Integrated public policy program offers advanced degree in compressed timeframe

January 15, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State undergraduates interested in policy advocacy, design and implementation have the opportunity to apply to the Penn State Master of Public Policy (MPP) program up to a year early and complete the undergraduate degree and master’s degree together in a compressed timeframe. The accelerated Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate (IUG) Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program is available for students in the criminology and sociology bachelor of science and political science bachelor of arts degree programs.

“The Accelerated IUG MPP program provides an opportunity for academically strong students to complete their bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in public policy in five years,” said Lilliard Richardson, director of the Penn State School of Public Policy. “This saves our students time and money, so that they can enter the workforce sooner and make an impact.”

“The IUG program gives our students new opportunities to translate the knowledge and skills they learn in their undergraduate studies into positions where they can help develop solutions to key policy issues,” Richardson continued. “There is a high demand for people who are passionate about policy advocacy and design.The MPP program provides the practical policy analysis and program evaluation skills that our students need to drive real-world results.”

How the accelerated program works

Interested students should work with their academic adviser to determine how the program will meet their professional and personal goals and to determine their eligibility. Accepted students will work with their adviser in their undergraduate department and the School of Public Policy to develop an academic plan.  

Students in the accelerated program will complete the undergraduate requirements for their bachelor’s degree and the credits required for the MPP degree. Several courses required for the student’s undergraduate major will also apply toward the master’s degree, saving time and money.

Why pursue the accelerated MPP degree?

Holly Nguyen, director of the undergraduate program in criminology, said that governments, nonprofits and other organizations are increasingly motivated to analyze the impact of policies and programs before pursuing new regulation and projects. This requires individuals with professional training in designing, implementing, and evaluating public policies.

“The criminology MPP IUG is a unique program that allows students to fuse their passion for criminology and criminal justice with the tools and skills offered in the MPP program,” said Nguyen. “This combination can provide additional career options and enhance career mobility.”

Career options for people who hold a master’s degree in public policy include positions in government, nonprofit organizations, think tanks, policy consulting organizations, foundations, international organizations, and private sector private sector companies.

In addition to starting the graduate school admissions process early, students who complete this program can save time and money by making a careful academic plan that may shorten the time to complete both degrees.

When and how do I apply for the accelerated program? 

Students are encouraged to meet with their academic adviser to discuss admissions requirements and their academic plan as early as possible when considering the program. Qualified students can apply for the accelerated program during the semester in which they will complete 60 credits, which is typically the spring semester of their sophomore year. Students generally apply to the IUG program during their junior year. 

Admission is based on the criteria established by the School of Public Policy and each undergraduate department. Applicants must meet the minimum GPA requirements set by the undergraduate department associated with their IUG and submit faculty recommendations and a statement of purpose. 

Concurrent with application to the IUG program, students must apply to, and be accepted into, the Graduate School at Penn State. The IUG MPP program does not require GRE scores for applicants. 

How can I learn more?

The Penn State School of Public Policy will host an information session about the IUG MPP degree program at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, in 167 Willard Building. Online registration is requested; in case of weather delays or cancellations, students will be notified of alternate dates. Students can also meet with their academic adviser to learn more or email Stephen Moczydlowski, School of Public Policy enrollment and advising manager, at

To learn more about the Penn State Master of Public Policy program, visit or email


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Last Updated January 15, 2020