Public Policy (2022 - 2024)
The major in public policy requires one prerequisite and ten courses (eleven courses/44 points total) as listed below. The CAS prerequisite must be completed with a grade of C or better before a student can declare the major.
One prerequisite course (4 points) that provides students with the strong analytic framework necessary to enter the major:
- Introduction to Microeconomics (ECON-UA 2); advanced standing credit (AP, IB, etc.) in microeconomics is accepted.
Three required core courses (12 points) in economics, policymaking, and quantitative and qualitative analysis that introduce students to the key questions and tools involved in the study of public policy (note that UPADM-GP 101, 111, and 140 count as 12 of the 16 credits CAS students are allowed to take outside the College, and any additional Wagner courses will also count against the 16 points. In addition, note that no Wagner courses can count toward the 64 credits that internal or external transfer students to the College are required to complete in CAS -UA courses):
- The Politics of Public Policy (Wagner, UPADM-GP 101)
- Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy (Wagner, UPADM-GP 111); there are no exemptions. This course satisfies the College Core Curriculum Quantitative Reasoning requirement for public policy majors only. Other students cannot use the course to satisfy this Core requirement (no exceptions).
- The Economics of Public Policy (Wagner, UPADM-GP 140); there are no substitutions for or exemptions from this requirement.
One course in ethics and justice (4 points), drawn from the following list (students must check the economics, environmental studies, philosophy, and politics sections of this Bulletin for prerequisites to CAS options):
- Ethics and Economics (ECON-UA 207)
- Environmental Justice and Inequality (ENVST-UA 480)
- Ethics and Society (PHIL-UA 3)
- Global Ethics (PHIL-UA 6)
- Philosophical Approaches to Race and Racism (PHIL-UA 8)
- Ethics (PHIL-UA 40)
- Political Philosophy (PHIL-UA 45)
- Medical Ethics (PHIL-UA 50)
- Topics in Ethics and Political Philosophy: Equality (PHIL-UA 102)
- Political Philosophy (PHIL-UA 9045)
- Ethics, Politics, and Public Policy (POL-UA 130)
- Global Works and Society: Modernity (Liberal Studies, GWM-UF 201)
- Normative Issues in Public Policy (Wagner, UPADM-GP 120)
Five electives (20 points). Public policy majors select five elective courses to deepen their understanding of, and expertise in, key policy areas.
- Two electives must be chosen from a list of pre-approved HIST-UA courses.
- At least one of the five courses must be in the policy analysis field.
- One elective may be an internship, to be chosen only from Internship Seminar (NODEP-UA 981) and Internship Seminar and Fieldwork (NODEP-UA 9982). For information on and application to NODEP-UA 9982, please consult with the College of Arts and Science Preprofessional Advising Center (726 Broadway, 7th floor; 212-998-8160). The internship course will only count towards the major if it is approved by the director via the review form available at wagner.nyu.edu/portal/students/academics/undergraduate/major.
- The current list of approved electives in the fields of economics, environmental studies, politics, sociology, etc. is available at wagner.nyu.edu/undergrad.
- Although students are not required to focus on any particular field, examples of the kinds of fields into which many elective offerings fall include environmental policy; ethics and policy; finance and economic policy; health policy; international development; law and policy; management and policy; politics and policy; social policy; and urban policy.
A senior seminar (PUBPL-UA 800, 4 points) in which students conduct in-depth analysis of a critical and relevant policy issue in a small classroom setting under the guidance of a faculty member from CAS or Wagner. Students apply the analytical methods and substantive knowledge of the policy process they have gained to a current policy problem of their choosing. Each student writes a senior seminar paper that consists of both policy analysis and recommendations for action.
Policies Applying to the Major
Credit toward the major is not given for courses completed with a grade of less than C, or for courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis.
Students in this major may double-count up to two courses towards this major and another major. However, the department of the second major may allow more limited (or no) double-counting; therefore, students must always check with advisers in their second major.
CAS students are allowed to take 16 credits in non-liberal arts courses in the other schools of the University; the three required Wagner courses for this major count as 12 of those 16 credits, and any additional Wagner courses will also count against the 16 points. Students with a good academic reason for going over the 16-point limit must consult the College Advising Center (726 Broadway, 7th floor; 212-998-8130) for permission.
In addition, no Wagner courses can count toward the 64 credits that internal or external transfer students to the College are required to complete in CAS (-UA) courses.
Advisement and Declaration
To declare the major, students should complete the declaration form available at wagner.nyu.edu/undergrad. Students should reach out to NYU Wagner at email@example.com for advising.
Recommended Sequencing of Courses
- Introduction to Microeconomics (ECON-UA 2), if no advanced standing credit
- Politics of Public Policy (UPADM-GP 101), offered every semester
- Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy (UPADM-GP 111), offered in the fall
- The Economics of Public Policy (UPADM-GP 140), offered in the spring
There are three cross-school minors for students interested in public policy. One, called public policy analysis, closely mirrors the core of the public policy major and is offered jointly by Wagner and CAS. The two others are the minors in social and public policy (offered by Wagner and CAS) and in public policy and management (offered by Wagner and Stern). For information on these three minors, please see the cross-school minors section of this Bulletin.
The public policy program offers students the opportunity to achieve honors in the major by (1) maintaining a 3.65 GPA in both the ten courses required for the major (the prerequisite course is not calculated in this GPA) and overall, and (2) successfully completing (with a B+ or higher) a thesis comprising original research, policy analysis, and policy advocacy.
At the end of their junior year, all prospective honors students must consult with the program’s academic advisor to determine whether they meet the GPA criteria for the honors track. Then, during the fall of their senior year, eligible majors apply for entry into the spring semester thesis writing honors seminar (PUBPL-UA 801, 4 points). The seminar is limited to 15 students and admission depends on the quality of the proposed thesis project. Prospective thesis writers must delineate the policy area and policy problem they wish to focus on, as well as provide a bibliography of relevant sources (primary and secondary) that they have already consulted.
The honors seminar is an additional eleventh course that does not count toward the ten required for the major proper. Although the honors thesis is likely to be broadly related to topics students have examined in other classes—especially in the Senior Seminar (PUBPL-UA 800) required of all majors—it must be the intellectual capstone of students’ academic experience at NYU, not a restatement or extension of a policy proposal submitted in a previous class.
Students who earn less than a B+ on the thesis will not receive honors in the major, but the 4 points earned for a passing grade in PUBPL-UA 801 will still count toward the points required for graduation.
Students should discuss with an adviser for the major as early as possible. NYU Washington, D.C. is an excellent choice for many public policy majors.