Public Policy

Faculty Lead: Dr. Alexandra Cockerham

An alternative to choosing the general option, ISS major students can select the Public Policy Specialization as a combination of primary and secondary areas of study.


The Public Policy specialization uses multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives to examine public policy in the United States. Public policy is the output of government and the primary mechanism through which we can mitigate collective action problems and other social problems. However, there is no one policy solution to these problems. Although it is created by government through a political process, public policy has important implications for society and the economy, making this an important field to study from an interdisciplinary perspective.  In this specialization students will develop a policy area specialization and learn skills for analyzing public policies and their role in mitigating societal problems with an eye toward different social scientific perspectives. Students will learn how social science concepts and research can help us understand public issues in the United States. Students interested in the undergraduate certificate instead can click here.

Specialization Learning Objectives

  1. Apply key social science concepts and methods useful in studying public policy.
  2. Analyze information about public problems and think critically about alternative methods of resolving these problems.
  3. Integrate disciplinary insights to better understand policy problems and solutions.
  4. Analyze the effectiveness of public policies in the United States.
  5. Understand the complexities of the policy landscape in a policy area of interest.
  6. Explain why policy problems warrant public intervention.
  7. Compose a professional policy memo in clear coherent language that provides an overview of a policy problem and the systematic analysis of multiple policy alternatives.

Policy Area Offerings
Environmental Policy
Government Regulation
Health and Aging
Poverty and Inequality
Risk Management
Education & Family
Criminal Justice


This is a 10-course specialization, organized as follows.

1. For the primary area of study, students will complete their Primary Public Policy coursework, covering general interdisciplinary public policy and public policy analysis. Coursework includes: Evidence Based Public Policy (ISS4014), The Policy Seminar (currently offered as a DIS), ISS3330 Interdisciplinary Research Methods, ISS4304, and students will choose two courses from the following course list:

Policy Analysis Courses List

  • PAD 4120 Managing Florida’s Government and its Key Policy Issues
  • PAD 4223 Budgets and Finances in Managing Public Affairs
  • PUP 3002 Introduction to Public Policy
  • PUP 4008 Public Policy Analysis

2. As a secondary area of study, students will specialize in their chosen policy area. This coursework will consist of four classes (twelve hours) and the respective course lists can be found below. Each policy area has courses listed across several disciplines. Students must choose their policy-area courses from at least two disciplines.

Policy Area: Environmental Policy

ECP 3302 Economics of Natural Resources, Energy and The Environment

Political Science:
PUP 4203 Environmental Politics and Policy

Urban and Regional Planning:
URP 4022 Collective Decision Making
URP 4402 Sustainable Development Planning in the Americas

Policy Area: Government Regulation

ECO 4504 Public Sector Economics
ECP 3451 Economics and the Law
ECP 3617 Land Use, Housing and Government Regulation
ECP 4413 Government Regulation of Business

Political Science:
CPO 3743 States and Markets

Public Administration:
PAD 3003 Public Administration in Society
PAD 4120 Managing Florida’s Government and Its Key Policy Issues

Policy Area: Health and Aging

Political Science:
PUP 4604 Health Services Organizations and Policy

ECP 4530 Economics of Health

GEO 4450 Medical Geography
GIS 4421 GIS and Health

Public Administration:
PAD 4844 Public Health and Emergency

SYA 3741 Sociology of Death and Dying
SYO 4402 Medical Sociology

Policy Area: Poverty and Inequality

ECO 4132 Economics of Compassion

Interdisciplinary Social Science:
ISS 4164 Intersections, Power, and Policy
ISS 4159 Perspectives on Race, Ethnicity and Equality

SYA 3741 Sociology of Death and Dying
SYD 4700 Race & Minority Group Relations
SYD 3800 Sex and Gender
SYO 3530 Social Class and Inequality
SYO 4250 Sociology of Education

Political Science:
POS 4624 Supreme Court, Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Public Administration
PAD 4382 Disaster Recovery and Mitigation
PAD 4301 Disaster Management Planning for Urban Poor Communities

Urban and Regional Planning:
URP 4811 Multicultural Urbanism
URP 5540 State and Local Economic Development

URP 4936 Hope & Resilience w/Climate Change

Policy Area: Education & Family

EDF 2085 Teaching Diverse Populations
EDF 4210 Educational Psychology Developing Learners
SOW 4633 The Social Worker in the Public School System

SYO 4250 Sociology of Education
IFS 3016 Examining the Educational Achievement Gap
SYO 3100 Family Problems and Social Change

Family and Child Sciences:
CHD 3472 Child Guidance
CHD 4615 Public Policy: Child and Family Issues
CHD 4630 Methods of Studying Families and Children
FAD 4455 Family Life Education
CHD 2220 Child Growth and Development
FAD 2230 Family Relationships: A Life Span Development Approach

Policy Area: Criminal Justice

Criminology and Criminal Justice:
CCJ 3644 White Collar Crime
CCJ 3666 Victimology
CCJ 3068 The Social Reality of Black Males
CCJ 3677 Crimes against Humanity
CCJ 4004 Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice
CCJ 4036 Communities and Crime
CCJ 4497 Criminal Justice and Public Policy
CCJ 4344 Punishment and Punitiveness
CCJ 4623 Violence in America
CCJ 4507 Networks and Crime: Peers, Groups, and Gangs
CCJ 4505 Juvenile Delinquency
CCJ 4663 Women, Crime and Justice
CCJ 4667 Crime Victimization and Victim Services
CCJ 4684 Family Violence
CCJ 4687 Evaluation and Assessment of Victim Services

SYP 4550 Alcohol and Drug Problems
SYP 4570 Deviance and Social Control
SYP 3540 Sociology of Law

Political Science:
POS 4624 The Supreme Court, Civil Liberties, and Civil Rights
POS 3691 Law and Society

Policy Area: Risk Management

ECP 3302 Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment

Political Science:
PUP 4203 Environmental Politics and Policy

SYP 3000 Social Psychology of Groups
SYP 4570 Deviance and Social Control

Public Administration:
PAD 4372 Leadership and Communication in Emergency Management
PAD 4391 Foundations in Emergency Management
PAD 4393 Emergency Management Programs, Planning and Policy