Social Policy, MSSP

The Master of Science in Social Policy Program (MSSP) program is an eleven-month, ten-course program that prepares professionals with knowledge and skills to use policy to increase equality, promote equity, and forge social change. MSSP graduates are prepared for policy leadership positions in government, philanthropic foundations, research institutes, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations, and other related settings, through:

  • Understanding the world views, assumptions, and philosophies underlying all policy solutions;
  • Understanding how decisions about social policy issues are made, shaped and influenced at local, state, national and global levels;
  • Formulating a social reform agenda that is evidence-based and aims at improving the equity, effectiveness, and efficiency of policy creation and implementation; and
  • Generating and considering a wide array of policy options to address social problems.


A total of 10 course units are required for graduation.

Core Courses
MSSP 6280Policy: Analysis of Issues, Strategy and Process1
MSSP 6290Research and Evaluation Design1
MSSP 6300Quantitative Reasoning/Social Statistics 11
MSSP 6310Law and Social Policy1
MSSP 8970Applied Linear Modeling1
MSSP 6680Economics for Social Policy1
MSSP 6320Capstone Seminar I: Policy Communications0.5
MSSP 6330Capstone Seminar II: Policy Internship0.5
Select three electives3
One of three electives must be a designated MSSP theory elective. Students may choose from: MSSP 6090, MSSP 6670, MSSP 7010, MSSP 7030, MSSP 7040, MSSP 7080, MSSP 7100, MSSP 7410. Occasionally, an MSSP theory elective will be offered as a special topics course under MSSP 7980.
Total Course Units10

Students are eligible to elect to take a waiver exam for MSSP 6300. Any student who passes the waiver exam must take an elective in its place, which may include, but is not limited to, a more advanced research methods course.

Social Policy Internships

Students in the MSSP program have the opportunity to practice their policy analysis skills and gain work experience through a required policy internship. The 6-8 week internship is structured on the basis of individual student interests and past social policy experience(s). When appropriate, students may complete the internship requirement at their current place of employment. Internships may occur anywhere in the United States or in another country best suited to the learning objectives of the student. In every case, the policy internship must consist of a minimum commitment of 150 hours. Credit for the internship is incorporated into the MSSP Capstone course.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2022 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.

Sample Plan of Study

The MSSP program may be pursued on a full or part-time basis.  While students may customize their schedules due to participation in a dual degree or certificate program, enrollment in an international course or study abroad experience, or successfully passing a waiver exam, the grid below outlines the standard schedule and course of study for full-time students. 

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCourse Units
MSSP 6280 Policy: Analysis of Issues, Strategy and Process 1.0
MSSP 6680 Economics for Social Policy 1.0
MSSP 6300 Quantitative Reasoning/Social Statistics 1.0
MSSP 6290 Research and Evaluation Design 1.0
Elective 1.0
 Course Units5.00
MSSP 6310 Law and Social Policy 1.0
MSSP 6320 Capstone Seminar I: Policy Communications 0.5
MSSP 8970 Applied Linear Modeling 1.0
MSSP 6290 Research and Evaluation Design 1.0
Elective 1.0
 Course Units4.50
MSSP 6330 Capstone Seminar II: Policy Internship 1 0.5
 Course Units0.50
 Total Course Units10.00

Under certain approved circumstances, the Policy Internship may be completed in the spring semester along with MSSP 6320.