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About the Program

Public policy focuses on how societies mobilize public, private and non-profit resources to solve pressing problems. This program emphasizes analytical decision-making across diverse subjects, such as quantitative and economic analysis, the study of political institutions that produce policy and the examination of specific policy areas such as health and welfare, the environment, education, international development and state and local affairs. Core courses focus on broadly applicable analytical skills while electives allow students to explore a wide variety of different policy topics. Coursework is primarily in economics and government, but also includes courses in psychology, sociology, law, philosophy and others.

Take a Peek into the Public Policy Program


What Makes Us Different

  • Visiting Speakers

    Public policy practitioners visit campus to give talks, meet with classes and offer career advice.

  • Proximity to Metropolitan Areas for Applied Learning

    W&M is one hour from Richmond (the Virginia state capital) and three hours from Washington, D.C., allowing access to policy practitioners, legislators, advocates and analysts.

  • Public Policy Club

    Join this undergraduate club, which hosts speakers, job and internship panels and develops community projects to serve the campus and local community.

  • Research Assistantships

    Undergraduates have opportunities to work as research assistants on applied projects conducted by master's in public policy students.

  • Support for Internships

    Competitive stipends are provided to students who take low- or no-pay summer internships in public policy fields.


  • Top 30

    Best Colleges for Public Policy in America

    Niche 2024
  • # 5

    Best Public School for Making an Impact

    The Princeton Review 2024

Applied Learning



A public policy degree provides excellent preparation for careers in public service. Graduates work for government agencies in the executive and legislative branches at the federal, state and local levels. Public policy graduates also often work with non-profit organizations, advocacy groups and private sector consulting firms. Further, having a public policy degree provides a strong background for graduate study in law, business, economics, political science and more advanced degrees in public policy. Overall, this program teaches students to be well-informed citizens who have skills and knowledge to make a positive impact on their communities.

Public policy alumni accomplish many things after graduation.

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Want to learn more? Our current students and faculty want to connect with you.

Public Policy Program

Chancellors Hall Suite 412

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Courses Disclaimer

*Courses listed are examples. Course availability changes each semester.