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Public Policy Graduate Programs

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) and the Certificate in Public Policy prepare graduates to engage in policy research, analysis, management, and program evaluation. The programs provide students with a solid foundation in the concepts of policymaking as well as the key analytic tools necessary to evaluate policy proposals and program implementation. Completed certificate courses that meet minimum grade requirements can be applied to the Master of Public Policy degree at TCNJ.

Who should pursue this program

The MPP and the certificate program are designed for professionals, recent graduates, and TCNJ seniors needing specialized training in policy analysis and policymaking to advance their careers. The programs are attractive options for those in government, public affairs and advocacy, nonprofit organizations, public health, education, business, or any field heavily influenced by public policy.

Program Coordinator: Daniel Bowen, or

Master of Public Policy (MPP)

This program is available as a standalone (18-month to two-year) traditional master’s program and as a flexible, part-time program for those working full time while pursuing their graduate degree.

36-credit program

Five-year Combined BA/MPP

This accelerated program is available to current TCNJ students.

Certificate in Public Policy

15-credit certificate program

Engaged Faculty

You will benefit from working closely with our highly qualified faculty, who draw from active research and substantial professional achievements.

Extensive Network

Study alongside peers with public policy experience, learn from faculty with valuable contacts in their field, and benefit from an alumni community with strong professional connections. Opportunities abound at the New Jersey State House, numerous state agencies, and policy organizations located in the Trenton–Ewing region.


MPP and Five-year Combined BA/MPP

Policy Core:          

4 courses (15 credits)

  • PUBG 501 The Policy Process in Theory and Practice 
  • PUBG 502 Public Budgeting & Management
  • PUBG 503 Microeconomics & Public Policy
  • PUBG 696 Thesis (6 credits, 2 semesters) 

Quantitative Methods:

2–3 courses (6–9 credits)

  • PUBG 510 Quantitative Methods for Policy Research I (exempted for most 5-Year BA/MPP students) 
  • PUBG 511 Program Evaluation and Causal Inference for Policy Analysis
  • PUBG 512 Quantitative Methods for Policy Research II

Methods Elective:         

Choose 1 if Quantitative Methods I is exempted (0–3 credits)

  • ISTG 620 Relational Database Systems
  • ISTG 640 Text Mining
  • ISTG 630 Applied Time Series and Forecasting
  • ISTG 650 Machine Learning
  • ISTG 660 Geospatial Analysis

Policy Electives:       

Choose 4 (12 credits)

  • PBHG 572 Program Planning and Evaluation in Global Health
  • PUBG 605 Health Politics and Policy
  • PUBG 610 Environmental Policy 
  • PBHG 620 Health Economics
  • PUBG 670 Topics in Public Policy
  • PUBG 695 Policy Research Practicum (group research)
  • PUBG 699 Public Policy Internship
  • SOC 517 Sociology of Organizations
  • SOC 585 Applied Sociology

Total: 12 Courses (36 credits)

Certificate Program

  • PUBG 501 The Policy Process in Theory and Practice
  • PUBG 502 Public Budgeting and Management
  • PUBG 503 Microeconomics and Public Policy
  • PUBG 511 Program Evaluation and Causal Inference for Policy Analysis
  • PUBG 605 Health Politics and Policy OR PUBG 610 Environmental Policy

Course Descriptions


PUBG 501 The Policy Process in Theory and Practice

This course introduces graduate students to the study of public policy and pays particular attention to the policy process: where do public policies come from? Why are policies adopted when and where they are? We will be reading and discussing some of the central works in the field of public policy as well as contemporary works illustrating various theoretical approaches to the study of policy-making. In doing so, we will get a taste of public policy research across a range of policy areas.


PUBG 502 Public Budgeting and Management

This course provides students with the political, theoretical, and practical tools to understand public budgeting and management in U.S. public policy. The budget defines and prioritizes the policy agenda, allocates scarce public resources, and distributes the burden of paying for public goods and services. The course is divided into four sections. The first section examines the role and size of the public sector, outlining the economic rationale for public sector interventions. The second section details the budgeting process, examining how fiscal federalism and fiscal decentralization impacts policy in the United States. Next, the course focuses on empirical tools for public budgeting and management, including a brief overview of budget forecasting, cost-benefit analysis, and policy and program evaluation. We conclude by reflecting on public resource mobilization and the politics of taxation. As part of the core sequence for the MPP at TCNJ, the class focuses on public budgeting structures, methodology, and practice. Students who take this class leave with an understanding of the important political role of the budget in defining and setting the policy agenda, as well as empirical tools and experience managing a budget.


PUBG 503 Microeconomics and Public Policy

This course covers the principles of microeconomics and how they can be put to use to make more informed public policy decisions. The early parts of the course will cover the fundamentals of supply and demand analysis, a tool that relies on a remarkably small set of concepts. Mastery of these concepts will provide you with a wealth of insight into understanding and predicting the effects of policies. You will investigate the concept of economic efficiency in depth including the conditions under which markets are expected to be efficient and when policy can likely improve efficiency. We will also explore and debate the role of economic efficiency as a normative goal for public policy decisions. In addition to learning concepts, you will develop concrete skills like how to conduct a basic cost-benefit analysis in a realistic policy setting and how to incorporate uncertainty into your analyses.


PUBG 510 Quantitative Methods for Policy Research I 

The course introduces graduate students to foundational concepts of research design, statistical inference, and data analysis common in quantitative studies of public policies. The course takes an applied approach to methodology training: Students will conduct their own quantitative policy analysis project while learning the conceptual material. Topics include the fundamentals of research design, statistical inference, hypothesis testing, data visualization, cleaning and management, and correlation, among others. Substantial time will be devoted to linear regression and model building. PUBG 510 is a required course in the Master of Public Policy degree program but may be exempted for students.


PUBG 511 Program Evaluation and Causal Inference for Policy Analysis

Program evaluation is fundamentally about understanding causal relationships between policy interventions and society. The purpose of this class is to prepare graduate students to conduct rigorous program evaluations using a range of quantitative statistical tools designed to make valid causal inferences. Students will grow in their ability to analyze cause-and-effect relationships and better understand the role of evidence and analysis in designing, evaluating, and reforming public policies. PUBG 511 is a required course in the Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program.


PUBG 512 Quantitative Methods for Policy Research II 

Policy-relevant data come in many varieties. This course exposes graduate students to a range of statistical models used by social scientists to address the complexity of real-world data, including maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) and regression with discrete dependent variables, time series, multilevel data structures, and event history analysis. The class focuses on when to use various modeling strategies and model interpretation. Utilizing these methods, students will complete a policy analysis paper. PUBG 512 is a required course in the Master of Public Policy degree program.


PUBG 605 Health Politics and Policy

This course tracks the development and inner workings of the American health care system. It starts by charting how the national and state governments designed the health care market. It then shows how citizens, public officials, and players in the health care industry continue to shape the policy sector to explain the glaring contradictions of American health care. For example, the United States is a global leader in medical innovation, but it lags behind peer countries in controlling the cost of medical care and making it available to citizens.


PUBG 610 Environmental Policy

Society’s ability to address environmental issues depends on the policy choices chosen by different governing institutions. What environmental issues demand government attention, how do governments and bureaucracies approach them, and with what degree of success? The course offers models of the policy process and tools of environmental policymaking as practiced in the United States and other countries. Later sections apply these concepts in different assignments and environmental issues. With a focus on environmental issues, the course offers analytical tools and case studies to understand the making of public policy.


PUBG 699 Public Policy Internship  

This course is designed to help students integrate theory and ethics into their practical work experience in public policy. In addition to their experience at their internship placement, students will work with their colleagues and their faculty advisor to gain an appreciation of the approaches for responsive decision­-making and ethical leadership in public governance. The course breaks into three key segments. The first session focuses on broad themes, discussing ethics, bias, leadership, and persuasion. The second (third, and fourth) session applies these themes to complex current issues with guest speakers. In the final session, students are invited to reflect on challenges they have encountered in their work experience over the course of the semester in the internship portfolio project. PUBG 699 is a key component of the Master of Public Policy program and is designed for graduate students or undergraduate students in the combined Five-year Combined BA/MPP.

Additional course descriptions are forthcoming.

Application Requirements

Certificate Program (for prospective graduate students)

  • Application
  • Essay
  • Transcript

Certificate Program (for TCNJ Students)

Online application and all supplemental documents must be submitted to the Admission Committee of the Political Science Department.
» Apply Now

Master of Public Policy (MPP) 

  • Application
  • Essay
  • Writing sample
  • Earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and official transcripts (Advanced undergraduates or non-matriculated students may be permitted to take some classes with instructor and chair permission, consistent with TCNJ policy.)
  • Current resume or CV
  • Application fee
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A national standardized admission test score is optional
  • Additional documents from international applicants seeking to study in the United States

Five-year Combined BA/MPP (for TCNJ Students Only)

Online application and all supplemental documents must be submitted to the Admission Committee of the Political Science Department.
» Apply Now

  • Application
  • Essay
  • Writing sample
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Name(s) of two TCNJ academic references
  • Current resume or CV
  • 3.0 minimum GPA

Application Deadlines

Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Certificate Program

Applicants must ensure all materials are completed by either the Priority Consideration Deadline or the Final Deadline for an application to be considered complete.

 Term Priority Consideration Final Deadline
Fall Matriculation February 1 August 1*
Spring Matriculation October 1 December 1*

*Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis after April 1, Applications will be considered on a space-available basis up to and including the first day of the semester.

Five-year Combined BA/MPP Program for TCNJ Students

Term Deadline
Fall Matriculation April 1 of junior year

Letter of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation: One letter of recommendation from a current or former supervisor and one letter from someone who can speak to your academic skill set. The recommenders should:

  • Download the Common Letter of Recommendation (LOR) PDF.
  • Complete the template offline and save a final version to his or her computer (with file name “[Applicant Last Name, Applicant First Name]”).

Directly email the LOR PDF to the Office of Graduate Studies.

Tuition and Costs

The College of New Jersey provides a high-quality education at a lower-than-average cost than other schools of similar quality.

Tuition Type Rate
In-State $916.66 per credit
Out-of-State $916.66 per credit

» View Tuition & Fees Details

The College Board of Trustees is responsible for establishing tuition, fees, housing, and board plan rates. Tuition and fee schedules are subject to change without notice and upon the action of the Board of Trustees.

Financial Aid

Students pursuing a graduate degree at TCNJ may be eligible for some types of student financial assistance, including but not limited to student loans and assistantships. Graduate students must follow the same steps as undergraduates in applying for federal loan assistance.

Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 5 credit hours at the 500 level or above to be eligible for student loan assistance and for TCNJ to certify enrollment for a loan repayment deferment.

Semester Enrollment Requirements for Graduate Students**

Full-time status = 9 or more credit hours

Half-time status = 5 credit hours

**These requirements pertain to individual summer session enrollment as well.

» Learn more about financial aid at TCNJ.


Office of Graduate and Continuing Education
Green Hall, Room 202
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628