May 24, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Policy, B.S.

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Return to: 2130 Department of Public Management and Policy  

Mission: The mission of the Public Policy program is to prepare students for roles as effective citizens, critical thinkers, and problem solvers for the public sector. Students in the Public Policy program learn about the institutions of a democracy and the ways in which policy making organizations relate to one another. Students acquire skills in policy writing, critical thinking, and analysis-evaluation that are in demand by governmental agencies and nonprofit groups, as well as graduate and professional schools. Above all, they learn how to make a difference by becoming engaged in civic and public life.

The career of the namesake of the School, Ambassador Andrew Young, illustrates how individuals can move from nonprofit organizations to public life and the private sector, while being a part of our increasingly global society. 

We seek talented and motivated students who want to develop the knowledge, skills, and values required to become responsible visionary leaders in a wide range of settings. While many graduates of our program choose to enter a career in the public sector or in nonprofit agencies, others make contributions to their community, state, and nation as a active citizen in the civic and public arenas. The Bachelor of Science in Public Policy, combined with participation in co-curricular experiences, will prepare students to:

  1. Describe the public policy process and the main policy issues under current debate, addressing the questions facing public administrators-policy professionals
  2. Describe American government system and the ways it affects the public policy process
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking about policy sources, processes, and outcomes
  4. Develop skills for civic engagement through required service learning
  5. Demonstrate the ability to collect and interpret data to inform public policy
  6. Apply the basic public policy analysis steps to analyze public policy questions
  7. Apply analytical skills and techniques to basic policy evaluation
  8. Demonstrate relevant policy writing and communication skills

Career Opportunities: A policy major can work as a city manager, community relations specialist, local or regional planner, policy analyst, environmental resource specialist, human resource manager, journalist, politician or campaign strategist, volunteer coordinator, nonprofit leader, or in many other exciting careers that make a difference.

Many graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Public Policy establish careers in public service. These alumni work in a variety of agencies including federal, state, and local governments as well as a number of public agencies. Others are employed in not-for-profit organizations that address many important needs. Some alumni work in the business world but use the knowledge and skills from their Public Policy degree to become better, more active citizens in the civic and public arenas. The degree program also provides an excellent preparation for graduate study in law, public policy and administration, and related fields.

A Top Ranked Program: The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS) is nationally recognized as having one of the elite programs in the field of public policy and management. U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 Best Public Affairs Schools issue ranks the Andrew Young School as a top 20 school of Public Affairs, with top 10 ranking in Urban Policy, Nonprofit Management, Public Finance & Budgeting, and Local Government. A B.S. in Public Policy provides students the resources to be leaders and innovators in the public sphere for years after they have graduated from the program.

Complete descriptions of requirements for Areas A through E of the Undergraduate Core Curriculum can be found in the “1400 University Degree Requirements and Graduation ” chapter of this catalog. The number of semester credit hours required for each section is shown in parentheses.

Degree Requirements

Areas A-E of the Core Curriculum (42 Credit Hours)

See 1410 Core Curriculum Requirements  in the Undergraduate Catalog.

  • Area A: Essential Skills (9 Credit Hours)
  • Area B: Institutional Foundations (4 Credit Hours)
  • Area C: Humanities and Fine Arts (6 Credit Hours)
  • Area D: Natural and Computational Sciences (11 Credit Hours)
  • Area E: Social Science (12 Credit Hours)

Area F: Courses Appropriate to the Major (18 Credit Hours)

Required Courses (6 Credit Hours)

Choose one:

Grade of C- or better.

Elective (12 Credit Hours)

Four courses chosen from the 1000-2000 level University offerings.

Area G: Major Common Core Curriculum (15 Credit Hours)

A minimum Area GPA of 2.0 is required for completion of Area G. Grades of C- may be used in Area G to satisfy graduation requirements. However, some courses have prerequisites that required a grade of C or higher.

Choose one

* All undergraduate students without significant prior administrative experience in a public or nonprofit agency or a related organization must either perform a 200-hour internship (PMAP 4941) or take PMAP 3005. Internship experiences allow students to apply concepts and skills learned in their coursework, enhance professional growth and development, and provide work experience that appeals to employers. The department’s internship coordinators and the AYSPS Office of Career Services assist in searching for appropriate internships, but students are expected to take the lead in this search. Students may work fulltime or part-time, according to their needs and those of their internship sponsor. Paid internships are encouraged, but some unpaid internships are desirable. Students should consider the value of the experience that an internship provides, in addition to the pay. Internship information and applications are available from the Department of Public Management and Policy, or the PMAP internship homepage on the web at Students with substantial prior administrative experience may petition to waive this requirement. Petition forms are available online through the Office of Academic Assistance at

* Students who choose to take PMAP 3005 may also perform an internship (PMAP 4941) as an elective in any concentration. Neither PMAP 3005 nor PMAP 4941 can be counted to fulfill both core and concentration requirements.

Major Elective Focus

Students may want to focus their Major Electives on specialty area similar to the Nonprofit Leadership or Planning and Economics Development minors. There are suggested offerings for each area:

Area I: Minor and Approved Electives (30 Credit Hours)

Students are required to complete 30 credit hours of upper-level electives (3000-4000 level) to complete an undergraduate degree. Students may complete a minor from another department within these 30 credit hours.  The 30 credit hours of electives may be earned from any department of the University.  A grade of “C” or better is recommended for approval.

Total Semester Hours for Degree: 120 Credit Hours

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