Campus & Community

Asia Programs offers master’s in public policy degree

3 min read

Asia Programs of the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation recently announced (Oct. 16) the launch of its two-year master’s in public policy (M.P.P.) program at the Fulbright School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The Fulbright School, a partnership between the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and the University of Economics-Ho Chi Minh City, works directly with the Vietnamese government’s ministry of education as the country’s first public policy institute. The school’s new M.P.P. program trains policymakers, public officials, and private sector professionals to better address Vietnam’s unique economic and policy challenges with sustainable, actionable solutions. Drawing upon the public policy foundations of HKS, the program offers an intensive and research-driven curriculum in public policy, market economics, and public sector leadership within Vietnam’s specific socioeconomic context. M.P.P. graduates earn a degree from the University of Economics.

Unlike the more pervasive regionally based and Hanoi-focused training programs in Vietnam, the Fulbright M.P.P. offers a broader, countrywide perspective on Vietnam’s pressing challenges, ranging from urbanization to governing with limited resources.

First-year students build strong analytical and theoretical frameworks that include micro- and macroeconomics and quantitative methods. Students delve more deeply into Vietnam-specific policy issues including globalization and rural transformations in the program’s second year. Coursework addresses development finance, trade institutions, public leadership and management, and public sector economics. At the conclusion of the program, students write a master’s thesis on a specific public sector challenge.

Class discussion is enriched by students’ wealth of professional experience, as well as the school’s ongoing dialogue with regional and national policymakers. The program’s teaching staff includes two HKS professors, as well as Vietnamese professionals. Teachings incorporate original case studies on Vietnam’s core challenges as well as HKS cases.

The new M.P.P. program represents just one area of the Asia Programs’ broad focus on Vietnam’s future development and integration into the world economy. This past January, members of the Vietnam Program met and presented Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung with an analytical report of Vietnam’s socioeconomic development strategy. At the recent online event “Choosing Success: The Lessons of East and Southeast Asia and Vietnam’s Future,” a panel of experts including authors of the report elaborated on its recommendations.

“Increasingly, Vietnam is confronting challenges to its macroeconomic stability including urbanization and globalization,” said Anthony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and director of the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation. “Now, more than ever, the country needs leaders capable of crafting innovative and sustainable solutions to pressing national and global issues. We are pleased to offer Vietnam’s public and private sector leaders the country’s first-ever two-year M.P.P. program, providing an invaluable resource for public policy analysis, management, and leadership to flourish.”