Advocacy & Political Action Specialization


The Advocacy and Political Action specialization prepares you to magnify your impact and create meaningful change in the civic engagement, political, and advocacy arenas. Whether your passion for social justice and human rights is in immigration, criminal justice, food security, the environment, or any other issue, you’ll need to expand your skillset and learn the strategies and tactics to successfully mobilize people, organizations, and systems.

You’ll jump right into studying strategic communications, advocacy, and organizing, while building on your strong foundation in management, finance, and policy from your core coursework. You’ll develop deep knowledge in the specific issue area you most care about through a variety of electives, and understand how to apply your learnings to issue campaigns, grassroots organizing, lobbying, and political campaigns. You’ll hit the ground running, bringing your skills to the field through Advocacy Lab and Capstone—working with real-world organizations.

You’ll graduate prepared to organize members of your community, lead a nonprofit issue advocacy campaign, run for elected office, and be a catalyst for positive change around the world.


Below is an overview of the required coursework. For detailed information, view the program checksheet


CORE-GP.1011, Statistical Methods for Public, Nonprofit, and Health Management
CORE-GP.1018, Microeconomics for Public Management, Planning, and Policy Analysis
CORE-GP.1020, Management and Leadership
CORE-GP.1021, Financial Management for Public, Nonprofit, and Health Organizations
CORE-GP.1022, Introduction to Public Policy


Students complete the following courses:

PADM-GP.2106, Community Organizing
PADM-GP.2407, Advocacy Lab: How to Make Change Happen
PADM-GP.2411, Policy Formation and Policy Analysis
PADM-GP.4450, Strategic Communications for Advocacy

Students must also choose and complete 3 credits from the following issue-based courses:

PADM-GP.2202, Politics of International Development
PADM-GP.2213, Immigration Politics and Policy -- Past and Present
PADM-GP.2223, Advocating for International Human Rights: Strategies and Theories of Change
PADM-GP.2416, Segregation and Public Policy
PADM-GP.2444, Gender & Sexuality in U.S. Policy Formation
URPL-GP.2624, Environmental Planning: Communities, Fairness, and Beyond
HPAM-GP.2836, Current Issues in Health Policy
PADM-GP.4155, Leading on Disability in Public Service
PADM-GP.4401, Race, Crime, and Incarceration Policy in the United States
PADM-GP.4440, Education and Social Policy
PADM-GP.4452, Gender, Race, and Reproductive Justice in the U.S.
URPL-GP.4636, Introduction to Housing and Community Development Policy
URPL-GP.4638, Advanced Topics in Housing and Community Development: Policy and Politics

Students must also choose and complete 1.5 credits from the following skill-based courses:

PADM-GP.2109, The Legal Context for Policy and Public Management
PADM-GP.2186, Leadership and Social Transformation
PADM-GP.2505, Big Data Analytics for Public Policy
PADM-GP.4112, Building Effective Teams
PADM-GP.4116, Participatory Policymaking
PADM-GP.4119, Data Visualization and Storytelling
PADM-GP.4131, Fundamentals of Fundraising
PADM-GP.4213, Policy Advocacy Evaluation: Designing Rigorous and Useful Evaluations
PADM-GP.4313, The Intersection of Finance and Social Justice
PADM-GP.4419, Communicating Public Policy in the Digital Era
PADM-GP.4451, Elections in Action
PADM-GP.4454, Digital Communications for Advocacy and Politics


Students choose electives (12 credits) from a wide array of Wagner courses, and may want to choose from the recommended list below:

PADM-GP.2119, Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations
PADM-GP.2132, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation by Design
PADM-GP.2139, Behavioral Economics and Public Policy Design
PADM-GP.2185, Transformative Participation for Democratic Practice
PADM-GP.2310, Understanding Social Enterprise
PADM-GP.4124, Political Participation and Policy
PADM-GP.4133, Online Engagement: Making Your Nonprofit Matter in the Digital Space