Taking On The Role of A Change-Maker: Public Policy Degree

Do you have a passion for solving social problems and a desire to serve the public interest? Are you aware of the global challenge that are facing society and want to help find solutions? If this sounds like you and you are interested in a career where you could help make the world a better place then there is no better way to start than with a public policy degree. Public policy deals with all the issues you see in the headlines on a daily basis, such as education, immigration, health care, national security and more. In addition to understanding these issues better, a degree in public policy can also help to teach you the skills required to become a change-maker instead of a passive observer.

Public Policy Degree Information

Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy

For students interested in gaining a better understanding of major policy problems, both domestic and global, a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy can be of great value. Core courses covered by this type of degree may include politics and public policy, justice, economic policy analysis, crafting public policy, contemporary policy issues and more. Students typically also choose a public policy specialization, such as health policy, global policy, environmental policy, education policy or social welfare policy. Public policy is also available as a Bachelor of Science degree with concentrations in nonprofit leadership, planning and economic development as well as public management and governance. Typically this type of degree takes about four years to complete.

Master in Public Policy

Students who have completed their bachelor’s degree and want to go on studying to further their understanding of the subject can do so with a Master in Public Policy degree. This type of program typically takes about two years of studying to complete. During the first year the focus tends to be on the fundamental aspects of policy analysis while the second year usually enables students to choose a policy area of concentration. These may include international and global affairs, social and urban policy, political and economic development as well as business and government policy. Core skills that are honed during the first year often include politics, negotiations, ethics, economics along with management and leadership.

PhD In Public Policy

Public policy can also be studied at a PhD level if students are interested in advanced graduate training. This type of degree is usually completed by students who ultimately want to pursue careers at research organizations, government or in academia. The time needed to complete this type of degree is usually up to five years and also involves the writing of a dissertation. Courses also tend to focus on the primary field of interest of students, such as environmental policy, risk assessment, international security relations, international development or economic regulatory policy.

Public Policy Degree FAQs

Can I Earn This Type of Degree Online?

Online degrees in public policy are available, usually in the master’s category. These are typically aimed at working professionals who want to advance their career through studying. In many cases online courses are taught by the same faculty members who offer the on-campus courses. This means that you receive the same quality education, but with the convenience of being able to do so from any location with a computer and an internet connection. The flexibility of an online course in this field means you don’t have to put your other priorities, such as work or family, on hold while earning your degree.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study Public Policy?

If you want to do well in your studies and future career involving public policy it is vital that you have an active interest in the subject and a passion for making a change. The ability to work well in a group is useful as this is a field where there isn’t just one person calling all the shots. Communication skills are just as important as you need to be able to give presentations and convey ideas in an effective manner. As with most career paths, good critical thinking and listening skills will also be beneficial. A desire to pursue leadership positions and existing experience in community programs are also usually part of the profile of public policy students.

What Type of Careers Might I Be Able To Pursue After Completing A Public Policy Degree?

Students who complete degrees in public policy often go on to work in various sectors, including government, health care, non-profit and education. Depending on the type of degree and experience gained they have gained these students work in positions such as campaign worker, foundation manager, lobbyist, nonprofit manager, paralegal, political activist, policy advisor, policy director and more.

How Much Can I Potentially Earn With A Career In This Field?

After graduating and finding employment, your potential salary will depend largely on the type of degree you have earned and your chosen occupation. For example, political scientists tend to have a master’s degree and earn a median annual wage of $99,730, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the other hand, paralegals typically only require an associate’s degree to find employment, but had a median pay of $48,810 per year during 2015.

What Are The Other Benefits To Studying Public Policy?

Studying public policy is not only great if you want to make a difference in the world, but it can also put you on a career path that offers a decent salary and benefits. It can also open many doors for your career, both at home and abroad. The skills you learn while studying this degree is not only applicable in the field of public policy either, but can be useful in any type of job. For example, it can improve your ability to process and convey a lot of information as well as broaden your understanding of important challenges. Due to the ways in which governments, businesses and the civic sectors are collaborating more than ever before in regards to social issues, public policy is a degree that remains relevant to all students. In short, public policy enables you to actually make a career out of improving your community and country.

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