Public Policy is an interdisciplinary major that focuses on analytical decision making to study diverse subjects ranging from the processes of making, implementing and evaluating government policies to the ethical evaluation of contemporary social problems. It emphasizes quantitative and economic analysis, the study of political institutions that produce policy, and the examination of specific policy areas such as environment and health.
The Public Policy major draws on coursework primarily from Economics and Government, but also on courses in Psychology, Sociology, Law, Philosophy, and others. Graduates from the undergraduate Public Policy program pursue a wide array of careers in public service, policymaking and politics, finding employment in governments at all levels, consulting firms that work with governmental clients, regulated industries as well as non-profits.
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. In addition to preparing Public Policy majors to be participants in the policy process, an important goal is also to teach students to be well-informed, capable citizens. In addition to the interdisciplinary major, the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy offers other opportunities for students interested in public policy, such as:
The Accelerated Master of Public Policy Degree Path
The Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy offers an option whereby W&M undergraduates will be able to earn both a Bachelor's degree and a Master of Public Policy degree in a total of five years of coursework. They will undertake a collaborative research project with a faculty supervisor in the summer following the junior year, and will be supported with a mix of tuition waivers, tuition reductions and research assistantships during the fifth year, when only MPP courses will be taken. Exceptionally qualified students may be named Trice Fellows, and receive full tuition remission and generous stipend support for their postgraduate year in the program. Read more.
A variety of internships are available to students. Internships provide a unique experience that enable students to apply their academic studies to a professional setting. These internships are sometimes done for course credit, monetary compensation or purely for the experience. Typically, internships involve some supervision from a faculty member. Course credit is available for internships, either through Public Policy or Interdisciplinary Studies 491: Public Affairs Internship course (1 credit).