The Public Policy Major

The Public Policy major at Gettysburg College offers a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum for students interested in problem solving in domestic and international public arenas. Core courses focus on the nature of public policy, including the processes of problem recognition and articulation, policy development and implementation, ethical and legal deliberations, and policy evaluation. Upper level courses explore policy theory, evaluation, and reform.

The Public Policy major appeals to students from a wide range of disciplines. Public Policy students must have another major, which grounds their policy studies in a substantive arena. Additionally, all Public Policy students identify a concentration for their policy studies and build their course schedule around that concentration. Concentrations include public health policy, criminal justice policy, education policy, national security policy, environmental policy, and social policy.

All Public Policy majors must take one foundational political science course; the introduction to public policy course; the public policy research design course; a policy-making course; a theory course; an ethics course; at least one economics course; and two policy-related electives. They also must complete a Policy Internship and prepare a related Policy Concept Paper. Finally, they must complete a capstone project during their senior year.

The Public Policy major embodies Gettysburg College’s vision of an interdisciplinary liberal arts education. Students draw upon skills across disciplines to think critically and creatively, lead teams large and small, and communicate effectively and efficiently.


One Prerequisite course:

  • Pol Sci 101 (American Government) OR Poli Sci 103 (Intro to International Relations) OR Poli Sci 104 (Intro to Comparative Politics) OR report a 4 or 5 on the AP American Government exam

All public policy majors are required to take the following core courses:

  • PP 221 (Introduction to Public Policy)
  • PP 251 (Reseach Design and Methodology)
  • PP 305 (Advanced Policy Analysis and Communication) OR a course on Policy Making approved by the Chair of Public Policy
  • PP 306 The Public and Its Problems OR PP 323 Social Determinants of Health OR a course on Policy and Theory approved by the Chair of Public Policy
  • One course on Ethics and Values chosen from this list OR approved by the Ethics and Values Committee
  • At least one elective in the Public Policy Department or policy-related course from another department approved by students’ Public Policy faculty adviser.
  • PP 470 Internship with Policy Concept Paper
  • PP 401 (Public Policy Capstone Course)

Additionally, all Public Policy students take two additional courses:

  • EITHER ECON 103 (Microeconomics) and ECON 104 (Macroeconomics)
  • OR ECON 105 (Economics of Public Issues) and an Elective

No more than two courses used to fulfill the requirements of a student’s other major may count toward the public policy major without prior approval by the Chair of Public Policy.