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#2023APPAM Spotlight: Penn State University School of Public Policy


The #2023APPAM Fall Research Conference will feature some fantastic sponsors from across the policy research spectrum. Today we're shining a spotlight on Penn State University School of Public Policy.


What types of programs does your school offer?


An MPP, an undergraduate public policy minor, and several accelerated programs (called integrated undergraduate graduate degrees) with partners across campus.

How has your school changed in the last ten years?


The school and the MPP program started in 2019, and we have experienced considerable growth in faculty, staff, and student numbers. In fall 2023, we are offering a new undergraduate minor in public policy.

Why should students choose your school or program?


The Penn State alumni base is vast and actively supportive of our students as they seek internships, client-driven capstone projects, and jobs.  In addition to the core of analytic courses, students can choose from a variety of policy specializations with courses from across campus, including criminology, data analytics, education policy, environmental policy, gender equity, health policy, racial justice, social policy and many others.

If you are hiring, what makes your school a great place to work?

The Penn State University Park campus is in the quintessential college town of State College (often called Happy Valley), and we have outstanding public schools, affordable housing, great outdoor activities, excellent and affordable entertainment opportunities in sports, music and theater, and a short drive to major cities.  The Penn State School of Public Policy is in the College of Liberal Arts with strong ties to highly ranked social sciences, and we partner with outstanding faculty in the Energy and Environment Institute, the Humanities Institute, the Population Research Institute, the Rock Ethics Institute, the Social Science Research Institute, and the Sustainability Institute.

What is your teaching/research divide?

Penn State is a R1 research university, and most tenure track faculty have a heavier research work load than teaching load.  With lighter teaching loads, a generous sabbatical program, and strong research administration support, faculty are expected to have an active research agenda and an international reputation for excellence.

What is your undergraduate/graduate divide?

We have a new undergraduate minor, and this year we expect that about 20% of our courses will be undergraduate.  Most other classes are in the MPP program, but some faculty teach doctoral classes in partner social science programs.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

Choose a school that can give you the individual attention, the professional development opportunities, and flexible policy specialization courses that you need for your career stage and career aspirations.

What is something unqiue about your institution or program?

Our faculty has a rich diversity of disciplinary backgrounds, including criminology, demography, economics, geography, labor employment, law, philosophy, political science, public administration, public health, and sociology.  This diversity of approaches and analytic tools offers our students considerable breadth and flexibility in preparation for their careers addressing complex policy issues.

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