The Public Policy Program combines political science, sociology, philosophy, economics, social psychology, history and other academic fields to create a rigorous, interdisciplinary major. It is intended for individuals who seek to analyze public policy issues and implement solutions based on qualitative and quantitative research.
The program is designed to give students the tools and background needed to understand the role of public policy in society, how public policies are developed and implemented, appreciate the conflicts in fundamental human values that often animate policy debates, understand the political constraints faced by policy makers, assess the performance of alternative approaches to policy implementation, and how to evaluate policy options.
See courses and more information in the W&J College Catalog.
Beyond the Classroom
Students are required to do an internship while in the public policy program. This will provide an opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge acquired through coursework in a professional setting, as well as to expand valuable social network connections.
Public Policy students learn to draw upon skills from multiple disciplines to analyze and evaluate contemporary public policy problems. They apply their academic skills through internships and undergraduate research, develop their communication skills by writing policy briefs and papers for more in-depth analyses of issues in the academic discipline of public policy studies, and conduct public policy research and policy analysis.
Our student learn to address public policy questions such as:
- Given rising fuel costs, should state and local governments invest more dollars in alternative fuel sources or increase subsidies for public transportation?
- Which educational programs and methods have proven most effective for improving the high school graduation rates of children from low-income families?
- How can we best secure our nation’s borders?
- What are the best approaches to solving “wicked problems” in public policy, like climate change, poverty, and health care?
The Public Policy Program prepares students for admission to graduate or professional schools or for careers in law, government, public service, activism, research, or business. It cultivates a sophisticated, in-depth understanding of the vast array of issues—both global and national—that influence policy problems and outcomes. Graduates will be prepared to work for public agencies, nonprofits, the private sector or nongovernmental organizations.