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. The interdisciplinary concentration draws on the tools and insights of political science, economics and philosophy to evaluate governmental decisions and design more effective programs. This practical approach makes public policy a hands-on major where students can make a difference in the lives of people and communities.
Why draw on three disciplines? Because in the real world, policy decisions have three distinct dimensions. Students evaluate decisions by asking fundamental questions: Is this policy economically feasible, and what are its costs and benefits to society? Is this policy morally defensible? Is this policy politically viable? Taken together, these perspectives give students the tools to analyze governmental decisions, to research issues and practices – and to write and speak with force and clarity about public policy.