The Public Policy and Law major is an interdisciplinary program in which students learn and practice methods and modes of thinking required to understand and become actively engaged in the analysis of legal and public policy issues. Grounded in the liberal arts, the Program provides students with the tools of analysis in social science, law, and the humanities needed to understand the substance of public policy concerns. The program seeks cultivate in our students the cast of mind necessary to be good citizens who will play useful parts in the public world.

More specifically, the Public Policy and Law Program integrates the distinctive perspectives of a number of academic disciplines, including Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Law within a liberal arts framework. The interdisciplinary curriculum of the program is organized around the varied methods and modes of thinking required to understand how public problems are defined, how solutions are formulated, and how decisions are made and implemented.

The curriculum is designed to foster these learning goals:

  • Develop the ability to read and analyze complex texts: Emphasizing a close reading of texts, several foundational and core courses in the major focus on analytical, moral, and legal reasoning.
  • Develop the ability to communicate clearly, coherently, and effectively: Many foundational, core, and elective courses are both writing intensive and require a significant oral presentation component.
  • Acquire quantitative skills: A minimum of 4 quantitative courses is required to prepare students to understand and research the public policy literature.
  • Learn and practice collaborative work: Foundational and core courses as well as the senior seminar require students to work in teams and engage in collaborative research, which in turn creates a strong sense of camaraderie and common purpose.
  • Acquire depth in a substantive area of public policy: Policy-specific electives and a supervised internship in a substantive public policy field (e.g., health, environmental, legal, or arts policy) develop depth of knowledge.