MSPPM DC Program

Class of 2014

MS-DC Class of 2014, Visit to U.S. House of Representatives

During the first year of the program, students will be located at the main campus in Pittsburgh, PA, building a solid foundation in public policy, management, information technology, and analytical thinking – skills that have long been a hallmark of the MSPPM degree. The second year of the program will take place in Washington, DC where students work four days per week in full-time apprenticeships, take classes two nights per week, and spend Fridays in workshops and classes. This integration of skill building with hands-on application, real-world experience and networking creates a unique graduate school experience.

Curriculum requirements

  • Begin the program in the Fall semester (late August) in Pittsburgh.
  • Complete a total of 198 units with a cumulative QPA of 3.0.
  • Complete the core curriculum and specific coursework for MS-DC track students.
  • Undertake an internship in the summer between the first and second years.
  • Secure and undertake an approved Apprenticeship in the second year in Washington, DC.
  • Complete Systems Synthesis, a group capstone project, during the second year.

MSPPM Course Requirements

The MSPPM core curriculum—reviewed, refined and validated by the top professionals in the public policy arena—provides a solid foundation of comprehensive skills you need to lead a successful organization while addressing critical social issues. Students enrolled in the DC Track will earn the policy analysis concentration. Below is a list of required courses you'll need to earn the degree.

Year one in Pittsburgh, PA (120 units)

Policy Analysis

  • Applied Economic Analysis
  • Empirical Methods for Public Policy Analysis
  • Policy and Politics: An International Perspective -or- Policy and Politics in American Political Institutions


  • Organizational Design and Implementation
  • Management Science
  • Financial Analysis
  • Strategic Writing Skills
  • Strategic Presentation Skills


  • Introduction to Database Management
  • Select at least one additional 6-unit technology class from a roster of more than 10 classes.


  • Students have at least 30 units available to take elective classes in their first year in Pittsburgh; exempting core courses can open up more units for elective classes.

Year two in Washington, DC (78 units)

  • Advanced Policy Topics (24 units total): High level policy mini- classes are taught by accomplished practitioners and delve in depth into a wide range of policy areas. These classes are designed to give students exposure to diverse areas of policy. Past classes have included:  International Development, Federal Budget, the Environment, Global Health, Cyber Security, and Criminal Justice.
  • Advanced Methods Courses (24 units total): These classes provide an opportunity to explore the tools of policy analysis from experienced professionals. The classes typically offered in DC are Program Evaluation and Cost Benefit Analysis.
  • Policy Analysis Capstone Course (12 units): integrates material from the required curriculum and provides an opportunity to learn how policy plays out in the real world.
  • Systems Synthesis (15 units): student teams work with a faculty advisor to tackle a real issue that synthesizes their coursework
  • Washington Seminar (3 units): This class includes discussions and special workshops designed to assist the students in getting the most out of their Apprenticeship experience.
  • Apprenticeship: students work in a high-level policy apprenticeship in a government, non-profit, or consulting organization, four days a week (30 hours).

Course Exemptions

If you have a strong background in any of the core courses, you can receive an exemption either by passing an exemption exam administered by Heinz during your orientation program or through successful completion of comparable coursework during your undergraduate work. Exempting a course doesn't reduce the required number of courses you must complete. However, you can add more elective courses to expand your knowledge base.