Courses and Requirements

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

NOTE: These requirements reflect a curriculum revision effective starting Fall 2017. Students who declared earlier than Fall 2017 may follow the curriculum plan prior to the revision or the revised curriculum. Please consult with your advisor to determine your course plan.


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. A senior seminar (PUBPL-UA 800) 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: Honors Senior Seminar (PUBPL-UA 801) requires an additional course. 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 select six elective courses to deepen their understanding of, and expertise in, key policy areas. At least one of the electives must be in the Policy Analysis field.  View a list of pre-approved courses in the fields of Economics, Health, Law, Environment, and others.

Electives already taken (including through Fall 2017) that were on previous elective lists will count towards the major requirements. Courses taken Spring 2018 or after must come from the electives list on this page.