About Public Policy
Our Program and Courses
As a public policy student at F&M, you will learn not only how societal problems develop, but how they can be addressed and solved in real-world contexts. F&M’s public policy program is designed to teach you critical policy analysis skills while building relevant knowledge, helping you to ask meaningful questions, understand societal problems, and consider a variety of solutions to resolve complex policy issues. Because public policy involves so many other disciplines, much of your coursework will cross into other programs, allowing you to study public policy through a blended lens of economics, government, philosophy, and more.
Joint Major in Public Policy
You can major in public policy by combining the field with another discipline. This flexibility offers an exciting opportunity to refine your degree and design a major that is customized to your learning goals. Examples include:
- Public Policy & Business, Organizations and Society
- Public Policy & Economics
- Public Policy & Environmental Studies
- Public Policy & Government
- Public Policy & International Studies
- Public Policy & Public Health
- Public Policy & Science, Technology and Society
- Public Policy & Sociology
By the time you graduate, you will be able to demonstrate:
- Analytical skills and knowledge of public policy concepts to help you frame problems and questions.
- The ability to determine the size and shape of societal problems.
- The skills to develop and evaluate solutions to address complex policy issues.
- An understanding of how and why multiple disciplines are interrelated and connected.
- A strong ability to communicate complex ideas to others in order to work together toward a joint goal.
- The ability to collaborate effectively in a manner that translates to the professional
Wondering what public policy courses are like? Explore our course catalog to see what classes are available to you.
Learning Outside the Classroom
With F&M’s many research and study-abroad offerings, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to step outside the classroom and apply what you’ve learned to the world around you.
Internships allow you to get valuable hands-on experience now and gain a competitive
advantage in the job market later. Public policy students have successfully interned
in local government, at departments of health in Philadelphia and Connecticut, and
in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.
Explore internships at F&M
Every student at F&M has extraordinary opportunities to engage in independent or faculty-led
research. Students often use the summer to dive into this research, while others pursue yearlong
independent study projects. As a public policy student, you’ll also have the opportunity
to attend our Policy Analysis Workshop, learning professional methods of policy analysis
to conduct policy research on a community issue.
Explore research at F&M
F&M’s public policy program emphasizes public and community service as part of your
educational experience. You’ll also find exceptional opportunities to gain valuable
hands-on experience through internships and funding awards such as the Ken Duberstein
’65 Public Service Internship Endowment, Schapiro-Cadwell Internship Endowment, and
the Bill Jahn '65 and Sharon Jahn Public Service Internship Endowment and Fund.
Studying abroad is an excellent way to add value to what you’ve learned with real-life experience.
Past students have visited Spain, Argentina, England, Germany, India, Jordan, South
Africa, Viet Nam, Ireland, Denmark, and Bhutan.
Explore off-campus study at F&M
Success Beyond F&M
What can you do with a liberal arts degree in public policy? Our graduates are prepared to pursue advanced degrees or begin their chosen careers from day one. The analytic and intellectual activities that make up the work of public policy — including interpretation of text, writing, collaborating with others, and objective thought — help you develop useful and productive skills valuable for any post-college plan.
Many F&M public policy graduates have been accepted into graduate-level public policy programs at Princeton University, the University of Michigan, Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, the University of Pittsburgh, the London School of Economics, and the University of Virginia, among others. In addition, public policy students and F&M alums admitted to the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy receive a minimum guaranteed annual fellowship of $12,500 (Virginia resident) or $20,000 (non-Virginia resident).
With a degree in public policy from F&M, you’ll find you’re abundantly prepared for careers that focus on public service, including government, social policy, social services, public administration, international relations, or international development. Recent graduates have embarked on a number of exciting career paths, holding positions such as:
- Media Relations Specialist
- Public Administrator
- Public Health Advisor
- Government Relations Manager
- Policy Analyst
Where the Environment Meets PolicyAs a dual major in environmental studies and public policy, an internship involving environmental policy seemed serendipitous for Lauren Costabile '21. “This opportunity was right up my alley,” she said. That opportunity was with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), a nonprofit organization headquartered in Annapolis, Md., devoted to the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay.
Read More »
Related Fields of Study
Economics is a social science that focuses on the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. By studying economics at F&M, you’ll develop a framework for understanding how the economy works, its shortcomings and how to remedy them, and broaden your perspective of how the economy influences daily lives in all corners of the world.
F&M’s Department of Government has earned a reputation as one of the finest in the country. Study government at F&M and examine power, politics, justice, equity, and change while developing skills in language, economics, mathematics and philosophy.
Learn to think clearly and creatively about the big questions: the nature of meaning, morality, justice, art, the mind, knowledge, language, and reality. By studying philosophy at F&M, you’ll search for understanding while discovering how to value the reason for an answer as much as the answer itself.
Public Policy at F&M in Action
November 11, 2022
F&M Compost Co-Op Diverts Costs and CO2 in Lancaster
A Franklin & Marshall College compost initiative has evolved into a co-op saving the City of Lancaster $5,215 per year — all while diverting 16,638 pounds of food waste from the solid-waste...The Lancaster Composting Co-Ops (LCC) has grown to 250 households. Households drop off 199,656 pounds of food waste to compost yearly.
September 4, 2020
Where Does the Environment Meet Policy? In This F&M Senior's Internship
This story is part of our #FandMForward series documenting our students' and recent grads' resilience, adaptability and perseverance in navigating the obstacles that the COVID-19 pandemic has...Franklin & Marshall College senior Lauren Costabile—an environmental studies and public policy dual major—interns with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
March 14, 2017
Seeking to Make a Better World, F&M Juniors Earn Public Policy Fellowships
Juniors Thanh Nguyen and Charisma Lambert, longtime friends and roommates in Weis College House, committed their education at Franklin & Marshall College to crossing borders. Nguyen created a...Franklin & Marshall College offers students a hands-on education that emphasizes close relationships with faculty. Students flourish in a supportive community that treats them as an individual, and their successes continue long after F&M. The College is a national leader in launching students and alumni to opportunities where they make a difference in the community and the world.