The Heller MPP at Brandeis University is an innovative and interdisciplinary two-year graduate program that equips future leaders to succeed in careers within government, advocacy, policy research and analysis, policy implementation, and community work. The program draws bright and accomplished students who are committed to social change, helping to prepare them with the intellectual and professional tools to become the next generation of leading policymakers. Our students specialize in critical policy areas, including health and behavioral health, poverty alleviation, children, youth, and families, and aging, while others pursue a general track. Heller’s networks and leadership in these areas provide our students with excellent internship and research opportunities as well as the chance to work with a faculty member and senior researcher on a policy analysis thesis in the final semester.
With the Heller School’s rich tradition of being in the vanguard of critical public and social policy research, analysis, and practice, the Heller MPP is designed to help students maximize their impact. Additionally, the Heller alumni network has more than two thousand members, and our faculty members are deeply engaged in their policy fields. The Heller School has helped launch countless careers dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable people, and we invite you to learn more about the Heller MPP.
The MPP is a two-year degree program that follows the traditional academic year from late August to May. The degree requires sixteen courses over two years in residence. The core curriculum fits into three categories: concepts, methods, and tools. Ten courses are required, including an introductory policy foundations class. A minimum of three courses is required in a concentration, allowing for three electives.
A final master’s thesis with optional field research is also required. In addition to coursework, students will complete a thesis with the guidance of faculty and senior research advisers in the various concentrations, working closely with the research institutes and centers. The thesis, including a fieldwork option, is the culmination of training in social policy. The thesis can address any suitable dimension of social policy, from analysis to evaluation to communication, and must demonstrate the student’s competence in core skills through scholarship, application, integrative analysis, and originality. The MPP thesis will demonstrate students' ability to provide detailed policy analysis and use many of the skills acquired throughout the program. Students will also present their theses orally at the conclusion of the thesis class in the second year. Successful completion will demonstrate superior writing, oral, and analytical skills. It will also show a keen awareness and understanding of the political, organizational and fiscal factors influencing the policy environment. The paper and presentation will highlight a social problem, evaluate alternative solutions and make policy recommendations. Alternatively it will provide a detailed policy or program evaluation with recommendations for improvement.