2016-17 Catalogs

MPPM in Policy, Planning, and Management

The MPPM prepares students for leadership roles in government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector by developing a strong, multi-disciplinary foundation of skills and knowlegein the fields of policy, planning, and management. Coursework focuses on conceptual learning and application through use of real-world data, case studeis, and client- and community-based projects and assignments, with flexible delivery through traditional classes and distance technologies. The degree is designed for working professionals and pre-career students from diverse educational backgrounds who aspire to professional roles and careers as leaders, managers, advocates, planners, or analysts in area related to environment, sustainable development, and economic and social policy.

The goals of the program are to educate students to have the ability to:

  • Comprehend the fundamentals of public policy, planning, and management.
  • Identify and describe problems and solutions from diverse poitical, economic, and ethical perspectives.
  • Evaluate and synthesize problems and solutions quantitatively and qualitatively.
  • Design solutions and implementation strategies for organizations and communities.
  • Evaluate approaches to public, private, and non-profit organizational leadership and management.
  • Articulate strategies to engage and facilitate civic discourse, community participation, and public-private cooperation.
  • Communicate clearly, orally, graphically, and in writing, to inform, manage,and persuade.


The 36-credit degree program provides a rigorous core of six courses (18 credits)while allowing flexibility to tailor elective course work to meet professional goals.In addition to the core, students must complete 18 credits of electives of which 1 to 3 credits may be in a public service internship.  Working closely with a faculty mentor, students may choose an individualized course of study or complete a concentration in Public Policy; Sustainable Development and Geospatial Technologies; or Public and Nonprofit Management. Students may choose courses from multiple focus areas or from graduate programs across the university including Business, Education, Law, Public Health, and SocialWork.

Each student is encouraged to compile a Student Portfolio to serve as evidence of the experience and expertise acquired during the course of completing the MPPM. The portfolio is a vehicle for  describing the student's learning outcomes and emphasizing their broad competencies acquired through the program. Please check with your advisor regarding guidelines for completing the Student Portfolio.

Qualified USM undergraduate students may be admitted under accelerated admissions programs that will allow students to complete their baccalaureate degree with select graduate courses that will count toward their MPPM. In addition, there are options for dual graduate degrees and professional certificates.

Requirement Waiver Request

A student may request a waiver from a program requirement by showing adequate mastery of the subject matter. Evidence may include the undergraduate transcript or a transcript of other graduate work, successful completion of an examination or other academic exercise prepared by the course instructor, submission of samples of work, or through other means acceptable to the program’s Academic Affairs Committee or chair, whichever is appropriate.  The Academic Affairs Committee or program chair may solicit input from the Muskie course’s instructor as to the advisability of the substitution, and may request supplemental information from the student. Approval of a course waiver does not reduce the credit requirement for graduation; students may take additional electives to meet the required credits.  Students contemplating a request for permission to substitute a course are strongly advised to meet with the chair of his or her program’s Academic Affairs Committee, or the chair of his or her program (whichever is appropriate) for more information about the process before making their request.

Accelerated Undergraduate-Graduate Programs in Policy, Planning, and Management

The school offers opportunities for undergraduates to complete both a bachelor’s and master’s degree on an accelerated schedule by taking courses in their senior year that are counted in both (undergraduate and graduate) degrees. Undergraduate majors in Geography-Anthropology, Economics or Environmental Planning and Policy may apply in their junior year for provisional admission to the MPPM program, and fully matriculate in the graduate program following completion of their undergraduate requirements.

Accelerated Graduate Degree Program

The Muskie School and UM School of Law offer an accelerated dual degree in MPPM and JD. Students apply separately to each program. The Law Program is 90 credits, and the MPPM Program is 36 credits of required core (18 credits) and elective courses (18 credits). Taken separately, the two programs require 126 credits. The Law Program will accept 9 credits for courses taken in the MPPM Program and the MPPM Program will accept 12 credits taken in the Law Program. This would result in a program of 105 credits (81 Law and 24 MPPM). It should be possible to complete the 105-credit program in less than four years with summer study. Students are encouraged to speak to the chair of MPPM or Associate Dean of UM School of Law for more information.

The Core Curriculum

A core curriculum of 18 credits assures an understanding of the basic principles of economics, public finance and budgeting, community development and sustainability planning, public policy making, management of public and community programs, the use of data analysis to answer questions and evaluate possible solutions, and the effective communication of analysis, ideas, and solutions to facilitate decision making, public dialogue and citizen engagement.

Core Curriculum Requirements

With permission from the program faculty, students may substituteup to 6 core credits (e.g., economics and/or quantitative methods) based on undergraduate coursework and professional experience for electives.


In addition to the core requirements, students take 18 credits of electives of which 1 to 3 credits maybe in a public service internship. Students who come to the Policy, Planning, and Management program without significant public service experience are advised to complete an internship. Working closely with the Program Chair and academic advisors, students choose an individualized course of study or complete a concentration in one of three concentration areas: Public Policy; Sustainable Development and Geospatial Technologies; or Public and Nonprofit Management. Students may choose courses from multiple focus areas or from graduate programs across the university including Business, Education, Law, PublicHealth, and SocialWork.

Concentrations of Study

Beyond the two courses (6 credits) required for each concentration, student take an additional twelve credits of electives of their choice that may include additional courses from the concentration area of courses of interested to them in another area.


Public Policy Concentration

The Public Policy Concentration focuses on building skills in policy design and formulation and the methods of policy analysis, research, and evaluation. This concentration is appropriate for students seeking professional careers in policy think tanks and other organizations and businesses that generate public policy research, analysis, and advocacy as well as the public, nonprofit, and private sectors especially in areas of consulting and contracting support for governments and nonprofits.

The learning outcomes of students in the Public Policy Concentration include: 

  • Quantitatively and qualitatively analyze, synthesize, and evaluate public policies.
  • Identify and evaluate unintended effects and the distribution of problem and policy effects across affected populations.
  • Identify and articulate competing interests in public policy debates, including the influence of values, ethics, ideologies, and public opinion.
  • Analyze policies and assess their potential impact using empirical evidence, and articulate the strength of the evidence base.
  • Clearly articulate policy concepts and issues and the results of policy analysis and research, orally and in writing, to inform, manage and persuade.

Students seeking the Public Policy Concentration shall complete the six credits of Concentration required courses. Students are also encouraged to focus on a specific policy area including social, economic, or environmental and natural resource policy.

Public Policy Concentration - Required Courses:

Public Policy Concentration - Possible Electives


Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration

Public executives negotiate a constantly changing field to meet the demands of the citizens and communities in which they serve, all the while functioning in a transparent manner to keep and hold the public trust. The Public and Nonprofit Management concentration is designed for students already working or planning to work in governmental, nonprofit and other community based organizations, foundations or voluntary associations. 

The learning out comes of students in the Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration include: 

  • Develop leadership skills through engaging in problem- and project-based learning.
  • Understand and evaluate organizational dynamics and mobilize others in collaborative problem-solving and partnerships to address complex problems.
  • Utilize performance measurement systems in order to collect, analyze, interpret and present evidence using appropriate models and methods.
  • Develop the skills to work effectively in an arena of competing interests while being cognizant of the needs of the general community.
  • Communicate effectively and engage productively within a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry, community groups, and organizations.
  • Seek intergovernmental solutions and partnering to address pressing challenges within a climate of scarce resources.

Students seeking the Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration shall complete the six credits of Concentration required courses.Students are also encouraged to focus on a specific management area that could encompass courses from Business, Education, Law, and other relevant graduate programs.

Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration - Required Courses:

Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration - Possible Electives:


Sustainable Development and Geospatial Technologies Concentration

The Sustainable Development and Geospatial Technologies concentration focuses on building skills in the methods and applications of sustainable community development and planning, including GIS and remote sensing, site planning and assessment, forecasting and modeling, and citizen engagement. Students may also select courses in environmental and sustainability science and theory,and energy and natural resource management and policy. Students will have the opportunity to produce professional-level projects focused on issues of planning and sustainable development. 

The learning outcomes of students in the Sustainable Development and GeospatialTechnologies include: 

  • Demonstrate strong working knowledge of planning and development elements and standards.
  • Demonstrate working knowledge of the legal and political foundations of plan making and a background in planning and zoning law.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of industry-standard GIS and remote sensing software tools and techniques of analysis.
  • Apply geospatial technologies and spatial analysis approaches to address planning and sustainable community development issues.
  • Demonstrate ability to design, develop, research and communicate professional-level projects using GIS and/or remote sensing tools and focused on issues of planning and sustainable development.

Students seeking the Sustainable Development and Geospatial Technologies Concentration shall complete the six credits of Concentration required courses. Through elective courses, students will have the option of developing advanced skills in environmental, land use, and energy management and policy.

Sustainable Development & Geospatial Technologies Concentration - Required Courses 

Sustainable Development & Geospatial Technologies Concentration – Possible Electives


Courses from other graduate programs may be used to meet elective requirements for each concentration area.  These courses must be approved by the student’s advisor.

For application instructions, go to http://usm.maine.edu/apply and find the Graduate Application Process.  Questions on the application process should be directed to the Office of Admissions at 207-780-4386 or usmgrad@maine.edu.