Policy Studies (B.A.)

The Policy Studies Major enables students to understand the effects of policy decisions made on the federal, state, and municipal levels, and by non-governmental actors, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. The Policy Studies Major grounds students in a liberal arts education, while providing the essential skills, knowledge, and networks to embark on a rewarding career that enables them to work within the policy-making arena to improve the lives of others. Students will acquire practical skills by studying policy issues; and develop skills in policy analysis, problem solving, data analysis, communications, policy creation, and assessment.

A core component of the program is student’s participation in a capstone internship project for 6 credits, which can be taken with community partners locally, or in Washington, DC through the Washington Center Program. Through this capstone experience, students will undertake projects that will enable them to demonstrate their skills to future employers. 

What Career Opportunities are Available to Policy Studies Majors?


Students who major in Policy Studies can expect an abundance of opportunities in governmental (municipal, county, state, federal, and international); with NGOs; in non-profits and in the corporate and regulatory arenas. Some employment opportunities include:

Government Sector Jobs:

  • Legislative aide (federal, state, large city)

  • Program analyst/administrator/manager

  • Budget analyst/manager

  • City manager

  • Policy director (generalist) for elected official

  • Policy specialist for elected official

  • City planner

Nonprofit Sector Jobs:

  • Advancement or development manager

  • Policy research assistant

  • Program manager

  • Government relations manager

  • Community outreach manager

  • Policy Activist

Private Sector Jobs:

  • Government relations manager

  • Program analyst

  • Program manager

  • Public relations and marketing manager

  • Policy Consultant

  • Community relations manager

Program Requirements Overview

Unless otherwise noted, 120 credits of coursework is required for a baccalaureate degree with a minimum 2.0 overall GPA, and a minimum 2.0 major GPA.

General Education Requirements33
World Languages and Cultures Requirements3-9
Major Requirements43
Free Electives41-35
Total Credits120

Major Requirements

Required Courses
ECON 101Applied Macroeconomics3
ECON 102Applied Microeconomics3
INFO 173Spreadsheet Modeling for Business Decisions3
POLS 101American Government and Politics3
POLS 208 Introduction to Public Policy3
POLS 324Advanced Public Policy Analysis3
POLS 420Seminar and Internship in Political Science6
or POLS 436 Political Science Washington, D.C., Internship
SOCI 240Statistics for Social Research4
Major Electives
Complete 15 credits of elective coursework from the list below.15
Total Credits43

Major Electives

CHAD 212Children and Justice3
CHAD 302Public Child Welfare3
EAES 101Planet Earth4
EAES 107Earth and the Environment4
EAES 160The Human Environment3
EAES 161Human Geography3
EAES 170World Geography3
EAES 202Introduction to Sustainability Science3
EAES 210Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing3
EAES 260Energy, Environment and Society3
EAES 271Geography of East and Southeast Asia3
EAES 272Land and Life in Latin America3
EAES 280Principles of Land Use3
EAES 281Introduction to American Urban Studies3
EAES 283Urban Georgraphy3
EAES 300Energy Transitions: A Global Dependence3
EAES 361Environmental Policy3
EAES 380Transportation3
ECON 201Data Analysis Tools in Economics and Business3
ECON 202Economics and Finance for Non-Business Majors3
ECON 215The Economics of Social Problems3
HLTH 102Introduction to Public Health3
HLTH 204Social and Behavioral Aspects of Health3
HLTH 240Foundations of Environmental Health3
HLTH 360Health Policy and Administration3
POLS 203International Organizations3
POLS 205Introduction to Public Administration3
POLS 207American Foreign Policy3
POLS 216Urban Politics3
POLS 304State and Local Government3
POLS 311Governmental Budgeting3
POLS 313Politics and Technology3
POLS 315Urban Administration3
POLS 327Food and Politics3
POLS 329Narco-Terrorism3
POLS 331Animal Rights: Law, Politics and Culture3
POLS 332U.S. Immigration: Law and Politics3
POLS 353Intelligence and National Security3
POLS 365Global Environmental Politics3
POLS 425Politics of Federal Bureaucracy3
POLS 431Globalization and Security3
SOWK 220Social Welfare Policy and Services3

General Education Requirements

Click here for a list of courses that fulfill General Education categories.

A. New Student Seminar
Complete a 1 credit New Student Seminar course.1
C. Communication
1. Writing 3
2. Literature3
3. Communication3
D. Fine and Performing Arts
Complete a 3 credit Fine and Performing Arts course.3
F. Humanities
1. Great Works and Their Influences3
2. Philosophical and Religious Perspectives 3
G. Computer Science
Spreadsheet Modeling for Business Decisions (Fulfilled in the major.)
H. Mathematics
Complete a 3 credit Mathematics course.3
I. Natural Science Laboratory
Complete a 4 credit Natural Science Laboratory course.4
J. Physical Education
Complete a 1 credit Physical Education course.1
K. Social Science
1. American and European History 3
2. Global Cultural Perspectives3
3. Social Science Perspectives
American Government and Politics (Fulfilled in the major.)
L. Interdisciplinary Studies
Applied Microeconomics (Fulfilled in the major.)
Total Credits33

World Languages and Cultures Requirements

Click here for a list of courses that fulfill World Languages and Cultures categories.

World Languages
Based on language placement exam, complete one or two sequential courses in the same language. Requirement is automatically fulfilled by language major courses.3-6
World Cultures
Requirement may be fulfilled by course selected in General Education - Social Science: Global Cultural Perspectives. Requirement may also be fulfilled by major coursework. See list of courses.0-3
Total Credits3-9

Recommended Roadmap to Degree Completion

This four-year plan is provided as an outline for students to follow in order to complete their degree requirements within four years.  This plan is a recommendation and students should only use it in consultation with their academic advisor.

First Year
WRIT 1053GENERAL EDUCATION (D) Fine and Performing Arts3
CMST 1013GENERAL EDUCATION (F1) Humanities – Great Works and Their Influences3
GENERAL EDUCATION (G) Computer Science3GENERAL EDUCATION (K2) Social Science – Global Cultural Perspectives3
GENERAL EDUCATION (J) Physical Education1ECON 1013
POLS 1013 
 14 15
Second Year
GENERAL EDUCATION (I) Natural Science Laboratory4GENERAL EDUCATION (F2) Humanities – Philosophical and Religious Perspectives3
GENERAL EDUCATION (K1) Social Science – American and European History3GENERAL EDUCATION (H) Mathematics3
World Language 13World Language 23
ECON 1023World Cultures3
Free Elective3POLS 2083
 16 15
Third Year
SOCI 2404POLS 3243
Major Elective3Major Elective3
Free Elective3Major Elective3
Free Elective3Free Elective3
Free Elective3Free Elective2
 16 14
Fourth Year
Major Elective3POLS 420 or 4366
Major Elective3Major Elective3
Free Elective3Free Elective3
Free Elective3Free Elective3
Free Elective3 
 15 15
Total Credits 120