Skip to content Skip to navigation


The public policy undergraduate major develops the skills necessary for understanding the political constraints faced by policy makers, assessing the performance of alternative approaches to policy implementation, evaluating the effectiveness of policies, and appreciating the sharp conflicts in fundamental human values that often animate the policy debate.

The major has four main components: preparatory, core, concentration, and senior capstone. Freshman and sophomore year are generally devoted to completing preparatory courses in economics, math, and psychology. After completing core courses during the junior year, students apply these skills by focusing their studies in one of several areas of concentration. The areas of concentration address a specific field of public policy, various types of institutions, or a deeper development of the tools of policy analysis. Seniors may complete the senior capstone either by participating in a practicum, a team policy research project for an outside client, and/or by writing an honors thesis. 

As Stanford prepares for the 2020-21 academic year in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, updates for students and their families will be posted to the Re-Approaching Stanford webpage:


B.A. degree requirements:

  • Preparatory economics courses
  • Core public policy courses
  • Concentration courses
  • Capstone: honors or practicum