Private Interests and Public Good (MA)

Graduate Program (MA)

Learn how to solve today's social-impact problems by focusing on that space where private and public interests intersect and where the relationship between them is continuously being defined, examined and reimagined.


To be considered for admission as a degree-seeking graduate student, please submit the following to the Office of the Graduate Admission:

  • Completed application. Start your application by selecting "Arts and Sciences."
  • Official transcript of all undergraduate and graduate work. Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • Current and updated Resume/CV.
  • A 500-word minimum statement of purpose for graduate study.
  • Two letters of reference from individuals commenting on the applicant’s academic/ professional potential.
  • Official test scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test scores for all sections are required of all applicants whose native language is not English or whose four-year undergraduate degree program was not conducted in English.

Faculty review the pool of applications after the application deadline and invite selected candidates to an on-campus interview to continue the application process. Applicants are encouraged to attend an information session with the Program Director prior to completing the application process. Dates and times for information sessions can be arranged directly with the Program Director. Students have six years to complete the degree program. 

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International Admission


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The two-year program integrates perspectives from economics, political science, communications, innovation, technology, and philosophy and focus on developing technical skills using qualitative and quantitative research methods, communication and economic analysis.

In addition to traditional classroom work, students will integrate a field experience that brings theory to bear upon the specific challenges that surround private interest and public good.

This program fuses a critical and humanistic perspective with a command of a practical skill set necessary to be an effective agent in today’s complex public sphere. The two-year graduate curriculum is as follows:

Block Schedule

Year One

Fall Spring Summer
Course Semester Hours Course Semester Hours Course Semester Hours
Total 9 Total 9 Total 6
PPUB 600 Private Interests & Public Good I 3 PPUB 601 Private Interests & Public II 3 PPUB 621 Quantitative Research Methods 3
PPUB 602 Liberalism, Capitalism & the Public Sphere 3 PPUB 603 Liberalism and the Future of Justice 3 PPUB 604 Design Thinking 3
ECON 660 Economic Theory & Application for Public Policy 3 PPUB 620 Qualitative Research Methods 3

Year Two

Fall Spring
Course Semester Hours Course Semester Hours
Total 6 Total 6
PPUB 650 Field Experience 3 PPUB 650 Field Experience 3
PPUB 690 Thesis Research 3 PPUB 690 Thesis Research 3

Field Experience and Thesis

The second year of the PIPG program is unique among universities.

 Students will spend the entire second year applying analytical and research skills to specific issues and concerns in the ‘real world.’  The second year provides hands-on, immersive experience as well as flexibility.  The field experience requirement affords students the opportunity to complete the final year of the Master’s program off campus while actively engaged in an internship or pursuits of their own choosing.  Students will work under the supervision of a Faculty Advisor.

Placements for an internship may include but are not restricted to, a student’s current employer, the corporate and nonprofit sectors, political campaigns, economic development organizations, community organizations, think tanks, international organizations, and media outlets.  The rigorous coursework and the field experience are designed to inform a Master’s thesis focused on the challenges, problems, and issues that encompass private interests and public good.

Sample Courses

PPUB 600: - Private Interests & Public Good I

PPUB 602: - Liberalism, Capitalism & the Public Sphere

ECON 660: - Economic Theory & Application for Public Policy

PPUB 601: - Private Interests & Public II

PPUB 603: - Liberalism and the Future of Justice

PPUB 620: - Qualitative Research Methods

PPUB 621: - Quantitative Research Methods

PPUB 604: - Design Thinking

PPUB 650: - Field Experience

PPUB 690: - Thesis Research

PPUB 650: - Field Experience

PPUB 690: - Thesis Research

Tuition & Fees

Tuition, per credit hour Cost
College of Arts & Sciences - MA $640
Student Fee, per semester
Graduate Student Association Fee, degree seeking full-time $8
Graduate Student Association Fee, degree seeking part-time $4

The amounts listed are for the 2019-20 school year, and include classes from Summer 2019 though Spring 2020. These amounts are updated to the most recent amounts available. For the full listing, please visit

$54k - $102k median salary range for lobbyists, political scientists and consultants, top government leaders (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012).

$54k - $102k

median salary range for lobbyists, political scientists and consultants, top government leaders (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012).

The Program


The PIPG program is a combination of the study of political science, history, economics, philosophy, innovative design and systems thinking. The program is intentionally theoretical, international, and interdisciplinary.


The PIPG program is not just interdisciplinary but interconnected. Engaging courses, field experiences and thesis research encourage students to connect their studies and their passions to real-world challenges and problem-solving.


PIPG students engage their world through hands-on, in-depth field experiences, utilizing the analytical skills and theoretical foundations needed to address and resolve social-impact-impact challenges. The program is experiential, immersive and flexible.


social-impact-impact impact requires creative out-of-the-box thinking from people who understand interdisciplinary collaboration, critical thinking, and analysis. The Michael F. Ford scholarship is often available for the field experience.


Drawing from a diverse array of departments and specialties, the PIPG program consists of faculty who are actively engaged scholars and teachers dedicated to the study of public life.

advisory board
Advisory Board

Committed to helping students transfer their skills from the classroom to the real world, the advisory board serves as mentors and facilitators to the program, students, and alumni.

Michael Ford Scholarship

The Masters in Private Interests and Public Good Program is pleased to announce the creation of the Michael Ford Field Experience Scholarship, established to honor the legacy and passions of Michael F. Ford.

After a long and distinguished career as a national senior political strategist and CEO of his own political communications company, Ford returned to Xavier in 2008 and founded the Center for the Study of the American Dream. At the time of his death in late 2013, he had just finished writing his book about the current state of the American Dream and the long-term threats to its continuance. Entitled " The American Dream...or What's a Heaven For?", the book was released in October 2015.

All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to this scholarship fund in his name.

Students in the PIPG program may have the opportunity to apply for the Michael F. Ford scholarship in their second year to help pursue their field experience. When possible, the university provides this scholarship based on the availability of funds.

Application for this scholarship will be available soon.

Contribute to the Scholarship

In order to ensure your gift goes directly to the Michael Ford Field Experience Scholarship, follow these instructions.

1. Click the Contribute link at the bottom.

2. Under gift information, click my gift should go to ...and select Other.

3. In the Notes section, type "The Michael Ford Field Experience Scholarship".

Contribute Today

Or you can send a check to:

Xavier University, c/o Government Relations, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45207

PLEASE NOTE: Make check payable to “Xavier University” and add “Mike Ford Field Experience Scholarship” on the memo line at the bottom of your check to ensure it goes directly to the scholarship.


PIPG Masters Program features the best of Xavier University's faculty. Although engaged in research and in an array of professional organizations, our faculty is first and foremost dedicated to teaching. With small classes, students have the opportunity to work closely with their teachers and to fully benefit from their expertise. Below is a complete list of participating faculty.


Dr. S. Paul O'Hara

Associate Professor of History
Director, Private Interests and Public Good Master's Program

Dr. O'Hara holds a Ph.D. in modern US history from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota. He specializes in 19th- and 20th-century cultural history with a particular interest in the intersections of work, immigration, and identity within the social-impact-impact and cultural processes of industrialization. He is the author of Gary: The Most American of All American Cities (2011) and Inventing the Pinkertons (2016).

Research Interests: modern US history, cultures of capitalism, industrialization and deindustrialization, immigration, folklore and narrative


Dr. Michelle Brady

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Dr. Brady received her BA from Haverford College (1991) and her MA and PhD from Emory University (1999), and she has been principal faculty at Xavier since 1999. She regularly teaches courses in ethics and political philosophy, with an emphasis on the shift from Ancient to Early Modern thought. She has also run Thesis Review for Philosophy and PPP majors, and is currently supervising the Field Experience for second-year PIPG students. Her publications on Plato, Aristotle and John Locke have appeared in Review of Politics, Southern Journal of Philosophy, and International Philosophical Quarterly. She is currently working on a manuscript on the tension between autonomy and restraint in John Locke's moral and political philosophy.

Research Interests: John Locke, religious toleration, moral education, autonomy and its limits

Dr. Timothy L. Brownlee

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Dr. Brownlee holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Boston University, and a Bachelor of Humanities degree from Carleton University. His primary areas of interest are in German Idealism and social-impact-impact and political philosophy. His current research addresses the role that recognition plays in G. W. F. Hegel's early masterwork, the Phenomenology of Spirit. Having joined the Xavier faculty in fall 2007, he has taught extensively in Xavier's core curriculum and offered courses in the history of philosophy, especially on Hegel and German idealism, and in social-impact-impact and political philosophy and applied ethics.

Research Interests: German Idealism, social-impact-impact and Political Philosophy, Critical Theory, Aesthetics

Dr. James P. Buchanan

University Professor

Dr. Buchanan was educated at Yale University and University of Chicago where he completed a PhD in comparative religions and comparative value systems. He has also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, The University of Moscow, and the University of Beijing. His teaching and research has focused upon comparative religions, Global ethics, interfaith dialogue and the application of intercultural values to a range of issues connected with globalization. He is currently University Professor and Executive Director of The Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier.

Dr. Buchanan has delivered lectures and talks worldwide on issues ranging from interfaith relations; globalization; systems theory and global systems, refugee and immigration issues; comparative value systems; China and Chinese thought; ecology and biotechnology. He has served on numerous editorial boards and been involved in NGO work worldwide including the Parliament of the World's Religions; an advisor to negotiations at the United Nation Conference on Environment and Development; a board member of Friends of the Earth; The Council for Responsible Genetics; The Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum; United Stated Global Leadership Coalition and the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Some of his recent work in Cincinnati includes: The Mayor's Immigration Task Force, The Mayor's Steering Committee for the Green Cincinnati Plan, He serves on the boards of RefugeeConnect, The Immigrant and Refugee Law Center, Bridges of Faith Trialogue, the Cincinnati Anti-Hate Coalition, and OMID. He is co-chair of the Foreign Policy Leadership Council. He has published articles and books on topics ranging from comparative ethics to the social-impact-impact and environmental impacts of technological change. He has two forthcoming books: Journeys through Liminality; and Wagers into the Abyss: Ethics in an age of Global Systems.

Dr. Suparna Chatterjee

Assistant Professor of History and Sustainability

Dr. Chatterjee's expertise are in the areas of Sustainability, Globalization, Cultural Studies, Neoliberal transformations in the Global South, Gender and Enterprise, International Business, bottom of the Pyramid, and Corporate social-impact-impact Responsibility. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and BA, MA, M.Phil. from the Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University.

Dr. Rachel Chrastil

Professor of History

Dr. Chrastil is a scholar of modern Europe. In her books Organizing for War: France, 1870-1914 and The Siege of Strasbourg, she examines civilian experiences before, during and after major international conflicts. Chrastil's current project, How to Be Childless: A Historical Companion for the 21st Century, examines the causes, interpretations, and experiences of childlessness, drawing on major Western countries during the modern era. She gives invited talks on ethics during wartime and on childlessness. Chrastil's courses include Paris, the Great War, the French Revolution, and A History of Saving the World (human rights, humanitarianism and the environmental movement). In keeping with Xavier's Jesuit Catholic identity, students in her courses apply analytical rigor to issues associated with morality, spirituality and compassion. Chrastil received her Ph.D. from Yale University and her B.A. from Indiana University, and studied at the Université de Provence. She was a Fulbright Scholar in 2009 and has researched extensively across France.

Dr. Gabriel Gottlieb

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Dr. Gottlieb was raised in Houston, Texas, and attended the University of Massachusetts, Boston (B.A., 2002) where he double majored in philosophy and political science. He completed his graduate work at The New School for social-impact-impact Research (M.A., 2004 and Ph.D. 2010) and arrived at Xavier in the fall of 2009. He has run the PPP "Thesis Review" seminar and advised numerous PPP senior theses. His teaching and research is primarily on social-impact-impact and political philosophy and German Idealism (Kant, Fichte, and Hegel). He often teaches courses on justice, human rights, and German social-impact-impact thought. His research has appeared in Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, and International Philosophical Quarterly. Currently he is editing a collection of essays for Cambridge University Press on J. G. Fichte's Foundations of Natural Right.

Research Interests: social-impact-impact and Political Philosophy, German Idealism, Philosophy of Mind and Action.

Dr. Mack Mariani

Professor of Political Science

Dr. Mariani is a Buffalo native and the 2008 chicken wing eating champion of Xavier University. Mariani earned his BA at Canisius College (1991) and his MA and PHD at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University (1992, 2006). Previously, Mariani served as a legislative aide to U.S. Rep. Bill Paxon, Chief of Staff for the Monroe County (NY) Legislature, and as a member of the communications staff of County Executives Jack Doyle and Maggie Brooks. Mariani is co-author of Diverging Parties (Westview Press, 2003) and co-editor of the Insider's Guide to Political Internships (Westview Press, 2002). His research has appeared in Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Science Quarterly, PS: Political Science and Politics, Politics and Gender, Comparative State Politics and the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence and additional articles forthcoming in Representation, and the Journal of Women, Politics and Policy.

Research Interests: campaigns and elections, congress and the legislative process, women and politics, and political internships/experiential learning.

Dr. Tom Merrill

Director, Xavier University Center for Innovation

Dr. Merrill has spent over 20 years in higher education. Currently he serves as the Director for the Xavier University Center for Innovation. He works with the CFI staff and interns to develop innovative practices around campus, in the community, and with start-up partners. Tom, by training, is a choral conductor. He is often amazed at the implication of the intersection of innovation and the arts, especially when viewed through the lens of design thinking. Tom is a master facilitator for ExperiencePoint's Experience Innovation simulation, as well as an Innovation Engineering Black Belt, and a graduate of Stanford University's d.School Boot Camp.

Dr. Kathleen R. Smythe

Professor of History and Sustainability

I am an African historian with years of fieldwork experience in Tanzania, East Africa. My first book, Fipa Families (2006), and a series of related articles examined the ways in which Fipa integrated and made sense of European Catholic missionaries and their values during the colonial period. This research was based on more than two hundred oral history interviews in Kifipa and Kiswahili as well as archival research in Rome and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. For a decade or more, I have been exploring the intersection of sustainability, globalization and economic development. A second book, Africa's Past, Our Future (2015), takes an interdisciplinary approach to Africans' long-standing traditions as a means of broadening our imagination and capacity to re-orient our societies, polities and economies. A third book, Bicycling Through Paradise (March 2019), co-authored with Chris Hanlin, guides the reader/cyclist through nineteen historical and ecological tours of the Cincinnati region. A fourth in process, Earth-History-Body-Mind, makes use of deep history to put forward a new paradigm for sustainable decision-making.

I am also very interested in the way that Jesuit education and Ignatian pedagogy offers us tools for teaching in an era of global climate change. With Jay Leighter, Creighton University, I am leading a national AJCU effort to articulate and implement an "Ignatian Pedagogy for Sustainability."

Dr. David Yi

Professor of Economics

Dr. Yi is Chair and Professor of Economics at Xavier University. He is also the founder and Co-Director of Xavier University Center for Pricing Excellence. Dr. Yi received his Ph.D. in Economics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Yi's main research area includes public choice theorem, institutional economics and measurement of technical efficiency. Dr. Yi also works with companies on their marketing strategy studies, marketing ROI studies, market segmentation studies as well as pricing studies and revenue maximization.

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board actively engages with the PIPG Program. They each mentor students and help connect the program with opportunities in the community.

  • Gene Beaupre, Assistant Director, PPP Honour’s Program, Xavier
  • Jenny Berg, Executive Director, Leadership Council
  • Chris Bortz, President/CEO, Towne Construction Services and TowneScapes
  • Ranga Brahmamdam, Doctor, TriHealth Cancer Institute
  • Paul Colella, Founding Director, PPP Honour’s Program, Xavier
  • Sean Comer, Director for Government Relations, Xavier
  • Rick Eberly, President, Meridian Life Science at Meridian Bioscience
  • Sally Ford
  • Jeff Groh, Director, The New School Montessori
  • Kathy Handorf, Montessori Teacher, St. Ursula Villa
  • Emily Kassem, Senior Project Manager, Fidelity Investments
  • Tamara Lanier, Sr. Manager, Global Strategic Marketing, Ethicon, Inc.
  • David Mengel, Associate Dean, College of Art & Sciences, Xavier
  • Amit Sen, Director, Private Interests & Public Good Master’s Program
  • Suzie Wright, Founder, Brandwright Strategy

Career Trajectories

The value of this broad and experiential program is its adaptability and applicability to multiple realms of private interests and public good. 

As a graduate of the program, you will be able to articulate your vision; design and develop innovative systems; critically engage with and begin to solve complex problems; make decisions based on careful planning and evaluation of risk; and effectively communicate.

As a student, you'll apply your knowledge and expertise to pressing and interesting problems through a chosen experiential project that takes the form of a 'field experience' and a 'thesis.'

You will improve your abilities within your field and enter new fields that are at the intersection of private and public, like the government and politics sector, corporate sector, and nonprofit sector.

The Master's program in ‘Private Interests and the Public Good’ is specifically designed to:

  • Articulate core theoretical concepts that provide contextual understanding for the public sphere along with the debates and relationships between private interest and common good.
  • Develop the skills necessary to analyze and understand economic and political issues and policy.
  • Recognize components of and processes related to public issues and politics.
  • Create original and applicable research through quantitative and qualitative research methods and data analysis techniques.
  • Understand and enact effective communication through appropriate media platforms, including social-impact-impact media.
  • Evaluate the advantages, complexities, and limitations of emerging technologies as well as the social-impact-impact issues they raise.
  • Create valuable public-private partnerships focused on innovation and efficiency.


  • Political consulting and lobbying firms
  • Congressional offices
  • Nonprofits like Teach For America and the Peach Corps
  • U.S. Government
  • Foundations and think tanks
  • Journalism
  • Private business and industry