The goal of the Public Policy Program is to prepare students to examine, shape, and participate in civic life in all its dimensions.
About the Major
Government majors focus on the process of decision-making, while public policy majors focus on outcomes, from massive programs such as Medicare and Social Security, to the details of social services and education policy. This interdisciplinary concentration draws on the tools and insights of political science, economics, and philosophy to evaluate governmental decisions and design more effective programs. At Hamilton, public policy is a hands-on major where students take on projects that make a difference in the lives of people and communities.
Students Will Learn To:
- Understand the ethical dimensions of policy decisions and the justice implications of policy research
- Communicate clearly and persuasively about public policy issues in their own research
- Engage with stakeholders and policy makers as interns and researchers
- Establish a foundation for professional work in policy science and policy making
A Sampling of Courses
Comparative Health Policy
Investigation of health policy from a comparative perspective. The course introduces fundamental concepts in health policy and examines different health care systems across the globe as well as case studies in health care delivery and public health.
Explore these select courses:
This course provides an introduction to microeconomic analysis and its applications to environmental policy. We first consider the conditions under which markets fail to efficiently allocate scarce resources in the context of environmental issues, such as managing natural resources and climate change. We examine policy instruments including regulations, taxes, subsidies, quotas, and tradable permits to address those market failures. The last part of the course focuses on analyzing distributive impacts of environmental policies and understanding the economic forces behind environmental justice issues.
This course focuses on understanding community-mobilization, organizational leadership models and perspectives for creating social change. It will promote an intersectional understanding of campus and community conditions that give rise to damaging experiences. Students will collaboratively develop leadership change strategies that oppose more common, “expert”-driven approaches. Required field study: week one of spring break. Prerequisite: participation in LLI (January) and Intro level WMGST, PPOL, AFRST, or SOC course and consent of the instructor.
Meet Our Faculty
Explore Hamilton Stories
The Levitt (Center) Law & Justice Lab, a program designed for students interested in synthesizing perspectives on public policy issues, just concluded a semester focused on exploring policies affecting homelessness in Utica, N.Y. The experience was led by Professors Frank Anechiarico (government), Herman Lehman (biology), Philip Bean (history), and Gwendolyn Dordick (government).
Careers After Hamilton
Hamilton graduates who concentrated in public policy are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:
- Director of Product Strategy, IBM
- Sustainability Coordinator, Wesleyan University
- Volunteer, Peace Corps
- President/Co-Founder, Biomarker Strategies
- Director of Environmental Advocacy, Safe Climate Campaign
- Strategic Advisor, City of Seattle
- Writer, Money Magazine
- President/CEO, Consumer Health Foundation
- Program Lead Editor, U.S. Global Change Research Program