The Public Policy major is designed for students interested in policy issues, politics, public administration, and related areas like policy analysis and policy advocacy. The program explores a myriad of critical issues facing our communities, the nation, and the world. It enables its graduates to exercise responsible leadership to foster positive policy change. Students may wish, but are not required, to pursue a concentration within the Public Policy major. The following concentrations are currently available:
- State and Local Government
- Governmental Affairs and Public Service Careers
- Policy Analysis and Governance Studies
Our proximity to the state capital in Harrisburg provides students with a rich environment. In addition to our full-time faculty, public policy draws on part-time faculty with particular professional expertise and strengths. In recent years, students have explored politics and political issues in classes taught by a state senator, a former lieutenant governor, a corrections system administrator, and a governor’s press secretary. This integration of academic study with the practice of Pennsylvania politics and policy making is further enhanced through quality internships that enhance learning outcomes by immersing students in a credit-earning, real-world experience. Students in the major of Public Policy can also participate in organizing and staffing Penn State Harrisburg Model United Nations. In addition, successful students can be inducted in Pi Alpha Alpha (the Public Administration and Policy Honor Society).
Career Outlook/ Job Opportunities
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 40 percent of all public policy graduates are employed in government positions. A large number of public policy graduates become employed in the private sector for businesses and corporations, 10 percent in education, 3 percent in nonprofit administration, and 5 percent are self-employed.
Students in the Public Policy major receive the educational foundation for careers in the public sector, in government-related businesses, and in non-profit organizations, as well as for graduate work in the fields of law, public administration, criminal justice, public policy, political science, and healthcare administration. Building on the program core, students may choose electives from a broad array of courses in public policy and other areas.
The following lists some of the job titles for graduates of the Public Policy program: government administration/management, non-profit management, legislative staff, lobbyist, management analyst, policy analyst, survey research, strategic planner.
Upon successfully completing the program, students may qualify for admission to one of our graduate programs and seamlessly continue their academic journey with us in residential, hybrid, or fully online programs. Those for example include:
- Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
- Master of Health Administration
- Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security
- Master of Public Administration and Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration