… one of the four Reference Programs on the Atlas
Harvard University (John F. Kennedy School of Government, HKS) – MPP, MPA
Program Comparison Highlights
Institutional Structure: Harvard’s MPP and MPA are delivered through the John F. Kennedy School of Government (HKS), one of 15 schools within Harvard University, each with the power to hire and promote faculty. The HKS offers Master’s degrees in: Public Policy (MPP); Public Administration (MPA); Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID); in Public Administration (Mid-Career, MPA); and four doctoral degrees. With 473 faculty and staff (see HKS Facts at http://www.hks.harvard.edu/about/history/hks-facts, accessed 23 February 2015) the HKS is among the very largest institutions in the world devoted to public policy and management.
Curriculum Design: With an 18-course degree, the Harvard MPP has one of the higher course requirements among the MPP/MPA programs. Our PEACO calculations below suggest that typical students take about 64% of their course work in policy-oriented subjects and 36% in management-oriented subjects. Typical students take about 28% of their course work in subjects with high math-economics content. This places the Harvard MPP in the “high course requirement, policy-oriented, higher math-economics content” curricular type, along with such programs as the Berkeley MPP and the Chicago MPP (see MPP/MPA Curricular Types). Among peers in its curricular type, the Harvard MPP has as a very high number of courses and a high proportion of courses taught within the school. The competency gap analysis below suggests that a Harvard MPP student taking the required courses and a random selection of listed electives would, on average, graduate with approximately 17 course-weeks of shortfall in the core-competency subject matter identified in MPP/MPA Core Competencies, including shortfalls of 5 course-weeks in Evaluation and Performance Measurement, and shortfalls of 2 or 3 course-weeks in each of Public Financial Management, Human Resource Management, Information and Technology Management, Macroeconomic Policy, and Environment and Sustainability.
For the Harvard MPA our PEACO calculations below suggest that typical students take about 61% of their course work in policy-oriented subjects and 39% in management-oriented subjects. Typical students take about 14% of their course work in subjects with high math-economics content. This places the Harvard MPA in the “high course requirement, policy-oriented, lower math-economics content” curricular type, along with such programs as the Duke MPP and the Carnegie MSMPP (see MPP/MPA Curricular Types). Among peers in its curricular type, the Harvard MPA has as a very high number of courses and a high proportion of courses taught within the school. The competency gap analysis below suggests that a Harvard MPA student taking the required courses and a random selection of listed electives would, on average, graduate with approximately 18 course-weeks of shortfall in the core-competency subject matter identified in MPP/MPA Core Competencies, including shortfalls of 5 course-weeks in Evaluation and Performance Measurement, and shortfalls of 2 or 3 course-weeks in each of Ethics and Accountability, Public Financial Management, Human Resource Management, and Macroeconomic Policy.
Professional Program Features: The Harvard MPP makes extensive use of current and former practitioners in its teaching. Its courses make substantial use of case studies. There are extensive professional development modules, career counselling services and co-curricular activities with a professional focus. There is a vast array of resources on the site of the Office of Career Advancement (at http://www.hks.harvard.edu/degrees/office-of-career-advancement). The HKS has 15 research centres, described at http://www.hks.harvard.edu/centers-programs/centers.
University: Harvard University
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Degree: Master in Public Policy (MPP) and Master in Public Administration (MPA)
Degrees Awarded per Year: approximately 250 MPP and 90 MPA (see HKS Facts at http://www.hks.harvard.edu/about/history/hks-facts, stating that there are 222 First Year and 265 Second Year MPP students and 72 First Year and 95 Second Year MPA students; accessed 23 February 2015).
Academic Unit within University: The Harvard Kennedy School is a faculty within the university. Most course instructors hold appointments within the HKS faculty.
Posted Tuition: $49,732 tuition and fees per year for MPP, MPA2 and MPA/ID programs for domestic students for academic year 2015-16 (at http://www.hks.harvard.edu/degrees/sfs/prospective-students/tuition/domestic, accessed 17 May 2015).
The Master in Public Policy (MPP) program core requirements are built upon strong foundations in three methodological areas: analysis, management, and leadership. Classes at the Harvard Kennedy School are taught by the case method, the more traditional lecture format, or a mixture of both. Students work together in small groups on projects and are aided by course assistants, teaching fellows, and faculty members in a collaborative and non-competitive working environment.
The two-year Master in Public Administration (MPA2) is a flexible program designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of established professionals and dual-degree students seeking further leadership responsibilities in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. Students admitted to the MPA are invited, in consultation with advisors and mentors, to design an individual 16-course plan of study, constrained only by the requirement to take two electives chosen from one of the Policy Areas of Concentration and one credit from each of the following three areas: Economics & Quantitative Analysis, Management & Leadership, and Political Thought & Institutions. The academic prerequisite is a bachelor’s degree and substantial graduate-level coursework similar to required core MPP courses or a relevant master’s degree.
MPP Degree Requirements
Summary: The MPP program requires two years (four semesters) of full-time study in residence at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). MPP candidates complete 18 units of academic credit, 7.5 of which are required core courses (see below). Students are further required to choose a Policy Area of Concentration (PAC)/Concentration. In order to satisfy the requirements of their PAC/Concentration, students must take an additional 3-7 credits. First-year required courses develop the following core skills to prepare students for public service: economics, quantitative analysis, politics and advocacy, financial management, strategic management, ethics and leadership. The required courses for the first year are:
API-101: Markets and Market Failure (1 credit) API-102: Economic Analysis of Public Policy (1 credit) API-201: Quantitative Analysis and Empirical Methods (1 credit) API-202: Empirical Methods II (1 credit) API-500: Spring Exercise (0.5 credit) DPI-101: Mobilizing for Political Action – American Politics & Comparative Politics (1 credit) DPI-201: The Responsibilities of Public Action (1 credit) MLD-101: The Strategic Management of Public Organizations (1 credit)
Required courses for the second year are Policy Analysis Exercise and year long seminar (1 credit) and Policy Area of Concentration electives (at least two).
Duration: 2 years (four terms of full-time study).
Academic Prerequisite: Bachelor’s degree. Some knowledge of college-level economics, statistics, and calculus is preferred. Work experience is not required, but at least 2-3 years full-time professional experience preferred.
Number of One-Semester-Equivalent Courses Required for Completion: 18
Number of Required Courses: 7.5 Note 1: This does not include the two or more required courses associated with the Policy Area of Concentration.
Number of Electives Typically Taken (difference between above two entries): 10.5
Number of Electives Offered within Program: Approximately 215.
Comprehensive Examination: No
Thesis Required: No
Internship Required: No
International Study Required: No.
Co-curricular Activities Supportive to Degree
Professional Development and Career Support: Yes. The Office of Career Advancement (accessed 10 December 2013) offers an array of services.
Student-run Journal: Yes. The HKS website (http://www.hks.harvard.edu/research-publications/publications) lists10 student-run journals and publications:
- Africa Policy Journal
- Asian American Policy Review
- The Citizen
- Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy
- Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy
- The Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
- Kennedy School Review
- Latin America Policy Journal
- LGBTQ Journal
- Women’s Policy Journal
Applied Projects: Yes, the Spring Exercise in the first year and the Policy Analysis Exercise in the second year (see http://www.hks.harvard.edu/degrees/masters/mpp).
Pro Bono Consulting: Yes, HKS Services (see http://www.hks.harvard.edu/news-events/news/articles/hks-serves-2012, accessed 23 February 2015)
Courses Offered: The full list of HKS courses is found at: https://www.hks.harvard.edu/courses (accessed 20 September 2017). The course list as it appeared on 14 September 2013 has been saved as a pdf document on the Atlas at: http://portal.publicpolicy.utoronto.ca/en/MPPMPAPrograms/HarvardHKS/Documents/HKS_Course_Listing_for_2013-14_on14Sep2013.pdf. In the Course Map below, required courses are indicated by (R). Courses profiled in the Atlas are marked with an asterisk (*). For these courses, the links in the Course Map point to the profiles on the Atlas. For the remaining courses, the links point to the descriptions on the HKS course listing site.
Course Outlines and Syllabi Online: Although the HKS made their syllabi available for a number of years (approximately 2013-2017), this is no longer the case.
Instructional Distribution (PEACO Profile): The table below indicates the distribution of instruction offered, based on the course assignments to subjects in the Course Map below, weighted by estimated enrolment determined by the PEACO Algorithm.
|Curricular Type Parameters|
|Number of Courses Required for Graduation||16.0||18.0|
|Math-Economics Subjects (EA, QM, Macro, Fin Markets)||14.3%||27.7%|
|Enrolment-Adjusted Course Distribution|
|Analysis and Skill Subjects||38.5%||50.8%|
|– Policy and Management Analysis||10.7%||13.0%|
|– Economic Analysis||6.8%||13.8%|
|– Quantitative and Analytic Methods||8.0%||14.7%|
|– Leadership and Communication Skills||13.0%||9.3%|
|Institutions and Context Subjects||24.7%||23.1%|
|– Democratic Institutions and Policy Process||12.4%||9.4%|
|– Ethics, Rights and Accountability||1.9%||6.6%|
|– Socioeconomic, Political, and Global Contexts||10.4%||7.1%|
|Management Function Subjects||7.1%||5.0%|
|– Public Financial Management||2.3%||1.6%|
|– Evaluation and Performance Measurement||0.8%||0.5%|
|– Other Management Functions||4.0%||2.9%|
|Policy Sector Subjects||29.6%||21.0%|
|– Macroeconomic Policy||2.3%||1.6%|
|– International Development||5.6%||4.0%|
|– Other Policy Sectors||18.7%||13.2%|
|Core Competency Gap Analysis (in Course-Weeks)|
|Course-Weeks in Core Subjects taken by Typical Student||136||170|
|Surplus or Shortfall Relative to Core Competency Requirement|
|– Policy and Management Analysis (CCR = 18 course-weeks)||2||10|
|– Economic Analysis (CCR = 12)||1||18|
|– Quantitative and Analytic Methods (CCR = 12)||-3||13|
|– Analytic Methods (CCR = 6)||1||1|
|– Leadership Skills (CCR = 9)||9||5|
|– Communication Skills (CCR = 3 courses)||4||3|
|– Democratic Institutions and Policy Process (CCR = 18)||6||2|
|– Ethics, Rights and Accountability (CCR = 6 courses)||-2||8|
|– Socioeconomic and Political Context (CCR = 6)||2||0|
|– Global Context (CCR = 3)||9||6|
|– Public Financial Management (CCR = 6)||-2||-2|
|– Evaluation and Performance Measurement (CCR = 6)||-5||-5|
|– Human Resource Management (CCR = 3)||-3||-3|
|– Information and Technology Management (CCR = 3)||-1||-2|
|– Macroeconomic Policy (CCR = 6)||-2||-2|
|– Environment and Sustainability (CCR = 3)||-1||-2|
|Subject-Matter Shortfall for Typical Student (Sum of Shortfalls)||-18||-17|
|Total Courses Listed||214||221|
|Courses Designated as Required (inc. Specialization Reqs)||3.0||7.5|
|Archetypal Public Affairs Subjects (P&MA, EA, QM, DI&PP)||34.3%||47.8%|
|Archetypal International Affairs Subjects (I&GC, ID, DS&FR)||14.4%||8.6%|
Source: At http://www.hks.harvard.edu/ and related sites (accessed 23 February 2015).
Harvard Kennedy School Course Map
Page created by: Ian Clark, last substantive update 20 September 2017, updated reference to online syllabi (which are no longer publicly available) on 30 November 2019.
Image: Screenshot from http://www.hks.harvard.edu/ on 12 December 2015.