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Public Policy Analysis, General

Program Description

Just the Facts

Public Policy Analysis, General. A program that focuses on the systematic analysis of public policy issues and decision processes. Includes instruction in the role of economic and political factors in public decision-making and policy formulation, microeconomic analysis of policy issues, resource allocation and decision modeling, cost/benefit analysis, statistical methods, and applications to specific public policy topics.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

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See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Careers

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Additional Information

Policy studies is a major for people who want to make a difference in society. These students study social policy and the ways that governments make decisions on social issues. It's often called public policy.

Some programs may take a general approach to policy studies, looking at a range of issues. Others may focus on a specific area, such as economic policy, foreign policy or health policy. Look for a program that matches your interests.

In Georgia State University's program, the main focus is on urban studies. Students earn a bachelor of science in urban studies with a public policy specialization.

"There are other specializations in this degree, but we view the policy specialization as the signature track," says John Clayton Thomas, professor and chair of the department.

Other specializations are in aviation and transportation, human resources, planning and economic development, public policy and local governance. Graduate degrees also are available in public administration, human resources development, urban policy studies and public policy.

Students take courses in the public policy process, urban political economy, policy research and more.

To prepare for a policy studies major, Thomas advises high school students to take any social studies course. Student government or community service programs also would be appropriate as extracurricular work.

There are also master's degrees available. At the school of policy studies at Queen's University, students earn a master's degree in public administration that provides them with advanced skills in policy analysis and management.

To enter the MPA program, students must hold a four-year undergraduate degree, with a B-plus standing. The five core courses are governing institutions, microeconomics and public policy, quantitative analysis, approaches to policy analysis and management in the public sector.

Electives and policy seminars are offered on a variety of topics, including social policy, management, health policy, defense management, economic policy, environmental policy, managing change, conflict management, advanced quantitative analysis, immigration policy, macroeconomics and others.

In addition, the school provides an internship program. This typically involves a four- to six-month paid placement with a government department or other public-sector organization.

The main costs are tuition and books, although students may also have to pay for class trips.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Social Scientists, Other

Careers in Government
This site has lots of info on public sector organizations

Activist Resource Group at Resources for Life
A long list of links to organizations championing various causes


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