The LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Cockrell School of Engineering offer a dual-degree program leading to the degrees of Master of Public Affairs (M.P.Aff.) and Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.).

Program Purpose

The program is designed to prepare qualified engineering and public affairs students for careers at any level of government and in public policy related areas of the engineering profession. Alumni currently hold positions in the offices of local, state, and national government agencies; engineering consulting firms; universities; and industries.

Program Structure

The program is structured so that students can earn the M.P.Aff. and M.S.E. degrees simultaneously. In general, a minimum of two full years is required to complete this dual program. Students must complete at least 36 LBJ School credit hours and 30 credit hours in one of the majors in the Cockrell School of Engineering, including all the core courses in each school , plus a 3-hour professional report or 6-hour thesis, depending on the requirements of the particular engineering degree. Degrees are awarded when the required work in both schools is completed. It is recommended that dual-degree program students progress through the curriculum as follows:

  • Year I: Full academic year in the LBJ School, followed by a required summer internship with a governmental agency or other organization with a substantial public policy interest
  • Year II: Full academic year in the Cockrell School of Engineering, followed by thesis research in the summer after the academic year
  • Year III: Remaining LBJ School and Engineering courses (if needed) and completion of a master’s thesis

Some students elect to combine courses from both programs in all three years. However, it should be noted that the internship required by the LBJ School cannot be completed in the first summer if certain coursework requirements have not been completed.

Cockrell School of Engineering Curriculum

The curriculum in the Cockrell School of Engineering will vary with the degree program appropriate to the major chosen. A typical program of work requires 18 hours of courses in the student's major area, 6 hours in a minor area, and 6 hours of thesis. Students are advised to obtain information regarding the unique degree requirements of each engineering major.

LBJ School Curriculum

The curriculum in the LBJ School consists of common core courses, flexible core courses, two electives (for dual-degree students), and an internship:

Common Core Courses:

  • Applied Microeconomics for Policy Analysis (PA393K), 3 hours.
  • Seminar on microeconomic policy analysis
  • Introduction to Quantitative Analysis (PA 397), 3 hours.
  • Use of basic quantitative tools in policy analysis, including modeling, optimization, sensitivity analysis, statistical inference, estimation, and prediction.
  • Public Financial Management (PA391), 3 hours.
  • Provides a basic understanding of the financial activities of governments at all levels in the United States.

Flexible Core Courses:

  • Advanced Policy Economics (PA393L), 3 hours.   Selected from among a set of courses focusing on the application of economic theory and techniques to a specific area of public policy. Course options include macroeconomics, public finance, regulation, international trade and finance, natural resources and environmental policy, health policy, transportation policy, human resource development, urban and regional economic development, international development, education policy, social policy, and labor economics.
  • Advanced Empirical Methods for Policy Analysis (PA 397C), 3 hours. Selected from among a set of courses focusing on the application of quantitative theory and techniques to policy analysis. Topics offered vary from year to year but include econometrics, demographic techniques, systems analysis, simulation modeling, and quantitative indicator methods.
  • Politics and Process (PA 383C), 3 hours. Basic dynamics of policy development and adoption in the American governmental system.
  • Advanced Management (PA 384C), 3 hours. Administrative policymaking and implementation in the American governmental system.
  • Policy Research Project (PA 682A/B), 6 hours.  A two-semester course devoted to organized group research on a policy issue of concern to a public sector client. Topics vary from year to year. Internship: Public Service Experience (PA396K), Summer, 3 hours. Twelve week internship in an organization with a sub substantial public policy orientation. Prior to completion of the internship for credit, the student must have completed all three common core courses; one of the following flexible core courses: Advanced Management, Advanced Empirical Methods for Policy Analysis, Advanced Policy Economics, and Politics and Process; and the two-semester Policy Research Project Two elective seminars, 3 hours each.


In order to be considered for the dual-degree program, a student must first meet the separate admission criteria of the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the particular graduate engineering program. Should a student not be accepted for admission to the dual program but be found acceptable for admission to one of the regular master's degree programs, the student may choose to enroll in that program. Both schools will have access to the information sent to the Graduate and International Admissions Center (Texas Common Application, GRE scores, and official transcripts); however, school-specific requirements, which may include items such as letters of recommendation, essays, and/or resumes, must be sent independently to the individual schools per their admission requirements. It is important to note that different schools within the University may have different application deadlines, therefore dual-degree applicants must meet the deadlines of the particular schools to which they are applying. Application requirements vary by graduate engineering program, so applicants should contact the individual department to understand what the requirements are.

Application requirements for the LBJ School are available online. For students currently enrolled in the LBJ School or the Cockrell School of Engineering master's program: A student in the first year of either regular program may be considered for admission to the dual program by satisfying the admission requirements of the cosponsoring department. Anyone interested should contact the graduate adviser in the cosponsoring department. An applicant will also need to file change of major with the Graduate School. Note: the deadlines for applications must be observed.

Financial Aid

Both the Cockrell School of Engineering and the LBJ School have limited funds for qualified students who merit financial assistance.

The LBJ School makes awards to students who can show need. All LBJ School applicants are automatically reviewed on a competitive basis for merit-based fellowships during the admissions review process. No additional application is required.


If you have questions about the dual-degree program, you should addressed them to the following representatives of the two schools.:

Cockrell School of Engineering

Professor Chadi El Mohtar
Dual-Degree Program Graduate Adviser
Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712
(512) 471-3695

LBJ School of Public Affairs

Professor David Eaton
Dual-Degree Program Graduate Adviser
The University of Texas at Austin
Drawer Y, University Station
Austin, TX 78713-7450