Our Master of Public Policy graduate students are required to engage in real-world policy analysis as part of their education. The result is a body of research representing fresh thinking about longstanding topics in public policy and a more well-rounded graduate education.
The MPP Program culminates in a mandatory three-quarter sequence of courses, led by faculty advisers, dedicated to the preparation and presentation of a major Applied Policy Project (APP) on behalf of a client agency, nonprofit organization, or firm working in the public interest. The objective is to challenge students to conduct a detailed investigation of a real policy problem facing the client and to develop evidence-based and actionable recommended solutions. Students are encouraged to grapple with the challenges of policy implementation in the midst of competing and often conflicting social, political, economic, and technical interests.
The department annually recognizes Distinguished Applied Policy Projects with the award of Highest Honors or Honors. Projects cover the variety of policy topics, including:
- International issues
- Social Policy
- Employment and labor
- Urban poverty
- Human rights
- Science and technology
- Regional development
- Crime and drug abuse
- Arts and culture
Title: Bus and Fleet Electrification Strategic Plan: City of Gardena’s GTrans
Authors: George Every, Robin Kaloustian, Will Proctor, Karishma Shamdasani, Aditya Voleti
Client: City of Gardena – GTrans
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Randall Akee
Title: Interrupting the Cycle of Incarceration for Individuals with Mental Illness
Authors: Jess Bendit, Joshua Segui, Courtney B. Taylor, Rachel Vogt
Client: LA County Office of the Public Defender/Center for Court Innovation
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Wes Yin
Title: Equity-Focused Heat Adaptation Strategies for Los Angeles County’s Office of Emergency Management
Authors: Hanqing Chu, Jacqueline Adams, Jiaxin Li, Sarah Goldmuntz
Client: Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld
Title: Los Angeles County Youth Diversion: Prioritizing Contract Accessibility for Community Based Service Providers
Authors: Savannah Walker, Monique Cardona, Sara Omanovic, Kaylyn Canlione
Client: Los Angeles County Youth Diversion & Development Division within Office of Diversion & Reentry
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Martin Gilens
Applied Policy Projects from 1998 to the Present
APP Handbook for 2020-21
Click here to download the PDF.
For Prospective Clients
Client organizations needed! Does your organization have a policy question it needs to address? This brochure provides information for organizations that would like to have a team of UCLA MPP students consult on these issues.
Association of Master of Public Policy Students
The Association of Master’s of Public Policy Students (AMPPS) is a student organization representing and advocating for the interests of public policy students. Every student is a member of AMPPS and is invited to attend AMPPS events and meetings. Each year, AMPPS organizes events such as quarterly town hall meetings with the department’s chair, faculty, and staff; professional development lunchtime talks; a department graduation celebration and award ceremony; and the composition of memos to the department from the first-year and second-year classes offering suggestions for continuous quality improvement in the MPP program and the Luskin experience.
2021-2022 AMPPS Leadership:
President – Danielle Jenkins
Vice President – Karleigh Shepard
Treasurer – Sonita Tan
Secretary – Michaela Byrd
Social Media Director – Emily Marshall
Social Events – Valeria Ceballos and Nick Green
APP Representative – Sophia Li
International Students Representative – Kirim Lee
Professional Development – Kyle Winterboer
Town Hall Coordinator – Julio Alicea
PPDE Liaison – Lily Cain
Cross-Luskin Groups Liaison – Eli Holland
Policy Professionals for Diversity and Equity
Policy Professionals for Diversity and Equity (PPDE) is committed to cultivating future policy makers who reflect California and the nation’s increasingly diverse communities. We believe that the experiences that come from members of underrepresented communities enrich the public policy decision making process and broaden the perspectives and discussions that occur in public policy.
PPDE’s mission is to provide a platform for underrepresented students and their allies to advocate for diversity and equity within the MPP program at UCLA. PPDE advances this mission through:
- Outreach: By connecting prospective students with current students, outreach aims to create a space at Luskin for underrepresented students. We do this with our peer advising program, assisting with Welcome Day, and reviewing incoming MPP applications.
- Advocacy: Voicing and representing student concerns regarding equity and diversity, including but not limited to: the academic curriculum, faculty and student diversity, and graduate school affordability. We do this through action-oriented campaigns, strategic partnerships, and solidarity with similar causes.
- Programming: Providing students with opportunities to share ideas and understand diversity and equity issues, opportunities to lead on diversity and equity projects, and connecting students with local communities. We do this through facilitating discussions, putting on a policy symposium, and volunteering with nonprofit and community organizations.
PPDE is open to all UCLA MPP students and alumni at UCLA. We invite you to join us to ensure diversity and equity in UCLA’s MPP program!
Advocacy: Lily Cain (course), Kamilah Mims (course), Eli Holland (general), and Nathalie Dierkx (general)
Budgeting: Darlene Medrano
Communications: Samantha Nuno and Aeia Abas
External Affairs: Julio Alicea and Nathalie Dierkx
Outreach: Tonya McClendon and Daniela Garcia Martinez
Programming: Valeria Ceballos and Kelsey Nelson
Questions about the organization can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ask us about our prospective MPP student mentorship program, student-led course on “Social Justice in Public Policy”, “UCLA Luskin Diversity Day”, “Welcome Day”, and “Social Justice Policy Symposium”. We are here for you!
Recommended Course Offerings
Please click here for a list of recommended courses that our students have found valuable.
Please note that the materials covered in the sample syllabi are subject to change at any moment’s notice.
PUB PLC 201 – Principles of Microeconomic Theory I
PUB PLC 202 – American Political Institutions and Processes
PUB PLC 206 – Political Economy of Policy Adoption and Implementation
PUB PLC 208 – Statistical Methods of Policy Analysis II
PUB PLC 209 – Management in the 21st Century
PUB PLC 210 – Methods of Policy Analysis
Student Initiated Courses
Any group of seven or more students may petition any faculty member to organize a new course to be offered during a subsequent term. The petition must be countersigned by:
- the faculty member willing to offer and/or supervise the course and
- the students who will take the course if offered.
The petition should be submitted to the Department’s manager. Following faculty review, final approval of the course resides with the Department Chair. Such approval will take into account the demand for courses that the faculty member would otherwise teach.
Student initiated courses can be student-led under faculty supervision (and numbered PUB PLC 297D), or may lead to special topics courses taught by faculty or visitors, resources permitting. Students may complete a maximum of two and apply up to eight units of the student-initiated (PUB PLC 297D) courses for credit during their degree program. All PUB PLC 297D courses are graded S/U, while special topics courses may be taken for a letter grade or S/U.
Faculty agreeing to supervise a student-initiated course are responsible for determining that the readings, topics, and assignments are appropriate in scope and scale to a graduate course in Public Policy. Faculty are expected to attend each of the class meetings, except by special arrangement (as with other courses that they teach), and are responsible for overseeing and approving the grading of assignments and the assignment of final grades.
Funding Your Studies
A number of resources are available to UCLA Luskin students to fund their studies, including fellowships that can provide multiple years of funding to students who know to apply for them. The basis for eligibility can vary: they can be broad in availability and awarded based on academic merit, or selective and available only to students meeting precise conditions. Many may only be available to students in their first or second year. It is imperative that students inform themselves and begin the application process early.
The following resources are available for all students as they begin their search:
PDST Fees (In Progress)
Orientation Presentation – “Graduate Student Resources & Funding Your Studies”
More documents will be uploaded shortly.
Public Policy Fellowships
The Department of Public Policy itself awards several fellowships based on merit and policy focus. Like many others fellowships, some have specific qualifications, while others are awarded based on overall academic performance, professional experience, and future potential in public policy.
The following fellowships are designated for the Public Policy Department to honor distinguished applicants who have demonstrated outstanding merit in their preparation for engaging in graduate studies in public policy. These fellowships will be awarded based on the applicant rankings by the Admissions Committee.
Bette and Lorenz Han Endowed Fellowship
A fellowship awarded by the Public Policy Department to recognize the excellence of outstanding applicants and students.
Calvin and Marilyn Gross Fellowship
Calvin and Marilyn Gross are long term supporters of the School of Public Affairs, having given the founding gifts to the Dukakis Internship endowment. They have established an endowment that will enable the Department of Public Policy to annually fund an outstanding graduate student demonstrating commitment and involvement to public service.
David and Marianna Fisher Fellowship
This fellowship was created to strengthen UCLA Luskin’s efforts to compete for, recruit and retain outstanding graduate students to its excellent academic and professional degree programs.
Hal E. Martin Fellowship in Health and Social Policy
This fellowship recognizes outstanding students pursuing policy analysis and graduate education in various aspects of health and social policy. Applicants need to provide a brief statement (half-page double-spaced, 100 words) indicating their interest and/or background in health and social policy. This fellowship has additional eligibility qualifications and requires a supplemental statement.
The Public Policy Department offers a concentration in transportation policy and planning. Transportation policy students can choose from among five graduate transportation policy and planning courses and three other transportation-related courses in designing their program of study. The School houses a branch of the University of California Institute of Transportation Studies, which offers renewable one-year graduate fellowships, research assistantships where students work with faculty on transportation policy research, and financial aid to students attending transportation conferences. Fellowship recipients must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, must take or waive out of at least four approved transportation policy and planning courses during their studies, and must complete their Applied Policy Project on a transportation-related topic. To apply for this fellowship please include a brief statement (half-page double-spaced, 100 words) describing your interest in the transportation policy and planning concentration or any background that you may have in this area. This fellowship has additional eligibility qualifications and requires a supplemental statement.
Ronald Reagan Public Policy Fellowship
The Ronald Reagan Public Policy Fellowship, underwritten by The Draine Family Charitable Foundation Inc., supports UCLA Luskin graduate students in studying Ronald Reagan and the effects of his economic, social, and international policies on the State of California, the Federal Government, and the world. The Fellowship allows its recipients, as interns, to gain access to the archives at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and with agreement by the Foundation’s Executive Director, to publish their findings as a resource to scholars, teachers, and students on the Foundation website. For more information, visit the Ronald Reagan Library website.
Teaching and Research Assistantships
“Academic Apprentice Personnel” is the term applied to registered graduate students who have fulfilled the University’s established criteria for appointment (no more than 50% time) to teaching or research assistantships, and for which they are compensated at rates approved annually by the Regents of the University of California. These apprenticeships are intended to provide qualified students with relevant training experience for academic and academic-related careers in teaching and research and to augment limited resources from within the University for graduate student support. As a matter of University policy, apprentice personnel in both the teaching and research series are considered primarily as students being professionally trained. Graduate students who are recipients of teaching and research assistantships must meet all registration and enrollment criteria established by the Graduate Division and the department. They must also maintain satisfactory progress throughout their appointments. Teaching assistants are selected on the basis of scholarship and promise as teachers and serve an apprenticeship under the tutelage and supervision of regular faculty members who are responsible for curriculum and instruction in the University. Research assistants are appointed to the title graduate student researcher (GSR), and are selected on the basis of scholastic achievement and promise as creative scholars and serve an apprenticeship under the direction and supervision of a faculty member.
Academic Apprentice Salary Scales
Current salary scale tables for teaching & research series, readers & special readers, and remedial tutors.
Fee Remission Benefits & Statement of Understanding
Summary of benefits, requirements for maintaining benefits, and acknowledgment statement.