The public policy major exemplifies the true nature of Gettysburg’s interdisciplinary liberal arts education. Public policy majors enroll as a dual major—within any other Gettysburg major—and also identify a public policy concentration. Through the dual major structure, students find unique connections and solutions in public policy.
Courses within the public policy bachelor’s degree program are centered around the nature of public policy, policy development, ethical and legal deliberation, the process of problem recognition and articulation, and methods of policy impact assessment. Through Gettysburg’s public policy department, you learn how to articulate the growing issues of domestic and international policy with the aid of faculty and fellow students.
As a public policy major, your days will be spent engaging in coursework that aligns with your chosen concentration. While you explore the diverse facets of public policy in your studies, you’ll take on a required policy-related internship. Both components work to serve as a foundation for your capstone project, which includes a formal analysis of a significant public policy problem.
Why study public policy?
Public policy affects laws from the local, state, and federal levels of government. Accordingly, studying public policy prepares you to take on work in the private, public, or nonprofit sectors. This might mean working to reduce the levels of pollution in your community as an environmental planner, advocating to address the homelessness crisis, or serving as a public affairs specialist for a large company.
Majoring in public policy shapes you to be a persuasive individual that can lead, communicate effectively, make ethical decisions, and collaborate with a team—skills that any employer values. Because public policy is so diverse, it intersects into a variety of fields, giving you ample freedom to find a career in which you excel.
Major in public policy
As a public policy major, you enroll in fascinating courses that span topics such as history, policy development, policy assessment, economic concepts, and ethical and legal deliberation. Because the public policy degree program requires you to dual major, you have the unique opportunity to discover the connection between topics that may otherwise seem unrelated. For instance, if you’re intrigued by health policy, you might dual major in public policy and the health sciences. Alternatively, if you’re interested in a concentration in policy communication, you might dual major in public policy and English.
Through the Bachelor of Arts in public policy degree program, you are required to complete an internship. While your internship can occur in a governmental or nongovernmental setting, the internship must relate to your area of concentration. We recommend that you work closely with public policy faculty once you begin mapping out ideas for your policy-related internship.
Along with your coursework, internship, and concept paper, you’ll submit a capstone project, which is completed during your senior year. Each component of the public policy degree program works seamlessly to aid you in each of your future public policy discoveries.
Review the public policy major requirements.
Public policy students take courses in ethics and values, theory, and policymaking, including electives in each student’s area of policy focus. As the public policy program incorporates a multidisciplinary curriculum, you’ll learn how to think critically and creatively. Through the analysis of public policy, you are challenged to communicate your thoughts and ideas effectively.
Public policy major requirements:
Explore public policy courses.
What makes Gettysburg’s public policy department different
Gettysburg’s public policy department is committed to providing students with a consequential education through a liberal arts lens.
As a public policy major, you immerse yourself in experiential learning opportunities that complement your studies, preparing you to challenge policy to enact positive change. This might mean connecting with a public policy expert or studying abroad through the Eisenhower Institute, coordinating across different departments to conduct public policy research, submitting a research paper for The Gettysburg Journal for Public Policy, or exploring the Center for Public Service to foster social justice.
Your undergraduate journey through the public policy department at Gettysburg College is yours to shape—and we’re here to make that happen.
Every component of the public policy degree program prepares you for a lifetime of positive social change. As a public policy major, you’ll gain valuable networking opportunities through your courses both inside and outside the classroom.
Through your required internship, you might pick up on the nuances between western culture and eastern culture across the globe, learning how their differences intersect into international policy. On the other hand, you may brainstorm with your classmates on how an idea becomes part of public policy.
Public policy majors are prepared to take on graduate study or begin their career in the following roles:
- Budget analyst
- Community relations coordinator
- Environmental policy analyst
- Government affairs manager
- Legislative aide
- Nonprofit program manager
- Public relations specialist
- Social science research assistant
Center for Public Service
Many public policy majors undertake community-based learning projects through the Center for Public Service (CPS). These experiences allow students to work with local and regional partners to achieve community change. Public policy students also frequently complete immersion trips to understand the role of culture and place in policy studies, including two-week trips to Morocco, Rwanda, Arizona, and Native American reservations. Finally, many of our public policy majors work on hunger and environmental issues through CPS's Painted Turtle Farm and Campus Kitchen.
The Eisenhower Institute
The Eisenhower Institute is your hub for all things public policy. Operating out of offices in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., the Eisenhower Institute connects all students to funded experiential opportunities and public policy experts at no cost.
Learn more about the Eisenhower Institute.
The Gettysburg Journal for Public Policy
While all public policy majors must enroll in a policy-related internship to earn academic credit, you can choose to conduct undergraduate research beyond this requirement. Students interested in publishing the findings of their research are encouraged to take part in The Gettysburg Journal for Public Policy, a research journal run entirely by Gettysburg students.
Available to Gettysburg students and alumni, the connectGettysburg platform is an invaluable resource that connects you to over 32,000 Gettysburg alumni across the world. Through the connectGettysburg platform, you gain valuable opportunities to grow your professional network inside and outside the field of public policy.