Masters Degrees in Public Policy Offered in Boston, MA

There are eight schools in the Boston area that have public policy master's degrees. To find out which one is right for you, read an overview of the program and admission requirements at three institutions located within five miles of downtown.

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Boston Public Policy Schools

Boston students on the hunt for public policy master's degree programs will find there's no lack of options in their area. To provide an idea of what to expect from such programs, this article focuses on the coursework required at three universities located less than 15 minutes from the central part of the city. It also includes a table of facts and figures on the profiled schools in addition to info on several other college options in the area.

  • Located about five miles from the center of the city, the University of Massachusetts - Boston (UMASS - Boston) offers in-state tuition for graduate degree seekers through an accelerated program designed for working professionals. Students can earn a master's degree in public affairs at the institution.
  • The prestigious Harvard University features a master's in public policy with six areas of concentration. The campus is roughly four miles from central Boston.
  • Students can select one of four areas of focus in the law and public policy master's program at Northeastern University, located in the heart of Boston just three miles from downtown.

University of Massachusetts - Boston

Upon opening in 1965, the University of Massachusetts - Boston became the second school in the UMASS system. The McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies houses the Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs with certificates and degree programs at the master's and doctoral level.

Master of Science in Public Affairs

The Master of Science in Public Affairs (MSPA) degree program at UMASS - Boston is an 18-month program designed for working professionals. Program coursework focuses on regional issues of policy development and governance, covering topics such as New England politics, public management, policy analysis and public budgeting. Other program courses include financial management and organizational behavior, as well as research methods and design. Students will also complete a public affairs case study capstone seminar.

Harvard University

Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government offers graduate degree programs in a variety of areas of public policy and public administration. The Harvard Kennedy School also has opportunities for course assistants and teaching fellows.

Master in Public Policy

Prerequisites for entrance into the Master in Public Policy (MPP) program include undergraduate coursework in economics, statistics and calculus. Preferred prerequisite experience includes 2-3 years of related professional experience. Students pursuing the MPP will select one of six required areas of concentration, which include business and government policy, democracy, politics and institutions, international and global affairs, international trade and finance and political and economic development, as well as social and urban policy. The program will include a spring exercise involving specialized topics, such as social security reform and global warming. Students will also complete a capstone policy analysis exercise.

Northeastern University

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is located in the heart of Boston. The School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs is home to the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy as well as other research centers and institutes, such as the Community-Based Research Initiative and the Institute on Urban Health Research.

Master of Science in Law and Public Policy

An interdisciplinary program, the Master of Science (M.S.) in Law and Public Policy is offered through the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and the School of Law. Students will select one of four areas of focus that include crime, law and justice, health policy, sustainability, climate change and the environment and urban policy. Program coursework includes such topics as policy and advocacy, public policy strategy, legal reasoning and statistical methods.

Comparison of Schools

Financial considerations are usually of importance to many college students -- perhaps just as important as schools' academic program offerings. Two of the three featured institutions have noticeably higher tuition rates, which is not uncommon among private universities. Get specifics on the costs, as well as additional facts, in the table below.

University of Massachusetts - Boston Harvard University Northeastern University
School Type 4-year public university 4-year private, not-for-profit university 4-year private, not-for-profit university
Graduate Enrollment (Fall 2011) 3,875* 17,087* 10,383*
Campus Setting Large City Midsize City Large City
Graduate Tuition (2012-2013) $2,590 in-state;
$9,758 out-of-state*
$37,576* $29,424*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.'

Other Schools

There are several private, not-for-profit schools located within ten miles of downtown Boston that offer graduate programs focusing on public policy. Students wishing to pursue a master's degree in public policy may choose the Master in Public Policy (MPP) at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, as well as Simmons College in Boston. Brandeis University offers a Master of Public Policy. Also in Boston, Suffolk University offers a Master of Science in Ethics and Public Policy.

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Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts campus Cambridge
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania campus Philadelphia
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Indiana campus Notre Dame
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies

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Avg. Wages For Jobs in MA

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics