The Public Policy Major

The public policy major at Gettysburg College offers a flexible, rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum that provides training for students interested in problem-solving in domestic or international public arenas. Core courses focus on the nature of public policy, including the process of problem recognition and articulation, policy development, ethical and legal deliberation and methods of policy impact assessment.

The public policy major is intended to accommodate students from a wide range of interests that include a public policy dimension and serves as a second major for students whose study of public policy builds on the substantive knowledge of the first major. Students interested in science policy might choose the public policy major after their declaration of physics as a first major. Students interested in health policy might choose the public policy major after a declaration of health sciences or biology as their major. Students interested in family policy might choose the public policy major in conjunction with a sociology major.

The major in public policy emphasizes quantitative and economic analysis, the study of political institutions that make policy, and the examination of specific policy areas chosen by the student. Courses include analytic methods, economic concepts, ethical analysis of political institutions, grounding in history, and field experience gained from a required internship. Students choose advanced courses focusing on particular policy areas according to their interests, with the guidance of a faculty coordinator. A formal analysis of a substantial public policy problem is undertaken in a capstone policy seminar.

The major encourages students to achieve many of the goals that shape the Gettysburg College vision of a liberal arts education. Students are expected to draw upon skills from multiple disciplines, to learn to write well, to read critically, to assess significant ethical issues that affect policy debate, and to think analytically about global and domestic problems.  

Public Policy graduates regularly pursue graduate studies in business administration, economics, environmental studies, health policy and administration, law, political science, psychology, public administration, public policy analysis, social work, sociology and urban affairs. 


All Public Policy majors are required to have another major in addition to Public Policy.

All public policy majors are required to take:

  • Pol Sci 101 or Pol Sci 104
  • Pol Sci 221 Intro to Public Policy or PP 201 Topics in Public Policy
  • Econ 103 and Econ 104
  • Pub Pol 400 (capstone)

An additional six requirements can be filled in a variety of ways:

Courses that Fulfill the Stats I Requirement
BIO 260 Biostatistics
ECON 241 Introductory Economics and Business Statistics
HS 232 Statistics for Health Sciences
HS 326 Epidemiology
MATH 107 Applied Statistics
OMS 235 Statistical Methods
POL 215 Methods in Political Science
PSYCH Introduction to Statistics
SOC 302 Research Methods
SOC 303 Data Analysis and Statistics

Courses that Fulfill the Values and Public Policy Requirement
ES 225 Introduction to Environmental Humanities
HS 120 Public Health
HS 322 Global Health
PHIL 105 Contemporary Moral Issues
PHIL 230 Ethics
PHIL 222 Philosophical Perspectives of Justice
PHIL 218 Gender and Identity
PHIL 219 Philosophy of Peace and Nonviolence
PHIL 224 Philosophy and Human Rights
PHIL 318 Ethics, Choices and Economic Life
PHIL 364 Philosophy of Law
PHIL 328 Deliberative Democracy
REL 331 Religion and Technology
REL 320 Religion and Colonialism

Courses that Fulfill the Economic Theory and Public Policy Requirement
ECON 211 American Economic History
ECON 212 African Econ Development & History
ECON 213 East Asian Economies
ECON 214 Latin American Economic History & Development
ECON 243 Intermediate Macroeconomics
ECON 245 Intermediate Microeconomics
ECON-249 History of Economic Thought and Analysis
ECON-250 Economic Development
ECON-251 International Economics
ECON-253 Introduction to Political Economy and African Diaspora
ECON-255 Poverty, Disease, and Underdevelopment in Latin America
ECON-262 Monetary Policy
ECON-267 Finance

Courses that Fulfill the Policy and Policy Making Requirement
HIST 236 Urbanism in American History
HIST 248 Poverty and Welfare in American History
POL 242 United States Foreign Policy
POL 251 Political Economy Advanced Industrialized Societies
POL 252 North-South Dialogue
POL 324 Executive Policy Making
POL 327 State Politics and Policy
POL 333 Environmental Policy
POL 340 Models & Policy Analysis
POL 344 U.S. National Security Policy
POL 351 The Political Economy of Armed Conflict
POL 211 Intro East Central European Politics
POL 223 U.S. Congress
POL 224 The American Presidency
POL 225 American Constitutional Law
POL 260 West European Politics
POL 261 Intro East Central European Politics
POL 265 African Politics
POL 270 Government & Politics in China
POL 271 Government and Politics in Japan
POL 275 Latin American Politics
POL 312 Transitions to Democracy
POL 321 Gender in American Politics
POL 322 Civil Rights & Liberties
POL 323 Religion and Politics in the United States
POL 362 Peasants, Politics & Rebellion

No more than two courses used to fulfill the requirements of a student’s first major may count toward the Public Policy major.