Political Science

Political Economy and Public Policy

Political and economic systems do not operate in a vacuum. The issues addressed by societies, both in the United States and abroad, such as taxation, environmental protection, regulation of business, development, health and trade policies, are influenced greatly by the political and economic interests of powerful constituencies. A variety of interest groups, including labor unions, businesses, taxpayers, consumers, environmentalists, and retired citizens, attempt to achieve economic ends at least in part by political means.

The Political Economy and Public Policy major emphasizes these interactions between the economic and political systems through course work in both economics and political science. It is excellent preparation for those interested in careers in the public policy arena or those who intend to pursue graduate study in economics, political science, public policy, or the law.

Mission Statement

The interdisciplinary Political Economy and Public Policy major embodies the mission of a liberal arts education: cultivating thoughtful, articulate, active, and responsible citizens who are able to apply multi-faceted approaches to understand and address the wide variety of issues facing the domestic and international community and their diverse constituencies. By introducing students to the tools of the contributing disciplines their theories, concepts and research methods – Political Economy and Public Policy  enables students to explore the power relationships; institutional arrangements; social, economic, environmental conditions; and ideological commitments that shape public policy in an increasingly diverse and interdependent world. The major offers courses and research experiences emphasizing the development of writing skills, critical thinking, and active and intelligent engagement with issues affecting contemporary public life.


1. Students demonstrate the skills and confidence necessary to make critical, informed evaluations and judgments about national and global political-economic issues, processes, trends, and policies;

2. Students can write and speak clearly, thoughtfully, critically, & persuasively about political and economic phenomena.

3. Students can understand, interpret, analyze and synthesize information about political and economic phenomena.

4. Students understand the theoretical and analytical frameworks of policy analysis. 

5. Students understand the foundational theories in the contributing disciplines. 

6. Students are capable of integrating knowledge from the contributing disciplines to understand and address domestic and international political economic issues and policies.

7. Students are capable of integrating knowledge from political science and economics (political economy) to arrive at ethical judgments regarding domestic and/or international issues and policies. 

Political Economy & Public Policy checklist


Major Requirements

ECN 101 Principles of Macroeconomics ECN 102 Principles of  Microeconomics
PSC 101 Introduction to American National Government
PSC 103 Introduction to Comparative Politics & International Relations MTH 121 Calculus I

Core Courses:
ECN 220 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory ECN 222 or 223. Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory PSC 960 Political Science  Internship

Required Pair:
   ECN 490 CUE: History of Economic Thought AND
   PSC 343 International Political Economy

Elective Pair (choose one):
I. ECN 332 or 333 Public Finance AND
     PSC 219 or 220 Public Administration OR
     PSC 221 Government Regulation of Business OR
     PSC 400 Seminar in Urban Policy & Planning

II. ECN 335 International Trade & Globalization OR
     FIN 362 Multinational Financial Management AND
     PSC 339 or 340 Theories of International Relations OR
     PSC 341 American Foreign Policy

III. ECN 245 or 246 Environmental Economics OR
     ECN 249 Economics of Natural Resources & Sustainability AND
     PSC 216 Environmental Politics & Policymaking OR
     PSC 330 or 331 Comparative & International Environmental Policies

IV. ECN 243 Healthcare Economics AND
     PSC 213 Public Health Policy

V. ECN 251 or 252 Economic Growth & International Development AND
     PSC 232 Governments & Politics of East Asia OR
     PSC 237 Governments & Politics of Africa OR
     PSC 244 or 245 Government & Politics of Latin America OR
     PSC 248 or 249 Governments & Politics of the Middle East

With the approval of the appropriate program director, a seminar or special topics
course may be substituted for an economics or political science course in the optional
pair area. PSC 960 Political Science Internship will be arranged to meet the student’s
particular interests.