Jul 21, 2024  
2022 - 2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022 - 2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Policy

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Public Policy

Public Policy is an interdisciplinary major that focuses on analytical decision making to study diverse subjects ranging from the processes of making, implementing and evaluating government policies to the ethical evaluation of contemporary social problems. It emphasizes quantitative and economic analysis, the study of political institutions that produce policy, and the examination of specific policy areas such as environment and health. The Public Policy major draws on coursework primarily from Economics and Government, but also on courses in Psychology, Sociology, Law, Philosophy, and others. Graduates from the undergraduate Public Policy program pursue a wide array of careers in public service, policymaking and politics, finding employment in governments at all levels, consulting firms that work with governmental clients, regulated industries as well as non-profits. Public Policy graduates regularly pursue graduate studies in business administration, economics, environmental studies, health policy and administration, law, political science, psychology, public administration, public policy analysis, social work, sociology and urban affairs. In addition to preparing Public Policy majors to be participants in the policy process, an important goal is also to teach students to be well-informed, capable citizens.

In addition to the interdisciplinary major, the Public Policy offers other opportunities for students interested in public policy, such as:


A variety of internships are available to students. Internships provide a unique experience that enable students to apply their academic studies to a professional setting. These internships are sometimes done for course credit, monetary compensation or purely for the experience. Typically, internships involve some supervision from a faculty member. Course credit is available for internships, either through Public Policy or Interdisciplinary Studies 491: Public Affairs Internship course (1 credit). See the section in Requirements for Degrees  for more information on internships.

Accelerated Bachelor of Arts/Sciences and Master of Public Policy

W&M undergraduate students are able to earn both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master of Public Policy in five years. Candidates interested in this accelerated degree path must apply to and gain acceptance in their junior year. See the Graduate Program Catalog for full details.

Programs and Course Descriptions



    Public Policy

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