The Advocacy and Political Action specialization prepares you to magnify your impact and create meaningful change in the civic engagement, political, and advocacy arenas. Whether your passion for social justice and human rights is in immigration, criminal justice, food security, the environment, or any other issue, you’ll need to expand your skillset and learn the strategies and tactics to successfully mobilize people, organizations, and systems.

You’ll jump right into studying advocacy and organizing, while building on your strong foundation in management, finance, and policy from your core coursework. You can develop deep knowledge in the specific issue area you most care about through a variety of electives, and understand how to apply your learnings to issue campaigns, grassroots organizing, lobbying, and political campaigns. You’ll hit the ground running, bringing your skills to the field through Advocacy Lab and Capstone—working with real-world organizations.

You’ll graduate prepared to organize members of your community, lead a nonprofit issue advocacy campaign, run for elected office, and be a catalyst for positive change around the world.


Below is an overview of the required coursework. For detailed information, view the program checksheet

DEGREE CORE Requirements

Students must complete the following courses:

CORE-GP.1011, Statistical Methods
CORE-GP.1018, Microeconomics
CORE-GP.1020, Management and Leadership
CORE-GP.1021, Financial Management
CORE-GP.1022, Introduction to Public Policy

specialization REQUIREmentS

Students must complete the following courses:

PADM-GP.2106, Community Organizing
PADM-GP.2407, Advocacy Lab
PADM-GP.2411, Policy Formation and Policy Analysis


Focus Areas

Focus Areas are optional groupings of courses to help you choose electives. You can go deeper in your specialization and develop more advanced skills by choosing electives within the specialization-related focus areas below. To pursue depth in a focus area we suggest completing 9 credits. To pursue breadth, you may also choose electives across focus areas. 

Tools and Skills

The Tools and Skills focus area highlights what you need to bring to your advocacy work. Research and planning within the context of a specific organization, coalition, or campaign, are the essential ingredient to success. Long before your campaign becomes public, you need to think about mission, strategy, teams and the data necessary for planning. These courses will help those who plan to run campaigns gain requisite depth in the structural elements of advocacy.

PADM-GP.2106, Community Organizing
PADM-GP.2109, Legal Literacy: What Public Service Leaders Need to Know About the American Legal System
PADM-GP.2113, Building Effective Teams - Advanced Strategies
PADM-GP.2171, Evaluating Programs and Policies
PADM-GP.2174, The Intersection of Operations, Policy, and Leadership
PADM-GP.2184, Community Based Participatory Action Research
PADM-GP.2186, Leadership and Social Transformation
PADM-GP.2202, Politics of International Development
PADM-GP.2407, Advocacy Lab
PADM-GP.2411, Policy Formation and Policy Analysis
PADM-GP.2413, Strategic Philanthropy
PADM-GP.2505, Advanced Data Analytics and Evidence Building
PADM-GP.4112, Building Effective Teams
PADM-GP.4116, Participatory Policymaking
PADM-GP.4119, Data Visualization and Storytelling
PADM-GP.4131, Fundamentals of Fundraising
PADM-GP.4186, Leadership and Social Transformation
PADM-GP.4313, The Intersection of Finance and Social Justice
PADM-GP.4450, Strategic Communications for Advocacy
PADM-GP.4503, Introduction to Data Analytics for Public Policy, Administration, and Management
URPL-GP.4634, Equitable Community Engagement

Policies and Issues 

The Policies and Issues focus area is a deep dive into issues for which we build and launch advocacy and political campaigns. Depending on your own areas of interest, you can develop critical intimate knowledge in the specific issue area you most care about through these courses, and consider how to apply your learnings to issue campaigns, grassroots organizing, lobbying, and political campaigns. This will allow you to hit the ground running, bringing your knowledge of the issue into the real-world of policy and political change.

PADM-GP.2129, Race, Identity, and Inclusion in Organizations
PADM-GP.2213, Immigration Politics and Policy -- Past and Present
PADM-GP.2416, Racial Inequality in America: What Do We Do Now?
PADM-GP.2444, Gender & Sexuality in U.S. Policy Formation
PADM-GP.2445, Poverty, Inequality, and Policy
HPAM-GP.2836, Topics in Health Policy: Policy, Politics, and Power
PADM-GP.4151, Inclusive Leadership
PADM-GP.4440, Education and Social Policy
PADM-GP.4452, US Reproductive Rights Advocacy
PADM-GP.4453, US Climate Policy, Politics, and Change
PADM-GP.4455, Labor Movement Politics, Advocacy & Social Change
PADM-GP.4456, Race and Voting in the United States
URPL-GP.4636, Housing Policy I
URPL-GP.4638, Housing Policy II

School-wide Focus Areas

In addition to the courses in the specialization-related elective focus areas above, to gain a breadth of knowledge and skills you may also wish to choose electives from across course offerings, including from the school-wide focus areas or a different specialization. Relevant school-wide focus areas for you to consider as an Advocacy & Political Action student include, CitiesEducationEnvironment & Climate Change, and more


The Capstone Program, a year-long consulting or research project that's required for all Advocacy specialization students, puts you out in the world, resolving a problem or conducting an analysis for a client organization.

Students must complete the following courses:

CAP-GP.3401 & 3402 Capstone: Advanced Projects in Policy, Management, Finance, and Advocacy I & II


CAP-GP 3148 & 3149 Capstone: Advanced Research Projects in Quantitative Analysis I & II