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Advanced Policy Analysis (APA)

Client-Based Projects

Update November 2, 2018:

We will continue to accept proposals until all students have a project in place; however, we highly recommend as soon as possible (ideally by December 1st) in order to maximize the number of students available to apply for your project.

Overview for Prospective Clients - What is the APA (Advanced Policy Analysis)?

The APA (Advanced Policy Analysis) project is a thorough analysis conducted by a Goldman School student (who serves as a consultant) of a major policy question facing a “real-world” organization/practitioner (who serves as the client), applying the interdisciplinary methods, approaches, and perspectives studied in GSPP’s core curriculum. This project is required of all GSPP students in their final spring semester of study in order to complete the Master of Public Policy degree, and serves as the student's Master's Thesis.

Through this project, each student consultant conducts a thorough policy analysis of and provides recommendations to clients for complex policy problems, decisions, and/or opportunities facing a client organization (with faculty supervision and advice). Students identify and weigh policy options, generating analysis and recommendations that they present to the client in the form of a written report and presentation for clients to consider.

If you or someone else in your organization would benefit from having a public policy graduate student analyze and develop recommendations regarding a policy problem faced by your organization, we encourage you to consider submitting a proposal. You are more than welcome to forward this information to other organizations who might be interested.

For more details about the APA, please review the Letter to Prospective Clients.

APA Project Timeline
August - November

Submit proposals. Clients begin to submit project proposals in early September for students to review, with most students finalizing their client choices by early November.  We encourage clients to submit project proposals early during this timeframe as students begin to apply for project proposals as early as September. In principle, relationships between students and clients, as well as the basic project scope, should be established no later than December 15th.  We are currently continuing to accept proposals, and will do so until all students have secured a project.


Project work begins. Students begin projects during the week of January 22 2019, although students can begin preliminary work on the project depending on the needs of the client and/or the project (this must be mutually agreed upon between the client and student).  Students are required to attend a weekly seminar with a faculty advisor and another 10-12 Goldman students doing their own projects.  The APA represents 75% (approximately 30 hours per week) of a student's workload in the Spring semester.

Mid-AprilDraft project due. Draft paper is due to the faculty advisor and client for review and feedback.
Early MayFinal paper due. Final paper is due to the faculty advisor, client, and GSPP student services unit.