Courses of Study 2023-2024 
    Jun 25, 2024  
Courses of Study 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Policy

Public Policy Major

The study of public policy involves understanding the politics and processes of policy creation and implementation, as well as evaluation of whether policies are improving our lives and well being. Students majoring in Public Policy study the effects of government policies on children and families, crime, democracy, education, the environment, financial markets, inequality, public health, product markets, the workplace, and more. The major’s unique strength stems from the research tools learned and used – robust theory, rigorous empirical quantitative skills, analytical thinking and planning, practical applications to real world policy issues – skills demanded by the best in government and industry.

Course Offerings     


PUBPOL Introduction to Public Policy

Introduction to Public Policy (4 credits)

Choose one of the following:

PUBPOL 2300 - Introduction to Policy Analysis  

PUBPOL 2301 - Introduction to Public Policy  

Public Policy Electives

Public Policy Electives (30 credits)

Students must take a minimum of 30 credits of 2000, 3000 or 4000 level public policy courses in addition to the core requirements.

Note: Up to 3 credits from PUBPOL 4000, 4010, and 4020 can count here. PUBPOL 4030, 4980, and 4990 may not be used to fulfill this requirement

Engaged Learning

Engaged Learning (0-3 credits)

All students must complete an engaged learning experience in the field of public policy. The experience must be equivalent to at least 135 hours of policy relevant work and can include engaged coursework, community applied research, or external internships. Experiences must be approved through the Engaged Learning Milestone Form. Questions regarding the Engaged Learning Milestone Form should be directed to the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services.

Example engaged learning coursework includes, but is not limited to:

PUBPOL 3720 - Addiction Medicine Practice and Policy  

PUBPOL 4060 - Experiential Learning in Policy Making in Washington DC  

PUBPOL 4950 - Engaged Learning Capstone  

PUBPOL 5960 - State Policy and Advocacy Clinic I  


First Year Writing Seminars

First Year Writing Seminars (6 credits)

Note: The 2 required first year writing seminar courses must be completed during the first two semesters at Cornell.

Public Policy Introductory Microeconomics

Introductory Microeconomics (3 credits)

ECON 1110 - Introductory Microeconomics  

Public Policy Intermediate Microeconomics

Intermediate Microeconomics (4 credits)

Choose one of the following:

PUBPOL 2000 - Intermediate Microeconomics 

ECON 3030 - Intermediate Microeconomic Theory  

Public Policy Introduction to Sociology

Introduction to Sociology (3 credits)

Choose one of the following:

SOC 1101 - Introduction to Sociology  

PUBPOL 2250 - Social Problems in the United States 

Public Policy Mathematics

Mathematics (3-4 credits)

Either of the following:

Score of 4 or 5 on AP Calculus BC exam OR

Any 3 credit Cornell math course except MATH 1101 and MATH 1710

Note: If this requirement is not satisfied with AP Calculus BC then the MATH course must be taken at Cornell.

Note: AP Calculus AB credit (a score of 4 or 5) may be applied as elective credits, but does not fulfill this requirement.

Public Policy Natural Science

Natural Science I (3-4 credits)

This fulfills the college distribution natural sciences requirement.

One of the following:


BIOG 1140 - Foundations of Biology 
BIOG 1440 - Introductory Biology: Comparative Physiology  or BIOG 1445 - Introduction to Comparative Anatomy and Physiology, Individualized Instruction 
BIOMG 1350 - Introductory Biology: Cell and Developmental Biology 
BIOEE 1610 - Introductory Biology: Ecology and the Environment 
AP Biology score of 5


CHEM 1560 - Introduction to General Chemistry   or CHEM 2070 - General Chemistry I 
CHEM 2080 - General Chemistry II  
AP Chemistry score of 5


PHYS 1101 - General Physics I   or PHYS 2207 - Fundamentals of Physics I 
PHYS 1102 - General Physics II   or PHYS 2208 - Fundamentals of Physics II  
AP Physics score of 5

Note: If AP isn’t used to satisfy the requirement, then the course must be taken at Cornell.
Note: No lab is required.

Natural Science II (3-4 credits)

Choose any 3 credit course with a PBS, BIOLS-AG, or BIONLS-AG Course Distribution.

Note: No AP credit allowed, course must be taken at Cornell.

Public Policy Ethics

Ethics (3 credits)

Choose one of the following:

AEM 3205 - Ethics in Business and Organizations  

BSOC 2051 - Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine  //STS 2051 - Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine  

BSOC 2051 - Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine  //STS 2061 - Ethics and the Environment  //PHIL 2960 - Ethics and the Environment  

COMM 4300 - Ethics in New Media, Technology, and Communication  

COMM 4350 - Communicating Leadership and Ethics  

CRP 3011 - [Ethics, Development, and Globalization]  

ECE 3600 - Ethical Issues in Engineering Practice  // ENGRG 3600 - Ethical Issues in Engineering Practice  // STS 3601 - Ethical Issues in Engineering Practice  

ILRLR 3830 - Workers’ Rights as Human Rights  

ILRLR 4820 - Ethics at Work  

ILRLR 4880 - The Mind of the Founders  

ILRLR 4075 - Values, Rights, and Justice at Work  

INFO 2750 - [Robot Ethics]  // ECE 2750 - [Robot Ethics]  //  STS 2751 - [Robot Ethics]  // ENGRG 2750 - [Robot Ethics]  

NTRES 3320 - Introduction to Ethics and Environment  

PHIL 1440 - Ethics of Eating  

PHIL 1450 - Contemporary Moral Issues  

PHIL 2410 - [Ethics]  

PHIL 2415 - [Introduction to Moral Psychology]  

PHIL 2420 - Social and Political Philosophy  

PHIL 2455 - Introduction to Bioethics  // SHUM 2455 - Introduction to Bioethics  // STS 2451 - Introduction to Bioethics  

PHIL 3410 - [Ethical Theory] [Inactive] 

PHIL 3460 - Modern Political Philosophy  // GOVT 3625 - Modern Political Philosophy  

PHIL 3480 - [Philosophy of Law]  

Public Policy Language

Language (3 credits)

Any non-English language course. AP credits cannot meet this requirement.

Public Policy Arts, Literature and Culture

Arts, Language and Culture (3 credits)

Any course with an ALC distribution.

Public Policy Historical Analysis

Historical Analysis (3 credits)

Any course with a HA distribution.

Public Policy Electives

Electives (Variable)

Any courses that are not taken in the areas above, count as Electives.

Public Policy Physical Education

Physical Education (2 courses)

Physical Education must be completed in order to graduate. However, physical education does not count toward college and university minimum credit requirements for full-time status, nor does it count towards the 120 credits required for graduation.

Public Policy Swim Test

A successful swim test must be completed in order to graduate.