Skip to main content


Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.

Public Policy Minor

5. Introduction to Public Policy

09W, 10W: 10

This course is designed as the gateway offering for students beginning to pursue a minor in public policy through the Rockefeller Center. The term will be divided into four main components: The Nature of Public Policy, Making Public Policy, The Policy Players, and The Policy Game. In the concluding section of the course, we will pursue specific policy domains—environmental policy, education policy, health care policy, welfare policy, immigration policy, and defense policy.

Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Shaiko.

40. Economics of Public Policymaking

09X, 10X: 2A

The course will use the basic tools of economics to analyze the most significant current public policy issues in the United States. Given the time constraints of the course, we will focus on the issues that are likely to be highlighted in the 2008 presidential election. The goal is to understand both the substance and politics of each issue. We will examine the effects of recent policy changes and analyze the likely effects of prospective reforms, particularly those that are likely to be embraced during the presidential campaign. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Wheelan.

41. Writing and Speaking Public Policy

Not offered in 2008-09; may be offered in 2009-10

This course is designed for students who want to improve their writing skills to effect real change. Students will read and write in various areas of public policy, develop arguments, editorials, position papers, briefing memos, as well as op ed pieces and “letters to the editor” to be submitted to the local newspapers. Students will strengthen their understanding and practice of argument, critique testimony, and develop and present their own oral testimony to the class. Prerequisite: Public Policy 5. Crumbine.

42. Ethics and Public Policy (Identical to Government 60.01)

09F: 10

This course examines the nature and validity of arguments about vexing moral issues in public policy, focusing on different frameworks for thinking about justice and the ends of politics. Students will address the following questions, among others: Are policies that permit torture justifiable under any circumstances? Should economic distribution be patterned for the sake of social justice? Should people be permitted to move freely between countries? Is abortion wrong in theory or in practice? Prerequisite: Public Policy 5. Dist: TMV; WCult: W. Swaine.

44. Broadcast/Electronic Journalism and Public Policy (Identical to Film Studies 46)

Not offered in 2008-09, may be offered in 2009-10

This course surveys the history of electronic journalism in the United States, focusing on development of and changes to its fundamental relation to the public sphere. It reviews practices of media policy and agenda-setting within changing media ecologies. Delivering a historical and contextual understanding of media, it concentrates on specific events affecting the impact of the media on citizenry. Students will collaborate on projects and write analytical papers. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Williams.

45. Introduction to Public Policy Research

08F, 09F: 10A

This course focuses on strategies for, and actual practice of, conducting research relevant to public policy discussions. Students will learn: about policy issues, their drivers, and finding solutions; about the Legislative Process; and how to work collaboratively. Though open to all students satisfying the prerequisite, this course is designed to be a core element of the Public Policy Minor and will also serve as a training ground for prospective applicants wishing to serve in the Rockefeller Public Policy Research Shop during the winter and spring terms. Prerequisite: A course employing mathematical reasoning or statistical methods (e.g. Economics 10 or Government 10). Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Shaiko.

48. Policy Analysis and Local Governance

Not offered in 2008-09, may be offered in 2009-10

Over 85,000 governments in the United States exist at the local level, including counties, school districts, planning boards, city and town governments. This course will explore the policy issues that are of primary concern to citizens at the grassroots level in the United States—education, public safety, land use, property taxation, the environment, recreation, utility regulation, privatization, and more. We will examine the tools of policy analysis, formulation, and implementation at the local level. Prerequisite: Public Policy 5. Dist: SOC; WCult W. Burns.

81.2 Lawyers and Public Policy (Identical to Government 81.04)

09S, 10W: 2A

Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Bohmer.

81.3 Urban Politics and Public Policymaking

Not offered in 2008-09, may be offered in 2009-10

This course examines how and why cities attempt to address the problems that face them. It investigates who makes public policy in cities and why. The course then considers how and why these actors make policy. The final part of this class analyzes the effects of these policies. The class focuses upon urban education, housing, public safety, economic development, and other policy areas of significance to urban governments, with focused attention on post-Katrina New Orleans. Dist: SOC: WCult: W. Burns.

81.5 Poverty and Public Policy in the United States (Identical to Sociology 55)

09W, 10W: 2A

The most obvious solution to the problem of poverty is to give someone a job. More than four decades of employment programs have shown, however, that this is not as easy as it sounds. Recent changes in the economy (downsizing, globalization, technological change) make this situation even more challenging. This course examines the past and future of employment policies as poverty alleviation strategies. It brings together theories of poverty and employment, an analysis of current trends in the economy, and an overview of past and current employment programs. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Hollister.

81.7 Secrecy and Lying in Politics, Law and Society (Identical to Anthropology 16)

Not offered in the period from 08F through 10S

Dist: SOC. Eickelman.

81.8 Economics of Education Policy (pending faculty approval)

09S: 2A

This course seeks to introduce students to the practices and principles that guide local communities. It will challenge existing strategies and develop a fuller understanding of how differences in local decisions influence policy options. The seminar will explore the role of citizen activism in decision-making. It will examine state and federal roles in educational policy and familiarize students with key policy options at the local levels. Chaudhury.

81.9 Politics and Markets (Identical to Government 83.02)

08F, 09F: 3A

Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Fowler.

82.1 The Policy of Crime and Punishment

Not offered in 2008-09, may be offered in 2009-10

This course will examine the criminal justice and punishment theory from philosophical, legal, and criminological perspectives. The following questions, among many others, will be addressed: What is the moral basis for taking the liberty or life of another human? What theoretical and practical implications exist in a real world adjudication system that makes some mistakes, and, in particular, where innocent people are convicted and punished? How should sentencing authority be divided between legislators and judges? Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Crocker.

82.4 Organizations and Public Policy (Identical to Sociology 39.1)

Not offered in 2008-09; may be offered in 2009-10

Although many view the relationship between organizations and public policy as fairly static, it is dynamic and complex. Organizations may take an active role in forming public policy and in shaping the definition of compliance to public policy. By focusing on topics ranging from anti-trust regulation, civil rights employment legislation, incorporation laws, and more, emphasis is placed on understanding the joint influence of organizations and governmental authorities on the public policy process. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Wooten.

82.5 International Law and Transnational Policymaking (pending faculty approval)

09S: 2A

This course addresses the growing complexity between biotechnology policy and international law in world affairs. We examine several contemporary global controversies surrounding the recent advancements in biotechnology to demonstrate how this area of science impacts food security, public health, economic development, and weapons proliferation. These various dimensions of biotechnology policy are analyzed through the lens of different bodies of international law, such as intellectual property, human rights, and arms control. Our primary objective questions whether biotechnology and international law will promote cooperation and peace or spur conflict and war in the 21st century. Hurt.

84.2 Health Policy Reform

Not offered in 2008-09, may be offered in 2009-10

Students will analyze current American health-policy reform proposals, judging their substance and devising variations and replacements. The histories of modern issues will be reviewed and a health-policy problem list created, its entries distributed for analysis to individual students. Projects will proceed in parallel, with lessons learned shared at each meeting, while readings and discussions will explicate factors shaping policy and constraining innovation. A closing exercise will assess student proposals for complementarity and reconcilability. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. Sprinkle.

84.4 Science and Technology Policy

Not offered in 2008-09, may be offered in 2009-10

The course will provide an analysis of science and technology policy in the United States. Institutionalized in what are known as “R&D budgets,” science and technology policies have become means of confronting the fundamental challenges to our quality of life (e.g., security, environment, health). Federal agencies are entrusted with translating scientific research into policy solutions that benefit society. This course examines that process of translation—the interplay of interests through the apparatus of government to produce “public policy.” Dist: SOC; WCult: W. O’Neal.

91. Independent Study in Public Policy

All terms: Arrange

This course offers an opportunity for a student enrolled in the Public Policy Minor to do advanced, independent work under the direction of a faculty member in the area of public policy. The topic under study may relate to prior coursework in the Public Policy Minor, an off-campus internship, or a co-curricular activity sponsored by the Rockefeller Center. All students enrolled in Public Policy 91 in a given term should expect to meet regularly together for classroom instruction and discussion with Rockefeller Center faculty and staff. To enroll, a student must prepare a brief proposal that describes the topic to be studied, its relationship to the student’s prior public policy courses or activities, and the student’s goals for undertaking the research. Prerequisites: Public Policy 5 and the Research Methods course prerequisite to the Public Policy Minor.