skip to main content
Department of Public Policy Leadership
University of Mississippi

Students mingling at Pathways conference


The Public Policy Leadership Program Leaders are made, not born. To be effective in politics, law, and government, among other professions, they must learn how to think critically, solve complex problems, and make ethical decisions in an increasingly complex world.

Creating tomorrow’s leaders is the mission of the Public Policy Leadership (PPL) Department, a collaboration between the University of Mississippi College of Liberal Arts and the Trent Lott Leadership Institute.

Our interdisciplinary program emphasizes the global nature of responsible decision making, the ethical imperatives of leadership, critical thinking, communication skills, and the conceptual and methodological skills necessary for careful policy analysis. Many of our professors have hands-on leadership experience in government.

Our students draw on the many resources of UM, across disciplines, including:

  • economics
  • geography
  • history
  • philosophy
  • political science, and
  • public policy administration.

After graduation, they go on to rewarding careers. Recent graduates include a press secretary, an attorney at a major law firm, a deputy chief of policy for the U.S. Department of Education, a communications manager at a leading tech company, a policy analyst, and a senior operations manager at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

For Future Students

The Public Policy Leadership (PPL) Department offers a BA degree in Public Policy Leadership. Students learn to:

  • Develop effective thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills,
  • Recognize the importance and demands of ethics, diversity, and responsible leadership
  • Understand policy-making – from the local to the global
  • Acquire skills in policy analysis, and
  • Deepen knowledge of particular policy areas, such as economics or public policy administration.

Our faculty are not only academic experts; many also have professional experience outside academia.


Entry to the program is competitive and course requirements are rigorous. We seek students who have proven excellent in both academics and public or community service. Prospective students fill out two applications: to UM and to the Trent Lott Leadership Institute, which makes final admission decisions.


All students admitted to the Public Policy Leadership program and possessing exceptional leadership and academic records, are under scholarship consideration.

Internships and Study Abroad

PPL students are uniquely situating to find excellent internship opportunities. Our community of professors and alumni, as well as visitors from beyond campus are all invaluable resources in beginning a hunt for an internships in politics or with a government agency or nonprofit.

Our students have traveled across the nation and the world, studying at universities across the nation and the world. Our Study Abroad Office is an excellent resource for finding exciting international opportunities and pursuing enriching activities beyond the UM Campus.


UM-based programs

They can spend an academic semester in Washington, earning credit toward their major through the UM Washington Internship Experience.

The Trent Lott Leadership Institute offers summer study abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the China University of Technology in Beijing.

They study abroad and gain invaluable experience in internships offered through the Lott Leadership Institute.

Our Student Ambassadors show what a PPL education looks like in action.