At which campus can I study this program?
Any Penn State Campus
The Public Policy major is designed for students interested in policy issues, politics, public administration, and related areas like policy analysis and policy advocacy. The program explores a myriad of critical issues facing our communities, the nation, and the world. Students receive the educational foundation for careers in the public sector, in government-related businesses, and in non-profit organizations, as well as for graduate work in the fields of law, public administration, criminal justice, public policy, political science, and health care administration. Building on the program core, students may choose electives from a broad array of courses in public policy and other areas. Students may wish but are not required to pursue a concentration within the Public Policy major. The following concentrations are available:
- U.S. Public Policy
- Law and Justice
- International Policy
Students should consult their adviser for a complete listing of courses in each of these concentrations. Overall, the Public Policy program seeks to advance the ideals of an active, informed citizenry and a commitment to public service.
Our proximity to the state capital at Harrisburg provides students with a rich environment for both study and for internships. In addition to our full-time faculty, Public Policy draws on part-time faculty with particular professional strengths. In recent years students have explored politics and political issues in classes taught by a state senator, a former lieutenant governor, a corrections system administrator, and a governor's press secretary. This integration of academic study with the "real world" of Pennsylvania politics and policy making is further enhanced through quality internships. The Public Policy program prides itself in placing qualified students in internships that facilitate the development of professional skills and promote the prospects for professional employment following graduation. Internship options include the Harrisburg Semester: Public Service Leadership Internships (PSLI). (For more information, see www.hbg.psu.edu/hbg/hburgsem.) Students are encouraged to complete an internship during their senior year. Additional information regarding internships may be obtained by contacting the Public Policy Internship Coordinator.
What is Public Policy?
Public Policy is a discipline that focuses on the systematic analysis of public policy issues and decision processes. It includes study 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, and policy advocacy.
You Might Like This Program If...
- You have an interest in fostering positive policy change.
- You are concerned about critical issues facing your community or nation.
- You would enjoy working with others to solve these critical issues.
- You are interested in a career in government or with an NGO or non-profit.
Entrance to Major
Entry to the Public Policy major requires a 2.00 or higher cumulative grade-point average and an average of C (2.00) or better in any course already taken in the major.
Admission Requirements for Transfer Students
Transfer students must have a 2.00 or higher cumulative grade-point average. The evaluation of prior college work is done on an individual basis by the Office of Enrollment Services at Penn State Harrisburg.
For the Bachelor of Science degree in Public Policy, a minimum of 120 credits is required:
|Requirements for the Major||65|
6 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes 6 credits of General Education GS courses.
Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.
The keystone symbol appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.
Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)
- Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
- Arts (GA): 6 credits
- Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
- Humanities (GH): 6 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)
- Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits
University Degree Requirements
First Year Engagement
All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.
Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.
First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.
6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements
- United States Cultures: 3 credits
- International Cultures: 3 credits
Writing Across the Curriculum
3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.
Total Minimum Credits
A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.
Quality of Work
Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.
Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition
The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.
Requirements for the Major
At least 15 credits must be at the 400 level.
To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.
|Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better|
|ECON 102||Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy||3|
|ECON 104||Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy||3|
|PLSC 1||American Politics: Principles, Processes and Powers||3|
|PLSC 309||Quantitative Political Analysis||3|
|PUBPL 304||Public Policy Analysis||3|
|Select 9 credits from the following;||9|
|Computer Applications in Public Affairs/Criminal Justice|
|Select 6 credits of the following:||6|
|The Bureaucratic State|
|Government and Politics of the American States|
|Government and the Economy|
|Comparative Public Policy|
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Seminar in Environmental Policy|
|Seminar in Health Policy|
|Seminar in National Security Policy|
|Seminar in Welfare Policy|
|Seminar in Public Policy|
|Supporting Courses and Related Areas|
|Select 12 credits of the following:||12|
|Threat of Terrorism and Crime|
|Select 20 credits in consultation with an academic adviser and in support of the student's interests||20|
Program Learning Objectives
- Understand Political Processes and Government Operations at National, State & Local Levels
- Understand Constitutional Foundations, Institutions & Political Processes in the U.S.
- Understand Role of States in Federal System and Local Governments within States
- Understand Operation of Government Agencies
- Understand and Analyze Policy Creation Process, Policy Implementation & Policy Impact
- Understand Roles of Legislatures, Agencies & Interest Groups in Policy Formation
- Attain Familiarity with Selected Public Policies and Their Impact
- Acquire Ability to Analyze Critically the Content and Impact of Public Policies
- Be Prepared to Function in Policy-Related Careers in Government and NGOs
- Ability to Write Clearly and Concisely
- Ability to Communicate Effectively Using Oral Skills and Technology
- Knowledge of Leadership Qualities and Strategies
- Ability to Function Successfully in Policy-Related Work Environments
- Ability to Understand Research Methods and Use Statistics
- Knowledge of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.
Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.
Matthew Woessner, Ph.D.
Olmsted Building, W160
Middletown, PA 17057
Suggested Academic Plan
The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2019-20 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).
The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.
|ENGL 15 or 30‡||3||CAS 100‡||3|
|General Education Course||3||General Education Course||3|
|PLSC 1* †||3||General Education Course||3|
|General Education Course (GHW)||1.5||Elective||3|
|General Education Course||3||General Education Course||3|
|General Education Course||3||ENGL 202‡||3|
|General Education Course||3||PLSC 300-499 or PUBPL 241 or PUBPL 300-499||3|
|ECON 102*†||3||ECON 104||3|
|General Education Course (GHW)||1.5|
|PLSC 309*||3||PUBPL 480 or PUBPL 481 or PUBPL 482 or PUBPL 483 or PUBPL 484 or PUBPL 485 or PUBPL 490||3|
|PLSC 419, 425, 444, 488, 489, or PUBPL 305||3||PLSC 300-499 or PUBPL 241 or PUBPL 300-499||6|
|PLSC 419, 425, 444, 488, 489, or PUBPL 305||3||Select Suppotting Courses in consultation with adviser||3|
|Select from Supporting courses and Related Areas||6||Elective||3|
|PUBPL 480 or PUBPL 481 or PUBPL 482 or PUBPL 483 or PUBPL 485 or PUBPL 490||3||Select Supporting Courses in consultation with adviser||10|
|PLSC 300-499 or PUBPL 241 or PUBPL 300-499||3||PUBPL 480 or PUBPL 481 or PUBPL 482 or PUBPL 483 or PUBPL 484 or PUBPL 485 or PUBPL 490||3|
|Select Supporting Courses in consultation with adviser||4|
|Total Credits 119|
Course requires a grade of C or better for the major
Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education
Course is an Entrance to Major requirement
Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement
Select from Supporting Courses and Related Areas:
ACCTG 200-400, AFRAS 300-499, BESC 300-499, COMMS 300-499, CRIMJ 300-499, ECON 300-499, ENVE 460, FIN 300-400, HIST 300-499, MGMT 300-400, MKTG 300-400, SCLSC 300-499, SOSC 300-400, SOC 300-499, SRA 211, WMNST 300-499
University Requirements and General Education Notes:
US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).
W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.
GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.
Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.
- Students must complete at least 15 credits of 400-level courses
- Concurrent majors in Political Science and Public Policy are not permitted.
- Students must complete a 3-credit course in "United States Cultures (US)" and a 3-credit course in "International Cultures (IL)."
Our proximity to the state capital in Harrisburg provides students with a rich environment. In addition to our full-time faculty, public policy draws on part-time faculty with particular professional expertise and strengths. In recent years, students have explored politics and political issues in classes taught by a state senator, a former lieutenant governor, a corrections system administrator, and a governor’s press secretary. This integration of academic study with the practice of Pennsylvania politics and policy making is further enhanced through quality internships that enhance learning outcomes by immersing students in a credit-earning, real-world experience.
The Public Policy major is designed for students interested in policy issues, politics, public administration, and related areas like policy analysis and policy advocacy. Students in the Public Policy major receive the educational foundation for careers in the public sector, in government-related businesses, and in non-profit organizations.
Opportunities for Graduate Studies
The Public Policy program also provides a strong background for graduate education, including Penn State's Master of Public Administration, Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security, Master of Health Administration, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, and the PhD in Public Administration.
SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Olmsted Building, W159
Middletown, PA 17057