University Promotes Master’s Program in Public Policy and Administration

Are you passionate about politics and public policy? Do you want to change society with innovative ideas? Consider applying to the University of Redlands’ “MPPA” program!

The University of Redlands’ Masters in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) program is now accepting applications for its second cohort.

When Professor Greg Thorson arrived at the University of Redlands in 2008, the undergraduate course catalog offered only one class in Public Policy. More than a decade later, the Public Policy department offers an introductory course as well as more than 10 courses in collaboration with other departments and individualized study internships for credit. And just last year, Professor Thorson, the Ken and Lynn Hall Endowed Chair of Public Policy, launched a graduate program in Public Policy at the University of Redlands.

Professor Thorson created and now directs the program with Redlands alumnus Peter Groff, who formerly served as president of the Colorado State Senate before moving to Washington, D.C. to work in the Obama administration. Having been friends with then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, Groff introduced a bill to reduce racial profiling by law enforcement in the Colorado legislature that was identical to one Obama had sponsored in the Illinois legislature. Now, Groff consults on public policy issues and works with elected officials while also teaching at the graduate school.

Other faculty include Terrance Carroll, attorney and former Speaker of the House in the Colorado House of Representatives; Mitzi Johnson, Harvard Kennedy School of Government graduate and former Speaker of the House in the Vermont State of Representatives; Nolbert Chavez, former member of the Colorado House of Representatives; and Art Svenson, David Boies Professor of Political Science here at the University of Redlands.

On Monday, Feb. 20, Thorson and Groff hosted an information session to promote the new program.

The program combines two areas of study that are typically offered in separate graduate programs at other universities. The study of Public Policy is on the rise, while Public Administration is in decline. But since both programs teach valuable skills, Thorson believes it is a mistake to not combine the two–so that’s what he did.

The joint MPPA teaches students policy skills as well as leadership and management skills. Professor Thorson emphasized that the program trains students to apply what they learn through practical assignments like grant-writing and program evaluation while also instructing on the theoretical side of public policy. By the end of the 15-month program, students will be able to effectively analyze and interpret research findings and communicate such findings to those with less formal training and knowledge.

“This generation is socially-minded and wants to change the world for the better,” Thorson said. He believes prestige comes not from exclusive admissions, but from a holistic approach that considers a student’s ambition and desire to create sustainable change, which is why application to the program does not require any standardized test score. At the same time, each cohort is limited to a maximum of 15 students because the program directors believe in the value of small class sizes.

The program is four eight-week-long semesters offered consecutively in the Fall, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Classes are delivered in a hybrid format. Most attend over Zoom, but students have the option of attending in person if they are in the area. Topics of study include policy issues around incarceration, the environment, and education.

The final term of the masters program is clinical, which means students develop a portfolio of practical public policy work while interning for a company or agency such as the National Caucus of State Legislatures. Students will use the portfolios built with this hands-on practical training as they search for jobs after graduating.

The program charges 789 dollars per credit; and at 56 credits, the total cost comes out to 44,184 dollars. However, the entire 2023-2024 cohort will receive 30 percent off tuition. The application cycle is early, but Professor Thorson shared that they have already accepted one-fourth of the next cohort.

If you are interested in getting a Masters in Public Policy and Administration, visit to learn more.

Photo by Photo Editor Kyle Eaton.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *