What is Public Policy?
Public policy shapes all areas of life from the environment to government to business to technology. The study of public policy involves learning about the strategic decision-making processes and how to think critically in situations with multiple participants. Theories and ideas are transformed into real world applications that tackle issues affecting the public. Those trained in public policy provide analysis and leadership while balancing the interests of many different groups, particularly when unclear or conflicting objectives make decisions complicated or “wicked.”
The Bachelor of Science in Public Policy
Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy offers undergraduate courses taught by top faculty from multiple disciplines (economics, philosophy, law, political science, sociology, geography, etc.). In addition to the recognition they have received for their research, the School’s faculty have established a reputation for mentoring and providing research opportunities for undergraduates.
Major areas of policy studies and research in the program include:
- Environmental and energy policy
- Local economic development
- Information and communications policy
- Political decision processes
- Human resources in science and technology
- Law and legal studies
- Leadership studies
- Philosophy and ethics
- Public management and administration
- Policy for research and innovation
- Social and health policy
The School of Public Policy provides an excellent educational experience for undergraduates. Our accessible faculty and small class sizes promote a high level of student-teacher interaction, which plays a critical role in academic success. The School is an interactive and collaborative learning community that allows you to connect and work with other students.
Clusters and Electives
In addition to many free electives that can be taken across the Georgia Tech campus or in study abroad programs, public policy majors choose two of these three-course “clusters,” in areas of particular interest:
- Environment and Energy Policy
- Science and Technology Policy
- Social and Urban Policy
- Politics and Policy
All students also participate in at least one internship for academic credit, under the guidance of a faculty advisor (see below).
Senior Task Force Project
After completing the Georgia Tech and Public Policy core curriculum, along with policy clusters and electives, students participate in a two-semester senior-year Task Force. They work in teams on problems and issues presented by outside clients, with guidance from faculty facilitators and interaction with the clients. They produce professional reports that in many cases have been shared by the clients with others in the policy and business communities. In recent years clients have included the Centers for Disease Control, the Marcus Autism Center, the Atlanta Local Food Initiative, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Georgia.
Internships and Careers
Public policy majors have a wealth of opportunities for internships in local, regional, and state government, and in diverse agencies and industries in the Atlanta area. Many intern in Washington D.C. and other cities, and many have signed up for two or three internships. Students use their internship experiences to prepare them for law school or graduate programs in policy, public health, or city and regional planning, while others pursue careers in private firms and consulting companies, nonprofit agencies, the media, state legislative and governors’ offices, the federal government, and a variety of other institutions. About 30 percent of our graduates work in business and consulting, 30 percent have pursued careers in law, and the remainder have gone to graduate school (in public health, city and regional planning, policy, etc.) or have worked in nonprofit agencies, the media, federal agencies, state government, and politics.
- White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
- Georgia Economic Development Institute
- Turner Broadcasting
- Israeli Consulate
- Georgia Office of Budget and Evaluation
- Washington and district offices of US Senators and Representatives
- Office of the Governor of Georgia
- Attorney (King & Spalding, Jones Day, Covington Burling, Hunter Maclean, etc.)
- Management consultant (McKinsey, Deloitte, Bain, Capgemini)
- New York Times (strategic planner)
- SAIC Corporation (policy analyst)
- Federal Reserve Bank (banking policy analyst)
- Delta Airlines (pricing analyst)
- Center for Internet and Society / India
- WorkSpaces LLC (sustainability manager)