Bridging Disciplines Programs

Home » bdp » programs » Public Policy

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 non-profit 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.

For a complete list of courses and requirements, download the Public Policy BDP curriculum sheet (PDF).

Students must 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

Requirements

With 19 credit hours of coursework and Connecting Experiences, students may earn a BDP certificate in Public Policy.

Courses counting toward a BDP in Public Policy may also satisfy core, major, and elective requirements in a student’s degree plan. With planning, the BDP should not add time to students’ UT careers, but instead helps students choose the courses they already have to take in an integrated way.

Foundation Courses [4 hours]

  • Forum Seminar
  • Public Policy Foundation Course

Courses in a Strand [9 hours]

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

Connecting Experiences [6 hours]

BDP advisors assist students in finding meaningful connecting research and/or internship experiences related to Public Policy. For examples of Connecting Experiences Public Policy students have completed in the past, read these Connecting Experience spotlights.

Integration Essay

3-4 page essay written at the end of the BDP experience, drawing together the different pieces of the BDP.

Faculty Panel

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.