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Experiential Education

In keeping with Carolina’s IDEAs in Action Curriculum, UNC Public Policy’s experiential education programs offer students structured, active learning opportunities that invite them to explain the connections between academic studies and outside-the-classroom experiences, apply knowledge in complex situations, and use these experiences to raise or answer questions in academic settings.


Public Policy Capstone (PLCY 698)

The Capstone course (PLCY 698) is the culminating experience of the UNC Public Policy undergraduate major and is required for all seniors except those who complete an honors thesis. The Capstone course offers Public Policy majors the opportunity to integrate and apply their academic knowledge and skills in a real-world policy environment, providing a bridge between policy analysis as it is studied in an academic setting and policy analysis as it is practiced in the workplace. As part of a team of student consultants, you will be paired with a community partner, usually a local/state government agency or non-profit organization. You will provide policy research and analysis in response to your community partner’s needs. You will also develop important skills in teamwork, leadership, communication, professional etiquette, and time management. Public Policy majors should register for the course in the fall or spring of their senior year. Questions about the program should be directed to Anna Krome-Lukens.

If your organization is interested in partnering with our students in the Capstone program, please review this Call for Project Proposals.

Capstone Projects

UNC PP Capstone Projects, 2021-2022
UNC PP Capstone Projects, 2020-2021

Examples of recent projects (click on each image for full-size infographic)

Internships (PLCY 293)

Students are encouraged to secure an internship to connect their academic studies with outside-the-classroom engagement. Public Policy majors or minors who complete a internship focused on academically relevant policy research can enroll in PLCY 293. PLCY 293 fulfills the IDEAs in Action “High-Impact Experience” requirement but does not count as elective credit toward the Public Policy major or minor. Interested students should review the PLCY 293 application and PLCY 293 syllabus. Please note that you must submit your application before your internship begins or before the last day of course registration, whichever comes first. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Anna Krome-Lukens prior to the start of the internship.

The Intersector (PLCY 394)

The Intersector (PLCY 394) aims to empower undergraduates to explore ways that local public, private, and non-profit sectors collaborate to address problems that cannot be solved by one sector alone. Students use the Intersector toolkit to gain an understanding of how to diagnose, design, implement, and assess successful cross sector collaborations.

Designing for Impact (PLCY 435)

The world is an increasingly unpredictable and complex place with many challenges that demand new, impactful solutions. Social entrepreneurs, driven by their passion to affect change, apply the mindset, processes, tools and techniques of entrepreneurship as a force for good in addressing seemingly intractable social problems. The most successful social entrepreneurs blend optimism and compassion with dogged determination in the relentless pursuit of creating sustainable results.

Designing for Impact (PLCY435) gives students the opportunity to apply the entrepreneurial process – the process of opportunity recognition, understanding needs, curating resources and building teams – to solve social or environmental issues. This course is a highly interactive and experiential one where novel insights and truly creative models are sure to emerge by combining multiple approaches and disciplines. It is designed for you to go from ideas to venture by getting out of the building – not by staying in the classroom! Questions about the course should be directed to Melissa Carrier, Adjunct Professor of the Practice.


Campus Partnerships

Carolina Center for Public Service and Bryan Fellows

The Bryan Fellows program at UNC offers student teams the opportunity to create, launch, and operate their own venture to alleviate an issue, problem, or concern in a particular area. Bryan Fellows are provided the seed money needed to launch their venture, support from APPLES students and staff, and invaluable leadership training and personal development. UNC Public Policy partners with the Bryan Fellows by offering guidance in the student’s team leadership and growth.
As the first part of the Bryan Fellows program, students are enrolled in PLCY 130, a course in which students learn leadership tools, smart business practices, critical thinking, and engagement techniques with community partners. This class connects Bryan Fellows directly with a mentor to work with during the first semester of their new venture launch.

The UNC Roosevelt Institute

The UNC Roosevelt Institute is a student-run think tank. It is a place for UNC students to discuss community issues and formulate responses to them. Roosevelt also provides a platform for students to find a broader audience for ideas they care about. Our chapter is a proud member of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, a national network of more than 85 campus chapters at colleges and universities across the United States.

Research and Impact

The UNC chapter strives to put its progressive policy principles into action to achieve real, tangible benefits for our community. We work with the local government, the UNC administration, non-profits, and other student groups to implement policy ideas and accomplish goals.

Student research at the UNC Roosevelt has been published widely, primarily in the Roosevelt Institute’s national 10 Ideas series. Our members engage in the policy process in a wide variety of ways, including writing for national blogs and publishing white papers that address specific issues.

Get Involved

The UNC chapter meets as one conjunct group every week to discuss relevant public policy, plan impact projects within our community, and assist members with their research.

The UNC Roosevelt Institute is not limited to public policy majors or those with public policy experience. We welcome any UNC students who are passionate about making a difference in their community or state. To learn more about the UNC Roosevelt Institute, please email one of the co-presidents.