Public Policy at TCNJ
The study of public policy seeks to explain and improve the efforts of the public sector to address a wide range of social problems. While many human interactions can be accomplished best through private interactions, some of the most important issues in society fall under the public sphere due to their direct or side effects on third parties or the mass public. Issue areas containing a significant public policy component include healthcare, the economy, foreign affairs, education, the environment, public infrastructure, privacy concerns, and a wide range of legal affairs.
Sadly, not all attempts to address such problems are successful. At times public actors seek to improve policies’ ability to meet social goals but at other times political actors may settle for suboptimal social outcomes, or even seek results that benefit the few at the expense of the many.
The discipline of Political Science stands as the primary means of understanding the public policy process, including group motives, institutional influences, and policy results. Analysts largely have studied policymaking in the United States yet Political Scientists increasingly use similar techniques to understand the public policy process in other countries or in international institutions. For practitioners who want a better understanding of how public action is crafted, and how to improve it, an understanding of political interests and institutions is crucial.
Public Policy Minor
Through the Public Policy minor offered by TCNJ’s Political Science Department, students learn how and why public policy is directed, formulated, legislated, implemented, financed, evaluated and adjusted. Students in the minor complete a total of five classes in core political institutions, in the various aspects of the policy process, and in applications thereof to specific issue areas. Examples of the latter include classes in “Healthcare Policy,” ”The Policy Aspects of Budgeting,” “Marijuana Policy across the States,” and “Foreign Policy.” All classes offer (use language from signature experiences).
An optional but highly recommended internship allows students to use and master such knowledge in an actual practice. Recent internships include positions with the Mid-Jersey Chamber of Commerce, others. The Brian Stack internship, named for a TCNJ alum, offers paid internships in the New Jersey Governor’s Office. Our students also find numerous and diverse internships while studying at The Washington Center. Students who perfect ideas for the improvement of public policy might compete for The College’s Demonstreus prize, awarded annually.
Public Policy Analysis and Management Minor
A total of five course units are required for the minor, three core courses and a specialty consisting of a course and an internship in a designated content area.
|POL 110/American Government||1 course unit|
|POL 300/Politics and Public Management||1 course unit|
|POL 305/American Public Policy||1 course unit|
Communications Specialty: COM 403/Health Communications Campaigns or COM 441/Organizations and Leadership Law Policy or
Criminology Specialty: CRI 498/Senior Capstone in Policy Analysis* or
Economics Specialty: ECO 350/Economics of Environmental Quality** or
Sociology Specialty: SOC 355/Introduction to Urban Planning or POL 318/Politics of Community Change or
Women and Gender Studies Specialty: WGS 330/Gender and Public Policy
|1 course unit|
|POL 399/Internship in Public Affairs or
Internship in the same department as the specialty course:
COM 399, CRI 399, ECO 399, SOC 399, WGS 399
|Minimum of 1 course unit|
|Total||5 course units|
*Prerequisite CRI 300, **Prerequisite ECO 101