Areas of Specialization

The specialization is a selection of three courses representing a sub-field or policy area. These courses can be chosen from among any of the 200-level or higher courses (with some exceptions) offered in the University in combinations that have substantive or disciplinary links.

Public Policy majors are strongly encouraged to link their area of specialization with their Public Policy BA thesis, though such a link is not formally required. Students may satisfy their specialization requirement in two ways:

  • by taking three 200-level (or higher) courses that have some substantive connection, such as health policy or education policy; these courses can be drawn from any combination of disciplines, such as Economics, Political Science, and Sociology.
  • by taking three policy-relevent courses beyond the introductory sequence in a single discipline other than Public Policy, such as three Environmental Policy courses or three Computer Science courses. 

How to declare your specialization sequence

Students may declare their specialization courses in two ways: 1) by completing the specialization form below, or 2) by email.  If you declare your specialization courses by email, please be sure to include the complete course numbers and titles and the NAME of your specialization.  

Specialization Declaration Form (PDF format)

Print out the form, complete it, and submit to the Public Policy offices in Gates-Blake.


Below are some sample specialization sequences that may be used to satisfy the Public Policy specialization requirement. These samples sequences are used to illustrate the numerous ways that courses from different disciplines can be combined for use as specialization courses. (Those students who elect to participate in the Winter quarter Paris Program or Spring quarter Barcelona Program can complete a specialization in Comparative Political Economy using courses offered in these programs. Students interested in quantitative public policy may choose among various higher-level methods courses in Statistics, Economics, Sociology and Public Policy.)

Sample Specialization Sequences

A specialization in Science and Policy might include these courses:

ENST 21201 Human Impact on the Global Environment

GEOS 21205 Intro: Seismology, Earthquakes, Near Surface Earth Seismicity

ECON 26800 Energy and Energy Policy

A specialization in Health Policy might include these courses:

HSTD 30900 Principles of Epidemiology

HSTD 38000 Health Status Assessment Meas/Inference

BIOS 15114 Eliminating Infectious Disease

A specialization in Quantitative Public Policy might include these courses:

SOCI 20111 Survey Analysis

SOCI 20118 Survey Research Overview

GEOG 28201 Introduction to GIS

A Human Rights specialization might look like this:

HMRT 20500 Human Rights and International Relations

HMRT 21300 Human Rights in Latin America

HMRT 20300 Human Rights III: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights

An Economics specialization might look like this:

ECON 21800 Experimental Economics

ECON 28600 Economic Analysis of Law

ECON 28700 Economics of Crime

PLEASE NOTE: All Economics courses higher than ECON 20100 may serve as specialization courses in the Public Policy degree program.

Courses offered in a variety of disciplines (Sociology, Political Science, Statistics, Geography, etc.) may be used in any combination as Public Policy specialization courses.

A specialization in Education Policy may include these courses:

SOCI 20105 Educational Organization and Social Inequality 

ECON 26700 Economics of Education 

SOCI 20128 Sociology of Education

And a specialization in Sociology, Work, and Family, might look like this:

SOCI 20123 Sociology of the Family   

SOCI 20128 Sociology of Education 

SOCI 20147 Work, Organization & Society

These courses can make up a specialization in Politics:

PLSC 22100 African-American Politics 

PLSC 21105 Political Participation & Democracy in the United States 

SOCI 20116 Global-Local Politics

as will these:

PLSC 21105 Political Participation & Democracy in the United States

PLSC 25300 American Political Parties

PLSC 22700  Electoral Politics in America

A specialization in Organizations may consist of these courses:

SOCI 20105 Educational Organization and Social Inequality

SOCI 20101 Organizational Analysis 

PLSC 27500 Organizational Decision Making

while an Urban Studies specialization might look like this:

SOCI 20120 Urban Policy Analysis 

SOCI 20104 Urban Structure and Process 

SOCI 30303 Urban Landscapes as Social Text

or something like this:

SOCI 28016 Race, Politics and Neighborhood Revitalization 

PBPL 24600 Inner City Economic Development 

SOCI 20104 Urban Structure and Process