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MPP students

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Practical Experiences

Real-world experience is an important part of the MPP program. In addition to extensive education and training, MPP students receive hands-on opportunities to hone their skills.

Spring Consulting Projects

Teams of first-year MPP students serve as consultants to clients. The semester begins with a 48-hour memo experience to learn teamwork skills and ends with client recommendations. Students define a problem, frame a policy question, conduct interviews in the field, research and develop policy options, undertake analysis, draw conclusions, and make recommendations. 

The Spring Consulting Project helps prepare students for their master’s projects and gives them concrete experience to show future employers.

Professional Writing Instruction

Our students receive extensive feedback and one-on-one coaching from our writing instructor to develop professional writing skills.

Worldwide Internships

After their first year of study, all MPP students complete required internships. Students may choose to complete their internship either full-time during the summer after their first year or part-time during the academic year.  Students field test their new analytical tools, make connections for their master’s projects, determine areas for further study, and perhaps discover a career they love—or cross one off their list.

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  • MPP Students Learning in the Field in India

    Real World Experience and Practical Skills

    MPP students Ipsita Das and TJ Lowdermilk spent time in India to understand social policy in action. They worked with faculty member Subhrendu Pattanayak. "Getting out into the field with Professor Pattanayak was terrific," said TJ Lowdermilk. "He always stressed the importance of relying on hard empirical evidence for policy analysis because theoretical models fail to capture how people actually act. Witnessing firsthand how theory-based policies have failed to translate into reality will inform all my future work."

MPP students have interned at organizations such as:

  • The World Bank
  • UNICEF, India
  • US Agency for International Development
  • Action Aid, Ghana
  • FBI: Counterintelligence Unit
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • US Senate Finance Committee
  • World Health Organization
  • UN Environmental Programme​

Capstone Master’s Research Project

All students complete a capstone master’s project. This yearlong policy research project allows students a second, in-depth, real-world opportunity to employ all their MPP skills while working closely with a faculty advisor.

For his masters project, Tyler Gamble MPP'17 explored the application of principles from behavioral economics to property tax payment. He ran an experiment with Guilford County, N.C.  to find out if small changes to a single letter could get more people to pay their taxes on time.