Public Policy Bachelor of science degree

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

Overview

Dual Degree

Explore the intersection of public policy, technology, and our natural world. The major provides students with an opportunity to integrate their interests in science, technology, government, economics, and other social science fields while analyzing policy in terms of complex, interconnected systems.


Policy plays a critical role in addressing the many environmental, social, economic, and technological challenges facing society. The public policy major 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 major 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.

What does amazing look like?

Attend one of our Open House events and you’ll get a pretty good idea.

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

100%

outcome rate of graduates

$46k

median first-year salary of graduates

Latest News

Curriculum

Public Policy, BS 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.
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.
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.
3
STAT-145
LAS Perspective 7A (mathematical): 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.
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.
3
YOPS-10
RIT 365: RIT Connections
0
 
LAS Perspective 1 (ethical)
3
 
LAS Perspective 2 (artistic)
3
 
LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles)
3
 
First Year Writing (WI)
3
 
LAS Elective
3
 
Wellness Education*
0
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.
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.
3
Choose one of the following:
4
  MATH-161
   LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical): 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.
 
  MATH-181
   LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical): 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.
 
  STAT-146
   LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical): 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.
 
 
LAS Perspective 3 (global)
3
 
LAS Perspective 4 (social)
3
 
LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry)‡
3
 
LAS Immersion 1
3
 
Free Electives
6
 
Concentration Course
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.
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.
3
 
LAS Immersion 2
3
 
Free Electives
6
 
Public Policy Elective
3
 
LAS Elective
3
 
Concentration Courses
6
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.
 
  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.
 
  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.
 
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.
3
PUBL-510
Technological Innovation & 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.
3
 
LAS Immersion 3
3
 
Concentration Courses
6
 
Free Electives
6
 
LAS Electives
9
Total Semester Credit Hours
121

Please see General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) 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.

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.
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.
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.
3
STAT-145
LAS Perspective 7A (mathematical): 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.
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.
3
YOPS-10
RIT 365: RIT Connections
0
 
LAS Perspective 1 (ethical)
3
 
LAS Perspective 2 (artistic)
3
 
LAS Perspective 6‡ (scientific principles)
3
 
LAS Elective
3
 
First Year Writing (WI)
3
 
Wellness Education*
0
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.
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.
3
STAT-146
LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical): 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.
4
 
LAS Perspective 3 (global)
3
 
LAS Perspective 4  (social)
3
 
LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry)
3
 
Free Electives
6
 
Concentration Course
3
 
LAS 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.
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.
3
 
LAS Immersion 2
3
 
Free Electives
6
 
LAS 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.
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.
3
 
LAS Immersion 3
3
 
Concentration Course
3
 
Concentration Course/Graduate Elective
3
 
Free Electives
6
 
LAS 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.
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.
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.
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.
3
 
Graduate Electives
6
Choose one of the following:
6
  PUBL-799
   Public Policy Thesis
 
 
   Comprehensive Exam§
 
Total Semester Credit Hours
145

Please see General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) 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 and financial aid 

Additional Info

Cooperative education

Students may 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.

Employment opportunities

Exciting career opportunities await professionals who can integrate an understanding of science and technology with public policy decision making. 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.

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.