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Public Policy Minor

Andrew A. Samwick, Director, Rockefeller Center

Ronald G. Shaiko, Academic Advisor

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth coordinates the Minor in Public Policy, which is open to students from all majors who seek a coherent program of study in the field of public policy, broadly defined.

Drawing on faculty in the social sciences and interdisciplinary programs, the minor provides a variety of perspectives on policy questions, such as changes in values, institutions, technology or markets, and it enables students to pursue a focus on either domestic policy or international policy. In addition to fostering a general knowledge of the policy process, it includes a topical specialty that com­plements students’ course work in a major. The Public Policy Minor is intended to foster a critical understanding of policy issues and solutions.

Students who wish to pursue the minor must officially sign up for it no later than the third term prior to graduation. The six courses required for the minor may not count toward a student’s major or another minor.


Prerequisite: One course conveying quantitative or qualitative research methods. Options include: Social Science 10 (or its equivalent), Geography 11, Geography 58, Sociology 16, or Sociology 17.


Requirements: A total of six courses. The courses must include:


One (1) policymaking process course. For the Class of 2010 and later, Public Policy 5 is the only course that satisfies this requirement. For the Class of 2009 and earlier, Government 36, Sociology 23, Economics 2, History 19, Environmental Studies 3, and Geography 16 may substitute for Public Policy 5.


Two (2) public policy methods courses. Choices include:

Economics 20: Econometrics

Public Policy 40-49


Two (2) courses in a policy track (students may design their own policy track). Possible tracks include:

Domestic economics and public policy

Education and public policy

Environment and public policy

Health and public policy

Identity and public policy

Institutions, organizations and public policy

International relations and public policy

Law and public policy

Urban issues and public policy


One (1) Public Policy Seminar relevant to the chosen policy track. In certain circumstances, a student may petition the faculty advisor to substitute a Social Science seminar requiring a research paper relevant to the chosen policy track for this requirement.


5. Introduction to Public Policy

07W, 08W: 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. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Shaiko.

41. Writing and Speaking Public Policy

07S: 2A

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

08S: 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. Swaine.

45. Introduction to Public Policy Research (formerly Public Policy 90)

06F, 07F: 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. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Shaiko.

48. Policy Analysis and Local Governance

Not offered in 2006-07; may be offered in 2008-09

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. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Shaiko.

81.1 American Foreign Policy Toward Asia (Identical to Government 85.05)

Not offered in 2006-07; may be offered in 2007-08

Dist: SOC or INT. Kang.

81.2 Lawyers and Public Policy (Identical to Government 81.04)

06F, 07F: 10A

Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Bohmer.

81.3 Urban Politics and Policies: Transatlantic Perspectives (Identical to Geography 46)

07W: 2A

Over recent decades, urban politics and policies have been reinvented. Post-industrialism, globalization, ‘the third way’ and neo-liberalism have all contributed to transforming the ways in which cities are governed and planned. This course will examine these changes through considering contemporary urban government and recent urban policy initiatives in both the UK and USA. Specific issues to be discussed include: the role of urban government; inter-governmental dynamics; urban political cultures; metropolitan leadership; and urban renewal/regeneration. Dist: SOC or INT. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: EU or NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Davidson.

81.4 U.S. Broadcast and Electronic Journalism History (Identical to Film Studies 46)

Not offered in 2006-07; may be offered in 2007-08

Dist: SOC. Williams.

81.5 Poverty, the New Economy, and Employment Policy (Identical to Sociology 39)

07W, 08W: 10A

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. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Hollister.

81.8 Public Education Policy (Pending faculty approval)

07S: 3A


81.9 Politics and Markets (Identical to Government 83.02)

07W: 3A 08W: 2A

Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Fowler.

82.1 The Policy of Crime and Punishment (Pending faculty approval)

07W: 10A

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? Crocker.

82.2 Economic Statecraft in International Relations (Identical to Government 85.06)

Not offered in 2006-07; may be offered in 2007-08

Dist: SOC or INT. Mastanduno.

82.3 Rationality vs. Social Values: Bureaucratic and Organizational Behavior (Identical to Government 81.15; formerly Public Policy 17, pending faculty approval)

Not offered in 2006-07; may be offered in 2007-08

Dist: SOC. Kasfir.

82.4 Organizations and Public Policy (Pending faculty approval)

07S: 10A

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. Wooten.

83.2 Economics, Security and U.S. Foreign Policy (Identical to Government 85.14)

07W, 08W: 3A

Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. S. Brooks.

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.