Your ExperienceSome students enter public policy because they care deeply about an issue, whether its education reform or gun control or climate change or something else; students who are issue-driven will want to work in that field, and will want to craft their studies to gain in-depth expertise in that one area. Other students are drawn to the process more than to any one issue; these students love grassroots organizing, or they want to run for office. These two approaches to public policy are equally valid, but choosing one path or the other helps the student find internships and look for employment after graduation.
Your FacultyThe faculty contains a wide variety of combined knowledge and expertise in their fields. They understand the importance of one-on-one attention with students and they are all dedicated to your success.
Your ResultsAfter majoring in public policy you could work directly in politics, or work in any number of professions—such as education, healthcare, environmental justice, community advocacy, the foreign service, or social service provision—that are governed by public policy.
Public Policy Major (B.A.)
The major in Public Policy requires the completion of a total of 12 courses: six core course requirements, including one public policy internship, one field track (consisting of one field core course and three interdisciplinary field track electives), and two field electives in a field other than the primary field selected.
Track I: Policy Analysis and Implementation
Track II: Economic and Social Policy
Track III: Government and Policy
Public Policy Courses (PLCY)
100. Introduction to Public Policy One course
This course is designed as the gateway offering for students intending to pursue a major in public policy. The course will introduce the student to public policy formulation and analysis, including agenda-setting strategies, problems of legitimating, the appropriations process, implementation, evaluation, resolution, and termination.
140. Public Policy Research and Analysis One course
This course focuses on strategies for, and actual practice of, conducting research relevant to public policy discussions. This course is designed to be a core element of the Public Policy program and is intended to provide an overview of the policy development process through an analysis of specific policy areas in the American political system. We will focus on what constitutes public policy and basic aspects of the policy process, including agenda setting, implementation and policy evaluation. The course provides an opportunity to consider the utility of policy studies, and the various ways knowledge about particular issues is put to use.
160. American Politics and Public Policy One course
This course studies the political environment for public policy analysis in the United States. The U.S. federal system is one of widely shared power. Policies are formulated and implemented in an environment that includes many participants with different goals. This course provides an understanding of the mechanics of this system and provides students with the background necessary for dealing effectively with this environment. Prerequisite: PLCY 100.
200. Independent Study in Public Policy One-quarter to one course
Independent study under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Open to students with a 2.0 cumulative average and permission of the chair of the department. Independent study may take the form of readings, research, conference, project and/or field experience. Independent study may be taken for a total of four courses, no more than two in any term. Prerequisite: Previous study in public policy.
235. The Political Economics of Public Policy One course
In this course, students will use the basic tools of economics to analyze the significant current public policy issues. The goal is to understand both the substance and politics of these policy issues. Students will examine the effects of contemporary policy changes and analyze the likely effects of prospective reforms. Prerequisites: PLCY 100 and 140.
245. State, Regional and Local Government Policy One course
This course analyzes the public policy challenges faced by state and local communities. Particular emphasis will be placed on the problems of urban areas, including education, crime, poverty, economic development, housing and transportation. Throughout the course, students will use their home states, counties and / or towns (or another area of their choosing) as a case study of how specific communities have attempted to address similar challenges. The course examines the roles of citizens, non-profits and government agencies at all levels in accomplishing effecting change through local public policy outcomes. Prerequisite: PLCY 100.
255. Nongovernmental Organizations and Public Policy One course
Although many view the relationship between organizations and public policy as fairly static, it is dynamic and complex. Organizations may take an active role in forming public policy and in shaping the definition of compliance to public policy. By focusing on a range of topics, emphasis is placed on understanding the joint influence of the collaboration between organizations and governmental authorities on the public policy process. Prerequisite: PLCY 100.
265. Ethics and Public Policy One course
This course examines the nature and validity of arguments about vexing moral issues in public policy. Students examine a number of basic moral controversies in public life, focusing on different frameworks for thinking about justice and the ends of politics. The primary aim of the course is to provide each student with an opportunity to develop his/her ability to think in sophisticated ways about morally difficult policy issues. Prerequisites: PLCY 100 and 140.
270. Internship in Public Policy One course
Students develop skills and gain knowledge about organizations that influence and implement public policy. Students are placed in community agencies for about 100 hours of work or work on applied research projects conducted by faculty. Prerequisites: PLCY 100 and 140
290. Honors Independent Study in Public Policy One course
Advanced independent study under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Open to juniors and seniors with a 3.5 average in public policy, subject to approval of the chair of the department. Honors independent study may be taken for a maximum of two courses.
320. Senior Seminar in Public Policy One course
The purpose of this course is to provide a capstone course environment to facilitate the application of administrative and managerial skills graduating students will need to be effective leaders in public policy development for governmental and non-governmental organizations. The course refines the student's competence in the principles of strategic planning, effective organizing, budgeting, project and program management, consensus building and shared decision-making. In addition, the course explores ethical issues in the management of public and charitable organizations. The course also reinforces writing and oral presentation skills. Required of all senior majors.