Undergraduate Major in Public Policy FAQ

Public Policy Major FAQs

  1. How many courses are required for the major?
  2. What do “prerequisites to the major” mean?
  3. In what order should I take courses for the major?
  4. Can test credit for Microeconomics satisfy the ECON-UA 2 Intro to Microeconomics requirement?
  5. Can test credit in statistics or another NYU course satisfy the Quantitative Analysis requirement?
  6. Can I “double count” a Public Policy major course with another major or minor?
  7. Are there electives I can take at the NYU sites abroad?
  8. Will any of the requirements for the major fulfill my College Core Curriculum requirements?
  9. How do I declare the major?
  10. Who can I go to for advising?
  11. Who will serve as my major advisor?
  12. Is there an Honors option in the major?
  13. What do people do with a Public Policy major?

 

1. How many courses are required for the major?

There are eleven courses required for the Public Policy major: four core courses, six electives, and one senior seminar. There are also two prerequisite courses that students must complete before declaring the major: ECON-UA 2, Introduction to Microeconomics (or equivalent test credit) and an introductory Politics course (POL-UA 300, Power and Politics in America; POL-UA 500, Comparative Politics; or POL-UA 700, International Politics).

 

2. What do “prerequisites to the major” mean?

Since many of the tools for the major are based on either political science or microeconomics, a course in each area is required prior to declaring the major and as prerequisites to all the required courses in the major.

 

3. In what order should I take courses for the major?

Students should first complete the prerequisite courses: ECON-UA 2, Introduction to Microeconomics (or equivalent test credit) and one of the introductory Politics courses (POL-UA 300, Power and Politics in America; POL-UA 500, Comparative Politics; or POL-UA 700, International Politics)

Students will then build on these skills in the three core courses taught in Wagner (UPADM-GP 101, The Politics of Public Policy, which develops analytic skills and theories in the context of public policy; UPADM-GP 140, The Economics of Public Policy, which builds on the microeconomics course; and UPADM-GP 111, Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy, which serves as the foundational statistics course).   The fourth core course is an approved course in the “Ethics and Justice” category (UPADM-GP 120, Normative Issues in Public Policy; PHIL-UA 3, Ethics and Society; PHIL-UA 40, Ethics; PHIL-50, Medical Ethics; PHIL-UA 53, Ethics and the Environment; PHIL-UA 102, Topics in Ethics and Political Philosophy; or POL-UA 130, Ethics, Politics and Public Policy).

Students then take six electives in one or more policy areas. This is also done in close consultation with program advisors, who will make a list of acceptable electives available before registration time. At least one of the electives should be in the Policy Analysis field to either deepen core skills or allow students to learn new skills relevant to their work. Some students may choose to focus the rest of the electives in a single policy area, and others may choose to spread their electives across policy areas. Because one of the goals of the Public Policy core is to help focus students’ interests, elective courses should be taken later in the program.

Finally, students take a one-semester capstone seminar in their senior year. Students pursuing the Honors track will PUBL-UA 801 in the fall of their senior year. (See below.)

 

4. Can test credit for Microeconomics satisfy the ECON-UA 2 Intro to Microeconomics requirement?

Yes. AP/IB/A-level credit in this area will fulfill the microeconomics requirement according to the Economics department’s policy on advanced standing.

 

5. Can test credit in statistics or another NYU course satisfy the Quantitative Analysis requirement?

No. Unlike many traditional undergraduate statistics courses, the focus in Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy is what is important for public policy. The required major course emphasizes research design, the process by which we come to know that our findings may be correct, as much as the traditional statistical skills. Course projects will work on tasks relevant to analyzing policy.

 

6. Can I “double count” a Public Policy major course with another major or minor?

Students can count up to two Public Policy major courses towards the requirements of another major or minor. Students intending to double count any courses would also need to contact the other major or minor’s department to ask if, and to what extent, that department permits overlapping courses.

 

7. Are there electives I can take at the NYU sites abroad?

Yes.  Students are encouraged to do elective courses which take advantage of NYU's extensive global network. The most obvious site for such work is Washington DC, but students with international policy interests can pursue courses at any appropriate global site.  These courses are chosen in consultation with the program advisors.

 

8. Will any of the requirements for the major fulfill my College Core Curriculum requirements?

Yes, the Foundations of Scientific Inquiry program has approved Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy (UPADM-GP 111) as satisfying the Quantitative Reasoning requirement for undergraduate majors in Public Policy. 

 

9. How do I declare the major?

To declare the major, students must complete a Major Declaration Form.  To obtain the declaration form, students should email wagner.undergraduate@nyu.edu.

 

10. Who can I go to for advising?

For initial advising about how to prepare for the major, and to make an academic plan that incorporates school Core requirements, students should first meet with their home-school advisor. Students should contact the major’s faculty directors to discuss declaring the major and the curriculum. Any specific questions about the major’s policies, transfer credit and course substitutions can be directed to wagner.undergraduate@nyu.edu

Faculty Directors  
Nathaniel Beck Tony Bertelli
Professor of Politics Professor of Politics of Public Policy
nlb1@nyu.edu tony.bertelli@nyu.edu
19 West 4th Street, office 407             295 Lafayette Street
Office hours Office hours
Email appointment Email appointment

 

11. Is there an Honors option in the major?​

Yes. To graduate with honors in the major, a student must maintain at least a 3.65 average in the 11 courses required for the major, earn at least a 3.65 overall GPA in the College of Arts and Science, and write a senior honors thesis in their final year. At the end of the junior year, each honors student will meet with the Professor Beck for initial advisement and approval. Following the approval, a student will enroll in the Honors section [PUBPL-UA 801] (this course does not count toward the 11 courses required for the major) in the fall semester and then the Senior Seminar [PUBPL-UA 800] the spring semester. To be awarded honors, a student must complete this two-course sequence and produce a quality senior project.

 

12. What do people do with a Public Policy major?

​As with most undergraduate degrees, you can do almost anything. Some students will work for a while in a policy position and then go on to a policy Master’s program; others may pursue the Master’s more directly. Students interested in a Master’s degree should consult CAS and Wagner about pursuing a joint BA-MPA degree at NYU. Others will go on to law school, while still others will pursue their policy passions in any arena. Whatever you do, the skills and tools you learn in the program will be very valuable, and their value will only grow as you advance in your career.