The mission of the undergraduate program in Public Policy is to provide students with the concepts and tools used in evaluating policy options and outcomes, and to prepare students for entry-level positions in organizations concerned with such analysis. The focus is chiefly on issues such as health, education, environmental, regulation, and science and technology policy, applicable anywhere in the world.
Courses in the major provide students with a background in economics and quantitative methods, political science, law, philosophy, ethics, organizational behavior, and social psychology. Economics and quantitative analyses are central to but not sufficient for modern public policy analysis; political science, law, philosophy, organizational behavior, and psychology are among other necessary disciplinary perspectives. Political science offers insights into the decision-making process and information needs of a democracy. Political philosophy and ethics form the foundations of public policy. Organizational behavior focuses on the decisions made outside the market environment in hierarchies, bureaucracies, and teams.
Seniors have a research capstone requirement consisting either of an honors thesis or participation in a team practicum project, conducting applied policy research for an outside client, typically a nonprofit or government agency. Students majoring in Public Policy are prepared for careers in a wide variety of fields, including elected or appointed public office; business, law, and governmental agencies; research institutes; or for further study in graduate programs.
The Public Policy Program expects its undergraduate majors to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the program. Students are expected to:
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of public policy analytical tools.
Evaluate applied theoretical and empirical work in policy-relevant research.
Apply skills and knowledge acquired in the curriculum to analyze policy issues and make policy recommendations.
Communicate complex ideas clearly and persuasively in written and oral forms.
Demonstrate mastery of the above outcomes in the senior capstone project.