Curriculum Overview 

The Public Policy program is designed to provide analytic skills and substantive knowledge to help students ask questions, determine the dimensions of societal problems and evaluate alternative solutions to resolve multifaceted policy issues. The study of Public Policy is available to students as a Joint Major, where the Public Policy Core forms one component and at least eight additional courses, determined by an existing academic department that offers its own major, form the balance of the program. Pre-approved Joint Major programs are currently available with Business, Organizations, and Society; Economics; Sociology; Government; and Environmental Studies. Students wishing to combine Public Policy in a Joint Major with another existing major should first contact the Public Policy chairperson to determine the feasibility of the proposed Joint Major program and the appropriate course requirements. The usual rules for Joint Majors apply in the case of all Public Policy majors.

Students with a Joint Major in Public Policy may study abroad in a direct exchange program with the University of Glasgow. Public Policy students have studied abroad or off-campus in the following programs in recent years:  Institute for the International Education of Students (European Union), Freiburg, Germany; School for International Training (SIT) Study Abroad in Argentina, South Africa and Viet Nam; Syracuse University, Madrid, Spain; Danish Institute for Study Abroad, Copenhagen, Denmark; Washington Semester Program, American University, Washington, D.C. The participating departments will work with Joint Major candidates to identify internships in the public and private sectors that will enhance their educational experiences through on-site learning opportunities. During the last few years, Public Policy students have successfully interned in local government, at departments of health in Philadelphia and Connecticut and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, Pa.


ECO 100. Introduction to Economic Principles. (S)

ECO 103. Introduction to Economic Perspectives. (S)

GOV 100. American Government. (S)

PHI 122. Introduction to Moral Philosophy (H); PHI 223. Biomedical Ethics (H); PHI 227. Contemporary Political Philosophy (H) (V); or other approved PHI course.

ECO 200. Microeconomics I. (S)

ECO 201. Macroeconomics I. (S)

GOV 200. Understanding Public Policy. (S)

Statistics/Methods Course in department of Joint Major or other department

Courses Offered 
The following courses are offered in support of the Public Policy curriculum:

384. Urban Education. (S)

A community-based learning course analyzing issues facing urban schools from a sociological perspective, with particular attention to the role of race, class and gender at both the macro and micro levels. Other topics include teachers, schools as organizations, the social psychological perspective on learning, the politics of curricula and instruction, accountability and other contemporary reform movements. Students are expected to integrate and apply their knowledge through work in a local school. Prerequisite: SOC 100. Same as SOC 384.  


352. Lead Poisoning and Asthma in Urban Lancaster. (S)

Students learn about the epidemiology of asthma and lead poisoning, the pathways of exposure, and methods for community outreach and education. As it is a Community-Based Learning (CBL) course, students will work in service to the local community by collaborating with local school teachers and students in lessons that apply environmental research relating to lead poisoning and asthma in their homes and neighborhoods. They also take soil samples from locations in Lancaster and test their lead levels. Same as ENV/PBH/STS 352.  


255. Political Economy of Health Care. (S)

A seminar format approach to issues in health and health care reform from an economics-based perspective but also including multi-disciplinary considerations. Topics include the following: the unique qualities of the market for health care; controlling costs/improving outcomes in health care delivery; the economic status of health care providers; economic and ethical issues of pharmaceutical development and distribution; health—and health care—disparities by income, race, ethnicity, and gender; the looming fiscal crisis of Medicare and Medicaid; the political economy of systemic health care reform; comparative health care systems. Prerequisites: ECO 100 or ECO 103. Same as ECO 255. 


240. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. (S)

A survey of environmental and natural resource issues in economic theory and policy. History of the environmental movement and environmental debates; theory of natural resource allocation, natural resource issues; theory of environmental management—for example, externalities, public goods and common property. Topics covered will include pollution, resource depletion and global climate change. Prerequisite: ECO 100 and 103, or permission of the instructor. Same as ECO/ENV 240.  

Fleming, Green

227. Contemporary Political Philosophy. (H) (V)

This course surveys contemporary debates in political philosophy. Topics may include the foundations of liberalism and democracy, feminist and antiracist critiques of liberalism, the case for various kinds of equality, the challenge of global justice, and multiculturalism and minority group rights. Same as PHI 227. 


200. Understanding Public Policy. (S)

Focus on government activity in a variety of public policy areas, the structural and political contexts of debates over alternative policy strategies and approaches to understanding public policy. Policy areas examined include the national budget and entitlements, science and technology and education. Prerequisite: GOV 100. Same as GOV 200.


303.  Problem-Solving Courts/Drug Court. 

This interdisciplinary course, taught by a local Drug Court Judge will introduce students to the world of Problem Solving Courts, including Drug Courts and Mental Health Courts. This will include a hands-on/experiential examination of traditional courts, Drug Court models, and addiction issues. A major component of this course will involve community-based learning (CBL). Students will be required to interact directly with Drug Court participants and members of the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Adult Drug Court Team. Permission required.  Same as PBH 303. 


314. Global Environmental Politics. 

The course provides an overview of current U.S. environmental laws, beginning with the National Environmental Policy Act (1969). Students will be introduced to the origin and implementation of major environmental laws that safeguard public health and protect the environment, including the Clean Air and Water Acts, Safe Drinking Water Act, and the 1980s legislative agenda developed to address hazardous waste, including the Superfund, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Toxic Substance Control Act, and the Community Right-to-Know Act. Students study original legislation and explore landmark court cases by way of which political and economic pressures have influenced subsequent amendments to the original intent of these laws. Same as ENV 314/GOV 374.


313. Nuclear Power, Weapons and Waste Disposal. (NSP) (S)

Development of nuclear technology, beginning with the atomic bomb efforts of WW II. The course deals first with the technology itself, as well as with the ways in which it was embedded in and drove American and international politics, including the arms race and the Cold War. Includes postwar development of civilian nuclear power reactors, creation of the Atomic Energy Commission and the national debate over nuclear power and waste disposal methods. Same as ENV/STS 313. 


335. Business and the Natural Environment. (S)

Widespread concern for a cleaner environment and sustainable practices has put new demands on business. Exploration of philosophical, theoretical, strategic and policy issues facing organizations in relation to the natural environment. Same as BOS/ENV 335. 


Topics Courses Expected to be Offered in 2016-2017 
  • Public Health Research: You are what you eat?