Master in Public Policy Program Fact Sheet

Title of Degree: Master in Public Policy (MPP)

Graduate School of Public Policy, Nazarbayev University

Mode of Program Delivery: In-person instruction

Number of ECTS (credit points): 120

Length of degree: 22 months

Specialisms available: Economic Policy; International Political Economy; Public Governance

Number of students enrolled:

  • 2020 cohort – 32 admitted directly to MPP; 8 progressed after NUZYP MPP
  • 2021 cohort – 19 admitted directly to MPP; 7 progressed after NUZYP MPP
  • 2022 cohort – 29 admitted directly to MPP; 4 progressed after NUZYP MPP

NUZYP – Nazarbayev University Zero Year of Graduate Programs – a two-semester course of study at the Centre for Preparatory Studies (CPS) at Nazarbayev University that prepares students to succeed in their graduate studies. 


Mission of the Program

The mission statement of the Graduate School of Public Policy (GSPP) is:

To improve the quality of life of the people of Kazakhstan and Central Asia. We do this by training leaders to improve governance through excellence in teaching, research, and executive development that focuses on key policy and leadership challenges.

The mission of MPP program is to prepare a new generation of progressive policy professionals to provide efficient, effective, reliable and sustainable public service at national and international levels.

On successful completion of the program graduates will have the ability to:

  1. lead and manage in public governance;
  2. participate in and contribute to the policy process;
  3. analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions;
  4. articulate and apply a public service perspective;
  5. communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

Professional competency: in addition, the program will ensure that students learn to apply their education, such as through experiential exercises and interactions with practitioners across the broad range of public affairs, administration, and policy professions and sectors.

(Source: MPP Student Handbook)


Faculty teaching on the program


ECTS Credits



MPP 601: Microeconomics and Public Policy


Peter Howie, PhD

MPP 621: Public Policy and Analysis


Clifford Frasier, PhD

MPP 613: Policy Research Design and Methods


Zhanibek Arynov, PhD

MPP 611: Statistics for Public Policy


Simeon Nanovsky, PhD




MPP 641: Public Management and Leadership


Artan Karini, PhD

MPP 602: Macroeconomics and Public Policy


Omer Baris, PhD

MPP 603 Data Analytics in Public Policy


Hyesong Ha, PhD

MPP 699: PAE with overseas component (I)


Lisa Lim, PhD

Elective 1


Zhanibek Arynov




Internship (taken in semester 3 or 5)


Lisa Lim, PhD

MPP 699: PAE with overseas component (II)


Lisa Lim, PhD




MPP 631: Politics and Public Policy


Aziz Burkhanov, PhD

Elective 2


Serik Orazgaliyev PhD

Elective 3


Stefanos Xenarios, PhD

MPP 699: PAE with overseas component (III)


Lisa Lim PhD




Elective 4


Dina Sharipova, PhD

*Elective 5 or internship


Riccardo Pelizzo, PhD

MPP 699: PAE with overseas component (IV)










Cost of the degree

Tuition costs for the MPP are funded through a state grant for the Government of Kazakhstan’s higher education budget for local applicants

Places are also available on a self-paying basis

A small number of grants are also available for international applicants


Admissions Criteria


  1. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent;

  2. Minimum 2 years of working experience. Fresh graduates and early career professionals are welcome to apply.

  3. English proficiency: IELTS – minimum overall score 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in sub categories, or its TOEFL equivalent (compare your TOEFL score here). the absolute minimum requirement for English language proficiency test report for admission to NUZYP is an overall IELTS test score of 5.5, with no more than one sub-score of 5.0, or the equivalent TOEFL scores (except Home edition) as posted on the ETS website; English language certifications are valid for 2 years prior to application deadline. At the discretion of the Admissions Committee applicants can be exempted from submitting the language proficiency test report if:

    • one of their earlier academic degrees was earned in a country with English as the language of official communication
    • academic instruction and daily life;
    • an undergraduate degree was earned in a program which was officially taught in English;the applicant is a graduate of Nazarbayev University.
  4. High level of motivation and strong interest in the Program as outlined in essay.

  5. Scanned copy of Essay(s). Essay topics are provided in the Application form.

  6. Strong reading, analytical and mathematical skills as demonstrated by GRE or GMAT test (optional). Although an official GRE/GMAT test is not an essential requirement, an applicant can enhance her/his application with a competitive GRE/GMAT score at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.

  7. 2 (two) letters of recommendation (to be provided by referees via University system or in scanned copy).


Criteria for Selection:

A successful candidate must demonstrate intellectual distinction (will be assessed by prior academic achievements, recommendations, essays) and leadership capabilities (will be assessed by prior achievements in extracurricular, civic or community activities, employment history, and recommendations).
Please note that meeting the minimum requirements do not imply automatic admission into the program.


Career Services

Nazarbayev University has a dedicated Career and Advising Center (CAC). The most recent data at the University level show a high percentage of graduates in employment or further education.


NU GSPP Alumni Community have different backgrounds and occupations. NU GSPP graduates of all cohorts work mostly in quasi-public, private sector, public sector and international organizations. Among employer organizations there are: Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan Prime Minister’s Office, Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Akimat of Nur-Sultan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aerospace Committee of the Ministry of Digital Development, Defence and Aerospace Industry, Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development, Ministry of Information and Communications, Ministry of Agriculture, National bank, Anti-corruption agency,  SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND «SAMRUK-KAZYNA» JSC, Baiterek Holding, national companies like KazMunayGas, Kazatomprom, Transtelecom, Republican Center for Health Development; universities and academies like: Nazarbayev University, Academy of Public Administration, Kazguu, Karaganda State University; Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), UN organizations (UNDP, UN Volunteers, UNICEF, UN Woman), Islamic Organization for Food Security, World Bank, US and British Embassies in Kazakhstan and private companies in Kazakhstan and abroad.



Source: see

Current students

Internship opportunities are available for MPP students in Ministries, government agencies and semi-state bodies: see further details at:


Graduation Rate of MPP Students

Note: 2-year graduation rate is based on cohorts that have been in the program for at least two years (Fall 2013 – Fall 2019 cohorts); 3-year graduation rate – based on cohorts that have been for at least three years (Fall 2013-Fall 2018).



Cumulative Graduation rates


Admitted students (n)

Within 2 years

Within 3+ years

Public Policy