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Bachelor of Arts

Public Policy is an interdisciplinary social science major designed to provide students with the theoretical perspective, analytical skill, and substantive knowledge needed to respond to major domestic and global policy problems.

The core curriculum includes exposure to multiple disciplinary fields, including economics, political science, policy analysis, philosophy, research methods, and statistics.

The undergraduate major in public policy provides students with conceptual and analytical skills that prepare them for work or graduate school. The combination of a liberal arts education, the development of writing and analytical abilities, and knowledge in a domestic or global policy field serves as the foundation for graduate work in many professions, including law, business, public policy, public and international affairs, social work, public health, education, and city and regional planning.

Majoring in Public Policy: Bachelor of Arts

Core Requirements

  • PLCY 210/210H Policy Innovation and Analysis
  • PLCY 220/220H The Politics of Public Policy
  • PLCY 340/340H Justice in Public Policy
  • ECON 310 or 410, or PLCY 310 Microeconomics Foundations of Public Policy
  • PLCY 460 Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy
  • PLCY 581 Research Design for Public Policy
  • PLCY 698 Senior Capstone in Public Policy or PLCY 692H Honors in Public Policy

At least six credit hours of required electives. Three credit hours may be for a 100- or 200-level PLCY course. The remaining three credit hours must be for a field course at the 300 level or above. PLCY 130, 293 (formerly PLCY 320), and 393 (formerly 325) may not count as electives for the public policy major. First-year and sophomore students considering a major in Public Policy are encouraged to complete PLCY 101 or 110.

Policy Field/ Concentration (optional): Students who complete an additional three credit hours in a specific policy field may elect to graduate with a concentration. These additional three credit hours must be at the 300 level or above. PLCY 393 may not count as an optional field course. For students completing the honors thesis, PLCY 691H fulfills the field concentration. Common field concentrations include education and labor markets; environment and human welfare; innovation and entrepreneurship; science and technology policy; social policy and inequality; health policy, bioethics, and human rights; international development policy; and global conflict and cooperation.

Additionally, students may select courses across fields and design their own concentration. For information on which elective courses are recommended for each policy field concentration, please speak the department’s Student Services Manager or Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students electing a concentration will receive a B.A. degree with a major in public policy with a concentration. The particular title for a concentration is not listed on student diplomas or transcripts. The department keeps records of student concentrations, and students may list their concentrations on their resumes.

Additional Requirements

  • ECON 101

ECON 101 is a prerequisite for PLCY 310. PLCY 460 is a prerequisite for PLCY 698 and 691H, and a pre- or corequisite for PLCY 581.  PLCY 581 is a pre-req for PLCY 691H and a pre- or corequisite for PLCY 698.

Please note only 24 hours total can be taken outside the College of Arts and Sciences toward the B.A. degree.

Double Majoring in Public Policy

A major in Public Policy is often combined with another major, or a minor, in a related area or professional school, for instance: Business AdministrationEconomicsEducationEnvironment and EcologyGlobal StudiesJournalism and Mass CommunicationPeace, War, and DefensePhilosophy, Politics, and EconomicsPolitical ScienceSocial and Economic Justice.

Please click here for more information about double majoring in Public Policy.