Public Policy Bachelor of science degree

6262d84b-323e-42a6-9ee7-dd7aa3eed358 | 87007

Overview

Dual Degree

A public policy degree that explores the intersection of public policy, technology, and our natural world by integrating science, technology, government, economics, and other social science fields with the analysis of policy.


Policy plays a critical role in addressing the many environmental, social, economic, and technological challenges facing society. The public policy degree provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to analyze and advocate for policy change in both private and public organizations.

Plan of study

Students will develop the skills needed to fully comprehend the impact of public policy on an increasingly technology-based society. The curriculum is designed to provide a foundation in analyzing policy in terms of complex, interconnected systems. Students integrate their interests in government, science, technology, economics, and other social science fields by taking courses with a broad disciplinary range.

The public policy degree combines an understanding of these fields with the analytical tools needed to study the impact of public policy on society. Courses help you attain a deep understanding of the ethical, political, and social dimensions of policy issues and help students develop strong policy analysis skills. The major has many key features, including:

Interdisciplinary—Public policy core courses ensure the major provides integration of diverse disciplines and enables students to integrate diverse subjects and apply them to the analysis of public policy.

Integrated qualitative and quantitative skills—The major 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.

Customizable concentrations—Through customizable concentrations students are trained in the vernacular, methodologies, and problem-solving approaches of the sciences and technologies relevant to their chosen are of policy study, and develop a well-grounded familiarity in that area.

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

Applied experience—The major provides opportunities for optional cooperative education experiences after the student’s third year of study. Students work directly with policy analysts and policymakers in legislative offices, nonprofit organizations, special interest groups, industry organizations, or corporate public affairs departments and gain paid professional experience in their field. In their senior year, students work closely with RIT faculty on research as part of a capstone senior project, which provides an applied research or consulting experience that uses many of the skills developed throughout the program.

Concentrations

Students must complete a five course concentration in an area of study. Sample concentrations include biotechnology policy, computer crime policy, computer software policy, energy policy, engineering policy, environmental policy, and information and telecommunications policy. With the help of a faculty adviser, students can customize a concentration based on their interests and professional aspirations. Students apply skills acquired in general public policy courses to specific policy areas. Many concentration courses, including those that provide a firm grounding in science and technology, are offered through other majors at RIT. This gives students an opportunity to interact and study with researchers and faculty from a broad range of disciplines.

Faculty

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

Pre-Law Advising Program

Law schools welcome applications from students majoring in a wide range of academic programs. If you are interested in pursuing law school, RIT’s Pre-Law Advising Program is designed to maximize your chances of admission to law school. The program includes personalized advising, LSAT preparation, academic counseling, and a time table for law school admission.

RIT/Syracuse University College of Law 3+3 Option

RIT has partnered with Syracuse University’s College of Law to offer an accelerated 3+3 BS/JD option for highly capable students. This option provides a fast-track pathway to law school in which students earn a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctorate degree in six years. In the 3+3 option, students interested in the following RIT majors–advertising and public relations, communication, criminal justice, economics, international and global studies, journalism, philosophy, political science, psychology, public policy, and sociology and anthropology–may apply to the option directly. Successful applicants are offered admission to RIT and given conditional acceptance into Syracuse University’s College of Law. Learn more about the RIT/Syracuse University College of Law 3+3 Option, including admission requirements and frequently asked questions.

Industries


  • Politics

  • International Affairs

  • Government (Local, State, Federal)

  • Non-Profit

  • Other Industries

Typical Job Titles

Policy Analyst Program Evaluator
Regulatory Affairs Specialist Program Manager
Energy Efficiency Advisor Research Assistant
Program Specialist

Cooperative Education

Cooperative education, or co-op for short, is full-time, paid work experience in your field of study. And it sets RIT graduates apart from their competitors. It’s exposure–early and often–to a variety of professional work environments, career paths, and industries. RIT co-op is designed for your success

Cooperative education is optional, but strongly encouraged for students in the public policy degree. Students may complete a co-op or internship within the private, public, or nonprofit sectors. 

Explore salary and career information for Public Policy BS 

Curriculum for Public Policy BS

Public Policy, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ECON-101
General Education – Elective: Principles of Microeconomics
Microeconomics studies the workings of individual markets. That is, it examines the interaction of the demanders of goods and services with the suppliers of those goods and services. It explores how the behavior of consumers (demanders), the behavior of producers (suppliers), and the level of market competition influence market outcomes. Lecture (Fall, Spring).
3
ECON-201
General Education – Elective: Principles of Macroeconomics
Macroeconomics studies aggregate economic behavior. The course begins by presenting the production possibilities model. This is followed by a discussion of basic macroeconomic concepts including inflation, unemployment, and economic growth and fluctuations. The next topic is national income accounting, which is the measurement of macroeconomic variables. The latter part of the course focuses on the development of one or more macroeconomic models, a discussion of the role of money in the macroeconomy, the aggregate supply-aggregate demand framework, and other topics the individual instructor may choose. (Prerequisites: ECON-101 or completion of one (1) 400 or 500 level ECON course.) Lecture (Fall, Spring, Summer).
3
PUBL-101
Foundations of Public Policy
This interdisciplinary course introduces the student to the key concepts of public policy, the policymaking process, the role of stakeholders and interest groups, and the basic dimensions policy analysis. Those concepts are then applied through a range of issues, such as the environment, clean energy, climate change, healthcare, cybersecurity, employment, privacy, telecommunications, and innovation, at local, state, federal and international levels. Lecture (Fall).
3
STAT-145
General Education – Mathematical Perspective A: Introduction to Statistics I
This course introduces statistical methods of extracting meaning from data, and basic inferential statistics. Topics covered include data and data integrity, exploratory data analysis, data visualization, numeric summary measures, the normal distribution, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. The emphasis of the course is on statistical thinking rather than computation. Statistical software is used. (Prerequisite: MATH-101 or MATH-111 or NMTH-260 or NMTH-272 or NMTH-275 or a math placement exam score of at least 35.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
3
STSO-201
Science and Technology Policy
Examines how local, state, federal and international policies are developed to influence innovation, the transfer of technology and industrial productivity in the United States and other selected nations. Lecture (Fall, Spring).
3
YOPS-10
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies. Lecture 1 (Fall, Spring).
0
 
General Education – Artistic Perspective
3
 
General Education – Ethical Perspective
3
 
General Education – First-Year Writing (WI)
3
 
General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective
3
 
General Education – Elective
3
Second Year
PUBL-201
Ethics, Values, & Public Policy
This course focuses on the connections and interplay between personal and social values, ethics, and public policy. It explores how values and norms influence public policies and how the resulting expressions of values through public policies impact the implementation and effectiveness of policy choices. It also delves into how different countries make widely different policy choices based on their citizens’ values and social norms. The course also considers how new developments in science and technology influence the interplay between values, ethics, and policy across multiple issues. In addition, this course explores how to formulate values-based explanations of certain public policy preferences. Topics range across the policy issue spectrum. Lecture (Fall).
3
PUBL-210
Introduction to Qualitative Policy Analysis
This course teaches the practical aspects of doing theoretically informed qualitative social research with policy applications. Special attention is given to the processes by which research problems are formulated, research designs selected, data gathered and interpreted, and inferences and conclusions drawn. A variety of tools, such as surveys, interviewing, and content analysis will be applied to specific case studies covering multiple policy issues. Lecture (Spring).
3
Choose one of the following:
4
   MATH-161
   General Education – Mathematical Perspective B: Applied Calculus
This course is an introduction to the study of differential and integral calculus, including the study of functions and graphs, limits, continuity, the derivative, derivative formulas, applications of derivatives, the definite integral, the fundamental theorem of calculus, basic techniques of integral approximation, exponential and logarithmic functions, basic techniques of integration, an introduction to differential equations, and geometric series. Applications in business, management sciences, and life sciences will be included with an emphasis on manipulative skills. (Prerequisite: C- or better in MATH-101, MATH-111, MATH-131, NMTH-260, NMTH-272 or NMTH-275 or Math Placement Exam score greater than or equal to 45.) Lecture 4 (Fall, Spring).
 
   MATH-171
   General Education – Mathematical Perspective B: Calculus A
This is the first course in a three-course sequence (COS-MATH-171, -172, -173). This course includes a study of functions, continuity, and differentiability. The study of functions includes the exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions. Limits of functions are used to study continuity and differentiability. The study of the derivative includes the definition, basic rules, and implicit differentiation. Applications of the derivative include optimization and related-rates problems. (Prerequisite: C- or better in MATH-111 or C- or better in ((NMTH-260 or NMTH-272 or NMTH-275) and NMTH-220) or a math placement exam score greater than or equal to 50.) Lecture 5 (Fall, Spring).
 
   MATH-181
   General Education – Mathematical Perspective B: Project-based Calculus I
This is the first in a two-course sequence intended for students majoring in mathematics, science, or engineering. It emphasizes the understanding of concepts, and using them to solve physical problems. The course covers functions, limits, continuity, the derivative, rules of differentiation, applications of the derivative, Riemann sums, definite integrals, and indefinite integrals. (Prerequisite: A- or better in MATH-111 or A- or better in ((NMTH-260 or NMTH-272 or NMTH-275) and NMTH-220) or a math placement exam score greater than or equal to 70 or department permission to enroll in this class.) Lecture 6 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
 
   STAT-146
   General Education – Mathematical Perspective B: Introduction to Statistics II
This course is an elementary introduction to the topics of regression and analysis of variance. The statistical software package Minitab will be used to reinforce these techniques. The focus of this course is on business applications. This is a general introductory statistics course and is intended for a broad range of programs. (Prerequisites: STAT-145 or equivalent course.) Lecture 6 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
 
 
Concentration Course
3
 
General Education – Global Perspective
3
 
General Education – Natural Science Inquiry Perspective‡
3
 
General Education – Social Perspective
3
 
General Education – Immersion 1
3
 
Open Electives
6
Third Year
PUBL-301
Public Policy Analysis
This course provides students with necessary tools to help them become effective policy analysts. The course places particular emphasis on understanding the policy process, the different approaches to policy analysis, and the application of quantitative methods, such as cost-benefit analysis, sampling designs, and decision trees. Students will apply these tools to contemporary public policy decision making at the local, state, federal, and international levels. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to students with at least 2nd year standing.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
PUBL-302
Decision Analysis
This course provides students with an introduction to decision science and analysis. The course focuses on several important tools for making good decisions, including forecasting, risk analysis, and multi-attribute decision making. Students will apply these tools to contemporary public policy decision making at the local, state, federal, and international levels. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to students with at least 2nd year standing.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
Choose one of the following:
3
   POLS-210
   Comparative Politics
The course provides a mode of analysis for the study of political systems. Basic concepts of political science are utilized to present a descriptive and analytical examination of various political systems that can be classified as liberal democracies, post-communist, newly industrializing countries, and Third World. Particular attention is paid to the governmental structure, current leadership and major issues of public policy of those selected political systems under review. Lecture (Spring).
 
   POLS-325
   International Law and Organizations
The study of international law and organizations is the study of international cooperation and governance. The course will cover a variety of theoretical and substantive topics including the theories of international law and organizations, the historical development of international organizations, how these organizations work in practice, and whether they are effective. Emphasis will be placed on the United Nations and the role and usefulness of nongovernmental organizations in international organization. Several of the substantive issues discussed are interstate violence and attempts to address humanitarian concerns, globalizations, and the environment. Lecture (Fall).
 
   POLS-455
   Comparative Public Policy
Modernization theorists predict, industrial and post-industrial societies tend to face similar public policy issues in such areas as public education, health care, public transportation, public housing and the environment. However, the political responses to these challenges have varied in significant ways in different countries. Many states have developed extensive welfare state systems, while some have put more emphasis on market-based solutions. The course seeks to explore and analyze the factors that explain these differences and assess the extent to which the different approaches succeed in meeting these policy challenges. Lecture (Fall).
 
 
Concentration Courses
6
 
General Education – Elective
3
 
General Education – Immersion 2
3
 
Open Electives
6
 
Public Policy Elective
3
 
 
 
Fourth Year
PUBL-500
Senior Project (WI-PR)
This project-based course represents the culminating educational experience for public policy degree students. In the course, students work to identify and analyze a real-world policy-related problem at the local, state, federal, or international level. Typically, projects are informed by, and delivered to, outside stakeholders or clients who work with the students to help formulate, structure, and/or carry out the project. Students work in a team environment under the guidance of a faculty adviser. Under special circumstances students may work individually with the approval of the program. (Enrollment in this course requires permission from the department offering the course.) Research 6 (Fall, Spring).
3
PUBL-510
Technological Innovation and Public Policy
Technological innovation, the incremental and revolutionary improvements in technology, has been a major driver in economic, social, military, and political change. This course will introduce generic models of innovation that span multiple sectors including: energy, environment, health, and bio- and information-technologies. The course also analyzes how governments choose policies, such as patents, to spur and shape innovation and its impacts on the economy and society. Students will be introduced to a global perspective on innovation policy including economic competitiveness, technology transfer and appropriate technology. Lecture (Spring).
3
 
Concentration Courses
6
 
General Education – Immersion 3
3
 
General Education – Electives
9
 
Open Electives
6
Total Semester Credit Hours
121

Please see General Education Curriculum (GE) for more information.

(WI-PR) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.

‡ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking either a 3- or 4-credit hour lab science course. If a science course consists of separate lecture and laboratory sections, student must take both the lecture and lab portions to satisfy the requirement.

Accelerated dual degree option

Accelerated dual degree options are for undergraduate students with outstanding academic records. Upon acceptance, well-qualified undergraduate students can begin graduate study before completing their BS degree, shortening the time it takes to earn both degrees. Students should consult an academic adviser for more information.

Public Policy, BS degree/Science, Technology and Public Policy, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ECON-101
Principles of Microeconomics
Microeconomics studies the workings of individual markets. That is, it examines the interaction of the demanders of goods and services with the suppliers of those goods and services. It explores how the behavior of consumers (demanders), the behavior of producers (suppliers), and the level of market competition influence market outcomes. Lecture (Fall, Spring).
3
ECON-201
Principles of Macroeconomics
Macroeconomics studies aggregate economic behavior. The course begins by presenting the production possibilities model. This is followed by a discussion of basic macroeconomic concepts including inflation, unemployment, and economic growth and fluctuations. The next topic is national income accounting, which is the measurement of macroeconomic variables. The latter part of the course focuses on the development of one or more macroeconomic models, a discussion of the role of money in the macroeconomy, the aggregate supply-aggregate demand framework, and other topics the individual instructor may choose. (Prerequisites: ECON-101 or completion of one (1) 400 or 500 level ECON course.) Lecture (Fall, Spring, Summer).
3
PUBL-101
Foundations of Public Policy
This interdisciplinary course introduces the student to the key concepts of public policy, the policymaking process, the role of stakeholders and interest groups, and the basic dimensions policy analysis. Those concepts are then applied through a range of issues, such as the environment, clean energy, climate change, healthcare, cybersecurity, employment, privacy, telecommunications, and innovation, at local, state, federal and international levels. Lecture (Fall).
3
STAT-145
General Education – Mathematical Perspective A: Introduction to Statistics I
This course introduces statistical methods of extracting meaning from data, and basic inferential statistics. Topics covered include data and data integrity, exploratory data analysis, data visualization, numeric summary measures, the normal distribution, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. The emphasis of the course is on statistical thinking rather than computation. Statistical software is used. (Prerequisite: MATH-101 or MATH-111 or NMTH-260 or NMTH-272 or NMTH-275 or a math placement exam score of at least 35.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
3
STSO-201
Science and Technology Policy
Examines how local, state, federal and international policies are developed to influence innovation, the transfer of technology and industrial productivity in the United States and other selected nations. Lecture (Fall, Spring).
3
YOPS-010
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies. Lecture 1 (Fall, Spring).
0
 
General Education – Ethical Perspective
3
 
General Education – Artistic Perspective
3
 
General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective‡
3
 
General Education – Elective
3
 
General Education – First Year Writing (WI)
3
Second Year
PUBL-201
Ethics, Values & Public Policy
This course focuses on the connections and interplay between personal and social values, ethics, and public policy. It explores how values and norms influence public policies and how the resulting expressions of values through public policies impact the implementation and effectiveness of policy choices. It also delves into how different countries make widely different policy choices based on their citizens’ values and social norms. The course also considers how new developments in science and technology influence the interplay between values, ethics, and policy across multiple issues. In addition, this course explores how to formulate values-based explanations of certain public policy preferences. Topics range across the policy issue spectrum. Lecture (Fall).
3
PUBL-210
Introduction to Qualitative Policy Analysis
This course teaches the practical aspects of doing theoretically informed qualitative social research with policy applications. Special attention is given to the processes by which research problems are formulated, research designs selected, data gathered and interpreted, and inferences and conclusions drawn. A variety of tools, such as surveys, interviewing, and content analysis will be applied to specific case studies covering multiple policy issues. Lecture (Spring).
3
Choose one of the following:
4
   STAT-146
   General Education – Mathematical Perspective B: Introduction to Statistics II
This course is an elementary introduction to the topics of regression and analysis of variance. The statistical software package Minitab will be used to reinforce these techniques. The focus of this course is on business applications. This is a general introductory statistics course and is intended for a broad range of programs. (Prerequisites: STAT-145 or equivalent course.) Lecture 6 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
 
   
   General Education – Mathematical Perspective B: Calculus Based Math Course
 
 
General Education – Global Perspective
3
 
General Education – Social Perspective
3
 
General Education – Natural Science Inquiry Perspective
3
 
Open Electives
6
 
Concentration Course
3
 
General Education – Immersion 1
3
Third Year
PUBL-301
Public Policy Analysis
This course provides students with necessary tools to help them become effective policy analysts. The course places particular emphasis on understanding the policy process, the different approaches to policy analysis, and the application of quantitative methods, such as cost-benefit analysis, sampling designs, and decision trees. Students will apply these tools to contemporary public policy decision making at the local, state, federal, and international levels. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to students with at least 2nd year standing.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
PUBL-302
Decision Analysis
This course provides students with an introduction to decision science and analysis. The course focuses on several important tools for making good decisions, including forecasting, risk analysis, and multi-attribute decision making. Students will apply these tools to contemporary public policy decision making at the local, state, federal, and international levels. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to students with at least 2nd year standing.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
 
General Education – Immersion 2
3
 
Open Electives
6
 
General Education – Elective
3
 
Concentration Courses
6
 
POLS Course
3
 
PUBL Elective
3
Fourth Year
PUBL-500
Senior Project (WI)
This project-based course represents the culminating educational experience for public policy degree students. In the course, students work to identify and analyze a real-world policy-related problem at the local, state, federal, or international level. Typically, projects are informed by, and delivered to, outside stakeholders or clients who work with the students to help formulate, structure, and/or carry out the project. Students work in a team environment under the guidance of a faculty adviser. Under special circumstances students may work individually with the approval of the program. (Enrollment in this course requires permission from the department offering the course.) Research 6 (Fall, Spring).
3
PUBL-610
Technological Innovation and Public Policy/Graduate Elective
Technological innovation, the incremental and revolutionary improvements in technology, has been a major driver in economic, social, military, and political change. This course will introduce generic models of innovation that span multiple sectors including: energy, environment, health, and bio- and information-technologies. The course will then analyze how governments choose policies, such as patents, to spur and shape innovation and its impacts on the economy and society. Students will be introduced to a global perspective on innovation policy including economic competitiveness, technology transfer and appropriate technology. Lecture (Spring).
3
 
General Education – Immersion 3
3
 
Concentration Course
3
 
Concentration Course/Graduate Elective
3
 
Open Electives
6
 
General Education – Electives
9
Fifth Year
PUBL-700
Readings in Public Policy
An in-depth inquiry into key contemporary public policy issues. Students will be exposed to a wide range of important public policy texts, and will learn how to write a literature review in a policy area of their choosing. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Seminar (Fall).
3
PUBL-701
Graduate Policy Analysis
This course provides graduate students with necessary tools to help them become effective policy analysts. The course places particular emphasis on understanding the policy process, the different approaches to policy analysis, and the application of quantitative and qualitative methods for evaluating public policies. Students will apply these tools to contemporary public policy decision making at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Lecture (Fall).
3
PUBL-703
Evaluation and Research Design
The focus of this course is on evaluation of program outcomes and research design. Students will explore the questions and methodologies associated with meeting programmatic outcomes, secondary or unanticipated effects, and an analysis of alternative means for achieving program outcomes. Critique of evaluation research methodologies will also be considered. Seminar (Spring).
3
STSO-710
Graduate Science and Technology Policy Seminar
Examines how federal and international policies are developed to influence research and development, innovation, and the transfer of technology in the United States and other selected nations. Students in the course will apply basic policy skills, concepts, and methods to contemporary science and technology policy topics. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Seminar (Fall).
3
 
Graduate Electives
6
Choose one of the following:
6
   PUBL-790
   Public Policy Thesis
The master's thesis in science, technology, and public policy requires the student to select a thesis topic, advisor and committee; prepare a written thesis proposal for approval by the faculty; present and defend the thesis before a thesis committee; and submit a bound copy of the thesis to the library and to the program chair. (Enrollment in this course requires permission from the department offering the course.) Thesis 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
 
 
   Two graduate electives plus PUBL-798 Comprehensive Exam
 
Total Semester Credit Hours
145

Please see General Education Curriculum for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.

‡ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking either a 3- or 4-credit hour lab science course. If a science course consists of separate lecture and laboratory sections, student must take both the lecture and lab portions to satisfy the requirement.

§ Students who choose to complete the comprehensive exam will take an additional two graduate electives.

Admission Requirements

Freshman Admission

For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.

Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations

  • 3 years of math required
  • Strong performance in English and social studies is expected

Transfer Admission

Transfer course recommendations without associate degree

Courses in liberal arts, sciences, and math

Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer

Liberal arts, environmental studies, economics, government, science

Learn about admissions, cost, and financial aid 

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