The Executive Master of Public Policy (EMPP) at Oregon State University is designed for mid-career professionals with 5+ years in the public and nonprofit sectors who are interested in moving up in their positions or who are looking to transition from the private sector to a career in public service. Students can move through the program at their own pace and all coursework is available online through OSU Ecampus. The EMPP is a 45-credit (quarter) program with interdisciplinary core coursework, five policy concentrations, and a final Applied Policy Capstone Project. The EMPP is scheduled to begin Winter Quarter, 2020. Please contact the Graduate Program Director for information on the application process (Professor Brent S. Steel: bsteel@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-2811). 

Core Courses (25 credits)

  • ECON 539 – Public Policy Analysis (4 credits)
  • PPOL 507 – Professional Development Seminar (1 credit)
  • PPOL 511 – Public Organizations and Leadership (4 credits)
  • PPOL 512 – Public Policy Theory (4 credits) 
  • PPOL 521 – Research Methods (4 credits)
  • PPOL 522 – Quantitative Analysis (4 credits; ECON 524 prereq) or PPOL 523– Qualitative Analysis (4 credits)
  • PPOL 524 – Applied Research Methods (4 credits)

Concentration Courses [16 credits]

EMPP students can select a focus in one of 4 concentrations or 11 graduate certificate programs, or self-design a concentration with an advisor and with the approval of the OSU Public Policy Graduate Program Director. All concentrations and graduate certificates require at least 16 quarter credits.  Students can take concentration and elective courses from a variety of approved programs and colleges across OSU curriculum and relevant Portland State University online courses.  Each concentration and/or certificate has a faculty advisor to help students identify appropriate courses and committee members. Note: students will need to formally apply for graduate certificate programs.

Graduate Certificates (all offered via distance education)

Energy Policy Concentration [16 credits]

  • ECON 566 – Economics of Traditional and Renewable Energy (4 credits)
  • PPOL 541 – Energy and Society (4 credits)
  • PPOL 547 – Integrated Approaches to Food-Water-Energy-Climate (4 credits)
  • PS 555 – Politics of Climate Change (4 credits)
  • PS 573 – U.S. Energy Policy (4 credits) 
  • PS 575 – Environmental Politics and Policy (4 credits)
  • PS 577 – International Environmental Policy (4 credits) 
  • PS 578 – Renewable Energy Policy (4 credits)

Environmental Policy Concentration [16 credits]

  • FW 515 – Fisheries and Wildlife Policy (3 credits)
  • FW 522 – Introduction to Ocean Law (3 credits)
  • FW 560 – Psychology of Environmental Decisions (3 credits)
  • FW 620 – Ecological Policy (3 credits)
  • PPOL 545 – International Marine Policy (4 credits)
  • PPOL 546 – Policy and Law of Coastal Governance (4 credits)
  • PPOL 547 – Integrated Approaches to Food-Water-Energy-Climate (4 credits)
  • PPOL 548 – Marine Policy (4 credits)
  • PS 555 – The Politics of Climate Change (4 credits)
  • PS 570 – Global Food Politics and Policy (4 credits)
  • PS 575 – Environmental Politics and Policy (4 credits)
  • PS 576 – Science and Politics (4 credits)
  • PS 577 – International Environmental Policy (4 credits) 
  • SOC 575 – Rural Sociology (4 credits)
  • SOC 580 – Environmental Sociology (4 credits)
  • SOC 581 – Society and Natural Resources (4 credits)
  • SOC 585 – Consensus and Natural Resources (4 credits)

Rural Policy Concentration [16 credits]

  • PPOL 552 – International Comparative Rural Policy (4 credits)
  • PS 570 – Global Food Politics and Policy (4 credits)
  • PS 575 – Environmental Politics and Policy (4 credits)
  • SOC 580 – Environmental Sociology (4 credits)
  • SOC 581 – Society and Natural Resources (4 credits)
  • SOC 585 – Consensus and Natural Resources (4 credits)
  • SOC 575 – Rural Sociology (4 credits)
  • AEC – 521 Rural Poverty and Safety Net (3 credits)
  • AEC – 554 Rural Development Economics and Policy (3 credits)
  • AEC 534 – Environmental and Resource Economics (3 credits)
  • ANTH – 581 Natural Resources and Community Values (3 credits)
  • SNR 520 – Social Aspects of Sustainable Natural Resources (3 credits)
  • SNR 521 – Economics of Sustainable Natural Resource Management (3 credits)
  • SNR 522 – Basic Beliefs and Ethics in Natural Resources (3 credits)

Social Policy Concentration [16 credits]

  • PPOL 542– International Comparative Rural Policy (4 credits)
  • PPOL 551 – Higher Education Policy (4 credits)
  • SOC 512 – Sociology of Work and Family (4 credits)
  • SOC 526– Sociology of Inequality (4 credits)
  • SOC 532 – Sociology of Aging (4 credits)
  • SOC 541– Criminology and Penology (4 credits)
  • SOC 542 – Sociology of Drug Use and Abuse (4 credits)
  • SOC 550 – Sociology of Education (4 credits)
  • SOC 554 – Leisure and Culture (4 credits)
  • SOC 571 – Social Movements (4 credits)
  • SOC 575 – Rural Sociology (4 credits)

Additional online PSU Elective Courses to Augment Concentrations

  • PA 525 – Grant Writing for Nonprofit Organizations (3 credits)
  • PA 536 – Strategic Planning (3 credits)
  • PA 540 – Administrative Theory and Behavior (3 credits)
  • PA 545 – Organizational Development (3 credits)

Applied Policy Capstone Project (4 credits)

An Applied Policy Capstone Project is required of all EMPP students (PPOL 501). The capstone project will focus on a policy issue/problem of relevance to the student’s current position or a policy area where the student has career or public service aspirations. Capstone projects will be judged on how well the following five goals are addressed:

  1. Illustrates an in-depth, detailed, and nuanced understanding of a specific issue, topic or question in the field.
  2. Illustrates an awareness of the theoretical issues and arguments raised and discussed in the literature on the subject.
  3. Expresses the ideas, concepts, and arguments advanced in the paper with precision and rigor.
  4. Enlarges the reader's understanding of the issue and topic.
  5. Proposes policy recommendations to address the issue/problem.

The Capstone project should strive to be equivalent in content, sophistication and technical expertise to a publishable paper in a respected scholarly journal. The project can be on any subject in public policy, as agreed upon by the student’s committee. There are no limitations or preferences for a particular theoretical or methodological approach. 

Oral Examination

A final oral examination is required of all master's candidates. The examination is intended to test the candidate's ability to integrate and interpret material in the major and supporting fields with emphasis on the work presented in the Capstone Project.  It is permissible for the student and/or committee members to participate in the oral examination from a remote location.