College launches new public policy program

The Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy at the College of William and Mary was recently established, allowing students to earn both an undergraduate degree and a Masters of public policy in five years of coursework, rather than the normal six.

Eric Jensen, the director of public policy at the College, said that the new BA/MPP program will aid students who have a clear understanding of what they wish to do in the future.

“We know many students come in and already have a lot of credits, so we are trying to facilitate those who are prepared and know who and where they want to be.”

Students who have earned at least 90 credits are eligible to apply during the spring of their junior year. Jensen anticipates that admission will be highly competitive.

During the summer following junior year, admitted students will have the chance to conduct a research project with a faculty supervisor. This will be followed by enrollment in both undergraduate and MPP courses. After earning a bachelor’s degree upon the completion of senior year, students will be accepted to the graduate school and will participate in a summer internship.

Jensen says that a formal announcement of the first admitted students to the five-year BA/MPP degree program will come soon.

Although a few other institutions, including the University of Maryland, Rutgers University and the University of Virginia offer equivalent degrees in the five-year time frame, Jensen said the College’s new program is unique.

“One of the advantages of William and Mary’s program is the varied assortment of people present,” he said. “We offer a chance to participate and study with a mixed group of both undergraduate and graduate students.”

The majority of students on the accelerated degree path will receive merit-based financial assistance over the course their studies. Currently the Trice Fellowship will financially support at least one applicant who is concerned with international policy.

Jensen stressed that the fellowship is not limited to those studying international relations, and strongly encouraged those with any of a wide variety of interests in global issues to apply.

Because of tight scheduling requirements, Jensen advises students to consider their interest in this degree path as early as possible.


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