Courses and Requirements

The Major in Public Policy requires the successful completion of two prerequisites plus 11 courses (six core courses, four electives, and a senior seminar).


The two prerequisites provide students with the strong analytic framework necessary to begin studies in the major:​

  1. Introduction to Microeconomics (ECON‐UA 2)
  2. One Politics course chosen from:
    - Power and Politics in America (POL‐UA 300)
    - Comparative Politics (POL‐UA 500)
    - International Politics (POL‐UA 700)

Core courses

The six core courses introduce students to the key questions and tools involved in the study of public policy:

  1. The Politics of Public Policy (Wagner, UPADM‐GP 101, fall and spring)
  2. The Economics of Public Policy (Wagner, UPADM‐GP 140, spring only)
  3. Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy (Wagner, UPADM‐GP 111, fall only)
  4. One Ethics and Justice course, chosen from:
    - Ethics and Society (Philosophy, PHIL-UA 30)
    - Ethics (Philosophy, PHIL-UA 40)
    - Medical Ethics (Philosophy, PHIL-UA 50)
    - Ethics and the Environment (Philosophy, PHIL‐UA 53)
    - Topics in Ethics and Political Philosophy (Philosophy, PHIL‐UA 102)
    - Ethics, Politics, and Public Policy (Politics, POL-UA 130)
    - Normative Issues in Public Policy (Wagner, UPADM-GP 120)
  5. Two analytical approaches and methods courses, chosen from a list of pre-approved courses
  6. A senior seminar where students conduct an in‐depth analysis of a critical and relevant policy issue in a small classroom setting under the guidance of a faculty member. [NOTE: This Capstone seminar will first be offered in Spring 2017. Those students who wish to pursue Honors in the major should begin planning with the faculty directors by the middle of junior year.]


Public Policy majors will select four elective courses to deepen their understanding of, and expertise in, key policy areas. View a list of some sample electives in the fields of Economics, Politics, Sociology, Environment, and others.

Electives already taken (including through Fall 2016) that were on previous elective lists will count towards the major requirements. Courses taken Spring 2017 or after must come from the electives list on this page.