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3+1 Accelerated Degree Program

B.A. in Political Science with a M.A. in Public Policy

3+1 = a chance to effect political and social change

You care deeply about people and populations. And you want to use your vision, compassion, and intelligence to improve their lives. The 3+1 Public Policy Program will uniquely position you to make a difference — at local, national, and global levels.

Combining a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Master of Arts in Public Policy, this highly interdisciplinary program is built on the belief that the political process can bring about social change.

Coursework in the first three years draws on Simmons's vigorous liberal arts curriculum to provide an excellent foundation in the social sciences: political science, economics, and sociology. Master's level coursework in public policy begins by the end of the third year and culminates in an intense and practical Capstone Project in Public Policy.

Using Boston's vibrant legislative, nonprofit, and advocacy resources as its classroom, the Capstone will blend the outstanding internships that distinguish Simmons with the opportunity to address real policy issues in a substantial written work.

You'll graduate with a command of public policy analysis and a deep understanding of the different contexts in which public policy is developed and implemented. You'll head out prepared to affect public good.

"The 3+1 Program is interdisciplinary, rigorous, and exciting. It's for students who want to understand the intersection between the private world of problems and the public world of politics — and to come up with solutions. The world needs more women in politics and policy,and Simmons is the place to make it happen."

- Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean, Leanne Doherty, Ph.D., Coordinator of the 3+1 Public Policy Program at the Simmons College of Arts and Sciences

Who should apply?

The 3+1 Public Policy Program is designed for highly motivated students who are interested in running for public office, working in legislative offices on legislative policy, becoming involved in advocacy or nonprofit work, or pursuing a Ph.D. or law degree. You should enjoy analyzing complex problems and have strong interest in political science, economics, or sociology.

What are my job prospects?

The career outlook for graduates with advanced degrees in public policy is bright. According to the 2010-11 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook, employment growth within the federal government is projected to grow much faster than average. The MPP degree qualifies you to work in many different capacities within government, as well as the nonprofit and private sectors.

What are my career options?

There are many rewarding routes you can take with this degree combination. Some possibilities include:

  • Policy analyst for government or the private sector
  • Legislative aide
  • National, state, or local policymaker
  • Budget analyst
  • Research associate at a think tank, policy institute, or other organizations that conduct research and engage in advocacy
  • Policy specialist at an advocacy organization, direct services agency, or other community resource that offers support and services

How does the curriculum work?

You will complete the 128 credits required for a B.A., including the courses required for your elected major, in your first three years. The Master in Public Policy degree requires 36 credits (12 courses).

Here's an example of how it will flow from start to finish:

Note: this chart represents a sample 3+1 curriculum. Course scheduling is subject to change, and the summer course load can be flexible. We will work with you individually to determine the best course sequence for your needs.

Year 1
Fall Term Spring Term
FYS 101 - First-Year Seminar: "Simmons 101" Mode 1, 2, or 4
FYW 101 - First-Year Writing MCC - Multidisciplinary Core Course
POLS101 (Mode 5) - Intro to American Politics POLS102 - Intro to International Relations
Mode 1, 2, or 4 ECON 100 - Principles of Microeconomics
Foreign Language Foreign Language
Summer I Summer II
UG Course UG Course
Year 2
Fall Term Spring Term
Mode 1, 2, or 4 Math 118 (Mode 3) - Statistics
POLS 103 (Mode 6) - Nature of Politics POLS 104 - Intro to Comparative Politics
Foreign Language ECON 239 - Government Regulation of Industry
UG POLS Course POLS 217 - American Public Policy
ECON 101 - Principles of Macroeconomics POLS 210N - National Politics Unplugged
Year 3
Fall Term Spring Term
POLS 212 - Politics Unplugged ECON 241 Business Competition and Anti-Trust Policy
ECON 236 - Public Economics UG POLS Course
POLS 390 - Senior Seminar UG Course
UG Course *POLS 370/570 Internship (8 Credits) (UG, BLEE, MPP)
POLS 213 - Politics in the Republic-Congress and the Presidency
Summer I Summer II
UG Course
Year 4
Fall Term Spring Term
*MPP 501 - Policy Analysis and Process *MPP 502 - Social Policy
*MPP 504 - Quantitative Analysis *MPP 503 - Economic Policy
MPP Elective MPP Elective
MPP Elective MPP Elective
MPP Elective *MPP 555 - Capstone

*Indicates a required core course in the MPP Program

Who will advise me?

Associate Professor Leanne Doherty, Ph.D., Chair of the Political Science & International Relations department, will oversee the 3+1 Political Science/Public Policy Program.

Close mentorship is vital to 3+1 success. You'll work one on one with your advisor throughout the program to ensure your progress and to meet your personal and professional goals.

To find out more about the program, contact Professor Doherty at

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for my master's degree in the 3+1 Program?

Ideally, you will submit an application for the master's part of your program at the end of your freshman year or during your sophomore year. For the SSW program, you'll apply at the start of your third year.

If I start the 3+1 Program, am I locked into it?

No. You can choose another major or complete just one degree if you find 3+1 isn't a match for you. However, depending on your new major, you may need to decide by the first semester of your sophomore year in order to meet the academic requirements.

Can I opt into 3+1 as a sophomore?

Yes, but you will need to do so at the start of your sophomore year. Your ability to complete the program by your senior year will also depend on what courses you took your freshman year and/or your Advanced Placement credits. Contact the 3+1 advisor for your program to learn more.

Do I have to complete the program in four consecutive years?

That's the plan. The curriculum for each program is set up with a careful sequencing of courses. Although there is some flexibility built in, it's highly recommended that you follow the program as it's laid out. If you feel this may be a problem, talk to your 3+1 advisor.

Will I have time to work or do extracurricular activities?

Because the 3+1 Program doesn't "skip" requirements and can demand a workload of five courses per semester, the time commitment is significant. However, your schedule should be flexible enough to allow you to work and join extracurricular activities.

Do I need to live in Boston year-round to do this?

Because the program almost entirely takes place on the Simmons campus and in field sites in the community, it's likely you will need to be in Boston for the academic year and at least some summers. The 3+1 faculty advisors can direct you on how the schedule will work for your program.

Simmons's graduate programs are coed; can a male student participate in 3 + 1?

No. The 3 + 1 option is only available to students who enroll in our (all women) undergraduate program.

How much money do I save?

Depending on an individual's plan and progress, students may save significantly on both tuition and living expenses.

What if I leave the 3+1 Program after three years? Will I graduate with a bachelor degree as a junior?

Yes. If you complete all your academic requirements in three years, you will earn your bachelor degree.

Will 3+1 affect my financial aid?

No. You will apply for financial aid as you normally do.

How will employers view graduates of the 3+1 Program? Will I be as competitive?

Based on our extensive knowledge of the fields represented, the 3+1 Program will position graduates with an "edge" in the marketplace. You'll be seen as motivated, accomplished, and hard working.

And because the 3+1 Program doesn't cut corners - you complete the same requirements as traditional students but in a shorter amount of time - your credentials and experience will be competitive with other candidates'.

Can I really complete this in four years?

Yes! The strategic combination of course sequencing, complementary learning, and faculty mentoring make the 3+1 an appealing, feasible option. Finishing two degrees in four years will take organization and dedication. Yet in a competitive job market, we anticipate that you'll find the high-quality results and cost savings to be well worth it.