Public Policy

The goal of the undergraduate major in Public Policy at UMass Amherst is to teach students about the values and perspectives that shape policy problems and the way in which policies are designed and implemented to address those problems. At the core of this undertaking is the development of students’ ability to make a positive impact on the greatest number of people. The curriculum and all other aspects of the major integrate international and domestic policy, are highly experiential in nature, and develop individuals imbued with a deep sense of responsible citizenship, able to understand and make a positive impact on some of the world’s most challenging problems.

Undergraduate program options include a Bachelor’s degree and certificate

The BA in Public Policy is a liberal arts degree, based in the social sciences, that provides a multidisciplinary lens through which to understand, analyze, and craft solutions to public problems. Our undergraduate program builds on the strengths of UMass, specifically its excellence in interdisciplinary social sciences combined with a strong history of student engagement. This major will produce students with a deep appreciation for complexity in policy-making contexts in the U.S. and abroad, equip them with the analytical skills to tackle those problems, and mentor them to become leaders and change agents in local, national, and international arenas.

The program’s introductory 100-level courses ask big questions that engage students in important current debates. Required 200-level courses provide the foundation knowledge base of the policy process, economics, and statistics. At the upper division, our courses train students in diverse methods to explore policy and management topics with topical depth. During the senior year, our majors integrate their coursework to craft policy solutions, recommend management strategies, and develop social enterprises. The senior year “capstone” projects focus on real­world issues and are action-oriented, meaning that they engage with government and nonprofit stakeholders relevant to each project.

Seniors – schedule appointments with us during the summer

The SBS career team is here for you all summer, and we know that many of you have decided to hold off on your job search until after graduation.  You can schedule appointments with us for up to six months …

By Carol Sharick
Carol Sharick Director of Career and Professional Development for Undergraduates, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
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Considering an Incomplete (INC)?

SBS Academic Dean Brousseau-Pereira has this guide to help you think through the decision.

By Adrian Grace
Adrian Grace Director of Undergraduate Advising
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Seniors: What’s next for you?

SBS Seniors – congratulations on your upcoming graduation!  YOU DID IT!  What an accomplishment!  Now it’s time to tell us – what are your plans?

Are you still figuring it out? Let us know!

Have you been accepted to grad …

By Carol Sharick
Carol Sharick Director of Career and Professional Development for Undergraduates, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Read more »

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The SBS Office of Career & Professional Development annually surveys graduating seniors in order to provide a snapshot of their post-graduation plans.  The survey begins just prior to graduation, and continues until six months after graduation.  Our data collection process is guided by the industry standard put forth by the National Association of Colleges & Employers, and includes information collected by the SBS Office of Career & Professional Development, the Office of Institutional Research at UMass Amherst, and by various academic departments, as well as from information that is made publicly available by students.  The SBS undergraduate outcomes knowledge rate for 2020 was 60%, though knowledge rate varies among departments.

The SBS Office of Career & Professional Development annually surveys graduating seniors in order to provide a snapshot of their post-graduation plans.  The survey begins just prior to graduation, and continues until six months after graduation.  Our data collection process is guided by the industry standard put forth by the National Association of Colleges & Employers, and includes information collected by the SBS Office of Career & Professional Development, the Office of Institutional Research at UMass Amherst, and by various academic departments, as well as from information that is made publicly available by students.  The SBS undergraduate outcomes knowledge rate for 2021 was just shy of 60%, though knowledge rate varies among departments.

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First Destination

SBS graduates pursue a range of plans after graduation, including employment, continuing education, and volunteering/service, among others.  This graph depicts what recent SBS graduates tell us they are doing within six months after graduation.