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Undergraduate Public Policy Studies Major Requirements

There are no prerequisites in order to declare the Public Policy Studies major. However, there is a flow to the major requirements and advance planning is important in order to complete the major. 

All public policy core and elective courses must be taken for credit and cannot be taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. (Formerly Pass/Fail)

5 Core Courses:

  1. PUBPOL 155D (previously 55D): Introduction to Policy Analysis -- This course is a prerequisite for all of the the core courses except STATS 101 and is the gateway course for the major.
  2. PUBPOL 301 (114): Political Analysis for Public Policy
  3. PUBPOL 302 (116): Policy Choice as Value Conflict or PUBPOL 330/GLHLTH 210 Global Health Ethics
  4. PUBPOL 303 (128): Microeconomic Policy Tools or ECON 201D (55): Intermediate Microeconomics I
  5. STATS 101 Data Analysis and Statistical Inference -- STATS 101-1, 102, 104, 111 or 130 may substitute for STATS 101.

2 Required Courses:

  1. PUBPOL 304 (132): Economics of the Public Sector -- Note: students who have taken Econ 201D cannot take PUBPOL 303 (128).
  2. History ElectiveChoose an elective from this list. -- Note: the history elective must be taken on campus at Duke; it cannot be a transfer or study abroad course.

4 Electives:

  • 4 PUBPOL Electives at the 160-699 level (one of which MUST be a 401-699 level course)

Public Policy Internship & PUBPOL 120: Internship Course:

  • Internship and PUBPOL 120: The internship and the non-credit, pass/fail internship course.

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  • Betsy Broaddus smiling

    Choosing Pub Pol

    “I honestly didn't know what I would major in my senior year of high school. But the summer before I came here, I watched all of the TV show Parks and Recreation. I saw so much of myself and my personality in the main character, Leslie Knope, who’s a civil servant who works for her community. I just thought to myself ‘Wow, I could actually really love a career like that in civil service!’


    I’ve been able to combine my creative interests with my political interests and my desire to help others and I hope to pass legislation that will benefit others.” -Betsy Broaddus PPS ’20

    Read more stories of Sanford students.

The internship is not something that students simply "check off" on their way to graduation, but is a culminating synthesis of course work and other PUBPOL-related experiences. Therefore, to receive credit for a public policy internship, a student must have completed all of the following courses prior to starting the internship*:

  • PUBPOL 155D (55D)
  • PUBPOL 301 (114)
  • PUBPOL 302 (116)
  • PUBPOL 303 (128) or Econ 201
  • PUBPOL Stats 101 
  • PUBPOL 304 (132): Economics of the Public Sector -- may be taken before or after the internship.

*Alternative Pathway to Internship Completion (APIC) - Students who have completed four (4) of the five (5) core courses, may apply for the APIC program.  This program is designed for students to complete their internship requirement prior to the completion of their five (5) core courses.  Apply to this program, here.

In addition, the student must submit a five-page memo in the PUBPOL 120 Internship course the semester after their internship.  

Most students satisfy the internship requirement during the summer between their junior and senior year. A few students are able to meet all of the prerequisites and do their internship between their sophomore and junior years.

Take a look at this student-run internship blog, Policy Meets World, to get an idea of the kind of internships that are available.

"Soft" cross-listed courses

These courses will not display the PUBPOL cross-list, but will still count as lower-level electives towards the major.

  • ETHICS 271/ECON 270/HIST 284/POLSCI 252: Life Within Capitalism: A History of its Values, Measures and Struggles
  • ETHICS 285/ECON 285/POLSCI 249/ENVIRON 276/HIST 292: Denial, Faith , Reason: Sustainability and Survival
  • GLHLTH 310S/ETHICS 250S: Governance and Healthcare
  • GERMAN 282S.01: Green Germany
  • HIST 328/AAAS 213/LATAMER 328: Global Brazil
  • MUSIC 390S.01: El Sistema and Innovations in Music and Social Entrepreneurship
  • THEATRST 310S/ECON 247S/VMS 329S: Non-profit Cultural Institutions

Public Policy Major Course Requirements

PUBPOL 155D (previously 55D): Introduction to Policy Analysis

PUBPOL 301 (114): Political Analysis for Public Policy*

PUBPOL 302 (116): Policy Choice as Value Conflict* or PUBPOL 330/GLHLTH 210: Global Health Ethics

PUBPOL 303 (128): Microeconomic Policy Tools* or ECON 201D (55): Intermediate Microeconomics I

PUBPOL 304 (132): The Economics of the Public Sector**

STATS 101: Data Analysis and Statistical Inference, or approved equivalent enrollment 

Internship and PUBPOL 120: The internship and the non-credit, pass/fail internship course***

A History elective, from list designated by the PUBPOL department

Four (4) electives at the 160-699 level (one of which MUST be a 401-699 level course)

* PUBPOL 155 is the prerequisite for these courses.

**PUBPOL 303 or ECON 201D is the prerequisite for this course.

*** The core courses must be completing prior to the internship (PUBPOL 155D, 301, 302, 303 and the Stats course).


If you have any questions, please contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator for help