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EducationStudy public administration, public policy in US

Study public administration, public policy in US

Published: 31st Jan 2021 12:04 am

In our column series on popular fields of study in the United States, today and in the next column, we discuss two fields of study that are closely related to each other: Public Administration and Public Policy.

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While public administration involves studying and implementing government policies, public policy refers to the study of the policies to facilitate policy making. Possible professional opportunities for students after studying public policy and administration include job roles such as policy analyst, policy adviser, administrator/manager, public relations/ communication specialist, consultant, or legal adviser in a government, not-for-profit, or private organisation.

Students have the option to choose from various specialisations or majors at the graduate and undergraduate level in the field of public policy and administration at US institutions. Available specialisations include criminal justice, community development, economic development, education, environmental policy, finance, information technology, non-profit management, public health and health care, transportation, and urban management.

At the graduate level, students may pursue a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) or Masters in Public Policy (MPP). In an MPA programme, students develop their understanding of policy implementation, project execution, and programme management. The MPA course curriculum includes subjects such as human resources, budgeting and financial processes, information systems, policy and programme formulation, implementation and evaluation, ethics, decision making and problem solving, political and legal institutions and processes, economic and social institutions, and organisation and management concepts and behavior.

The MPP programme, with its emphasis on research and analysis, is concentrated on data analysis, analysing and evaluating policy problems, and developing solutions to policy issues. The course curriculum for an MPP programme includes subjects such as microeconomics, public finance, statistics and advanced data analysis, qualitative research, politics of policy process, policy analysis, public management, urban policy, and programme evaluation.

Students also have the option to combine the MPA and MPP programmes with each other or with another graduate programme, allowing them to earn two degrees in a shorter duration compared to pursuing two separate programmes of study. The MPA and MPP programmes may be potentially combined with programmes in business, communications, economics, education, environment, health care/public health, legal studies, social work, etc.

There are various options for students interested in pursuing doctorate level studies in the fields of public policy and administration. The PhD degree in public policy or public administration is research oriented, leading to an academic/research career. The Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) and Doctor of Public Policy (DPP) are professional degrees allowing students to develop advanced professional skills in the respective fields to advance as a practitioner.

Next week we will discuss the application process for public policy and public administration programmes in the United States.

Monika Setia, Regional Officer and EducationUSA Adviser, United States – India Educational Foundation, US Consulate General Hyderabad

College Board SAT

For our audience looking to pursue undergraduate (bachelor’s degree) programmes in the United States, we would like to share an update from the College Board regarding planned changes to the SAT Suite of Assessments for 2021 and beyond.

Discontinuing SAT subject tests

As part of its ongoing effort to simplify work and reduce demands on students, College Board will stop administering SAT Subject Tests internationally after the June 2021 test administration.  Within the United States and US Territories, SAT Subject Tests will stop being administered immediately. Students who are registered for Subject Tests in May 2021 or June 2021 internationally will have the option to take the test as planned or cancel for a full refund.

Discontinuing optional SAT essay

The College Board will be discontinuing the Essay portion of the SAT after the May 2021 SAT test administration internationally and after the June 2021 SAT test administration in the United States.  Students can still take the SAT with Essay through the May 2021 test administration internationally. Students who are registered for the SAT with Essay in Spring 2021 can cancel the Essay portion at any time, free of charge.

For more information on these updates, please visit

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