Choose from several specialization approaches in your elective coursework.

Building on the core MPA requirements, students can tailor their program of study to their interests through their elective coursework. We offer several specialization routes aligned with our core questions (Data-Analysis, Management & Leadership, Advocacy & Change). Students may also customize a specialization through a combination of electives drawn from across Brown, tailored to their policy interests, academic curiosity, or professional goals.

The Data-Analysis Specialization - How do we know?

The Data-Analysis Specialization prepares MPA students to do data analytic work in government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. Students are introduced to a variety of programming languages used to manipulate and analyze data including Stata, SQL, and Python, and gain the tools to turn large data sets into improved policy. Students also acquire hands-on, practical experience with data cleaning, analysis, visualization, and designing and implementing policy evaluations through the three required electives. 

Data-Analysis Specialization Elective Courses:

  • How do you conduct research that changes public policy?
  • Machine Learning
  • Data Science
  • GIS and Public Policy

The Management & Leadership Specialization - How do we do?

The Management & Leadership Specialization prepares MPA students to manage and lead complex organizations in government, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors. Students are introduced to a variety of applied skills including strategic communication, project management, inclusive leadership, negotiation, and more. 

Management & Leadership Specialization Elective Courses:

  • Public Budgeting
  • Strategic Communication
  • Disaster, Displacement, and Response

The Advocacy & Change Specialization - How do we change?

The Advocacy & Change Specialization prepares MPA students to identify policy areas needing improvement and developing pathways for impactful change. Students are introduced to a variety of applied skills including stakeholder engagement, inclusive impact analysis, strategic communication, and more. 

Advocacy & Change Specialization Elective Courses:

  • Dismantling Global Racism
  • Climate Diplomacy
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Public Policy and Politics in Partisan Times
  • Race & Ethnicity in Policy

Customized Specialization

In consultation with their MPA academic advisors, students have the flexibility to customize their own specialization from a combination of MPA electives and other courses at Brown University. Some examples of customized specializations that our MPA students can design include:

Social policy 

  • Envisioning and Building Prosperous, Inclusive Communities
  • Introduction to Health Policy 
  • The Corporation and Public Policy 
  • Policy Problems of the 21st Century

Global policy

  • Skills for Future Diplomats 
  • U.S. Foreign Policy: The Institutional Basis 
  • Women and Nations
  • International Political Economy

Climate policy

  • Climate Diplomacy and International Negotiations
  • The Politics of Climate Change
  • From Growth to the Green Transition

*Please note that elective course offerings are subject to change. Specialization distinctions do not appear in final transcripts, but can be included in professional communications.