Policy, Planning, and Management

MPPM in Policy, Planning, and Management

The MPPM prepares students for professional leadership roles in government, nonprofit and community organizations, and other public service settings.  The MPPM curriculum develops robust, multi-disciplinary foundational knowledge and skills that will permit graduates to excel in the complex and interrelated fields of policy, planning, and management. Coursework focuses on conceptual learning and application through use of real-world data, case studies, client- and community-based projects and assignments, and provides opportunities to apply learning to contemporary issues and challenges. The degree serves working professionals and pre-career students from varied educational backgrounds who aspire to leadership roles and careers as managers, planners, researchers, analysts, or advocates in public service.

The goals of the Program are to educate students to:

  • Comprehend the institutional and inter-organizational structures and fundamental concepts and methods of public policy, planning, and management.
  • Identify and describe problems and evaluate potential solutions from diverse political, economic, social justice, and ethical perspectives.
  • Participate in and contribute effectively to the public policy process.
  • Use data and quantitative and qualitative analytical approaches to define and analyze problems and identify and evaluate feasible solutions.
  • Design and plan responses and monitor implementation in organizations and communities.
  • Evaluate approaches to public, private, and non-profit organizational leadership and management.
  • Engage diverse stakeholders and facilitate civil civic discourse, community participation, and public-private cooperation.
  • Communicate clearly and interact effectively and inclusively with a diverse citizenry and workforce.

 

 

The 36-credit degree program provides a rigorous core of six courses (18 credits) augmented with an 18-credit concentration in Public Policy; Community Planning and Sustainable Development; or Public and Nonprofit. As part of the concentration, students must complete an applied experience or develop an academic portfolio. Students with little or no public service experience normally complete a 3-credit public service internship. More experienced students may enroll in a 3-credit workshop course or capstone seminar or develop a non-credit academic portfolio that provides evidence of mastery of MPPM competencies. Students with strong interests and appropriate preparation for study in areas not covered by one of the three concentrations may seek approval from the Program to pursue a self-designed plan of study.

Waiver of Required Course Request

A student may request waiver of a program requirement by demonstrating adequate mastery of the subject matter. Evidence may include a graduate course syllabus, an undergraduate or graduate transcript, successful completion of an examination, submission of work samples, or other means acceptable to the faculty member teaching the course. Permission to waive a requirement does not reduce the credit requirement for graduation; students take additional electives to attain the minimum of 36 credits required for graduation. 

The Core Curriculum

A core curriculum of 18 credits assures an understanding of the basic principles and methods of public policy, planning, and public and nonprofit management.

Core Curriculum Requirements

  • PPM 510/610 Governance, Democracy, and Public Policy
  • PPM 512/612 Sustainable Communities
  • PPM 515/615 Organizational Leadership
  • PPM 535 Managing Government and Nonprofits
  • PPM 601 Applied Data Analysis and Statistics
  • PPM 640 Public Finance and Budgeting

 

Public Policy Concentration

The Public Policy Concentration focuses on building skills in policy research and analysis, policy formulation and evaluation, and policy advising and communication. This concentration is appropriate for students seeking professional careers in government accountability and fiscal policy analysis agencies, executive and legislative policy advising, and think tanks, consulting firms, and advocacy organizations that generate public policy research and analysis.

 

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

  • Research and analyze public policies and policy proposals using appropriate frameworks and methods, synthesize results, and make recommendations.
  • Identify and evaluate distributional effects of policy issues, public policies, and proposed solutions, including the potential for unintended consequences.
  • Identify and articulate competing interests in public policy and social justice debates, including the influence of values, ethics, ideologies, and public opinion.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively the results of policy research and analysis, orally and in writing, to decision makers and non-technical audiences.

 

Students pursuing the Public Policy Concentration complete a three-credit required course in policy analysis and form a foundation for professional work by selecting 9 credits from a short list of public policy frameworks and methods courses, and an additional 6 credits of electives. As part of the concentration, students must complete one of four options:  PPM 696, a 3-credit public service internship; PPM 613, a 3-credit project-based course; PPM 699, a 3-credit capstone seminar, or a non-credit academic portfolio.*

Public Policy Concentration - Required Course:

  • PPM 622 Applied Policy Analysis

Public Policy Concentration – Select 9 credits from the following courses:

  • PPM 503/603 Applied Research Methods
  • PPM 524 Social Justice and Public Policy
  • PPM 609 Measuring Performance in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
  • PPM 570 Policy Argumentation and Advocacy
  • PPM 611 Economics for Policy and Planning
  • PPM 613 Policy, Planning, and Management Workshop
  • PPM 696 Public Service Internship or PPM 699 Capstone Seminar*

Public Policy Concentration – Select 6 Additional Credits from the above list or from the following:

  • PPM 522 Introduction to ArcGIS
  • PPM 542 Policy Issues in Maine
  • PPM 545 Grant Writing and Development
  • PPM 560 Crisis and Risk Management
  • PPM 609 Topics in Public Policy
  • PPM 632 Human Resource Management and Policy
  • PPM 672 Food Planning and Policy
  • PPM 676 Energy Policy and Planning
  • PPM 683 Environmental Law and Policy
  • ESP 521 Natural Resource Policy
  • GEO 555 Gender, Race and Class in the City
  • Other courses may be approved by your advisor upon request.

 *Students who complete a non-credit portfolio in lieu of capstone seminar, workshop in PPM, or a public service internship take an additional elective course.

 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 government or nonprofits. Anyone without significant work experience should plan on an internship.  Those planning a career as a town or county manager or some other position in local government should plan on completing PPM 534 Managing Cities, Towns and Counties.

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

  • Develop leadership and management 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.

Students pursuing the Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration choose one of the two three-credit required courses and form a foundation for professional work by selecting 9 credits from a short list of public and nonprofit management frameworks and methods courses, and an additional 6 credits of electives. As part of the concentration, students must complete one of four options:  PPM 696, a 3-credit public service internship; PPM 613, a 3-credit project-based course; PPM 699, a 3-credit capstone seminar, or a non-credit academic portfolio.*

 

Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration - Required Courses:

  • PPM 630 Innovation and Change in Nonprofits or PPM 534 Managing Cities, Towns, and Counties

 Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration - Select 9 credits from the following courses:  

  • PPM 522 Introduction to ArcGIS
  • PPM 531 Measuring Performance in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
  • PPM 534 Managing Cities, Towns, and Counties
  • PPM 560 Crisis and risk management
  • PPM 613 Policy, Planning, and Management Workshop
  • PPM 630 Innovation and Change in Nonprofits
  • PPM 632 Human Resource Management and Policy
  • PPM 633 Strategic Planning in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
  • PPM 696 Public Service Internship or PPM 699 Capstone Seminar*

 Public and Nonprofit Management Concentration - Select 6 Additional Credits from the above list or from the following:

  • PPM 503/603 Applied Research Methods
  • PPM 545 Grant Writing and Development
  • PPM 550 State and Local Economic Development
  • PPM 553 Volunteer engagement and management
  • PPM 570 Policy Argumentation and Advocacy
  • PPM 616 Policy, Planning, and Management Law
  • PPM 639 Topics in Public and Nonprofit Management
  • Other courses may be approved by your advisor upon request.

 * Students who complete a non-credit portfolio in lieu of capstone seminar, workshop in PPM, or a public service internship take an additional elective course.

 

Community Planning and Sustainable Development Concentration

The Community Planning and Sustainable Development 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 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 Community Planning and Sustainable Development 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 pursuing the Community Planning and Sustainable Development Concentration complete a three-credit required course in community planning and form a foundation for professional work by selecting 9 credits from a short list of community planning and sustainable development frameworks and methods courses, and an additional 6 credits of electives. As part of the concentration, students must complete one of four options:  PPM 696, a 3-credit public service internship; PPM 613, a 3-credit project-based course; PPM 699, a 3-credit capstone seminar, or a non-credit academic portfolio.*  

 

Community Planning and Sustainable Development Concentration - Required Courses 

  • PPM 507/607 Introduction to Community Planning

Community Planning and Sustainable Development Concentration - Select 9 credits from the following courses:

  • PPM 522 Introduction to ArcGIS or GEO 605 Remote Sensing or GEO 608 GIS Applications I
  • PPM 550 State and Local Economic Development
  • PPM 560 Crisis and Risk Management
  • PPM 611 Economics for Policy and Planning
  • PPM 613 Policy, Planning and Management Workshop
  • PPM 664 Introduction to Town Design and SketchUp
  • PPM 696 Public Service Internship or PPM 699 Capstone Seminar*

 

 Community Planning and Sustainable Development Concentration – Select 6 Additional Credits from the above list or from the following:

  • PPM 503/603 Applied Research Methods
  • PPM 524 Social Justice and Public Policy
  • PPM 534 Managing Cities, Towns and Counties
  • PPM 581 Global Planning Issues: Megacities and Megacity Regions
  • PPM 616 Policy, Planning, and Management Law
  • PPM 665 Transportation Planning and Policy
  • PPM 668 Topics in Community Planning and Sustainable Development
  • PPM 672 Food Planning and Policy
  • PPM 683 Environmental Law and Policy
  • GEO 502 Gender, Work, and Space
  • GEO 503 Economic Geography
  • GEO 618 GIS Applications II
  • ESP 570 Solid Waste Planning and Policy
  • Other courses may be approved by your advisor upon request.

 

* Students who complete a non-credit portfolio in lieu of capstone seminar, workshop in PPM, or a public service internship take an additional elective course.

 

Application Procedures and Required Materials

Application Deadline: Rolling Admissions

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: Waived for all applicants
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Essay: Submit a brief essay (300-500 words) stating your reason for pursuing graduate study, your professional goals, and how you think this program of study will contribute to these goals. You may include a statement of any special interest you would like to pursue in your study.
  • Letters of Recommendation (3): Recommendations should be from individuals who are qualified, through direct experience with your academic or professional work, to comment on your ability to undertake graduate study and your chosen profession.  
  • Standardized test scores: - None required
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

International Applicants

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

English Proficiency Test Scores

Official English proficiency examination scores are required from international applicants and/or applicants whose primary language is not English, unless the applicant has received a degree from an English-speaking institution. The University of Southern Maine accepts the following score reports sent directly from the testing agency.  TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for a graduate program.

Where to send transcripts and application materials

 

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center

University of Maine System

P.O. Box 412

Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.

 

Reduced Tuition for Out-of-State Students

Out-of-state students studying in our MPPM program are eligible to receive a reduced tuition rate. Maine residents benefit from the lower in-state tuition. Learn more.


Questions?

We would love to tell you more about the benefits of graduate study at the University of Southern Maine. Contact our Office of Admissions