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  • Thesis and Non-Thesis Options

    You can choose to complete your Master of Arts in Public Policy program with a comprehensive examination or a research thesis. You decide how you want to demonstrate your conceptual, methodological, and application skills. Advising is available for you to determine which option best fits your learning style and meets your educational and professional objectives.

    Comprehensive Exam/Non-Thesis

    The comprehensive exam gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your overall knowledge of the dynamics of the policy process, the core research methodologies and analytical tools of the field, and your expertise in a public policy area of your choice such as education policy, environmental policy, or foreign policy.

    Generally, you’ll take the exam during your last semester of study. Preparation includes meeting with faculty who are writing the exam questions, as well as special preparation sessions or meetings.


    Similar to the MA in Public Policy comprehensive exam, the thesis is an opportunity for you to confirm your knowledge of a policy area and research methodology by designing and executing an original research project.

    Typically, you’ll meet with faculty to discuss your research ideas one to two semesters before registering for the thesis. Throughout the process, you’ll be guided by program faculty in designing, implementing, and writing your thesis.

    Your completed thesis will be a research paper of publishable quality, including an abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, findings, and conclusion.

    Students earn their MA in Public Policy by successfully completing required courses, electives, and a thesis or comprehensive exam (either option results in 30 credits). The overall program structure is outlined in the curriculum charts, and any questions can be directed toward the Program Director.

  • The professors in the public policy program ensure that we, as students, are given the best opportunities to succeed academically and within our careers. The education that I received from Monmouth University has greatly increased my knowledge of the infrastructure of politics and has allowed me to further my own profession in New Jersey's complex political environment. Brian Thomas
    MA in Public Policy, '11