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The Master in Public Policy degree is intended to prepare students for careers as professional policy analysts, usually for policy planning and evaluation units of government agencies, legislative committee staffs, the personal staffs of elected and appointed public officials, consulting firms, and non-government agencies, including foundations and not-for-profit service providers.

The educational objectives of the program are to understand the advantages of and barriers to effective human social and political cooperation, to acquire a framework for formulating and evaluating appropriate normative objectives, defined in terms of justice or fairness, to master analytical tools useful for evaluating public policies and programs in terms of their absolute and comparative efficacy in achieving given social objectives and to bring these principles and tools into practical application for decision making in the real world, from the perspectives of political leaders as well as citizens.


For Sociology PhD candidates the MPP requirements are met over the course of approximately three years. In the first year at Stanford, students proceed through the regular first-year curriculum for sociology PhD students, although some of the sociology courses taken in the first year count also for the MPP. The second year at Stanford is devoted to the core MPP curriculum, while the third year focuses on meeting residual requirements for the sociology degree and also includes the MPP practicum. The Poverty and Inequality Concentration entails taking three courses from a list of approved courses. Because this list includes many of the approved “survey courses” for the sociology PhD, it is possible to meet this concentration requirement without slowing progress toward the PhD

Year 1

First-year MPP students proceed through the regular curriculum for first-year sociology graduate students, as described in the Bulletin and elsewhere, amassing credits for both the MPP and PhD The following six Sociology courses, totaling 27 units, count toward the MPP requirement as well as the Sociology PhD:

1. SOC 370A: Sociological Theory: Social Structure, Inequality, and Conflict (5 units)
2. SOC 370B: Social Interaction and Group Process (5 units)
3. SOC 382: Sociological Methodology II (5 units)
4. SOC 383: Sociological Methodology III (5 units)
5. SOC 384: Sociological Methodology IV (5 units)
6. Poverty and Inequality Concentration course #1 (see list) (5 units)

MPP units amassed in first year: 30

Year 2

Second-year MPP students take the core MPP curriculum, with the exception of the two quarter statistics course sequence.

MPP units amassed in second year: between 35 - 45

Year 3

Third-year MPP/PhD students proceed through the usual second-year curriculum for sociology graduate students. Additionally, students must take the MPP practicum, accounting for another 10 units. The five-unit theoretical analysis and design course (i.e., SOC 372: Theoretical Analysis and Design), which is taken by all sociology students, will count toward both the MPP and PhD For MPP students, advancement to candidacy will occur in the third year, not the second year as with other sociology PhD students.

MPP units amassed in third year: 15