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Is an MPP/MPA more to do with political science or economics?

Tealeaf guy

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Hi guys

I want to do an MPP/MPA in one of the top schools in the US .


Is the curriculum more economic centric or political centric?

How much calculus is really involved it ?


I love political science but i m not too interested in economics or calculus for that matter.


Since my under graduation is engineering I do not know much about MPP/MPA. Anybody with a good idea of what the course is really about?

Will it be useful in a political career?

Help me out here. I am  confused

Edited by Tealeaf guy
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Keep in mind I am an MPA applicant, not a grad. So take my opinion as such :)

The first thing to be aware of is that the MPA/MPP is very versatile in terms of suitable content. Depending on school and concentration you can get a degree that is politically or economically oriented. However, as a professional degree most if not all MPA/MPP degrees have some sort of core classes to make sure you graduate with a baseline knowledge of economics, government, and management.


How much math involved, again, really hinges on the same issues of school and concentration. There are schools and concentrations (Economics and Public Policy or Development Studies at Princeton really comes to mind) where it seems that the quantitative work is only one or two steps down from an Economics Ph.D (Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia all ask for quantitative resumes). However if you focus on something like Human Rights and Social Justice which is my intent, the most quantitative work you may be required to see is the applied calculus of an Intermediate Microeconomics course (derivatives, integrals, etc.). That said, Quantitative skills can help you land a job. Even in a non-quant heavy concentration like mine, I still intend to take higher economics and/or public finance. 

I would not recommend an MPP for someone who has no interest in economics. Now if you could adjust that to "I am interested in economics only insofar as it relates to political events, conflict, development, etc" then I'm with you. I took a lot of "pure" economics in undergrad and found myself frustrated at the standard economists disinterest with political applications (Why not just be an Applied Mathematics guy then?) But you absolutely will need some economics for an MPA/MPP.

If you are a engineering undergraduate, you should be able to handle the mathematical requirements of most MPA/MPP programs with relative ease.

The degree can definitely be useful in a political career. Given the content of the program, I wish we had more MPA/MPP grads and less lawyers in office honestly.

Hope this helped! 

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thanks alot ...........that was very helpful indeed


Did you get into any of those schools you have applied to?


I am planning to apply to the same schools including georgetown, sais and george washington (purely because its in d.c)

Apart from being such a beautiful city ,is it an added advantage studying at the capital?

Im not a citizen of US and so federal jobs are out of the equation.

Whats your take on that?

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As an international who applied last year, my impression of speaking to international students at SAIS and Georgetown was that plenty had internships with the world bank etc, few had job offers though. So that is the thing for career building Dc is the place to be, if what you want is to stay beyond, NY, Chicago or even California, Texas, Florida etc are better, consider that no matter where you go you can always intern during the summer in DC, other places might have less jobs but they also have a lot less people applying for said jobs. I managed to get a well paid internship in Austin, 20 hrs, my area of interest, free health insurance etc and all supposedly working for the university, something key if you are international as you are not allowed to have paid positions during the academic year outside of your university, thus bigger schools have a huge advantage as they have a lot more jobs availiable while SAIS for example, has Johns Hopkins more than an hour away. In general it is not to hard to secure this type of deal in my school, I know Georgetown has some TAs, SAIS less.

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