Skip to main content

The Citizen

Debating the Future of the Edward S. Mason Program

Recent changes to the Mid-Career Master in Public Administration Edward S. Mason Program (Mason Program) have prompted debate as to its role and purpose at the Harvard Kennedy School. The Citizen features two opinion pieces about the Mason Program: one in support of the Mason Program as a critical piece of diversity and inclusion at HKS, and another arguing that the Mason Program should end. Opinions expressed by the writers do not represent the views of The Citizen.






PRO: “Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at its Best: Lessons from the Edward S. Mason Program” by David de Bold, MC/MPA 2020 and Edward S. Mason Fellow






CON: “HKS Should Dismantle the Mason Program” by ML


The Mid-Career Master in Public Administration Edward S. Program (Mason Program) is a one-year program offered at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) for individuals “from a transitional economy or developing or newly industrialized country.” While Mason Fellows are a cohort within the larger Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA) program, they have a separate application process that focuses on their work in developing or newly industrialized countries. Furthermore, the Mason Program application does not require standardized test scores, unlike that of the MC/MPA program.

The Mason Program historically began with a two-week induction course which preceded the five-week MC/MPA Summer Program. Following the summer program, seminars are held throughout the year for Mason Fellows to carry forward the conversations started during the summer program. HKS replaced the summer course for the upcoming Mason Program with the Mason Fall Launch, which will be held after the five-week MC/MPA Summer Program. The Mason Fall Launch will be a shorter one-week program that “builds on the orientation and skill-building of the Summer Program.”

[yop_poll id=”2″]

The Citizen is the independent, official newspaper of the Harvard Kennedy School. Follow @TheCitizenHKS on Instagram and @theCitizenHKS on Twitter so that you never miss a story.

Our mission is to seek the full truth on university and community affairs. In doing so, we challenge assumptions and spark meaningful dialogue on the identity and ideals of HKS. We strive to help the school achieve its own goal: allow people to leave safer, freer, and more prosperous lives. 

If you are interested in contributing to The Citizen, send us an email at