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As a POLS student, you are required to complete 45 units (approximately 12-15 courses) within 3 consecutive quarters (Autumn-Spring) at Stanford, 36 units of which must be within the Graduate School of Education (GSE). In addition, as part of the year-long POLS seminar, students develop, complete, and present a POLS Project of significant personal interest that addresses a specific educational challenge.

MA Education (POLS sub-plan) / MPP

The MA Education/MPP Joint Degree Program is a two year (six quarters) program that allows students to pursue an MA in Education at the Graduate School of Education and a Mater's in Public Policy degree from the Public Policy Program at the School of Humanities and Sciences simultaneously.  The MA and MPP degrees earned independently would require 3 years, but because of overlapping curricula, the joint degree requires two years to complete. 

Students attracted to this joint degree have a wide variety of interests in education, including education policy, education management, education technology, and teaching and learning. This joint degree program provides students an opportunity to further develop analytical skills and policy analysis perspectives in addition to receiving in-depth education in economic and political science points of view on policy.

Students in this joint degree program will spend their first year taking both Public Policy core courses, Education electives, and completing a POLS Project. The second year is typically devoted to intensive Education study and completing the MPP practicum.


Every quarter POLS students are required take the POLS Seminar (EDUC 209ABC) and to complete courses within three Cluster Requirements: Knowledge, Theory, and Skills. In addition, students may choose from over 100 courses offered at the Graduate School of Education, as well as a variety of classes offered in other Stanford schools and departments.


Students are recommended to pursue an Internship as an important part of their POLS experience.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program awards up to 100 high-achieving students every year with full funding to pursue a graduate education at Stanford, including the MA in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies (POLS) in the Graduate School of Education. To be considered, you must apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars by September 27, 2017 and the POLS Program by November 15, 2017. Follow these steps to learn if applying to be a Knight-Hennessy Scholar is right for you:

  • Look carefully at the Knight-Hennessy Scholars criteria and consider whether what they are looking for is aligned with your background and interests.
  • Imagine all the different ways in which you might contribute to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars community.
  • Articulate how you would develop your own leadership capacity while serving a larger professional purpose in education.
  • Should you decide to apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, be sure to explain in your application how you would extend your leadership development beyond the POLS academic year in ways that impact education. This is particularly important given that the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program will give priority to applicants who will spend at least two years at Stanford.

Communicate with Geoff Cox for more information and advice on applying for this highly selective, university-wide program.

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