Undergraduate Major in Public Policy

Our society’s public problems are more complicated than ever before, and addressing them effectively now requires in-depth knowledge, analytical skills, and a sophisticated understanding of how governments and markets work. 

The Major in Public Policy—offered jointly with the NYU College of Arts and Science—will prepare you to play roles in the creation, implementation, and evaluation of policies that address today's most significant domestic and global challenges. 

Taught by top faculty from multiple disciplines, the major offers a diverse and rigorous curriculum designed to give you the tools and expertise you need to translate your passion into real change. These tools are drawn from diverse fields such as economics, political science, law, and statistics. Public policy majors learn to:

  • Think analytically and critically;
  • Understand policy contexts and processes;
  • Conduct and use research;
  • Apply statistical, economic, and other quantitative and qualitative tools of analysis;
  • Develop written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills; and
  • Understand their civic responsibilities and make ethical judgments.

This is an 11-course major with 4 core courses (covering quantitative analysis, economics, politics, and ethics and justice), 6 electives, and a senior seminar requirement.

The idea underlying the major is that there is a core set of skills and tools that comprise the foundation of the study of public policy. The required courses in the major (coupled with additional electives) are designed to provide you with those skills and tools.

Sequencing and advisement

First-year students: complete at least the two prerequisite courses in your first year
Second-year students: complete at least UPADM-GP 101, UPADM-GP 111, and UPADM-GP 140 in your second year (if you have completed the two prerequisite courses)

If you are a second-year student and have not completed the two prerequisite courses and have not started the core already, you should meet with the faculty director for advisement before registration begins. All students are welcome to meet with the faculty director to discuss choosing the major or to seek advisement about specific course selection, especially regarding the electives.

If you have general questions, visit our FAQs.

To declare the major or for general administrative questions, please email wagner.undergraduate@nyu.edu.

Senior seminar

The Senior Seminar serves as a capstone experience for the Public Policy major. Over the course of one semester, you apply the analytical methods and substantive knowledge of the policy process you have gained to a critical and relevant policy issue. Under the guidance of a faculty member, you conduct an in‐depth analysis, engage with key stakeholders, and recommend a policy solution in a formal presentation.

Spring 2017 - Senior Seminar Projects

looking Ahead

After graduating, Public Policy majors will be prepared for a wide range of jobs in the nonprofit, private, and public sectors. Before coming to NYU Wagner for a graduate degree, undergraduate Public Policy majors from around the country worked at foundations, political advocacy organizations, consulting firms, government agencies, and international policy institutes.

Some Public Policy majors also consider attending graduate programs in Public Administration, International Affairs, Public Health, Urban Planning, or Law.

Faculty Directors

Anthony Bertelli, NYU Wagner
Nathaniel Beck, CAS Department of Politics

Director's Message