The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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Public Policy

The Public Policy BDP introduces students to the development and implementation of public policy. You will learn about substantive policy issues, become familiar with how policies are made and carried out, and develop an understanding of the complexities and uncertainties of the political process. The program will be beneficial to students who aspire to positions in policy-relevant institutions such as government agencies, legislative offices, think tanks, and advocacy groups, and it will teach students who plan to work in business or nonprofit organizations how government works.

This BDP focuses on how change happens: how did a journalist’s inquiry into the effects of agricultural chemicals give rise to the environmental movement; how did a black woman’s refusal to yield her bus seat to a white man galvanize the civil rights movement; how did a diplomat’s cable about Russian history give rise to the policy of containment? Students will learn about the policy-making process, beginning with the point when someone senses a problem or an opportunity and begins to press the matter. You will then walk through the processes by which that sense of a problem is turned into a public policy issue through research, mobilization, the engagement of political leaders, and in some instances, the passage and implementation of new policy. Students may focus their work in at least two of the following categories:

  • Communication Policy
  • Community and Urban Policy
  • Economic Policy
  • Education Policy
  • Race, Immigration, and Citizenship
  • Science and Technology Policy
  • Other Public Policy

An interdisciplinary faculty panel guides students in choosing courses and identifying connecting research and internship experiences that allow them to explore issues related to public policy as they relate to their majors and career goals.