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Admissions Blog

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Goldman School Faculty, Staff, and Students are doing incredible things every day. Follow us on social media to get an inside peek into our annual alumni dinner, learn about campus spotlights on faculty research, and see how students unwind between core courses in our courtyard!

Student Profile

Leah Koestner, MPP '15













Name:  Leah Koestner

Year: Second

Policy Area of Concentration:  Social, education, budgeting and economic, and arts policy

GSPP Graduation Year: 2015

Undergraduate School:  Arizona State University

Personal History: After graduating with a degree in Economics, I worked in the Arizona Governor’s Office as a Education Research Analyst in the Office of Economic Recovery, as an Assistant Policy Advisor, and as a Budget Analyst in the Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting. 

What attracted you to GSPP? The faculty, the administration, the affordability, the bay area. 

How did you prepare for the GSPP application and admissions process? I researched why I would be a good fit at GSPP and why GSPP was a good fit for me. 

What did you enjoy most during your time at GSPP?  Working with the amazing faculty. 

What was your professional background before GSPP and what do you look to do with your degree upon graduation? I worked in a state budget office. I hope to be a consultant or work in federal policy. 

What is your favorite thing about being a student in the Bay Area? Access to a big city, beautiful camping and hiking, and the beach.  

What has been your favorite class? Criminal Justice Policy with Steven Raphael – for subject area class, Risk and Optimization for skills class. 

Who is your favorite faculty member? Steve Raphael

What is your best memory from GSPP? During the Fall Feast, a group of students put on an Indian dance. It was so moving and awesome to see so many people with different backgrounds come together and have so much fun.

GSPP is packing its bags!

Idealist Grad Fairs: CHI, DC, BALTIMORE

The Goldman School of Public Policy is packing its bags again for Idealist Grad Fairs in ChicagoWashington, DC, and Baltimore! This is an opportunity to speak with GSPP Admissions and alumni to learn about admissions requirements, the MPP curriculum, and life at GSPP.

Chicago • RSVP
Thursday, October 23, 2014 • 5:00pm–8:00pm 
University of Illinois, Chicago, UIC Forum
725 W Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60608

Washington, DC • RSVP
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 • 5:00pm–8:00pm 
801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington Convention Center, Hall C
Washington, DC 20001

Baltimore • RSVP
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 • 5:00pm–8:00pm
Johns Hopkins University, Homewood Campus, Glass Pavilion
3101 Wyman Park Drive, Baltimore, MD 21211

San Francisco, we're coming for you next!

What Courses are GSPP Students Taking?

Course Selection

At such a large university, the course choices for the MPP degree are endless. Want to see what Goldman School students have to choose from in Spring 2015? See our GSPP course listings going all the way back to Fall 2012.  

In the MPP curriculum, students are allowed anywhere from 5 to 8 electives. What's great about the electives is that they can be taken anywhere campus. The University course catalogue is open to you, which means you can take classes at Berkeley Law, Haas School of Business, College of Engineering, Social Welfare, School of Public Health, College of Natural Resources, School of Education, School of Journalism, School of Information, and on, and on, and on.

With an average entering class size of 85, students get the benefits of learning in a community environment with the resources of a major university.

PolicyMatters Journal

A Student-Run Journal of the Goldman School of Public Policy

GSPP is unique in that students and faculty understand the necessary relationship between rigorous scholarly work and translating policy to practice. A great example of this is the student-run PolicyMatters Journal. Covering topics from Food Stamp Enrollment to Pension Reform to Fossil Fuels, PMJ describes itself as “ a conduit for the insights of Goldman students on pertinent policy topics.” 

Each semester, PMJ publishes a journal online and in print that contains between seven and ten articles, typically authored by graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley. PMJ also maintains a blog, PMJ Wire, which serves as a voice for GSPP students to share their policy expertise and opinions with a wide audience.

PMJ currently has a staff of thirty editors, who are all GSPP students. These individuals complete all of the work related to producing the journal, including editing, design, and distribution. PMJ is also led by a small group of about seven students who serve as the executive board. These students have the opportunity to lead the development and vision of the journal.

PMJ provides a unique platform for UC Berkeley graduate students to publish their research and learn about the editing and publishing process, particularly for writing related to public policy analysis.

Fall 2014 MPP Admissions Events

Final On Campus Information Session

GSPP will host its final on campus information session for the MPP program on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. This is an opportunity for prospective students to speak with GSPP students, faculty, and staff to learn about admissions requirements, the MPP curriculum, life at GSPP, and more!

Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 • 5:30pm–8:00pm  

Location: Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, 2607 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94720


5:30- 6:00  Refreshments/ Mingling

6:00- 6:30  Welcome/ Program Overview

6:30-7:15  Student/ Alumni Panel

7:15- 8:00  Admission/ Student Services Panel


Dean Henry Brady: What Makes GSPP Great

Admissions Info Session

For those that missed the September 30th Admissions Info Session, please be sure to check out Dean Henry Brady speak about the Master in Public Policy Program and what makes GSPP one of the nation’s premier graduate institutions for education and research on the most pressing contemporary policy problems in American society and throughout the world.

Student Profile

Anna Maier, MPP '15

Name: Anna Maier

Year: Second

Policy Area of Concentration: Education

GSPP Graduation Year: 2015

Undergraduate School(s): Carleton College, New College of California


Personal History: I’m a West Coaster through and through. I grew up in Seattle, and after a brief interlude in the Midwest where I attended college, I moved to Oakland and have been here ever since. I love the Bay Area, and intend to stay here after graduation.

What attracted you to GSPP? As I immersed myself in the world of public education, I became increasingly frustrated by policies that were often ineffective and at times damaging to the children and families I worked with. I found myself drawn to the prospect of advocating for change at a systemic level, and was delighted to discover that the top public policy school in the country was right in my backyard. Although the stellar reputation drew me to GSPP, it was the people that really sealed the deal. Through visits and email exchanges, I was consistently impressed by the welcoming and collaborative atmosphere, paired with a top notch academic experience.

Read more

FAQ in the GSPP inbox

Concurrent Degrees

“GSPP lists a few concurrent degree programs on the website, but are there other programs that can be done concurrently that are not listed?”

GSPP offers more concurrent degree programs than almost any other department or school at UC Berkeley, 12 in all. This includes partnerships with Berkeley Law School, School of Public Health, International and Area Studies, College of Engineering, Energy and Resources Group, and School of Social Welfare.

Every concurrent program we offer is listed on our website. If there is a program you're interested in for which we do not offer a concurrent degree, there are still opportunities for multidisciplinary study. Your MPP electives can be taken in any department or school anywhere at Berkeley. You may fulfill the required summer internship in any policy field. And finally, you pick your APA client, which can be in any policy area.

FAQ in the GSPP inbox

Does my AP Calculus or AP Statistics course fulfill the quant requirement?

“I know it is recommended to have some undergraduate coursework in Statistics.  If I took AP statistics in high school and received college undergraduate credit for it (granted it was 10 years ago), does that count?  Or do I need to retake a statistics class that I already technically have credit for?”

GSPP does not require prior quantitative training; however prior course work in introductory statistics, first-year calculus, and introductory economics is strongly recommended. We recommend these courses not just as an indicator of your current quantitative skills, but also as a gauge of your ability to handle the quantitative rigor once you're enrolled.

So, does an AP class “count”? It's not really a matter of counting, since there's no formal requirement. If you need to reach back to high school for evidence of your quantitative skills, though, it will be very difficult for the admissions committee to gauge your ability to handle core courses like Decision Analysis, Modeling and Quantitative Methods and The Economics of Public Policy Analysis. 

Further, if there's no grade associated with a quantitative course on your transcript, only credits, it's of limited use to the admissions committee when evaluating your quantitative skills.

The more evidence you show of success in a quantitative environment (transcripts, GRE, letters of recommendation from an employer, etc.), and the more recent that evidence, the more competitive you will be as an applicant, and the more prepared you will be as a student.

Note: If you have already received your bachelor's degree, don't fret. We encourage and welcome applicants who complete quantitative coursework after they graduate at a University, local community college, or online, as long as it is through an academic institution and a transcript is issued.