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About the Program

About the Program

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Prospective Students

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Current Students

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University of Utah's Master of Public Policy (MPP) program combines policy and economic analysis with quantitative sources for students to build the necessary analytical skills needed to effectively solve public policy problems. These core skills are valuable in national, state and local governments, "think tanks", consulting firms, non-profit groups and private companies throughout the United States and world.


The Master of Public Policy program contributes to public service and public policy analysis by advancing understanding of the policy process, and producing graduates equipped to research, analyze, and inform public policy making.  We develop the individual by challenging and assisting each student to reach their professional and academic potential.  We strive to create a community that fosters mutual respect, enhanced by a strong partnership between faculty, students, and staff.

Photo of Director Sharon MastracciSharon Mastracci started at the University of Utah in Fall 2015. She was a 2014-2015 Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom and prior to that, spent 13 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Public Administration. Born and raised in Ohio, she earned BA and MA degrees in Economics at Ohio University and then worked as an Economist at the State of Ohio Legislative Budget Office. She earned her PhD in Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin. Sharon studies gender in organizations and public sector employment, specifically emotional labor in public service. Her husband, Tony Mastracci, also teaches for the Programs of Public Affairs. Tony holds BBA and MPA degrees from Ohio State University and is currently pursuing his EdD at the University of Pennsylvania. Sharon and Tony live, work, and play in Salt Lake City.

Sharon Mastracci, Professor

Director of the Programs of Public Affairs 


The University of Utah Master of Public Policy program began in 2006 as a response to the growing need expressed by students and professionals to educate and train leaders who can understand, analyze, and evaluate public policy issues through a multi-disciplinary approach.  Public policy is present in nearly every context of the labor market and community, be it economic, political, domestic, or international. Many government and nonprofit organizations in the state have expressed a need for individuals who cannot only manage, but also perform analytical work to address policy questions and effectively communicate the analysis to others.

Currently, University of Utah's Master of Public Policy program is the only one offered within the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE). Our program is located in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and housed in the Center for Public Policy & Administration. The mission of the Center for Public Policy & Administration is to provide research, education, and services to public and nonprofit organizations that will strengthen administration, leadership and public policy making.

Student Spotlight


Who are you? 
I work for Utah Division of Air Quality as an environmental scientist in the planning branch. My section is responsible for the inventory, or determining how many tons of pollutants go into the air from various sources each year. This data is used in creating plans to keep levels of air pollutants below federal standards. I very much enjoy my work as it feels relevant to the health and environment of our beautiful state. My hope is the MPP program will give me some important skill sets to rely on as I advance in my air quality career. I currently work closely with policy makers in our Division, providing them data to make decisions and to take to the legislature. I would like to grow my understanding of how data can drive policy, and to use that knowledge to implement policy directed towards the most efficient solutions. 
What is your favorite part about the MPP program? 
I am still pretty new to the program- I'm taking one class a semester, so this is just my third class. But, I am really enjoying the applicability of what I am learning to my work. I am working on the Big Data certificate, which I hope will add a lot of depth to my degree.

What is your advice to new MPP students?
I feel like I am a new MPP student! 😊😊😊 If a full load seems overwhelming, I am really thankful that we are allowed to do the program part-time. It might be worth a try, and allow you to get more out of your classes.

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Sociology Speaker Series | “Marcel Paret"

Friday, November 15, 2019, 12 - 1pm

Last Updated: 10/2/19