Housed in the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the public policy concentration is dedicated to the study of health care and social welfare policy, education policy, urban policy, law and criminal justice, and media and technology. Public policy refers to societal initiatives to remedy social problems. Because social problems typically emerge from complex, multi-faceted social conditions, the study of public policy requires students to become familiar with the insights of diverse academic disciplines into how institutions facilitate or inhibit societal problem-solving. The study of public policy is an excellent framework for integrating ideas drawn from several disciplines around issues of real world significance. Concentrators with a particular interest in such applications should consider the Engaged Scholars Program. All concentrators emerge with a sound understanding of institutional change and are well-equipped to contribute to processes of social change.
Students in this concentration will:
Students seeking a capstone experience in Public Policy should apply to write a Senior Thesis in the spring term of their junior year. Concentrators who meet qualifying criteria and have outstanding academic records in public policy course work will be considered for approval to write a Senior Thesis. Once approved, they must enroll in the two-semester Public Policy Colloquium and prepare theses that examine some aspect of public policy, including but not limited to a program evaluation, a feasibility study, or examination of an institution that affects policy. Candidates who write senior theses of distinguished quality are recommended for “Honors,” which is conferred by the department at the time of graduation from Brown. Please visit our website for more information.
This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:
Public Policy alumni have pursued careers in health policy, education (including Teach for America), banking, law, and are now employed for the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and State.