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Master of Public Policy

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.


About the Program

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:

Charley HumphreysCharley Humphreys

Who are you? 

Greetings from self-isolation! I am a dual MPH/MPP student wrapping up my first year in graduate school. Since earning my undergraduate degree in political science and statistics, I have had the opportunity to do research for the Utah County Department of Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Treatment as well as the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System. Currently, I am assisting with a number of child welfare projects within the University’s Social Research Institute. My own research interests include the global inequities of environmental health, climate change, and disaster mitigation and management. I also try to stay involved in local sustainability and wildlife conservation efforts. 

What is your favorite part about the MPP program?

The U is a fantastic research hub located within a wide grid of community organizations. MPP students are surrounded by driven professionals with unique backgrounds and interests as well as opportunities to get involved. I also feel this program is equipped to provide future policymakers and analysts with a greater understanding of mixed methods, evidence-based, and implementation research. 

 What is your advice to new MPP students?

Connect with your cohort. I consider myself very lucky to have a network of friends and peers within the program. I also recommend exploring the campus and learning about the academic, professional, recreational, and personal resources available to students. 


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Last Updated: 4/6/20