Graduate Certificate in Public Policy

Public policy - the actions of government and its partners in the nonprofit and private sectors - is the keystone of politics and public administration. The creation, adoption and implementation of public policy is a complex process that requires skills in analysis, reasoning and argumentation - what we call evidence-based policy advocacy.

The Graduate Certificate in Public Policy helps you make the most of your skills by providing you with the tools you need to be an effective advocate for realistic, effective and responsible public policy.

Admissions Requirements

The certificate program enrolls year-round (Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters) provided courses are available. Applications will be reviewed after the deadline.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall - May 1
  • Spring & Summer - December 1

Current NCSU Graduate Students only need to fill out the “Graduate Student Certificate Plan Data Entry” form and submit it to the Public Policy Program Coordinator, Dr. Bruce McDonald, at bmcdona@ncsu.edu to apply to add the certificate program. Applicants must be currently enrolled and in good standing.

Certificate-Only Students (non-degree or non-NC State graduate students) will fill out an application through the Graduate School.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last two years (last 60 credits) of undergraduate study and will submit transcripts as part of their application.

Certificate Requirements

The Graduate Certificate in Public Policy consists of 15 credit hours.

Core Courses: (9-12 credits)

  • PA 507 Public Policy Process
  • PA 509 Applied Political Economy
  • PA 511 Public Policy Analysis
  • PA 515 Research Methods and Analysis*

*Students can waive the PA 515 requirement if they have taken an approved graduate-level statistics course at NC State. Students would then take an additional elective course to meet the 15-credit certificate requirement. Students who are simultaneously seeking the MPA at NCSU will, as part of the program, meet this requirement in that program’s curriculum.

Elective Courses (3-6 credits)

  • Policy or managerial course(s), approved by the Coordinator, from virtually any program at NC State. Examples include, but are not limited to, courses in history, the social sciences, natural resources, agriculture, health, business, or engineering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Not necessarily. Your academic success may have a strong bearing on admission to a degree program, but completion of a certificate program in no way guarantees entry into a graduate degree program. Each graduate degree program has its own application process and admission requirements. Before beginning the certificate program, students interested in obtaining a graduate degree should meet with that degree program’s Director of Graduate Programs (DGP) or a designated staff person. People interested in the MPA degree should meet with the PA Graduate Services Coordinator, Meggie Romick (mromick@ncsu.edu).

MPA students may count PA 511 and PA 515 towards both the MPA degree and the certificate requirements. Other certificate courses can count as electives in the MPA program. MPA students will still need to submit an application to apply to add the certificate program.

Yes, it is recommended that students take the core courses in the following order: PA 509 Applied Political Economy , PA 515 Research Methods and Analysis, PA 511 Public Policy Analysis, and PA 507 Public Policy Process.

If the course is an approved graduate-level NCSU statistics course, then yes! Questions about specific NC State statistics courses should be sent to Dr. Bruce McDonald (bmcdona@ncsu.edu).

Unfortunately, no. Pursuing only a graduate certificate will not provide enough credits per semester to meet the full-time course load requirement.

No. All certificate coursework must be registered for through NC State University.

Regular graduate school rates apply. You can find this information on the Graduate Student Services webpage.