Degree Type
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The concentration is grounded in the analysis of pressing social problems and the design, implementation, and evaluation of better policies and practices. This commitment to using knowledge to improve the life chances of people who occupy different positions of wealth and power, and who have competing and contentious ideas of about the common good, makes public policy a value-laden and political enterprise that is as much an art as it is a science. It is also a team sport that requires players with different skills and talents to work together across a wide variety of settings.

Students will learn how social, economic, and political issues become the object of public policy, how policy decisions are crafted, made and implemented, as well as different strategies for evaluating their impact. The concentration draws its instructors from a wide variety of disciplines and offers students opportunities for engaged scholarship at the local, national, and global levels. With the support of the advisory team, students develop their own curriculum of study, integrating core courses with electives, internships, independent research, and a capstone experience.

Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • A broad understanding of major policy issues in a number of substantive domains (e.g. Health, Education, Social Welfare, Criminal Justice, and Environmental Protection), as well as deeper knowledge of the most important policy issues in a particular domain
  • A basic understanding of how laws, institutions, and budgets shape the policy process, from formation through implementation and evaluation
  • The critical skills necessary to examine how the framing and communication of social problems structure the analysis, formation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies
  • An appreciation of the ethical foundations of public engagement, from basic conflicts of interest to both the obvious and less visible challenges that competing values – including one’s own - pose for the policy process
  • Command of a toolkit of analytical, institutional, and communicative skills, discussed in greater detail on the public policy website

Department Undergraduate Group (DUG)

Student Leaders: Benjamin Ahmad, Kamren Gilbard, Amy Miao

Graduating Class

Class Year Total Students Capstones Completed Honors Graduates
2015 23  23 
2016 21  21 
2017 22  22 
2018 42  42 
2019 36 36 4


Director of Undergraduate Studies: Anthony Levitas