2022-2023 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jun 06, 2023  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Course Catalog

Policy Studies, BA

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Offerings


Peter Wilcoxen
Director, Policy Studies Program
102 Maxwell Hall
Email: wilcoxen@syr.edu


Richard Barton, J.E. Beagles, Robert Bifulco, Stuart Brown, Julia Carboni, William D. Coplin, Renée de Nevers, Todd Dickey, Catherine M. Gerard, Jay Golden, Sarah Hamersma, Colleen Heflin, Catherine Herrold, Johannes Himmelreich, Yilin Hou, Zachary Huitink, W. Henry Lambright, Jun Li, Leonard M. Lopoo, John McPeak, Robert B. Murrett, Tina Nabatchi, Sean O’Keefe,Kristen Patel, David Popp, Michah W. Rothbart, Sabina Schnell, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ying Shi, Saba Siddiki, David M. Van Slyke, Emily Wiemers, Peter Wilcoxen, Michael J. Williams, Austin L. 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 Policy Studies 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 do applied research. Students complete no less than 6 and as many as 15 credits in community-based coursework.

Students take 70 percent of their coursework in a core that develops basic skills and covers essential concepts. The other 30 percent of coursework is a series of electives chosen by students to fit their policy interests.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Apply problem-solving techniques to ameliorate 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 a 21-credit core and a 9-credits of electives numbered 300 or above.


Three elective courses numbered 300 or above from the following list of Department prefixes, at least one of the three must be a PST or PAI course. Courses from the following prefixes are accepted for the other two electives: AAS, ANT, CCE, ECN, ESP, GEO, HIS, IRP, PSC, SOC, MAX, WRT, COM, CRS, EEE, FST, HSH, IST, LPP, NSD, PHP, SAL SWK, WGS.


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Offerings