• Policy Studies Major

  • Our Policy Studies program examines how decisions are made and how they affect government policies—at the international, federal, state, and local levels, as well as in private business and nonprofit organizations.

    We also look at the policymaking process, the resulting impact, and how, in general, policies affect people's lives.

    The major introduces students to historical, social, economic, and political factors shaping contemporary policy issues. Students develop an expertise in a policy area of their choice that provides a broad range of scholarly perspectives.

    Requirements for Major and Minor

    Policy Studies is an interdisciplinary major that requires 10 courses with six core courses and four courses completed in your chosen topical specialization.

    Core Courses

    • PST 101: An Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy
    • MAX 201: Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences
    • PST 315: Methods of Public Policy Analysis and Presentation
    • PST 410: Practicum in Public Policy
    • ECN 203: Economic Ideas and Issues
    • MAX 123: Critical Issues for the United States

    >> Read the course descriptions.  

    Topical Specializations

    1. Environment;
    2. Government and Business;
    3. Health, Education, and Human Services;
    4. Society and the Legal System.

    >> Visit the Course Catalog for more information on the requirements for a major in Policy Studies or minor in Policy Studies.

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  • What Do We Know about Our Policy Studies Students?

    They Get Good Jobs Right Out of College

    Employers of Policy Studies alumni include:

    • Consulting companies such as Deloitte, Booz Allen Hamilton, Ernst and Young (EY), and ICF;
    • Local, state, and national governments;
    • Non-profit organizations like Planned Parenthood, AARP, The United Way, and The Children’s Defense Fund;
    • Financial companies such as IBM, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Goldman Sachs;
    • Lobby groups like The National Health Coalition;
    • Large multinationals like Google, United Technologies, and the Walt Disney Company; and
    • About 15% of graduates join Teach for America, the Peace Corps, or AmeriCorps.

    They Get into Top-rated Law and Graduate Programs

    Graduates with a degree in Policy Studies have been admitted to several prestigious law schools, including Harvard University; Columbia University; the University of California at Berkeley; the University of Michigan; and Georgetown University, and top graduate programs such as the Maxwell School’s MPA program, New York University, John Hopkins School of Public Health, Princeton University, Harvard University, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and Duke University.

    Many of our alumni go to graduate school after working for a few years after completing their undergraduate studies, then they attend prestigious graduate and law schools, frequently receiving financial help from their employer.

    They Win Important Awards

    • Of the 18 Syracuse students to win a prestigious Truman Scholarship, which awards $30,000 for graduate school, 14 have been Policy Studies majors.
    • Teach for America (TFA) accepts between three and seven majors every year. More than 30% of all TFA Syracuse students are Policy Studies majors.
    • On average, five out of the 35 Remembrance Scholars per year are Policy Studies majors.