Public policy researchers and students recognize that solutions to society’s problems must be approved by relevant decision makers. These policy actors can be in legislatures, executive branches, or the courts; they often are located inside regulatory and administrative agencies; they often involve a combination of local, state, national, and international actors; and they might be energized members of the public or experts in science, technology, or other fields.
The study of public policy is fundamentally multidisciplinary because policy problems have economic, ethical, political, legal, and often scientific and technological dimensions. Even the most scientifically logical and technologically efficient answer to a policy problem – such as nuclear waste storage, genetic therapy, smart grid monitoring, urban recycling, or internet regulation – will fail if it ignores constitutional and statutory law, administrative and judicial procedures, the inclusion of relevant stakeholders, and the political ideals and goals of diverse participants.
Recognizing this, much of the research and teaching in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy focuses on the “how” of public policy: expertise and public input; legislative, regulatory, and administrative processes; stakeholder and interest group participation; constitutional issues; judicial processes; and legal practice. And because most policy problems have causes and cures at a variety of spatial scales, we examine decision-making behavior at the city, regional, national, and global levels. Students, faculty, and alumni of the School are able to navigate the analysis, selection, and implementation of decisions in business, the non-profit sector, and government with innovative perspectives and a wide array of tools and skills.
Public Policy provides a good background for the study of law. Students interested in law can earn the Law, Science, and Technology minor or the pre-law certificate in preparation for law school and a career in law. Students enrolled in other majors are also invited to participate in this minor or certificate program.