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Public Policy

Housed in the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the public policy concentration is dedicated to the study of health care and social welfare policy, education policy, urban policy, law and criminal justice, and media and technology. Public policy refers to societal initiatives to remedy social problems. Because social problems typically emerge from complex, multi-faceted social conditions, the study of public policy requires students to become familiar with the insights of diverse academic disciplines into how institutions facilitate or inhibit societal problem-solving. The study of public policy is an excellent framework for integrating ideas drawn from several disciplines around issues of real world significance. Concentrators with a particular interest in such applications should consider the Engaged Scholars Program. All concentrators emerge with a sound understanding of institutional change and are well-equipped to contribute to processes of social change.  

Required Courses: 10 courses + capstone

Core Courses:
PLCY 0100Introduction to Public Policy1
Ethics and Public Policy1
Ethics and Public Policy
Good Government
Economics for Public Policy1
Intermediate Microeconomics
Intermediate Microeconomics (Mathematical)
Economics of Education I
Statistics for Public Policy1
Political Research Methods
Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
Introduction to Econometrics
Econometrics I
Introductory Statistics for Social Research
Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation1
Program Evaluation
Evaluating the Impact of Social Programs
Elective Courses: 1, 2
Three Broad Elective Courses: May be taken in any policy area3
Two more electives in one of the areas you have already studied2
Sample electives may include the following:
Health Policy
Comparative Health Care Systems
Emergency Medical Systems: An Anatomy of Critical Performance
Case Studies in Public Health: The Role of Governments, Communities and Professions
Health Policy Challenges
Technology Policy
Cybersecurity and International Relations
GIS and Public Policy
Technology and International Politics
Science and Technology Policy in the Global South
Environmental Policy
Environmental Economics and Policy
Environmental Law and Policy
From Locke to Deep Ecology: Property Rights and Environmental Policy
Urban Agriculture: The Importance of Localized Food Systems
Current Topics in Environmental Health
Governance, Law, and Ethics
State and Local Government
Congressional Leadership, Parties and Public Policy
City Politics
Topics in American Constitutional Law
Social Policy
Welfare Economics and Social Choice Theory
Social Welfare Policy in the United States
Policies Affecting Working Families
Juvenile Justice Institutions and Policy
Human Needs and Social Services
Urban Policy
Urbanization in China
Urban Policy Challenges: Spatial Inequality in Metropolitan America
Urban Revitalization: Lessons from the Providence Plan
Comparative Development
Housing and Homelessness
Modes of Social Change
Nonprofit Organizations
Leading Social Ventures - Social Entrepreneurship in Action
Investigating Modes of Social Change
Social Entrepreneurship
Investing in Social Change
Senior Capstone: The capstone may take the form of an Honors Thesis, Independent Study, a Public Policy internship, research Assistantship, UTRA Assistantship, or designated Senior Seminar
Total Credits10


Candidates for honors should apply in the Spring term of their third year. Successful candidates will enroll in the Public Policy Colloquium and prepare a senior honors paper.