UIC becomes first public university in Illinois to offer public policy graduate program

Aerial view of the skyline at sunset from east side.

The new Master of Public Policy degree will be offered by UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (Photo: Fan Wang)

Students and professionals seeking advanced training in public policy soon will be able to obtain, for the first time, a graduate degree from an Illinois public university.

The new Master of Public Policy degree, which will be offered by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, recently was approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and will begin admitting students for the spring 2020 semester.

The degree will feature instruction in a number of policy areas, including education, health, public finance and urban policy, as well as advanced methodological training in qualitative and quantitative areas.

According to Michael Pagano, dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, the new degree strengthens the college’s academic program and established reputation for producing research and students that address the critical challenges and policy problems facing state, local and federal governments.

“Public policy graduate students are sought-after analysts and leaders because their rigorous training qualifies them to present policymakers with the most reliable advice about policy design in the best interests of citizens,” Pagano said. “This degree will prepare them for careers designing, implementing and refining public policies through work in government, nonprofit and private sectors.”

The Master of Public Policy degree was designed for completion in two years of full-time study, though an accelerated 15-month program exists.  The degree can also be completed part time.

While taking a mixture of required and elective courses, students enrolled in the program will be able to specialize through concentrations in education, health and urban planning.

The program complements UIC’s existing bachelor’s degree in public policy, which allows students to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in as little as five years. The accelerated program also is available for students entering from other programs, which will allow completion of the Master of Public Policy program in 15 months.

The new program is housed in the department of public administration, which features a top-ranked research faculty and placed in the top 12% of all public affairs programs nationally in the 2020 edition of the U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings. The department also fared strongly in the publication’s specialty rankings, including urban policy (3), public finance and budgeting (12), local government management (15), nonprofit management (21), public management and leadership (35).

Spring 2020 semester applications are due Sept. 1 for international applicants and Nov. 1 for domestic applicants. Fall 2020 semester applications for international applicants are due April 1 and June 15 for domestic applicants. To be considered for departmental scholarships, applicants should apply by Feb. 1 for the fall 2020 admissions cycle.

More information about the Master of Public Policy degree is available online or contact Yonghong Wu, associate professor of public administration and director of graduate studies, at yonghong@uic.edu or (312) 996-5073.