Careers in the Public Sector: Pursuing an MPP instead of an MBA

If you're passionate about creating positive change in society, pursuing a Master's in Public Policy (MPP) may be the perfect choice for you. MPP programs provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to tackle complex policy issues, shape public discourse, and advocate for the common good. However, choosing the right MPP program can be a daunting task, as there are many top-ranked programs to consider. In this blog post, we'll explore five of the best MPP programs in the United States, and what makes each one unique.

Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

HKS stands out as a globally recognized beacon for policy analysis, leadership, and public service education. The program's diverse curriculum spans health policy, social policy, environmental policy, and international development, fostering a profound comprehension of policy dynamics and societal impacts. HKS enriches the learning experience with extensive resources and networking platforms, including the Center for Public Leadership and the Institute of Politics, positioning students at the forefront of public policy innovation.

Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)

Princeton's SPIA excels in policy analysis and quantitative methods, presenting a rigorous academic journey across economics, politics, and international relations. The program is renowned for its emphasis on practical application through research projects and internships. SPIA's faculty, decorated with Nobel laureates in economics and political science, guide students through a transformative educational experience, preparing them for significant policy-making roles.

UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP)

GSPP is a vanguard in social and environmental policy, blending policy analysis, leadership development, and experiential learning. This program champions interdisciplinary collaboration, encouraging students to engage with faculty from various disciplines. Its proximity to Silicon Valley and the tech industry offers unparalleled insights into innovative policy solutions, preparing graduates to navigate and influence complex policy landscapes.

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School is celebrated for its comprehensive focus on policy analysis and leadership. Offering a breadth of study areas including economic, social, and environmental policy, the curriculum emphasizes applicable skills and real-world experiences. Collaborative policy projects with faculty and local organizations, alongside a dual-degree option with the Ross School of Business, provide a holistic educational foundation for future policy leaders.

Sanford School of Public Policy

Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy distinguishes itself by focusing on the nexus of policy, leadership, and social innovation. With a broad curriculum encompassing energy policy, global health, and social entrepreneurship, the program offers diverse experiential learning opportunities. Internships, consulting projects, and community engagement initiatives underpin the practical application of knowledge, supported by a faculty of eminent scholars and practitioners.


Identifying the MPP program that best suits your professional and personal development goals is crucial for your future impact in policy-making. Each program outlined offers a unique blend of academic rigor, leadership cultivation, and practical engagement. If you have any questions about applying to a top MPP program, M7A can help. Schedule a free consultation today and connect with an admissions expert.

March 25, 2023

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