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Public Policy BS degree

Sandra Rothenberg, Department Chairperson
585-475-6032, srothenberg@saunders.rit.edu

Program overview

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.

Curriculum

Public policy, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
PUBL-101 Foundations of Public Policy 3
ECON-101 Principles of Microeconomics 3
STSO-201 Science, Policy and Technology 3
ECON-201 Principles of Macroeconomics 3
ACSC-010 Year One 0
  LAS Perspective 1 (ethical) 3
  LAS Perspective 2 (artistic) 3
  LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles)‡ 3
  LAS Perspective 7A (mathematical)† 4
  First Year Writing 3
  LAS Elective 3 (global)  
  Wellness Education* 0
Second Year
PUBL-201 Ethics, Values, and Public Policy 3
PUBL-210 Introduction to Qualitative Policy Analysis 3
STAT-145 LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical): Introduction to Statistics I 3
  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 3
PUBL-302 Decision Analysis 3
POLS-455 Comparative Public Policy 3
  LAS Immersion 2 3
  Free Electives 6
  Public Policy Elective 3
  LAS Elective 3
  Concentration Courses 6
Fourth Year
PUBL-500 Senior Project (WI) 3
PUBL-510 Technology Innovation and Public Policy 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 may choose one of the following mathematics courses: Applied Calculus (MATH-161) or Project-based Calculus I (MATH-181).

‡ 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
PUBL-101 Foundations of Public Policy 3
ECON-101 Microeconomics 3
STSO-201 Science, Technology, and Policy 3
ECON-201 Macroeconomics 3
ACSC-010 Year One 0
  LAS Perspective 7A (mathematical) 3
  LAS Perspective 6‡ (scientific principles) 3
  LAS Perspective 1 (ethical) 3
  LAS Perspective 2 (global) 3
  First Year LAS Elective 3
  First Year Writing 3
  Wellness Education* 0
Second Year
PUBL-201 Values and Public Policy 3
STSO-220 Environment and Society 3
STAT-145 LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical): Statistics I 3
PUBL-210 Qualitative Methods and Analysis 3
  LAS Perspective 3 (global) 3
  LAS Perspective 4  (social) 3
  LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry) 3
  Free Electives 6
  Concentration Course 3
Third Year
PUBL-301 Public Policy Analysis 3
PUBL-302 Decision Analysis 3
POLS-455 Comparative Public Policy 3
  LAS Immersion 1, 2 6
  Free Electives 6
  LAS Elective 3
  Concentration Courses 6
Fourth Year
PUBL-500 Senior Project (WI) 3
  LAS Immersion 3 3
  Concentration Course 3
  Concentration Course/Graduate Elective 3
  Free Electives 6
  LAS Electives 9
PUBL-610 Technology Innovation and Public Policy 3
Fifth Year
PUBL-700 Readings in Public Policy 3
PUBL-701 Graduate Policy Analysis 3
PUBL-703 Program Evaluation and Research Design 3
STSO-710 Science and Technology Policy Seminar 3
  Graduate Electives 6
Choose one of the following: 6
   PUBL-799    Thesis  
     Comprehensive Exam§  
Total Semester Credit Hours 144

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.

Additional information

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.




Effective fall 2013, RIT converted its academic calendar from quarters to semesters.
View this program's information from the retired quarter calendar

Quarter Curriculum - For Reference Only

Effective fall 2013, RIT converted its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. The following content has been made available as reference only. Currently matriculated students who began their academic programs in quarters should consult their academic adviser for guidance and course selection.
 

Program overview

The public policy program 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 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 students’ interests. Students have an option of tailoring a track to their interests.

Interdisciplinary—A sequence of eight public policy courses ensures the program provides integration of diverse disciplines. 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 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.

Curriculum

The curriculum is designed 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.

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, including those that provide a firm grounding in the science and technology aspects of the chosen track, are offered through other programs and colleges of the university. 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.

Public policy, BS degree, typical course sequence (quarters)

Course Qtr. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
0521-400 Foundations of Public Policy 4
0508-441 Science and Technology Policy 4
0511-211 Principles of Microeconomics 4
0511-402 Principles of Macroeconomics 4
0513-211 American Politics 4
  Mathematics and Science Requirement‡ 20
  Liberal Arts* 4
  Free Elective 4
  Policy Colloquium 0
1105-051, 052 First-Year Enrichment 2
  Wellness Education† 0
Second Year
0521-401 Values and Public Policy 4
0521-406 Qualitative Policy Analysis 4
0511-450 Benefit-Cost Analysis 4
1016-319 Data Analysis I 4
Choose one of the following: 4
   0511-457    Applied Econometrics  
   1016-320    Data Analysis II  
0513-458 American Political Thought 4
0508-460 Environment and Society 4
  Liberal Arts* 20
  Policy Colloquium 0
  Wellness Education† 0
Third Year
0521-402, 403, 404 Policy Analysis I, II, III 12
  Public Policy Track Courses 12
  Liberal Arts* 12
  Free Electives 12
  Cooperative Education (Summer) Co-op
  Policy Colloquium 0
Fourth Year
0521-405 Senior Project I 4
0521-408 Technological Innovation and Public Policy 4
  Public Policy Track Courses 12
  Liberal Arts* 12
  Free Elective 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.

Additional information

Accelerated dual degree option

Students have the option of completing a five-year, accelerated dual degree leading to a BS in public policy and an MS in science, technology, and public policy. The BS/MS option provides graduates with a considerable advantage in 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.

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.