Dec 05, 2019  
2019-20 College of Liberal Arts 
    
2019-20 College of Liberal Arts

Public Policy and Political Economy Major


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Meet the Faculty

The interdisciplinary program in Public Policy and Political Economy studies substantive and theoretical ways in which economics and political science combine to shape public policies in various countries. Students in the major will become familiar with the theoretical approaches that political science and economics use to study and solve problems that can then be employed to frame and understand public policy issues. Public policy issues will be addressed within an individual and social values context by considering questions such as what is of value to society and its citizens? How best can those values be achieved? What tradeoffs are required when pursuing those societal values?

The program has the following educational goals:

  • Often public problems exhibit recurring structures that inhibit their resolution through the political process. Students will understand the conditions that encourage and discourage effective human social and political cooperation including theories of collective action and organizational behavior.
  • Students will acquire a framework for formulating and evaluating appropriate normative objectives, including liberty, social justice, social responsibility, efficiency, and other social values integrated in moral and political philosophies.
  • Students will learn the analytical tools used to evaluate public policies and programs in terms of their efficacy in achieving given social objectives.
  • Students will apply the principles and skills from the public policy major to research and propose practical solutions to decision-making problems in the real world.

Students majoring in Public Policy and Political Economy will acquire the analytical and practical skills that will prepare them for careers in business, law, Wall Street, or the public and/or private sector. Typical avenues after graduation will be to earn a Masters degree in Public Policy, Urban or Regional Planning; earn a J.D. degree, or an MBA; or work in the public or private sector, and enter politics. Students can also pursue graduate programs in economics or political science.

Major Requirements


Twelve (12) total courses are required: five (5) foundation/core courses, one (1) methodological course, one (1) citizenship and responsibility courses, five (5) substantive policy courses, and one (1) senior year experience.

Foundation/Core Areas


Substantive Policy Areas


Students must complete four (4) electives. At least two electives must be from two different departments.

Senior Year Experience


All students majoring in Public Policy and Political Economy are required to complete one senior year capstone course. This requirement may be satisfied through an independent study, a capstone seminar (PPE 400), or an applied internship with a mandatory policy research component. The purpose of the senior year experience is to enable students to integrate the concepts and principles from the major into a single project.

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