Starting this April, undergraduate students can apply to the Ford School of Public Policy for acceptance into the new public policy minor for Fall 2020. The minor will be open to students from LSA, the College of Engineering, Ross School of Business, School of Information and School of Public Health.

Sharon Maccini, faculty director of the undergraduate program at the Public Policy School, said the impetus for the minor came from hearing students express interest in studying public policy without necessarily majoring in it.

“The idea was to attract students who are primarily committed to another discipline and to supplement their education with public policy studies,” Maccini said. “We offer essentially a toolkit, various types of skills and ideas that can be useful for pursuing effective change and leadership in essentially any field.” 

According to the press release, sophomores and juniors are able to apply from April 1 to May 15. The application consists of an online form, resume, transcript and two short essays. Students will hear their results by mid-June, and 25 students are expected to be offered admission into the minor. 

LSA sophomore Sarah Abdelbaki intends to major in economics and international studies. However, she said she is also interested in public policy. After learning about the new minor program, Abdelbaki said she was excited about the opportunity. 

“As someone that’s interested in policy, this would add that to what I’m already learning in school,” Abdelbaki said. “It would allow me to keep econ and international studies as my priorities.”

To complete the 16-credit minor, students will enroll in PubPol 201, a four-credit survey course of current policy issues, as well as PubPol 320, a four-credit class on the relationship between politics and public policy that all Ford School majors are required to take. Students who have not taken Econ 101 will take PubPol 310, a four-credit class aimed at using economics to analyze policy, while those who have taken Econ 101 can substitute an elective instead. To complete the minor, students must also take four credits of electives.

Maccini said the minor is geared towards students like Abdelbaki, who hope to add public policy skills to their degrees. 

“The idea is to provide this supplementary set of tools that really focus in on policy change, social change, and more generally leadership, analytical skills, critical thinking skills, drawing primarily from an interdisciplinary social science perspective,” Maccini said.  

In a December email to students and faculty, Dean Michael Barr clarified that certain benefits would be reserved for Public Policy majors.

“Please note that while we hope to actively engage our new BA minor cohort into the Ford School community, some resources, such as our dedicated career counselor, will remain available only to students who are majoring in public policy,” Barr wrote.

Public Policy senior Nicholas Martire serves as the president of the Public Policy School’s undergraduate student council. He noted the minor provides a good sampling of the classes and skills public policy majors learn.

“For me, Ford has been an opportunity to look at real-world issues and figure out policy issues to solve them,” Martire said. “The minor sounds like it will offer a similar opportunity.”

Martire said he is looking forward to seeing more students get involved with public policy.

“It seems like a great opportunity for more students to have a chance to receive a Ford education,” Martire said. “I think the more people that have the opportunity to have some sort of public policy degree is great.”

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