Certificate in Public Policy


The Certificate in Public Policy offers public employees fundamental and advanced skills through a series of core courses. These classes provide basic knowledge and skills that enhance the level of data driven decision-making in public service organizations. Many public employees have bachelor degrees in many technical fields but lack the advanced skills in public policy. The Certificate in Public Policy uses existing courses in the Master of Public Administration Program to provide a more specialized opportunity for public service employees to gain skills, knowledge, and training by completing a short set of classes such as policy analysis, applied research methods, or performance measurement. These classes are critical for understanding and evaluating a deluge of information to provide solutions for public sector problems. To best meet the needs of a changing and diverse workforce, students can complete the degree online, in person, or a combination.

Application Process

  • Persons holding a baccalaureate degree from any accredited college or university are eligible to apply. To apply, please submit the required application form online (with a $60 application fee).
  • The application can be completed online at the Graduate School;
  • An official transcript(s) of previous college work (undergraduate degree), a 3.0 or higher GPA is expected;
  • A written statement of about 300 words stating your reasons for seeking the Certificate of Public Policy.
  • Starting March 2019, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis (for fall, spring, and summer semesters). Applications are reviewed by the MPA Admissions committee.


Students must complete the following:

  • PUAD 531, Introduction to Public Policymaking (offered online and in person)
  • PUAD 503, Policy Analysis (offered online and in person)
  • PUAD 527, Performance Measurement (offered online)
  • PUAD 506, MPA Applied Research Methods (offered online and in person)
  • PUAD 505, Public Budgeting & Finance (offered online and in person)
  • PUAD 507, Program Evaluation (offered online and in person)
  • PUAD 561, Ethics in Public Administration (offered online)
  • PUAD 595, Environmental Governance & Policy (offered online and in person)
  • PSCI 540, American Politics (offered in person)
  • PSCI 524, Management Skills (offered in person)

Contact the MPA Director for more information.

Sara Rinfret, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Chair & MPA Director
University of Montana
32 Campus Drive
Office: Law 146
Missoula, MT 59812