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Online Master of Public Policy

Effect policy change locally, nationally and globally

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To download a program brochure and learn more about the online Master of Public Policy offered by SMU, please fill out the form. You can also get in touch with an enrollment counselor directly by calling us at 855-741-1818.


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From rapid advancements in AI and machine learning to the debate about the affordability of healthcare, the world is full of immense challenges, and policy holds the key to advancing forward and effecting change. Virtually every significant issue affecting humanity today is deeply intertwined with policy, but our existing policies are often rooted in the past and struggle to keep pace with our rapidly changing societies. The world needs professionals who are dedicated not only to driving change but to leading in these critical areas. That’s where a master’s in public policy comes in.

If you're passionate about addressing the world's most pressing challenges, leading policy innovation and shaping a brighter future for everyone, then pursuing a master’s in public policy is your defining step toward making a meaningful impact.

Online M.P.P. program overview

The SMU Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) is designed to ensure a rigorous, experiential education for early to mid-career professionals and aspiring policy analysts. Our coursework is designed to hone critical thinking and analytical skills, giving students the acumen needed for a successful public policy career. Through a mix of virtual live lectures, project-based assignments and individual and group work, students gain hands-on experience with collaborative problem-solving, data collection techniques and research methods.

The eight core courses provide students with a comprehensive understanding of public policy and its various facets, while the four elective courses offer a customizable education in specialized policy fields, including sustainability, urban development, education and international trade.

  • Project-based synchronous and asynchronous coursework
  • Two immersive on-campus experiences
  • Networking opportunities with public policy professionals
  • Strong connections with the George W. Bush Institute and policy think tanks
  • No GMAT/GRE scores required for admission

Build your network of policy leaders

Our M.P.P. program includes two on-campus immersions where students can network with their classmates and current policy professionals. These experiences provide a platform for students to gain insights into practically applying policy analysis and engaging with professionals in the field.

Outside of the immersions, students are encouraged to connect with their peers and instructors in our collaborative virtual environment. From the comfort of their home, students have the opportunity to build relationships, engage with guest speakers and collaborate with policymakers in their field of interest.

Average confidence of Americans across all U.S. institutions is at a new low of 27%

— Gallup, 2022

Average confidence of Americans across all U.S. institutions is at a new low of 27%

— Gallup, 2022

Online M.P.P. learning outcomes

The SMU Master of Public Policy curriculum aims to equip students with a strong foundation in policy and policymaking, statistics, critical analysis and effective policy design and implementation. Students will:

  • Build the quantitative and qualitative analytical skills necessary for policy analysis, especially as a way to support decision making.
  • Design, implement and evaluate public policy and understand potential unintended consequences of policymaking.
  • Communicate analysis and recommendations effectively to relevant stakeholders.
  • Identify policy solutions and the political and economic institutions that influence the policy process.
  • Develop a basic understanding of the economics of the public sector.
  • Develop and refine an approach to ethical leadership.

M.P.P. student learning and program outcomes will be assessed through individual course projects and the final capstone requirements.

Request Brochure

I believe this program will offer working individuals, who often have busy schedules, an opportunity to gain valuable experience in a rigorous master’s program at a lower cost compared to some of SMU’s peers. Students can enjoy the best of both worlds: the flexibility to continue working, managing their family responsibilities and living their lives, while also benefiting from our efforts to build an exceptional network of public policy professionals and leaders.

Eva Chiang, Ph.D.,

Lead Faculty and Academic Coordinator for the M.P.P

About SMU

A nationally ranked private university located near the heart of Dallas, SMU is a distinguished center for global research and teaching. SMU’s diverse, high-achieving students come from the U.S. and around the world to take advantage of the University’s small classes, meaningful research opportunities, leadership development, community service, international study and innovative programs.

SMU serves thousands of undergraduate and graduate students through eight degree-granting schools: Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Cox School of Business, Lyle School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts, Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Dedman School of Law, Perkins School of Theology and Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies.

SMU is data driven, and its powerful supercomputing ecosystem — paired with entrepreneurial drive — creates an unrivaled environment for the University to deliver research excellence.

Now in its second century of achievement, SMU is recognized for the ways it supports students, faculty and alumni as they become ethical, enterprising leaders in their professions and communities. SMU’s relationship with Dallas — the dynamic center of one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions — offers unique learning, research, social and career opportunities that provide a launch pad for global impact.