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Through the Public Policy Administration’s Master’s Program, the university offers the Graduate Certificate in Policy & Program Evaluation (PPE). Administrators and managers in both the public and nonprofit sectors need to have the tools to respond to the increasing demand for accountability and documenting outcomes.

In governmental organizations, taxpayers want to know that programs are both efficient and effective. In the nonprofit sector, funders want to see proposed programs that are evidence-based and that, once implemented, achieve the promised outcomes.

The PPE program provides students the opportunity to gain expertise in policy and program evaluation methods, including completion of an applied evaluation project.

In addition to the public and nonprofit sectors, the certificate is appropriate for individuals in other fields, including  education, economics, gerontology, social work, and sociology. Basically anyone who needs to conduct assessments of the programs for which they are responsible would benefit from this advanced knowledge.  

The certificate can be taken by itself or in conjunction with the pursuit of the Master's in Public Policy Administration or a graduate degree in another field. Course credits earned in the certificate program can be applied to the MPPA, but a separate application may be required.

Stand-alone or with Master’s Degree

The PPE certificate may be taken as a stand-alone credential or in conjunction with the Master’s Degree in Public Policy Administration (MPPA). With advance planning, all 18 credit hours from the PPE certificate can be applied to the MPPA. However, completion of the PPE certificate does not guarantee acceptance into the MPPA program, which requires a separate application.

Curriculum Highlights

The Graduate Certificate in Policy and Program Evaluation curriculum includes a social science base along with practical experience to assure certificate holders have both theoretical knowledge and implementation skills.
The curriculum requires the completion of 18 credit hours. Twelve of these are the following core courses:

Core Courses (12 Hours)   

P P ADM 6000 Introduction To Policy Analysis

One of the following:

P P ADM 6010 Introduction To Policy Research
SOC WK 5450 Social Work Research Methods And Analysis II
ECON 4100 Introduction To Econometrics
ECON 5100 Econometric Theory And Methods

One of the following:

P P ADM 6750 Introduction To Evaluation
Research Methods
SOC WK 6400 Practice and Program Evaluation

One of the following: *

P P ADM 6751 Applied Evaluation Project
P P ADM 6950 Internship*
SOC WK 6800 Graduate Field Practicum II*
SOC WK 6850 Graduate Field Practicum III*
* Must include an evaluation project.

Electives (6 Hours)

Required elective is POL SCI 6402 Intermediate Techniques in Policy Research, or ECON 4100 Introduction to Econometrics.

Students choose a 3-hour course from the following:

POL SCI 6403 Advanced Techniques in Policy Research
POL SCI 6404 Multi-Method Research Design
ECON 4160 Geospatial Analysis in the Social Studies
ECON 5110 Topics in Applied Econometrics
ECON 4170 Fundamentals of Cost-Benefit Analysis


Requirements for admission to the PPE certificate program include:

  • Undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Two letters of recommendation, preferably with at least one from a current or former college-level instructor
  • Two-page personal statement explaining the applicant’s personal and professional goals

About our faculty

Instructors in the PPE program include core faculty who hold joint appointments in Public Policy Administration and related fields including Economics, Political Science, and Business Administration, as well as adjunct faculty who work in local government, nonprofit management, and policy analysis.

Adjunct faculty bring considerable professional, educational, and teaching experience and play an important role in connecting our students with the professional community.

Mark Tranel, PhD, serves as program advisor for the PPE Certificate Program. He is the Director of the Public Policy Research Center at UMSL and Research Associate Professor of Public Policy Administration.

Since 1990 he has served as principal investigator or project manager on over 60 applied research projects, including evaluations of early childhood education programs, public housing redevelopment projects, collaboration among educational institutions, impediments to fair housing, health promotion among noncustodial fathers, and state funding of transportation, among others.

Tranel’s background, which includes a 20-year career in local government administration and project management, provides students with a unique perspective and many opportunities to see the practical applications of the evaluation program. In addition to teaching public policy analysis and evaluation research, he serves on the Board of Directors of several St. Louis nonprofits.