Master in Public Policy in Global Affairs (M.P.P.)

The Jackson School’s Master in Public Policy in Global Affairs program prepares students to impact the global community through an academically rigorous and flexible interdisciplinary program.

Jackson continues the University’s tradition of attracting creative, intellectually curious individuals who come to Yale ready to define their own path to a career in global leadership and service.

The Jackson School’s M.P.P. occupies a unique place among international affairs graduate programs. The four-course interdisciplinary core curriculum provides students with a shared intellectual foundation focused on acquisition of the ideas, ways of thinking, and skills needed for leadership in global affairs. The small core both prepares students to identify and investigate solutions to the global issues they are most passionate about and gives students the unusual flexibility to design an individualized course of study around those issues by taking advantage of the extraordinary breadth of courses and resources at Jackson and across the University.

Jackson’s academic requirements are designed to prepare leaders for solving the most pressing problems in global affairs. This means exposing students to foundational ideas in economics, history, and political science as well as building skill as analysts, communicators, and leaders. We do this through the small core of four courses, an integrated professional writing program, a leadership and ethics training workshop, and a summer experience. 

M.P.P. Curriculum

The formal M.P.P. requirements are 16 credits, demonstrated proficiency in a modern language (L4), participation in a leadership and ethics training workshop, and completion of a summer experience. The 16 credits must include four 1-credit core courses, none of which can be taken as SAT/UNSAT. 

All M.P.P. students must complete GLBL 5020, Applied Methods of Analysis; GLBL 5010, Economics for Global Affairs; and GLBL 5030, History and Global Affairs, in the first year of the M.P.P. program. The fourth core course, GLBL 5040, Comparative Politics for Global Affairs, may be completed in the first or second year. In addition, first-year M.P.P. students need to take GLBL 5005, Fundamentals of Economics for Global Affairs, in the fall, unless exempt (See Exemption from Fundamentals of Economics in the chapter Academic Policies), prior to enrolling in GLBL 5010 in the spring.

M.P.P. students often enroll in courses from throughout Yale’s graduate and professional schools and are encouraged to meet with the assistant dean for graduate education to design their individual curriculum.

Students must also maintain a grade average of High Pass (HP) with at least two Honors (H) grades. For more information, see Satisfactory Academic Progress in the chapter Academic Policies.

Required M.P.P. Courses 

Fall, First Year
GLBL 5005Fundamentals of Economics for Global Affairs 11
GLBL 5020Applied Methods of Analysis 21
Spring, First Year
GLBL 5010Economics for Global Affairs1
GLBL 5030History and Global Affairs1
Fall, First or Second Year
GLBL 5040Comparative Politics for Global Affairs1

Language Requirement

All students are required to leave Yale University with the equivalent of foreign language proficiency at the L4 level. To fulfill this requirement, prior to arriving at Yale (in July or August), students must take a placement test online or language proficiency exam at Yale and place into L5 (advanced level) language, thus satisfying the language requirement. Students who have been certified in a language other than English outside of Yale must provide a proof of certification (L4 equivalent) to satisfy the language requirement. More information regarding the language requirement is sent to all incoming students in June. 

M.P.P. students can choose to earn up to 4 credits of language toward Jackson degree requirements if they would like to continue language study. Joint-degree students can count up to two language credits toward the Jackson degree requirements. 

Students who have never studied a modern language (other than English) may elect to enroll in the accelerated language course at Middlebury College in the summer preceding their arrival at Yale. Jackson has established a streamlined application process with the Middlebury College Language School and will fully fund the course, including tuition, room, and board. For exigent academic reasons, the assistant dean for graduate education may exceptionally authorize other students to qualify for this funding opportunity.

Leadership and Ethics Workshop

Core to the mission of the Jackson School is to prepare students to be responsible, thoughtful, and ethical leaders in global affairs. It is important that, as a part of their M.P.P. training and education, Jackson students are exposed to and understand their responsibilities and the professional ethics associated with a career in global affairs.

The Leadership and Ethics Workshop is an experiential program designed to give Jackson M.P.P. students the tools and frameworks to think ethically about difficult choices and balance competing interests in global public policy and to teach students how to integrate an ethical approach and moral reasoning into their leadership and management. Central to learning about methods and frameworks of leadership and ethics in a public policy setting is also an understanding of how to lead in a diverse world—across all dimensions of diversity—and how to lead communities around the world that are diverse. Integrated throughout this workshop will be practical engagement with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In a small, tight-knit program, the workshop also serves as a unique opportunity to bring the cohort together and build community in a concentrated and meaningful experience during the summer before their second year in the program.

In order to respond effectively to the needs of our students, we reserve the right to adjust the length and content of the program as necessary.

Summer Experience

M.P.P. students are required to use the summer between their first and second year to pursue a professional experience that aligns with their academic and professional goals. Joint-degree students must complete the experience after their first Jackson year. To meet this requirement, students must complete an internship or research project that is policy related and relevant to the global affairs M.P.P. degree lasting a minimum of eight weeks, preferably ten to twelve. The experience must be at least thirty-five hours per week. On-campus jobs, including research assistant positions, will not be approved.

All proposals for summer internships are submitted to the Career Development Office (CDO) and reviewed by the assistant dean for career development and the assistant dean for graduate education for approval. If approved, the School registrar will officially enroll students in GLBL 7000 over the summer. Students who choose to do independent summer research must submit a proposal to the assistant dean for graduate education and explain in their proposal why conducting the proposed research project is important for their professional trajectory.

Jackson offers fellowships of up to $6,000 for budgetary needs to support the summer requirement. Funds are intended as a boost for unfunded or under-funded experiences. The funds may only be used for the summer experience following the student’s first year at Jackson. 

Students are required to submit a survey about their summer experience by September 15 to the CDO to complete this graduation requirement.

If the summer experience cannot be completed due to extenuating circumstances, a request for a waiver must be made through the assistant dean for career development and assistant dean for graduate education. For more information about the summer experience see Career Development Office in the Resources for Students chapter.

Optional academic opportunities

Foundational Courses

Several courses at the Jackson School of Global Affairs address the development of skill sets that are applicable across all disciplines and topics within the public policy realm. These courses, deemed “foundational,” currently include policy writing (GLBL 5000, Professional Public Policy Writing), argumentation (GLBL 5001, Disinformation and the Craft of Ethical Persuasion), communication (GLBL 5002, Policy Communicator), and negotiation (GLBL 5015, Negotiations). They are open to all graduate students in the Jackson School, are worth ½ credit each, and are graded as SAT/UNSAT. Note that two such courses may be taken to provide, cumulatively, a full credit towards the degree requirements, but that doing so will (collectively) count as the one permitted course to be taken outside of the normal graduate grading mode* Students are thus encouraged to take foundational courses outside of the sixteen courses otherwise required for the M.P.P. degree.

Professional Writing Program

The ability to communicate effectively is central to becoming an effective leader and problem solver. The Jackson School Writing Program has three primary components. First, three out of the four curriculum courses (GLBL 5010, Economics for Global Affairs; GLBL 5030, History and Global Affairs; and GLBL 5040, Comparative Politics for Global Affairs)—in addition to their substantive topics—are designed to enhance students’ writing skills across a variety of professional contexts. The primary instructors have designed these writing components in collaboration with the director of the Writing Program to ensure a coherent and holistic professional writing curriculum across the core courses. Second, all M.P.P. students are able to meet with the Writing Program director, who is available to provide detailed feedback on all student writing. Third, the Writing Program offers professional writing classes in both fall and spring terms (GLBL 5000, Professional Public Policy Writing; GLBL 5001, Disinformation and the Craft of Ethical Persuasion; and GLBL 5003, Narrative Storytelling for Policy Makers) that give students ample opportunity to hone their composition and editing skills while introducing them to the genre of professional policy writing and challenges faced by communicators in the field. 

By availing themselves of these Writing Program resources, students will develop the professional writing and communication skills necessary to advance their careers as leaders in global affairs. 

Certificate in Program Evaluation

Jackson offers the opportunity for M.P.P. students to earn a certificate in Program Evaluation. Those who wish to pursue this option must complete 6 credits of methods-focused courses approved in advance by the assistant dean for graduate education. These courses may include GLBL 5020, Applied Methods of Analysis, or an advanced course in causal inference at least at the level of MGT 510, Data Analysis and Causal Inference, or higher e.g., PLSC 508, Causal Inference and Research Design, or ECON 559, Development Econometrics (IDE). Other elective courses may include GLBL 5070, Practicum Data Analysis; GLBL 5050, Introduction to Python for Global Affairs; or GLBL 7250, Big Data and Global Policies. Students may not count thesis courses (GLBL 9990 and GLBL 9991, Global Affairs Thesis) to satisfy the 6-credit requirement. However, they may count up to 1 credit of Directed Reading. Please contact the assistant dean for graduate education for more information about the certificate and to discuss your plans.

Directed Reading

Sometimes a student may request that the assistant dean for graduate education approve a Directed Reading conducted by a faculty member (GLBL 9800) or a senior fellow (GLBL 8000). Usually limited to one per term, these courses may involve reading the literature on a topic, attending a lecture or seminar series, and writing a substantial research paper. It is the student's responsibility to make all of the arrangements before the term begins. To formally pursue a directed reading, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The student must submit a request to complete a Directed Study before the enrollment period for that term ends (see Academic Calendar for end of add/drop period).
  2. The material of the proposed course must be appropriate to the qualifications of the student.
  3. The student must secure not only the instructor’s approval of the work to be covered in the course but also the approval of the assistant dean for graduate education.
  4. The student must provide a syllabus draft for review by the instructor and the assistant dean for graduate education.
  5. There must not be an existing graduate or undergraduate course to which the student has access in which the work proposed may be accomplished.
  6. The instructor must meet with the student regularly, normally between eight to ten hours per term.
  7. The student must produce a final paper at the end of the term.

The Jackson School has established limits on the number of directed readings that a student may take in any term (one) and, cumulatively, before the end of their second year in the M.P.P. program (four).

A student must petition the Committee on Academic Progress for permission to enroll in more than two such course credits in any one term. In the petition the student must give sound academic reasons for exceeding these limits and provide evidence that the additional work in a directed reading will not be done at the expense of the breadth and depth of study being pursued in regular courses at Jackson and elsewhere at the University.


Students also have the option of writing a year-long two credit thesis (GLBL 9990 and GLBL 9991, Global Affairs Thesis) under the supervision of a Jackson School of Global Affairs professor or faculty member. 

The thesis is an optional research project that is completed in the final academic year of the M.P.P. degree. It is intended for students who wish to make a major policy-oriented research project the culmination of their educational experience in the program. M.P.P. theses involve independently performed research by the student under the supervision of a faculty adviser. Students work with faculty advisers in designing their project and in writing the thesis.

The final thesis is graded by the thesis adviser and one other faculty member; one of the two must be a Jackson School of Global Affairs professor. See the Appendix for additional details and timeline.