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Public Policy | Concord

Master of Arts in Public Policy

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The New England College Master of Arts in Public Policy program prepares students for future opportunities in government, non-profit organizations, or the political process itself. The program concentrates on the intersection between abstract policy and real world politics. Students will gain an understanding of the intellectual foundations for key public policy discussions and how the outcomes affect and change the political process. Students will gain analytical and advocacy skills and will be prepared for advancing in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

The public policy program integrates the student’s professional experience, small group dialogue, and on-your-own-time online learning that provides participants with an experiential foundation for growth in their particular field. The NEC Master of Arts in Public Policy is a 36-credit hour program that can be completed in 18 months.

Lecturers are comprised of visiting scholars, political professionals, and recognized faculty that foster a learning environment that combines real world experience and academic excellence.

Program Outcomes

As a result of completing this program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an applied understanding of key governmental institutions that formulate and implement public policy in society, and how our public policy decisions have an impact around the globe;
  • Articulate the nuances of political processes at the local, state, and federal levels, and how they influence the formulation and implementation of public policy;
  • Communicate a clear understanding of the origins of American political institutions and thought;
  • Demonstrate mastery of the political and policy implications to persistent questions of class, poverty, and race, and the impact these have on the pursuit of the “American Dream;”
  • Apply negotiation tools to collaboratively identify common objectives in diverse populations with diverging interests and reach consensus;
  • Effectively research and analyze public policy issues from all angles and present arguments – in person and in writing – in a clear, logical, and persuasive manner;
  • Professionally exemplify someone with a strong foundation in ethics and leadership;
  • Immediately add value as a member of a public policy organization and play a constructive role in the community, promoting and expanding the common good.


PO 6020 – Public Policy Analysis
PO 6040 – Research Methods
PO 6110 – Ethics in Government
PO 6200 – Campaigns and Elections
PO 6220 – Governmental Policy Makers
PO 6300 – Class, Poverty, and Race in America
PO 6500 – Origins of American Democracy
PO 6550 – America and the World
PO 7050 – Environmental Politics and Policy
PO 6975 – Capstone Project (2cr)

Course Descriptions

(all courses 4 credits unless otherwise noted)

PO 6020 Public Policy Analysis

This course will introduce the student to the policy life cycle. It will build on knowledge gained through the program to add to the student’s toolset for policy formation, implementation and review. Participants will also discuss issues such as agenda setting and goals of the policy process.

PO 6030 Economic Analysis

This course is an analysis of economic phenomena (prices, taxation, market values) from the perspectives of economic institutions (government, markets) and the decisions that they make. Topics covered will include the role of government and markets in advancing the public good, effects, and limitations of government economic policies, and analyzing the effects of economic decisions on the institution and the public.

PO 6040 Research Methods

This course will provide an overview of graduate level research for the capstone project in both the Master of Science in Management and the Master of Arts in Public Policy. Students will learn about the various methods of research in the discipline, research design, and proper formatting and writing of formal papers. Specific focus will be placed on topic development, developing a research outline, conducting a literature review, constructing an annotated bibliography, and proper citation styles that make use of the Chicago Manual of Style (for MAPP students) and the APA style (for MSM students). This course will provide all students the tools to do research and, in addition, will prepare them for the final capstone project to be developed in the subsequent Strategic Capstone course. (2cr)

PO 6110 Ethics in Government

This course will examine the moral issues relating to governing and being governed. Topics include the philosophical nature and limits of representative government, ethical issues in formulating public policy, civil liberties issues, and corruption in government. Selected case studies will be utilized to develop understanding and skills dealing with ethical dilemmas in public service, particularly with regard to the role of ethics in leadership. 

PO 6200 Campaigns and Elections

A study of the election process, including positioning of candidates, interaction with the media, campaign finance and law, party politics, and building a voter base of support. Students will manage a hypothetical campaign from its inception to a mock election. Guest presentations by successful candidates and campaign managers will be a central focus of the course.

PO 6220 Governmental Policy Makers

The United States Congress both constitutionally and pragmatically, plays an indispensable role in the formulation of Public Policy. This course will examine the way in which this complex institution fulfills its essential role. Among the issues the course will deal with are the role of committees, lobbyists, the executive branch, constituency groups, and the media, and the way these groups help shape policy in local, regional, and federal government. This course will also explore current issues and trends in local and regional government. It will use a spectrum of issues to give students an understanding of the purpose of mixed levels of government, the relationship between governing elites and the people from whom their authority is theoretically derived, the differences between the theory of government operation and its practice, and the utility and organization of government from the executive to the local level. This course will also examine the growing role of the Executive Branch, not only in implementing the policies enacted by Congress, but in setting the policy agenda for the nation. Institutional tensions between the Executive and Legislative branches will be studied and the wartime powers of the Presidency will be considered. The Judiciary will be studied in light of recent challenges to its independence and differing conceptions of the activism versus conservatism of the bench. The evolution of the confirmation process will also be studied.

PO 6260 Policy in the Age of Terrorism

There can be little doubt that terrorism will continue to be the principal challenge facing the United States for many years to come, with immense policy implications for everything from budget deficits, to foreign policy, to immigration, to civil liberties. This course will examine past and current approaches to combating terrorism; likely future directions, and the way in which this issue dominates and influences decision making on a host of other issues. 

PO 6300 Class, Poverty, and Race in America

A study of the persistent issues of class, poverty and race in America and how they compromise the pursuit of the American dream of equality and opportunity. The “War on Poverty,” the Civil Rights movement, welfare reform and educational inequalities will be examined.

PO 6500 Origins of American Democracy

This course will investigate the intellectual and practical beginnings of democracy in America. It will analyze the bedrock documents that guide our government and examine the history of electoral politics in the U.S.

PO 6550 America and the World

More than at any time in our history, policy decisions made by the United States cast an enormous shadow around the world. This course will look at the impact and perception of American policy abroad. Among the topics examined will be unilateralism versus multilateralism, American attitudes toward the U.N., the recent loss of American prestige and power abroad, soft power versus hard power, and rising challenges to U.S. power.

PO 7050 Environmental Politics and Policy

Are we facing an unprecedented environmental crisis or are environmental problems exaggerated? Has political discourse helped to shape sound environmental policies in the public interest or mainly served as an arena for a battle of special interests? What has been the role of environmental organizations and other institutions in environmental politics? What environmental issues are most likely to receive more attention in political debate and how might this debate unfold? This course will examine these and other issues.

PO 6975 Capstone Project

The capstone project provides an integrative experience through the student’s efforts in developing an actual program or public policy. The students assume all components of completing the policy paper, from selecting the topic, preparing a research design and writing of the policy solutions. This capstone experience requires students to integrate principles, theories, and methods learned in courses required through their program. Students creatively analyze, synthesize, and evaluate learned knowledge in the project having a professional focus and communicate the results of the project effectively at a professional level. (2cr)


New England College
School of Graduate and Professional Studies
98 Bridge Street
Henniker, NH 03242