PPIA Program

“Diversity & Leadership in Public Service”

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Program Overview

The Ford School proudly marks this upcoming summer as our 37th year hosting a PPIA Junior Summer Institute – an intensive seven-week summer program that focuses on preparing students for graduate programs in public policy and international affairs. Courses focus on improving students’ communication and quantitative reasoning skills, which are vital to their success in graduate programs. PPIA fellows take three courses: statistics, microeconomics, and policy modules. Participants receive:

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


  • Statistics 
    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.
  • Microeconomics 
    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 this course, Ford School faculty introduce students to current policy issues, enabling them to apply analytic tools and to improve their communication skills -particularly writing composition. One policy module focuses on an international policy topic, a second on a domestic topic and the third on monetary policy, including a visit to the Federal Reserve Bank of Detroit. 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.
  • 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. He also meets with students in individual writing conferences to give feedback, suggestions and critiques.
  • GRE preparation
    Students will have weekly GRE preparation sessions, as well as receive GRE preparation materials.


  • Students will participate in lunch meetings with guest speakers and attend professional development workshops focused on preparing for graduate school, the graduate school admissions process, writing a statement of purpose and creating a professional resume.
  • During past programs, students have visited the cities of Detroit, Flint and Lansing 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.


Program Begins: June 9, 2019

Program Ends: July 28, 2019


  • 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 eligible to compete for a Rackham Masters Award, consisting of four semesters of tuition and fees, a stipend (currently $10,000.00 per year) and health care.
  • For more information about the Ford School ‘s PPIA Junior Summer Institute contact:

Contact Information

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
Email: fspp-admissions@umich.edu
Learn more about the program here!