• Policy Studies Course Descriptions

  • Policy Studies is an interdisciplinary major that requires 10 courses, including the popular, first-year course PST 101: Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy, which meets several lower division requirements and serves as an introduction to the major.

    The Policy Studies (PST) courses listed below are open to all students in any undergraduate major, unless otherwise designated. 

    The Public Administration and International Affairs (PAI) courses are taught by faculty from the department of Public Administration and International Affairs, which houses Maxwell's #1-ranked MPA program. 

    >> Download the "Spring 2021 Course Selection Guide" (pdf).


    PST 101: Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy

    3 credits  | Spring and Fall | Bill Coplin.
    This course is structured so that students practice the full set of skills employers want through the study of public policy. This course should be taken as early as possible. Learn more about PST 101.

    PST 110: Public Service Practicum

    1 credit | Spring and Fall | Michelle Walker
    Open to freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Meets five times and requires 35 hours community service. This course provides students the opportunity to develop problem-solving and human relations skills while serving the Syracuse community.

    PST 121: Leadership

    1 credit | Spring | Office of Residence Life Staff
    This course help students develop problem-solving and human relations skills while serving Syracuse University.

    PST 270: Experience Credit

    1-6 credits | Spring and Fall | Bill Coplin as faculty advisor 
    The experience is one in which the reflective work for the internship or job is related to the 10 Skill Sets rather than a specific scholarly field. Students complete a series of online assignments connected to the required 45 hours per credit.

    PST 315: Methods of Public Policy Analysis

    3 credits | Spring and Fall | Austin Zwick
    Students complete a research project for a government or non-profit agency. One of two required capstone courses required for the major. Open only to Policy Studies majors.

    PST 400.1 Smart Cities

    3 Credits | Spring and Fall | Austin Zwick
    This course investigates how digitalization, automation, and telecommunications is changing urban planning and policy. Topics include autonomous vehicles, blockchain technology, cloud computing, public finance, and more. Final group project on the US DOT Smart City Challenge. Open by Special Permission to students who have taken PST 101.

    PST 410.2 Non-Profits and Government

    3 credits | Spring and Fall | Frank Lazarski
    This course requires a 90-hour internship in a local agency and provides students with practice in most of the skills employers want. Students complete their internship at a non-profit or government agency and develop a strategic plan for an item or funding need of that agency. Pre-requisite: PST 101. Open to non-Policy Studies students by special permission.

    PST 410.7 Advanced Policy Research

    3 Credits | Spring and Fall | Austin Zwick
    This course assists students in completing a policy-related honors' thesis or a directed study research project. Open by Special Permission to students who have taken PST 101.

    PST 431: Criminal Justice

    3 credits | Spring | Renee Captor
    This course provides an exploration of the structure and function of the criminal justice system, including the way in which cases progress through the criminal justice system from investigation and arrest through sentencing and appeal. Open to non-Policy Studies students by special permission.

    PST 476: National Security Forces

    3 credits | Spring | Travis Sheets
    This course is structured so that students explore the full spectrum of government strategy, structures, organizations, and agencies associated with National Security Policy. 

    PAI courses that satisfy Policy Studies requirements.

    PAI 300.1: Intelligence Law: Theory & Practice

    3 credits| Spring | Professor Baker
    This course introduces students to the role of law in intelligence practice, including the three purposes of national security law:  (1) the authority to act along with the boundaries of that action; (2) essential process; and (3) the preservation of certain values that provide for both our security and our liberty.  Within this context, students will examine the law in theory and in actual practice, including the Constitution, the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, and Executive Order 12333.  Students will also explore the special role of law and of lawyers regarding operation of the intelligence function within a constitutional democracy.  What are the tensions, pressures, and issues?  How are they addressed?  How should they be addressed? .

    PAI 300.2/PSC300.104/IRP300.001: U.S. Intelligence Community

    3 credits | Spring and Fall | Robert Murrett

    Learn about the practice, structure and governance of the intelligence field, and material that has a direct bearing on its current posture. Students will study the functional elements of intelligence tradecraft (human intelligence, signals intelligence, imagery analysis, etc.), and engagement with international counterparts.


    PAI 305.2/PSC 300.101: Policy Implementation

    3 credits | Spring and Fall | Zachary Huitink
    Examine the tools governments use to implement public policy, and develop sought-after skills including implementation planning, project management, working effectively with outside organizations, and how to assess policy impacts.  


    PAI 400.2/PSC400.101/SOC400.1: Poverty Policy

    3 credits | Spring and Fall | Colleen Heflin
    Examine the nature and extent of poverty in the U.S., its causes and consequences, and the antipoverty effects of existing and proposed government programs and policies.