For over four decades, the Ford School has hosted a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute—an intensive seven-week summer program that focuses on preparing diverse undergraduate students from all over the United States for graduate programs in public policy and international affairs.

Students will take statistics, microeconomics, and a writing course for the full seven weeks of the program, as well as shorter two to three week policy modules on a specific policy topic.

Participants receive:

  • $1,500 stipend
  • Travel expenses
  • Housing & meals
  • Books & related course supplies
  • Library & computer access


Courses focus on improving students’ communication and quantitative reasoning skills, which are vital to their success in graduate programs. Students do not receive any course grades, but will receive a detailed qualitative evaluation.

This course covers descriptive statistics, probability theory, probability distributions, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. It also includes an introduction to experimental design. The emphasis in the course is on preparing competent users and consumers of basic statistics.

This course teaches the fundamental concepts in microeconomic theory that are essential as a foundation for the study of public policy, law and international affairs. Students learn economic theory in order to model decision-making processes. They also learn how to evaluate whether an outcome is good for society and what incentives are needed to achieve a desired outcome. Each course lecture includes a policy debate where students use economic models to analyze a policy problem and propose solutions.

Policy Modules
In these courses, Ford School faculty introduce students to current policy issues, enabling them to apply analytic tools and to improve their communication skills – particularly writing composition. The three policy modules will each have a different focus, with a mix of international and domestic topics. The material and approaches used in these modules will draw from the statistics and
economics courses. Students will write policy memos analyzing each topical area, and will gain expertise in oral presentation. Previous module topics have included Counterterrorism, Transportation Policy, Health Policy, Irrational Actors: Psychological Approaches to Decision Making; International Economic Policy; Mass Incarceration; Public Management and Environmental Protection; U.S-China Relations and many more.

Writing Instruction
Students will work with the Writing Instructor for the duration of the program. The Writing Instructor conducts seminars on graduate school writing, with an emphasis on writing for a school of public policy and international affairs. The instructor also meets with students in individual writing conferences to give feedback, suggestions and critiques.

GRE preparation
Students will participate in a full GRE preparation course, as well as receive GRE preparation materials.


Students will participate in weekly lunch meetings with faculty and guest speakers. They will also attend professional development, career planning and resume workshops hosted by our Graduate Career Services staff. As well as, attending sessions with the admissions team on preparing for the graduate school admissions process.

During past programs, students have visited the cities of Detroit, Flint, Lansing, and Chicago to meet with government officials, community organizers and policy makers. They have also taken advantage of Ann Arbor’s robust cultural and social atmosphere by participating in summer festivals like Top of the Park and the Ann Arbor Art Fair.


Application deadline November 8, 2021
Admission notification February 1, 2022
Program begins June 13, 2022
Program ends July 29, 2022


PPIA Fellows who successfully complete any PPIA Junior Summer Institute and who are admitted to the Master in Public Policy (MPP) program at the Ford School will be guaranteed at least a quarter tuition fellowship, and be eligible to be considered for a Rackham Masters Award, consisting of four semesters of tuition and fees, a living stipend, and health care.

For more information about the Ford School ‘s PPIA Junior Summer Institute see contact information below.


PPIA Junior Summer Institute at University of Michigan

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

735 S. State Street, #2245

Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091

Phone: 734-764-0453


Learn more about the program here!


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