What is the Public Policy major?

A major in Public Policy enables students to understand how to make a positive difference in the most challenging problems facing our world today. Public policy focuses especially on analysis, to integrate the approaches of different disciplines in an effort to produce the best policy decisions and the most effective policy implementation. Rather than focusing on theories or institutions, Public Policy focuses on the problem and generating policies in response to that problem.

Public policy is also interdisciplinary by nature. Mastering it requires the integration of knowledge from many disciplines to fully understand the problems at stake and offer viable solutions. The Public Policy major at Maryland draws upon the knowledge and experience usually gained through studying separate disciplines, such as business, philosophy, history, information studies, economics, sociology, and government and politics. Only through a coordinated exposure to these fields can a student understand how they interact in the world of Public Policy.

What can I do with a Public Policy major?

Students graduating with a major in Public Policy are prepared for a variety of careers and graduate education opportunities. Public Policy undergraduate majors pursue graduate programs in fields such as public policy, law, public health, city and regional planning and more. Graduates also pursue careers in government at the city, state and federal level. These positions include policy analyst, lobbyist, political campaign staff member, research assistant, legislative staffer and more. Public Policy undergraduates also pursue careers in a variety of nonprofits and foundations as well as other public service entities such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Teach For America. Finally, given the interdisciplinary nature of a Public Policy major, students have the ability to pursue a diversity of other fields such as media affairs, public affairs, business, consulting, and teaching.

The University of Maryland is inside the Washington DC beltway where an abundant amount of internship and job opportunities await. You are just a metro ride from the federal government, the headquarters of national and international nonprofits, a variety of policy think tanks, and more! Please see our careers page for more information.

Are students guaranteed admission into Public Policy as freshman? What about transfer students?

The Public Policy major is not a limited enrollment program. There is no separate application for our major and seats in the major are guaranteed. Please refer to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for assistance with your online application for freshman admission and transfer admissions.

What does a typical Public Policy major look like?

You can see our four-year plan and review courses for more insight into being a Public Policy major.

How do I make an appointment with an advisor?

Contact the Public Policy advising office by calling (301) 405-2370 or emailing plcyundergrad@umd.edu

Does the School of Public Policy offer any scholarships or financial aid?

Yes! Please see our financial aid page.