Students interested in pursuing graduate studies after finishing their bachelor's degrees have many options. Two options available to students who are interested in pursuing professional master's programs are Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Policy. Both programs are typically two years in length, but the MPP is much more focused on public policy, while the MBA is a broader program that is focused mainly on business, leadership, management and administration.


Master of Business Administration programs are typically offered by the university's school of business. These programs are applied in nature, in that they teach students how to apply different economic theories and approaches to solve real world business problems. Most MBA programs require students to complete 45 to 60 credits of coursework and are available in many different formats. Depending on the university, students might be able to pursue the MBA full-time, part-time, in the evenings, on weekends or through an executive or accelerated program. MBA degree graduates pursue managerial careers in many different sectors of the economy including private industry, engineering, finance, banking, real estate and health care.

MBA Curriculum

During their first year, MBA students typically take courses that introduce them to advanced business topics such as accounting, finance, microeconomics, management and marketing. These courses give students a thorough understanding of the field and are prerequisites for many second-year electives. During their second year, MBA students typically specialize in a particular area of business and take electives in that area. The types of specialties and electives that are available vary, but most MBA programs allow student to specialize in marketing, finance, management or accounting. In addition to the specialties, some MBA programs also have other specialties such as entrepreneurship, real estate, international business and health care.


Unlike MBA programs’ broader focus, Master of Public Policy programs are mainly focused on teaching students how to analyze and solve different kinds of public policy problems. In particular, students learn how to conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses, develop programs and public finance plans and implement and evaluate different policies. MPP programs typically allow students to study both full-time and part-time as well as in traditional and online formats. Graduates with MPP degrees pursue careers in program management, policy advocacy and policy analysis in a variety of private, public and nonprofit organizations.

MPP Curriculum

Requirements vary, but many MPP programs require students to complete 36 to 45 credits of coursework. A large portion of this coursework is made up of foundational courses that give students the tools to analyze and interpret policy. Examples of common foundational courses are research methods and data analysis 1 and 2, economics of public policy 1 and 2 and leadership. In addition to these courses, MPP programs also allow students to pursue electives in their areas of interest. Examples of possible electives are legal and moral dimensions of policymaking, applied policy workshop and psychology for leadership in public policy.