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Master in Public Policy

Graduate program (MSc) in Public Policy

Insper’sProfessional Masters in Public Policy (MPP, for its acronym in Portuguese) is a pioneering program in Brazil. 

With a faculty that brings together researchers with both vast professional and academic experience, the program is structured to provide students with the ability of designing and evaluating public policies

The Graduate Program was designed to meet the demands of governments in all their levels (municipal, state, and federal) and branches (executive, legislative, and judicial), as well as private and third-sector institutions concerned with public value creation.

To whom it is addressed

The MPP seeks to develop professionals who can propose new measures and initiatives, at different government levels, with the ability to evaluate public policy based on evidence and solve complex public problems. 

Its content is aimed at those who wish to transform the reality of Brazilian public management through evidence-based policymaking

The program’s audience consists of professionals from public, private, and third-sector organizations interested in interacting with governments, preferably at the beginning of or transitioning from their careers. 


Our faculty is made up of professors who are among Brazil’s finest researchers

They are professionals with a solid academic background — all of them earned doctorates or Ph.Ds. from prominent schools in Brazil and worldwide — and extensive experience in the public sector.

Insper’s teaching methodology is student-centered; that is, the student is encouraged to take on an active role in the learning process

To this end, the program addresses real-world problems related to each participant’s professional experience, enabling intense sharing of experiences. 

There are opportunities for scholarships and the possibility of participating in Insper’s research centers to complement the education. 

The MPP has two years duration— with a full-time first year that offers class sessions and extra activities related to its courses. The second year is more flexible, aimed at elective courses and dissertation’s preparation. 

By the end of the program, MPP students should be able to: 

  • Identify and understand the public sector problems, enabling solutions based on original proposals or the analysis of experiences and cases. 
  • Understand the limits and possibilities of public policymaking involving public, private, and third-sector actors. 
  • Design performance-indicator-based initiatives that take into account the population’s needs and public sector’s peculiarities. 
  • Rigorously evaluate, based on evidence, the public policies implemented and propose adjustments whenever necessary. 

Scholarship review and approval 

The candidate can indicate whether they wish to participate in the selection process for scholarships, which can be granted in the partial or full modality. 

If the candidate chooses to apply for the scholarship, they must submit the application until the selection process’ registration deadline: 

  • Letter of intent from the candidate stating how the course will leverage their career and likelihood to help improve Brazilian public administration. 

Insper will analyze the adherence of the candidate’s profile to the desired profile for granting a partial or full scholarship based on the following aspects: 

  • Qualification – the candidate having been admitted into the program under specific student selection criteria. 
  • Diversity – considering the importance of having candidates who lend to the class different currents of thought and professional experiences. 
  • Social Impact – the candidate presents the alignment of professional experience with the program’s objectives and traits that suggest personal motivation and potential for generating social impact. 
  • Necessity – scholarship-granting is a necessary condition for attendance by a candidate who needs additional incentive to fully dedicate themselves to the program, due to various duties or financial limitations. 
  • Commitment – contributing to the program’s success, including the obligation to return the funds received in the event of interruption of the study (except if motivated by force majeure). 

The analysis will be based not only on the data filled in by candidates but also on the evaluation of the additional data submitted: 

  • Letter of intent: It is the basis for assessing the applicant’s potential for impact and their alleged needs for scholarship granting. 
  • Profile evaluation: It regards professional experience, level of responsibility, and the applicant’s ability to influence decisions in the organization where they work, if applicable, time since graduation, the potential impact on public policies, among other factors. 

 The applicants approved to receive the scholarship are then summoned to enroll at no cost to themselves or their area of origin. The others are duly informed so that they can proceed with enrollment upon payment of the investment described for the program. 

Coordinator of the Professional Masters in Public Policy 

Prof. Sandro Cabral is the Coordinator of the Professional Masters in Public Policy. He is a Doctor of Administration from the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), and an Insper Full Professor in the field of Strategy focused on public-sector-related issues. Prof. Cabral is a board member at the Academy of Management’s Public and Nonprofit division and has studies published in leading journals such as Organization ScienceJournal of Management StudiesStrategic Entrepreneurship JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and TheoryPublic ChoiceInternational Public Management JournalInternational Review of Administrative Sciences, among others

Program structure

1st quarter

  • Public Budgeting and Finance 
  • Fundamentals of Public Management 

The Fundamentals of Public Management course examines government mechanisms and institutions and arrangements between different sectors available to public management to promote social welfare. At the end of this course, students should be able to (a) explore the possible forms of government action; (b) differentiate between basic government functions; (c) justify choices for different types of government action; and (d) explore different possibilities of collaborative arrangements between public or public-private agencies. This course’s direct contribution to public policymaking is based on a reflection on service delivery directly by the government or action through different public-private governance arrangements. 

  • Introduction to Research Methodology in Public Policy 

2st quarter

  • Social Policies and the Fight Against Inequality 

The Social Policies and the Fight Against Inequality course focuses on strategies to tackle social problems through an adequate formulation of the problems and objectives in each area and by analyzing the existing and possible alternatives for action. This course discusses alternatives for action in public policy from a multidisciplinary perspective, analyzing sociological, cultural, anthropological, political, and economic components involved in poverty and inequality. 

  • Econometrics Applied to Public Policy 

This course details the implementation of different methods of quantitative analysis for public policy, specifying each method’s requirements and benefits. Thus, by the end of the course, students are expected to know (a) which is the most appropriate quantitative method to evaluate each public policy; (b) what requirements are needed for the analysis; (c) how to implement the analysis; and (d) how to interpret the data. 

  • Dilemmas of the Collective Action and Political Process 

This course aims to introduce the basic concepts, institutions, and dilemmas related to the functioning of governments. Understanding governmental dynamics, with emphasis on the influence of political processes, enables a realistic debate on the complexity of the public policy decision-making process. Several approaches and theoretical perspectives will be addressed, such as rational choice, theories of collective action, institutional theory, and others, enabling a broad and critical view of different schools of thought. The course benefits the public policymaking process by enabling more realistic action plans.

3st quarter

  • Strategy and Performance in the Public Sector 

How can governments create value for society? How should public organizations’ governance structure be to create value? How to generate incentives and measure performance in the public sector? The Strategy and Performance in the Public Sector course aims to analyze these topics in order to structure the organizational systems in the public sector and with private partners. In this way, students will learn how the alignment between decision power allocation systems and performance incentives can generate the desired outcome from public policies. 

The course considers the specificities of public organizations, which are presented previously in the program. Thus, the analysis of compliance and accountability systems in public organizations is deepened, relating the strategy to democratic and socially accountable values. Such elements are essential in the making of public policies capable of meeting society demands efficiently and sustainably, generating public value. 

  • Quantitative Methods for Public Policy Evaluation 

As a follow-up to the Econometrics course, the Quantitative Methods for Public Policy Evaluation course trains students on how to apply econometric knowledge to check for causation between different variables. This content is crucial for the evaluation of public policies. For instance, how do we know if a particular school meal policy has the desired impact on student health, attendance, or achievement? Starting from the explicit objectives of a public policy, it is possible, through quantitative analysis, to identify the broader outcomes and impacts. The course details requirements and criteria for choosing the most appropriate quantitative analysis method in each case, considering the problem that is the subject of public policy and the possible impact on other areas. 

  • Elective course 

4st quarter

  • Social Impact Measurement and Monitoring 

The course discusses impact investing, focusing on projects and public policies that seek to balance financial sustainability with socio-environmental impact. Students develop three complementary skill sets. First, they learn how to formulate public policy models that reconcile economic and social performance. Second, students should be able to evaluate and propose alternative ways of measuring the impact, formulating solid measurement plans capable of attracting investors and other stakeholders. Third, they understand the several ways and mechanisms used to attract investors to high-impact public policies. The course discusses various arrangements involving multiple actors that can participate in high-impact public policy, such as social businesses, nonprofit organizations, and different government levels. 

  • Qualitative and Mixed Methods 

The Qualitative and Mixed Methods course completes the basic methodological cycle of the Professional Masters in Public Policy, allowing for more complete and in-depth public policy evaluation. The course aims that students learn about (a) analyzing the advantages of qualitative research methods, (b) identifying situations in which qualitative research or mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) are justified, and (c) implementing different qualitative research methods. The different epistemological approaches are taken up in this course as a way of reconciling qualitative and quantitative methods that complement each other. 

  • Elective course 

5st quarter

  • Elective course 
  • Elective course 

6st quarter

Qualifying Examination

7st quarter

Project Presentation Seminars

8th quarter

Thesis Defense