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Differences between political science and public policy majors?

spinme7spinme7 Registered User Posts: 65 Junior Member
edited January 2010 in Duke University
Pretty self-explanatory.
Post edited by spinme7 on

Replies to: Differences between political science and public policy majors?

  • knatknat Registered User Posts: 264 Junior Member
    I have an RA who's a senior majoring in PubPol. When I asked her this:

    "Political science is more raw theory. Public policy is much more practical--getting the theory to work in real-world situations."

    I think of PubPol as being the "engineering" for political science.
  • Faline2Faline2 Registered User Posts: 4,166 Senior Member
    Public policy does an excellent job of internship placement for its students...certainly one of the attractive aspects of the major's components. I will be crass and say the building is also quite impressive and fun to be in for lectures! Interesting people from all over the place give talks there often.
  • Senator NoodlesSenator Noodles Registered User Posts: 589 Member
    The difference is pretty much what knat said. Pubpol classes are all about how different policies affect different people in different ways or about the various components of policy (ethical, economic, etc.). Econ plays a huge role in pubpol, with Econ 51 (intro to economics) being a prereq for the major and PPS128 (required for the major) is all about microeconomic theory in policy-making. PubPol also requires more math, with Stat101 being another PPS requirement.

    All the poli sci classes I've taken are the theory behind political events. For example, you could take a class on military strategy and learn about the theory behind WWII maneuvers or something. Poli sci is not very econ-based, and you don't need to take any econs for the major or minor. Hope that helps!
  • ENTPForTheWinENTPForTheWin Registered User Posts: 84 Junior Member
    For a while, I toyed with the idea of combining these two for a nice double-major. People back home thought I was crazy: "Aren't they pretty much the same thing??!" Nope.

    In the end, I stuck with one of them, but the two are very different (as knat and SN pointed out).

    Also, PubPol has its own school now, just like the NSOE or Pratt. I like to call it "The SIPP" :)
  • Faline2Faline2 Registered User Posts: 4,166 Senior Member
    Well, SIPP has a heck of a building. with its own lunch counter. Now there is a good reason to select PP as a major.
  • constantlyconstantly Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
    I agree with the other responses. PoliSci is a lot more theoretical; PubPol is a lot more hands-on, applying the theory to scenarios or problems. In PoliSci you might learn about more abstract things, I won't hazard a guess since I've never actually taken a class... in PubPol you learn things like decision analysis (how to solve dilemmas), game theory (how to help predict another party's response when faced with a dilemma), microeconomics, the ethical implications of policies.

    Oh yeah, the Sanford building is really cool, and it has an amazing deli. I've been home for winter about three weeks and I've been craving one of their sandwiches.

This discussion has been closed.