School of Public Policy
Location: United States
Welcome Public Policy Transfer Students!
Public policy is a great major for someone who wants to make a positive impact in the world. It looks at what the government does, doesn’t do, and could do to address public problems such as climate change, healthcare, education, immigration, technology, sustainable development, and more. Majors think about how government, nonprofits, the private sector and individuals interface to tackle these societal issues. They take management and leadership courses, so they are poised to lead public agencies or to create and manage nonprofit organizations and social enterprises.
The bachelor of arts in public policy helps students understand and address complex policy issues from broadband access in rural areas to how to combat global climate change. The major requires foundational courses such as statistics and microeconomics. It also allows for five electives based on your particular area of interest. For those students interested in management, we offer electives in public, nonprofit, and social enterprise management.
In your senior capstone project, you will bring together your skills and knowledge to help solve real-world policy and management problems. There are an array of capstone options from a team consulting project for a government or nonprofit organization to collaborating with an SPP faculty member on a university research project to developing an independent project or thesis. Whichever you choose, it will help you bridge from college to career.
We provide career services, including a professional development seminar, internship support, job placement support, mentorship, and an engaged alumni network. With your public policy degree, you can go on to work in government or nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and abroad. You may decide to start your own social enterprise, or you may continue on to graduate school. The public policy major provides a solid foundation for law school, doctoral programs, and an array of professional masters programs in public policy and management, education, public health, and business.
All students who graduate from UMass Amherst must complete 120 credits and general education requirements in science, social science, math, arts and literature, and more. Often for students transferring from community colleges, general education courses are the central focus before transferring. Once you arrive at UMass Amherst, you can dive into your public policy and management courses. Each of the requirements below are offered every year, which will allow you to complete your major in two years.
● Introductory Public Policy course
● Economics for Public Policy
● Statistical Models for Public Policy
● Public Policy
● Writing: Communicating Public Policy
● Policy Practicum: Contemplating Your Career ● Capstone for Public Policy Majors
● 20 credits of upper-level electives
Before You Transfer: Academics
If you have time before you transfer, we encourage you to complete the general education requirements along with the following courses:
● Intro to Statistics – this will be excellent preparation for Statistical Models for Public Policy course
● Intro to Microeconomics – this will typically fulfill the required Economics for Public Policy course
● Intro to American Government – this will give you a strong foundation for public policy
The major is of reasonable length to complete within two years, assuming general education requirements are complete. The above courses will simply make your transition smoother.
Before You Transfer: Career Development
If you are eager to begin exploring the field of public policy even before you transfer, work with the career advisors at your current college to seek out internships in local or state government, nonprofit organizations, or something else of interest. If you do not have time to do an internship, think of what would be manageable. Could you volunteer two hours per week at a local nonprofit? Get involved on campus in a club or student government? If you need to have a job to support yourself, be strategic when possible. Look for entry level positions in nonprofit organizations, schools at law offices, in local government, at nonprofits, in schools, at summer camps, or any other organization that aligns with your future goals. It is never too soon to start building experience and networking.
What Students Say: Why Study Public Policy?
“An understanding of policy is important to supporting organizations that serve vulnerable populations. I want to be able to be involved in change from an organizational and policy level.” — Erin Lynch
“I hope to assist in building a more equitable future through combating racial and wealth inequality. I would also like to help make government more effective, efficient, and trustworthy.” — Khalif Nunnally-Rivera
“I believe that policy, when done right, is the best avenue for helping large numbers of people and creating a better future.” — Pamela Eisner
Learn the details of our program and courses at umass.edu/spp/undergraduate-major. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.