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Public Policy Studies Minor

This minor is designed to offer students a thorough introduction to the creation, implementation, and analysis of public policy. It is especially designed for use by students who are considering a career in the public sector, whether at the local, state, or national level; or are planning to enter a profession (e.g. law, business, public health, engineering), which has frequent interaction with government policy-makers. This program is also open to all students who desire a better understanding of how their government works, and how the policies, which affect their lives are created and implemented.

(N.B. This program is designed to concentrate only on domestic public policy, not foreign policy or international affairs.)

A proper grounding in the basics of public policy requires students to read broadly across the social sciences, and to acquire familiarity with several kinds of methodologies. Accordingly, this minor is interdisciplinary, requiring students to take courses in several different fields of study.

Minor Requirements

Students must take courses in the following five categories to complete the certificate:

  • Public Policy Analysis: Public Policy Process (PO248). This component of the minor will offer students an introduction to the theory and practice of public policy. Participants will consider subjects such as: defining public policy; the structure of policy-making; agenda setting and policy formulation; legitimating policy choices; implementation; cost-benefit analysis; and ethical analysis of public policy.
  • Microeconomics: Principles of Economics: Micro (EC141). A course in microeconomics—the study of individual units within a national economy, such as business firms—is indispensable for students of public policy.
  • Statistical Analysis: Students are required to take one course from the following: Social Statistics (SO212), Statistical Techniques for Criminal Justice (CJ203), Business Statistics (EC121), Biostatistics (BI345), Behavioral Statistics (PY301).
  • Organizational Studies: An introduction to public policy would not be complete without an introduction to the study of organizations. The study of the behavior of organizations— whether they be government agencies, interest groups, or business firms— provides a key to the understanding of policy formulation and implementation. Students are required to take one course from the following: Criminal Justice Organization and Administration (CJ326), Economics of Industrial Organization (EC244), Labor Economics (EC245), Public Finance (EC246), United States Labor History (HI357), Philosophy of Law (PH335), Public Administration and Bureaucracy (PO345), Organizational Psychology (PY201), Political Sociology (SO344), Social Welfare: Poverty and Public Policy (SO255).
  • Capstone: Selected yearly at the discretion of the minor committee. This course, a capstone for students seeking to acquire the minor, will only be taken after all other minor requirements have been satisfied. (A student may take the capstone course simultaneously with another course or courses required to finish the minor, if the student's course schedule necessitates this.) This will enable students in the minor from different majors to take a course together, as a culmination of their studies.

    This course will be open to students not in the minor, but students in the minor will be given first priority in registration.

    This course will be run as a seminar, with a focus on one particular issue—area in public policy (for example, health care, Social Security, education, taxation, transportation, technology, or business regulation).

The requirements for the Public Policy Studies Minor are:

  1. Students from any major may register for the minor. A student must register for the minor by the beginning of their junior year, and no later than the beginning of their senior year.
  2. To enroll, a student must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.33 (C+) at the time of registration. 
  3. Students must achieve no grade lower than C in any course in the minor. 
  4. Students must earn an overall grade point average of 2.33 (C+) in all courses in the minor. 
  5. Students must take courses in all five categories in the minor.
  6. Students must take no more than two courses in his or her major for the purposes of the minor. 
  7. Students must pass a comprehensive examination based on the materials from courses completed in the minor.