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Public Policy

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School of Humanities and Sciences

An interdisciplinary program that engages students in the process of evaluating policy options and outcomes.

What You'll Study

The Public Policy undergraduate major the develops the skills necessary to assess the performance of alternative approaches to policy implementation, evaluate the effectiveness of policies, understand the political constraints faced by policy makers, and appreciate the conflicts in fundamental human values that often animate policy debates.

As an interdisciplinary program, the major includes coursework in economics and quantitative methods, political science, law, philosophy, ethics, organizational behavior, and social psychology. It is composed of four main components: preparatory, core, concentration, and senior capstone. The preparatory courses provide a strong foundation in economics, math, and psychology while the core delves deeper into policy implementation and evaluation. Students apply the skills gained in those classes in one of several areas of concentration. The concentration addresses a specific field of public policy, various types of institutions, or a deeper development of the tools of policy analysis. Seniors go on to complete the capstone either by participating in a practicum, a team policy research project for an outside client, and/or by writing an honors thesis. 

The undergraduate major in Public Policy prepares students to participate effectively in policy and political discussion as citizens and as para-professionals in a variety of fields, to fill entry-level positions in policy research projects and organizations, and to pursue graduate studies in law, management, the health professions, and a variety of academic disciplines, including economics and political science.

Degrees Offered 

  • BA
  • Minor
  • Honors
  • Coterm

More Information

Learn more about Public Policy in the Stanford Bulletin

Exploratory Courses


Introduction to Public Policy


Introduction to American Politics and Policy: Democracy Under Siege? (AMSTUD 123X, POLISCI 102, PUBLPOL 201)


Justice (ETHICSOC 171, PHIL 171, POLISCI 103, POLISCI 336S)


Ethics on the Edge: Business, Non-Profit Organizations, Government, and Individuals (PUBLPOL 234)


Politics and Policy in California


Public Policy and Personal Finance (ECON 25N)

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