Degrees > BS in Public Policy

Our department offers a BS degree in public policy that explores the intersection of public policy, technology and our natural world. The program provides students with an opportunity to integrate their interests in science, technology, government, economics and other social science fields. The BS degree combines an understanding of these fields with the analytical tools needed to study the impact of public policy on society. Through the program, students acquire policy analysis skills, with particular attention placed on analyzing policies that emerge in a technology-based society.

The program has many key features, including:

Science and technology—Graduates are trained in the vernacular, methodologies and problem-solving approaches of the sciences and technologies relevant to their chosen policy study track, and they possess a well-grounded familiarity in that area. Policy tracks include environmental policy, information and communications policy, energy policy, biotechnology policy and others designed to meet the student’s interests. Students also have an option of tailoring a track to their interests.

Interdisciplinarity—To ensure interdisciplinarity, the program provides integration of diverse disciplines through a sequence of eight public policy courses. This sequence makes up the core of the curriculum and enables students to integrate diverse subjects and apply them to the analysis of public policy.

Integrated qualitative and quantitative skills—The program balances both quantitative and qualitative approaches to the analysis of public policy so that students are able to achieve a full systems-level grasp of policy issues.

Solid grounding in liberal arts—While our graduates will have quantitative and qualitative training, by the end of their academic career they also will have taken liberal arts courses with a broad disciplinary range. It is this grounding in humanistic values combined with technology and science that makes our program both balanced and unique.

The strategy of the curriculum design is to train students to think and analyze policy in terms of complex, interconnected systems. This training is in high demand in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Accelerated dual degree program

Students can choose a four-year BS degree or an accelerated five-year program leading to a bachelor of science in public policy and a master of science in science, technology and public policy. The five-year BS/MS option provides students a considerable advantage for many policy-related careers.

Cooperative education

Students complete a co-op or internship within the private, public or nonprofit sectors. The co-op experience makes our students attractive to a wide range of agencies, businesses and organizations.

Track courses

Six track courses demand that students apply skills acquired in public policy courses to specific policy areas or domains. Students can concentrate in areas such as environmental policy, information and communications policy, energy policy and biotechnology policy, among others. Many track courses are offered through other programs and colleges of the university, including those that provide a firm grounding in the science and technology aspects of the chosen track. This gives students an opportunity to interact and study with researchers and faculty from a broad range of disciplines.

Public policy colloquium

This required, noncredit-bearing colloquium meets twice each quarter. The colloquium is used to bring in policy practitioners and academics to talk about careers, research and special topics. The colloquium series helps build and sustain a sense of community among policy majors by providing a context for their course work and research.

Employment opportunities

Exciting career opportunities await professionals who can integrate an understanding of science and technology with public policy decisionmaking. RIT public policy graduates are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the growing job market in public policy, with career options in a range of fields within the private, government and nonprofit sectors.


The public policy faculty has extensive experience in the classroom and as practitioners in their respective fields. Faculty have a broad range of backgrounds in addition to public policy, including physics, engineering, law, environmental science, energy management and information technology.

Public policy, BS degree, typical course sequence
  Qtr. Cr. Hrs.
First Year Public Policy Core  
Foundations in Public Policy 0521-400 4
Science, Technology, and Policy 0508-441 4
Principles of Microeconomics 0511-211 4
Principles of Macroeconomics 0511-402 4
American Politics 0513-211 4
Math and Science Requirement** 20
Liberal Arts* 4
Free Elective 4
Policy Colloquium 0
First-Year Enrichment 1105-051, 052 2
Wellness Education† 0
Second Year Public Policy Core  
Values in Public Policy 0521-401 4
Qualitative Analysis in Public Policy 0521-406 4
Benefit-Cost Analysis 0511-450 4
Data Analysis I 1016-319 4
Applied Econometrics 0511-457
Data Analysis II 1016-320
American Political Thought 0513-458 4
Environment and Society 0508-460 4
Liberal Arts* 20
Policy Colloquium 0
Wellness Education† 0
Third Year Public Policy Core  
Policy Analysis I, II, III 0521-402, 403, 404 12
Public Policy Track Courses 12
Liberal Arts* 12
Free Electives 12
Cooperative Education (Summer) Co-op
Policy Colloquium 0
Fourth Year Public Policy Core  
Senior Project I 0521-405 4
Technological Innovation and Public Policy 0521-408 4
Public Policy Track Courses 12
Liberal Arts* 12
Free Electives 4
Total Quarter Credit Hours 182
* Please see Liberal Arts General Education Requirements for more information.
† Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information.
** Please see Mathematics and Science General Education Curriculum for more information.
Note: Students may take up to 12 quarter credit hours of MS classes in their fourth year if they are enrolled in the BS/MS program. This increases total quarter credit hours to 198.


Focus on energy, environmental or information technology issues.

Learn forecasting, cost-benefit analysis, project management, and stake holding analysis.