2018-2019 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 25, 2024  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Policy Studies, BA

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Arts and Sciences


William D. Coplin
Director, Public Affairs Program
102 Maxwell Hall
Email: wdcoplin@syr.edu


Douglas V. Armstrong, John S. Burdick, Carmen E Carrion Flores, A.H. Peter Castro, William D. Coplin, Donald H. Dutkowsky, Jerry Evensky, Catherine Gerard, Paul Hagenloh, Colleen M. Heflin, Mary E. Lovely, Amy C. Lutz, Allan C. Mazur, Mark Monmonier, Robert Moreno, Anne E. Mosher, Nancy R. Mudrick,  Tina Nabatchi, Arthur Paris, Guido Pezzarossi, Sarah B. Pralle, Gretchen W. Purser, Jane Read, Grant D. Reeher, Robert A. Rubinstein, Mark Rupert, Rebecca Lynn Schewe, Maureen L. Thompson, David Van Slyke, Michael Wasylenko, Joseph Richard Welsh, John C. Western, Peter Wilcoxen, Jamie L. Winders, Austin Zwick

The major introduces students to historical, social, economic, and political factors shaping contemporary public policy issues. Students develop an expertise in a public policy area of their choice that provides a broad range of scholarly perspectives.

Students also acquire practical skills by studying policy issues through coursework in the Public Affairs Program, other departments in the Maxwell School and in the College of Arts and Sciences, Sport and Human Dynamics, Management, School of Education, Visual and Performing Arts and Newhouse. Students develop skills in social science research, computer applications, data collection and analysis, written and oral communications, interpersonal relations, planning, management, and problem solving. These skills are needed to obtain desirable entry-level positions in business, government, and the non-profit sector. They also serve as excellent preparation for admission to leading law schools and public, business, and health administration, as well as other graduate programs. The skills are also essential for participating effectively as a citizen in today’s world.

Several of the required major courses involve internships and policy-related field work. An integral part of the policy studies major is the completion of a research project for a government agency or community organization. This study is frequently used by graduates to display their talents to prospective employers and graduate schools. A practicum is also required in which students complete an internship or work as a research consultant on an applied project. Students complete no less than 6 and as many as 15 credits in community-based coursework.

Students take 60 percent of their coursework in a core that develops basic skills and covers essential concepts. The other 40 percent of coursework is taken in one of four topical specializations: (1) Society and the Legal System; (2) Environment; (3) Business and Government; and (4) Health, Education, and Human Services. A major in Policy Studies leads to a B.A. degree in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Before admission to the major, students must have a “B” or better in PAF 101 - An Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy  and have completed or passing by mid-semester MAX 201 - Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences  or a suitable alternative approved by Professor Coplin. Students must complete at least 35 hours of public service by taking PAF 110  or a suitable alternative approved by Professor Coplin. An interview with Professor William D. Coplin, Director of the Public Affairs Program, is necessary before formally admitted as majors.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Apply problem-solving techniques to resolve societal problems

2. Describe how public policy is implemented

3. Collect information in a variety of ways

4. Use computer programs to analyze quantitative data

5. Communicate effectively in verbal and written modes

6. Demonstrate ability to work effectively on team projects

7. Explain the causes and policies of societal problems in at least one area

Major Requirements

Students are required to take an 18-credit core and a 12-credit topical specialization. At least six courses must be numbered 300 or above.

Topical Specializations

Students complete 12 credits in one of the four Topical Specializations: (1) Environment; (2) Government and Business; (3) Health, Education, and Human Services; (4) Society and the Legal System. No more than 9 credits may be taken from any department other than Public Affairs. A course selection guide that lists course options in each area is available in the Public Affairs Program office every semester prior to registration. The courses chosen are to be approved by the policy studies advisor.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Arts and Sciences