About the Program
The Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) offers three graduate degrees in public policy, the Master of Public Policy (MPP), the Master of Public Affairs (MPA), and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
Master in Public Policy (MPP)
The MPP degree is earned in a two year, full time program consisting of a core curriculum, a policy internship in the summer after completion of the first year, a second-year policy analysis project, and elective courses chosen from those available on the campus and at GSPP. The program emphasizes practical and applied dimensions of policy-making and implementation, encouraging students to develop skills in:
- Defining policy issues to make them more intelligible to officials in the public, private or non-profit sector
- Providing a broader perspective for assessing policy alternatives
- Examining techniques for developing policy options and evaluating their social consequences
- Developing strategies for the successful implementation of public policies once they have been adopted
Given the relatively small class size, the school's approach to teaching emphasizes teamwork, cooperation, and interaction among students and with the faculty. Students work, either as individuals or in small groups, on real policy problems for real clients under close faculty supervision.
The Master in Public Policy may be earned in combination with an advanced degree from a number of Berkeley schools under a coordinated program. Applicants must be accepted to both programs to pursue a concurrent degree.
- Public Policy & Public Health (MPP/MPH)
- Public Policy & Law (MPP/JD)
- Public Policy & Engineering (MPP/MS offered for: Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, and Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences)
- Public Policy & Energy Resources Group (MPP/MA and MPP/MS)
- Public Policy & Social Welfare (MPP/MSW)
- Public Policy & Global Studies (MPP/MA)
Master of Public Affairs (MPA)
The Berkeley Master of Public Affairs (MPA) is a flexible one-year degree program for domestic and international mid-career professionals with an average of seven years or more work experience and who have lead or managed teams. Emphasizing innovation and leadership skills, the MPA curriculum prepares mid-career executives and professionals to act as strategic and visionary leaders and advance their careers.
Please visit the school website for more information about the MPA.
PhD in Public Policy
GSPP offers a doctoral degree program for students who seek careers in academia and/or with governments, non-profits, or research institutes. Usually only two or three PhD applicants are admitted each year. The program emphasizes the generation of knowledge, theories, methodologies, and applications appropriate to the advancement of public policy analysis and management. Doctoral students pursue highly individualized programs of study and typically work closely with Goldman faculty members who share the student’s subject matter of interest. The doctoral program provides enormous flexibility in the topics addressed and the program of study, but is directed mainly at training academic social science researchers with an interest in policy issues.
A thorough preparation in or aptitude for rigorous policy analysis skills is a prerequisite for the doctorate. Because there is no core program of study, the PhD committee prefers applicants to have completed an MPP or equivalent, or some other indication of sustained interest in (and aptitude for) public policy. Visit the "Applying for the PhD" page for more information and specific application procedures.
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:
- A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
- A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
- 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 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
- 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 the 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:
- 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.
- 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
- Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
- Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
- Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
- courses in English as a Second Language,
- courses conducted in a language other than English,
- courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
- courses of a non-academic nature.
If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from the British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.
Where to Apply
Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.
Admission to the Program
Key Elements for MPP Admission
Note: For some admissions requirements, GSPP maintains more stringent requirements than the Graduate Division. Please see gspp.berkeley.edu for more information.
- A Commitment to Public Policy: GSPP’s goal is to admit those applicants who can get the most from the GSPP master’s program and who will use what they learn to be active participants in the formulation, adoption, and implementation of better public policy. One of the applicant’s goals should be to convince the admissions committee of this commitment. This can be reflected in the quality of work experience or the statement of purpose.
- Education: Students at GSPP represent a wide range of academic backgrounds. Most students have degrees in social sciences, with a smaller number having undergraduate majors in humanities, biological or physical sciences, mathematics or engineering. Some students already have advanced degrees. GSPP does not require prior quantitative training; however prior course work in introductory statistics or first-year calculus, and introductory economics, is strongly recommended.
- Writing and Analytical Skills: How students approach problems and the ability to write clearly and coherently is instrumental in public policy analysis. The committee will pay close attention to the applicant’s statement of purpose and GRE analytical writing score.
- Standardized Tests: All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test. The LSAT and GMAT cannot be substituted for the GRE. Test scores must be less than five years old. To assist you in preparing to take the GRE, free GRE Preparation Tests are now available online. All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). TOEFL Scores are valid and reportable by ETS for two years after the test date. To send an official score report, the institution code for Berkeley is 4833. NOTE: The Graduate Division includes a third exemption for those who have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with a grade B or better at a regionally accredited institution within the United States. GSPP does not accommodate this exemption.
- Three Letters of Recommendation: The most helpful letters or recommendation are from persons who have supervised the applicant’s work in either an academic, employment or community service capacity, and who can evaluate the applicant’s intellectual ability, creativity, initiative, leadership potential, and promise in the field of public policy analysis and management.
- Background and Life Experiences: GSPP recognizes that a student population that reflects the most diverse state in the country is key to the continued study of current, relevant social issues and policy problems. We are looking for people who are dynamic and driven, representing diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and life experiences, particularly those who wish to develop the tools and skills necessary to change our world for the better.
- The Value of Work Experience: Although GSPP does not require work experience for admission, typically each entering student has had at least three years of relevant work experience. GSPP believes work experience adds tremendous value to class discussions and helps students to develop a context for problem solving and policy analysis.
Documents required for the MPP application:
- Online Graduate Application for Admission and Fellowships
- Resume (submitted with online application): Please upload a current resume, reflecting your work experience, education, and any other relevant information.
- Statement of Purpose (submitted with online application): Please follow the instructions below for the statement of purpose instead of what is directed on the online application: The Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy welcomes applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds and with a variety of career aspirations. Some of our students have had prior experience in the realm of public policy; others have not. It is helpful to us to know more about your background, your motivation, and your long-term goals than can be inferred from your records and references. We would appreciate your helping us by supplying a brief statement of 3-5 pages, double-spaced.
Please address some of these areas:
- The present: Why do you want to take an educational program in the analysis and management of public policy?
- The past: What experiences or activities bear on your qualifications for this program, e.g., research papers, study groups, job responsibilities, policy or political projects? How do these experiences relate to your decision to undertake the study of public policy analysis and management? If you have been out of school for a year or more, please indicate the positions you have held and your major activities.
- The future: What kinds of work and activity would you like to engage in following graduation, and what are your long-range career objectives?
- Please supply whatever information you think may help us to understand your candidacy more fully.
- Personal History Statement (submitted with online application): Please describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include information on how you have overcome barriers to access in higher education, evidence of how you have come to understand the barriers faced by others, evidence of your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities, and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education, evidence of your research focusing on underserved populations or related issues of inequality, or evidence of your leadership among such groups.
- College Transcripts (submitted with online application): Please upload unofficial transcripts from all universities or colleges attended. Official transcripts of all college-level work will be required if admitted.
- Three Letters of Recommendation (submitted with online application): Please follow the instructions on the online application for the online letter of recommendation submission process.
- GRE Scores: Our institution code is 4833. Reservations for the GRE exam should be made in advance through the GRE's website, or the following:
The Education Testing Service (ETS)
P.O. Box 6000
Princeton, NJ 08541-6000
Phone: (609) 771-7670 or 1-800-GRE-CALL
- TOEFL Scores (for international applicants): For further information regarding the TOEFL, please see the TOEFL website. Use institution code 4833. You may sign up for the TOEFL through an agent in your country or through:
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151
Phone: (609) 771-7500
- Application Fee (submitted with online application): An application fee, payable to UC Regents, must be submitted when you apply.
- Fee Waiver: Eligible applicants may apply for an application fee waiver. To do so, you must be a U.S. citizen or current permanent resident.
Key Elements for PhD Admission
The PhD Program at the Goldman School is a small and individualized program in which we do our best to match the interests of prospective students with our faculty. A thorough preparation in policy analysis skills is a prerequisite for the doctorate. Because there is no core program of study, the PhD committee prefers applicants to have completed an MPP degree or equivalent, either from the Goldman School or a similar institution. Applicants with a master's degree in some other field usually must complete the MPP program at GSPP before applying for admission to the doctoral program. Applicants may be partially exempt from this requirement, but may be asked to take certain first-year level master's courses at the Goldman School not offered in such programs.
Documents required for the PhD application:
- Online Graduate Application for Admission and Fellowships
- Statement of Purpose (submitted with online application): Please follow the instructions below for the statement of purpose instead of what is directed in the online application. Address these areas in 3-5 double-spaced pages:
- The present: Why do you want to pursue a PhD in public policy?
- The past: What experiences or activities bear on your qualifications for this program, e.g., academic research, teaching, professional experience, etc? How do these experiences relate to your decision to undertake a PhD in public policy?
- The future: What are your short- and long-term career objectives after completing a PhD in public policy?
- Personal History Statement (submitted with online application): Please describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a PhD.
- Planned Dissertation Research Memo (submitted with online application): The planned dissertation research memo should describe the applicant’s public policy research interests, outline the topic(s) for the applicant's proposed dissertation research, and include preferences for possible faculty adviser(s).
- Curriculum Vitae (submitted with online application): Upload a current CV reflecting your academic and professional work experience and research, education, and any other relevant information.
- Writing Sample (submitted with online application): A research paper under 30 pages, different from a policy analysis paper. Its purpose is, in part, to make it evident that the student can make the transition from policy analysis to policy research.
- Unofficial Transcripts (submitted with online application): Please upload unofficial transcripts from all universities or colleges attended. Official transcripts of all college-level work will be required only if admitted.
- Three Letters of Recommendation (submitted with online application): Please follow the instructions in the online application for submitting letters of recommendation online.
- Official GRE Scores: All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test—the LSAT and GMAT cannot be substituted for the GRE. Test scores must be less than five years old. To send an official score report, the institution code for Berkeley is 4833. To assist you in preparing to take the GRE, free GRE Preparation Tests are now available online .
- TOEFL and IELTS Scores: All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years after the test date. To send an official score report, the institution code for Berkeley is 4833.
- Application Fee: The application fee must be submitted with the online application and is not refundable. If you are a U.S. Citizen or current Permanent Resident, the application fee is $105; for all others, the fee is $125.
Application Fee Waiver: You must be a U.S. citizen or current permanent resident to request a graduate admissions application fee waiver. Read more about the application fee waiver.
Please do not submit additional or supplemental materials.
Doctoral Degree Requirements
The PhD program emphasizes the generation of knowledge, theories, methodologies, and applications appropriate to the advancement of public policy analysis and management. Doctoral students pursue highly individualized programs of study, working closely with school faculty members to determine coursework to be taken in preparation for the dissertation. Students who have a master’s degree in public policy from another University may be may be asked to take certain first-year master’s level courses at GSPP not offered in other such programs.
Master's Degree Requirements (MPP)
Core Curriculum—First Year
The core courses emphasize practical applications of analytical skills and encourage students to learn by doing through numerous exercises and projects conducted in teams and individually. Fieldwork activities are also a part of the core curriculum, involving real clients, a written report, and oral briefings on the report. In addition, colloquia with outside speakers are frequently held that further examine some of the policy issues treated in the core courses.
|PUB POL 2201||4||PUB POL 200||4||Summer Policy Internship (required)|
|PUB POL 210A||4||PUB POL 210B||4|
|PUB POL 2601||4||Elective Course||4|
|PUB POL 240A||4||PUB POL 240B||4|
|Total Units: 32|
Can be taken in the fall of the first or second year of the program.
Summer Policy Internship
Students are required to complete a policy internship during the summer between the first and second year of study. Students choose positions as apprentices to policy practitioners in international, federal, state, or local government agencies; nonprofit organizations; or private sector corporations and consulting firms; in the United States and abroad. Students enrolled in concurrent degrees with Public Health, Law, Energy & Resources Group, and Social Welfare can satisfy the Goldman School internship requirement with an internship that also meets the internship or summer field-placement requirements prescribed by the relevant concurrent degree requirement, as long as the internship also meets the Goldman School internship requirement. For prior year summer internship statistics and information, go the Employment Statistics page.
Core Curriculum—Second Year
The second year comprises two required courses, Advanced Policy Analysis (APA) and Political and Organizational Aspects of Public Policy Analysis, plus a number of electives.
The APA project is an intensive study of a significant policy issue of the student’s choice. The project is often done for a specific client in a public or private policy organization, and sometimes the student is paid for the work. For some students, the project is an outgrowth of the summer internship or may lead to a post graduation position with the client organization.
Students conduct their projects as members of an APA seminar, which provides them with a faculty supervisor and a peer group able to supply constructive suggestions. When the completed analysis is found satisfactory by the faculty, it then serves as the student’s required thesis. Frequently, the specific policy recommendations made in these analyses have been adopted by the student’s client.
|PUB POL 2501||4||PUB POL 205 (Thesis Seminar)||6|
|Elective Course2-4||PUB POL 299 (Thesis Independent Study)||3|
|Elective Course||2-4||Elective Course||2-4|
|Total Units: 19-25|
Can be taken in the fall of the first or second year of the program.
Faculty and Instructors
Daniel J. Acland, Assistant Adjunct Professor. Benefit-Cost Analysis, Behavioral Economics, Behavior Change, Public Health.
Sarah F. Anzia, Assistant Professor. Elections, Government, Politics, State and Local Politics and Policy, Public Sector Unions, Women in Politics, Public Employee Pensions.
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.
Jennifer L. Bussell, Assistant Professor. Africa, comparative politics, Latin America, public policy & organization, South Asia.
Alain de Janvry, Professor. Agriculture, Poverty and Inequality, Rural Development, Quantitative Analysis of Development Policies, Impact Analysis of Social Programs, Technological Innovations in Agriculture, Management of Common Property Resources.
Sean Farhang, Associate Professor. Law and Political Science, Law and Politics, Courts, Regulation.
Avi Feller, Assistant Professor. Program Evaluation, Quantitative Methods.
Lee Friedman, Professor. Economic Organization, Environmental Markets, School Finance, Utility Regulation, Environment, Regulation, Public Finance.
Alexander Gelber, Assistant Professor. Economic Policy, Labor and Employment, Public Finance, Tax Policy, Social Security, Family Policy.
Jack Glaser, Associate Professor. Political Psychology, Stereotyping, Prejudice and Discrimination, Research Methods, Social Psychology, Hate Crime, Unconscious Social Cognition, Racial Profiling, Policing.
Jennifer M. Granholm, Adjunct Professor. Law, Energy, Renewable and Clean Energy, Labor and Employment, Politics, Economics of Industry, Manufacturing and Job Markets.
Hilary Hoynes, Professor. Tax Policy, Labor and Employment, Youth and Families, Government.
Solomon Hsiang, Associate Professor. Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment, International, Coupled Natural and Human Systems, Political Economy, Development Economics, Applied Econometrics.
Rucker Charles Johnson, Associate Professor. Determinants of intergenerational mobility, societal consequences of incarceration, effects of maternal employment patterns on child well-being, socioeconomic determinants of health disparities over the life course.
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.
David Kirp, Professor. Children, Youth and Families, Education, Race and Ethnicity, Law, Politics, Ethics, Early Childhood Education, Higher Education, Community.
Amy E. Lerman, Associate Professor. Politics, Criminal Justice, Privatization, Public Opinion, American Bureaucracy, Political Behavior.
Jane Mauldon, Associate Professor. Demography, Children, Youth and Families, Program Evaluation, Race and Ethnicity, Quantitative Methods, Social Welfare, Health, Poverty.
Stephen M. Maurer, Adjunct Professor. Homeland Security, Innovation Intellectual Property, Open Source, and Innovation, WMD Terrorism, Biosecurity, Phramaceutical Innovation, Database policy.
Michael Nacht, Professor. US National Security Policy and International Relations, Science, Technology and Public Policy, Management Strategies for Complex Organizations.
Janet Napolitano, Professor. Education, Leadership and Management, Politics.
Michael O'Hare, Professor. Arts Policy, Quantitative Methods, Environment, Public Management.
+ Steven Raphael, Professor. Labor and Employment, Race and Ethnicity, Criminal Justice, Quantitative Methods, Economic Policy, Program Evaluation, Housing and Urban Policy, Immigration, Poverty and Inequality, Discrimination, Employment Discrimination, Labor Economics, Racial Inequality, Urban Economics.
Robert Reich, Professor. Industrial Policy, Labor and Employment, Leadership and Management, Politics, Poverty, Inequality, Leadership and Social Change, Macroeconomic Policy, Social and Economic Policy.
Larry A. Rosenthal, Assistant Adjunct Professor. Housing and Urban Policy, Law, Land Use, Civic Engagement.
Jesse Rothstein, Professor. Tax Policy, Economic Policy, Education, Labor and Employment, Program Evaluation, Public Finance, Quantitative Methods.
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.
Janelle Scott, Associate Professor. Advocacy Politics, Educational Equity, Policy Analysis & Evaluation, Politics of Education, Privatization, Qualitative Methods, Education, Race and Policy, Urban Leadership, Urban Schooling.
Jennifer Skeem, Professor. Criminal Justice, Health Policy, Children, Youth and Families, Psychology and Law, Risk Reduction, Mental Health.
Mia Bird, Lecturer. Economic Demography, Criminal Justice Policy, Social Welfare Policy.
Hector Cardenas, Lecturer. US-Mexico Binational Policy, Data Driven Decision Making, Information Technology Strategy, Public Sector Operations, Regulatory Reform, Criminal Justice Reform.
Brent Copen, Lecturer.
Timothy M. Dayonot, Lecturer. Negotiation, Mediation and Conflict Resolution, Legislative Advocacy, Government Management.
John Decker, Lecturer.
Daniel Heimpel, Lecturer. Children, Youth and Families, Journalism and Media.
Saru Jayaraman, Lecturer. Food Policy.
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.
Larry Magid, Lecturer. Politics, Transportation Policy, Energy Policy, Strategic Communications.
Sudha Shetty, Lecturer. International Leadership and International Public Policy, Violence Against Women, International Child Abduction.
Amy Slater, Lecturer. Negotiation, Conflict Resolution.
Steven Weissman, Lecturer. Energy, Renewable and Clean Energy, Law, Environment.
Michael Flaherman, Visiting Scholar. Budget/FinancePublic Employee Pensions.
Peter H. Schuck, Professor. Torts and Compensation Systems, Immigration, Citizenship and Refugee Policy, Administrative Law and Regulatory Policy,.
Eugene Bardach, Professor Emeritus. Leadership and Management, Implementation, Mental Health, Political Skill, Social Regulation.
Robert M. Berdahl, Professor Emeritus.
John Ellwood, Professor Emeritus. Financial Management, Public Sector Budgeting.
Michael W. Hanemann, Professor Emeritus. Environment, Water Management, Environment and Resource Economics.
Arnold Meltsner, Professor Emeritus.
Allan Sindler, Professor Emeritus.
Eugene Smolensky, Professor Emeritus. Poverty and Inequality, Public Finance, Income Distribution, Public Finance Welfare Reform.
Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP)
2607 Hearst Avenue
Henry E. Brady, PhD
104 GSPP Main
Senior Assistant Dean for Academic Programs & Dean of Students
Room 240, GSPP Addition
Head Graduate Adviser, MPP Program
Jane Mauldon, PhD
313 GSPP Main
Head Graduate Adviser, PhD Program (2018-19)
Hilary Hoynes, PhD
Associate Dir. of Student Affairs & Undergraduate Minor Adviser
245 GSPP Addition
Managing Dir. Career/ Alumni Services & PhD Admissions / Student Affairs Advisor
2607 Hearst Avenue
Graduate Student Services Adviser, MPP Admissions & Career Services
Graduate Student Services Adviser, PPIA Program & Course Scheduling