Program Description

Master of Arts - Rural Public Policy and Planning


The Master of Arts in Rural Public Policy and Planning Program is a graduate program within the Mississippi Valley State University Department of Social Sciences. The Program seeks to provide the Delta region, state, and nation with the opportunity for graduate education in rural public policy and planning. In addition, the program provides continuing education opportunities for those individuals interested in, or currently serving in, various administrative capacities in government, private and nonprofit organizations; and those who desire to pursue doctoral studies.


The Master of Arts in Rural Public Policy and Planning seeks to fulfill the need for graduate study in rural communities and small-town governments like those in the Mississippi Delta and the broader Delta region. The Program provides opportunities for graduate education for those individuals interested in or currently serving in various administrative capacities in rural and small-town governments, private and non-profit organizations. In addition, the program serves those who desire to pursue doctoral studies in public policy, planning, administration, management, and related fields. The program also appeals to non-traditional students seeking to expand their knowledge bases and problem-solving approaches in addressing the myriad of problems in the everyday life of rural communities.


The program goals are:

  1. To prepare professional practitioners who demonstrate state-of-the-art knowledge and expertise in the formulation, implementation, evaluation, and analysis of rural public policies;
  2. To prepare professional practitioners with the skill set for policy and program planning and evaluation for rural private, public, and nonprofit agencies; and
  3. To prepare students for doctoral studies 




The Master of Arts in Rural Public policy and Planning (MRPP) curriculum consists of thirty-six (36) credit hours. The program’s core requirements consist of twelve (12) credit hours, six (6) credit hours of research and statistics, and six (6) credit hours of thesis or six (6) credit hours of practicum. The program has three areas of specialization namely: agriculture policy, rural health policy, nonprofit policy, and social and economic policy of which students choose one. Each area of specialization consists of nine (9) credit hours.

Core Requirements (12 hours)

RP 503         Rural Policy Planning, Evaluation and Analysis   (3 hrs)

RP 504         Rural Community and Economic Development  (3 hrs)

RP 505         Economic Analysis of State and Local government (3 hrs)

RP 506         Intergovernmental Relations (3 hrs)

Research Requirements (6 hours)

RP 507         Research Methods for Public Policy  (3 hrs)

RP 508         Statistical Analysis (3 hrs)

Thesis or Non-Thesis Option (6 hours)

RP 509         Thesis: Master’s Thesis (6 hrs)

RP 510         Non-Thesis: Practicum (6 hrs)

Prerequisite for non-public administration/policy majors (3 hrs)

RP 515         Seminar in Public Administration (3 hrs)

Areas of Specializations                                                                  

Agriculture Policy (9 hours) 

RP 526         Rural Demography and Growth (3 hrs)

RP 529         Agriculture Policy (3 hrs)

RP 530         Agriculture Economic and Agribusiness (3 hrs)

Rural Health Policy (9 hours) 

RP 517         Public Health Administration and Planning (3 hrs)

RP 518         Principles of Environmental Health (3 hrs)

RP 520         Epidemiology in Rural Districts (3 hrs)

Nonprofit Policy (9 hours)

RP 521         Voluntary Nonprofit Sector and Public Policy (3 hrs)

RP 522         Nonprofit Management and Leadership (3 hrs)

RP 523         Financial Accounting in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors (3 hrs)

Social and Economic Policy (9 hours)

RP 525         Rural Planning and Social Policy  (3 hrs)

RP 526         Rural Demography and Growth (3 hrs)

RP 528         Small Business Development (3 hrs)

Electives (Optional)

RP 513         Independent Study in Public Policy (3 hrs)

RP 514         Special Topics in Public Policy (3 hrs)

RP 515        Seminar in Public Administration (3 hrs)


Applicants seeking admission to the Master of Arts in Rural Public Policy and Planning Program at Mississippi Valley State University must be admitted to the University via this graduate degree program.

To be eligible for admission to this graduate program, the following requirements must be met:

  1. An applicant must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

  2. An application must be filed with the Office of Admissions.

  3. An official transcript of a conferred undergraduate degree and any transcripts the student is seeking credit for to the intended program of study must be on file in the Office of Student Records/University Registrar.

  4. An applicant must satisfy a minimum undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale.  

  5. An applicant must submit three letters of recommendation from persons who are qualified to certify as to your abilities and character.

  6. An applicant must submit a "Personal Statement" and a "General or Scholarly Writing Sample".

  7. The department of the graduate program applied for must formally accept the student for admission to the graduate program of study. The actual acceptance letter is forwarded by the Office of Admissions.

  8. An immunization record must be submitted and/or on file.

Students who show academic promise but fail to meet all the requirements based on the aforementioned indicators may be admitted on a conditional basis.  Students will be required to complete nine (9)hours toward the degree while on provisional status and must earn a minimum of a “B” or above in each class.  After the provisional period, the faculty will review the student’s progress and determine if he or she should be allowed to continue.  Those students who are allowed to continue will then be unconditionally admitted to the program. Conditionally admitted students are not eligible for financial aid.

Priority Date for Admission

Admission to a degree program is made in the fall or spring semester. The priority date for fall applications is March 15. The priority date for spring applications is October 15. 

Admission of Undergraduates to Graduate Courses

Undergraduate Mississippi Valley State University students who have completed all required courses thus far and are within six hours of graduation may enroll in a maximum of six semester hours of graduate work. To be eligible to take graduate courses, undergraduate students must have a grade point average of at least 2.5 overall and in their major field. 


For application materials or program-specific information, interested candidates should contact:

The Office of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment, (662) 254-3347 or Program Coordinator, Dr. Richard Mushi, Master of Arts in Rural Public Policy and Planning, (662) 254-3352/3357/3547.

For graduate admissions, please follow the following link:

For general information contact: MVSU Admissions and Recruitment Office, 662-254-3347.