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Work with Student Consultants

Your organization can benefit from the expertise our graduate students are gaining during their two-year Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program — at no cost to you.

We average 65-75 incoming students each year, most with 2-4 years of prior work experience, including Peace Corps, Americorps, and Teach for America. Students complete:

  • Core coursework in economics, quantitative methods, political and policy analysis
  • Professional skill development including teamwork, written and oral communication, leadership, budgeting, and project management
  • Optional concentrations in Development Policy, Environment and Energy Policy, Health Policy, Global Policy, National Security, Population Studies, and Social Policy.

There are three structured ways to work with Sanford MPP students.

Spring Consulting Projects

Frst-year MPP students work in teams on real policy problems faced by actual organizations and agencies. Clients can be public or private, nonprofit or for-profit, with no geographic limitations.

Small student teams of 4-5 students conduct interviews, complete data analyses, make site visits, research best practices and review scholarly literature, with each student devoting about 100 hours to the project. Experienced Sanford faculty members manage the project teams, review strategies, evaluate written reports, coach oral presentations, and assign grades.

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  • Emily Johnson presents her MPP research on hogs and policy

    Master's Project: Hog Waste

    North Carolina is home to nine million hogs on more than 2,000 hog farms. For her master's project, Emily Johnson MPP'18 explored whether North Carolina policies can better support hog farmers in adopting improved waste systems. She presented her project to the Sanford community (students, faculty, alumni and staff) as part of the Master's Project Symposium.

Proposals are accepted throughout the fall semester and selected by the students in early January. Students present results to clients in late March and submit a final written report in late April. Successful proposals will include a mix of research, analysis and decision-making.

Master’s Projects

Master’s Projects are year-long individual capstone projects completed by second year MPP students. Students spend the fall semester identifying a client and a policy question and completing background research. In the spring, they produce extensive high-quality reports overseen and graded by a faculty committee. Students use their master’s projects to demonstrate skills and knowledge to prospective employers.

Practicum Consulting Teams

We seek a small number of challenging projects for our second-year MPP students who are honing advanced skills in quantitative and qualitative analysis, financial impact assessment, program evaluation and policy writing. With student teams of 8-15, the project scope can be broader and more sophisticated than the spring consulting projects. Sanford faculty can help you design your project to meet your needs and help our students build experience.

Kerry Condon headshot"Our team worked closely with nonpartisan researchers at the Friday Institute to evaluate the North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Program. We designed, tested, and implemented a survey to over 8,000 parents. We also prepared an analysis and report to inform state policymaking. The experience challenged us to work remotely in a short time frame and drew on our qualitative and quantitative analysis skills training. The findings challenged our understanding of education policy and built our skills in collaborating in a dynamic team environment."  - Kerry Condon, MPP '18