation Policy, Energy Policy, Strategic Communications.
Research Profile

Sudha Shetty, Lecturer. International Leadership and International Public Policy, Violence Against Women, International Child Abduction.
Research Profile

Amy Slater, Lecturer. Negotiation, Conflict Resolution.
Research Profile

Steven Weissman, Lecturer. Energy, Renewable and Clean Energy, Law, Environment.
Research Profile

Visiting Faculty

Michael Flaherman, Visiting Scholar. Budget/FinancePublic Employee Pensions.
Research Profile

Peter H. Schuck, Professor. Torts and Compensation Systems, Immigration, Citizenship and Refugee Policy, Administrative Law and Regulatory Policy,.
Research Profile

Emeritus Faculty

Eugene Bardach, Professor Emeritus. Leadership and Management, Implementation, Mental Health, Political Skill, Social Regulation.
Research Profile

Robert M. Berdahl, Professor Emeritus.

John Ellwood, Professor Emeritus. Financial Management, Public Sector Budgeting.
Research Profile

Michael W. Hanemann, Professor Emeritus. Environment, Water Management, Environment and Resource Economics.
Research Profile

Arnold Meltsner, Professor Emeritus.

Allan Sindler, Professor Emeritus.
Research Profile

Eugene Smolensky, Professor Emeritus. Poverty and Inequality, Public Finance, Income Distribution, Public Finance Welfare Reform.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP)

2670 Hearst Avenue

Phone: 510-642-4670

Visit Program Website

Faculty Director

Jane Mauldon

2607 Hearst Avenue

Executive Director

Meg St. John

2607 Hearst Avenue

Associate Director

Bradley Jong

2607 Hearst Avenue

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