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BA/BS Degree Requirements

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The Hobby School offers two undergraduate degrees in Public Policy:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA): includes a language requirement and more emphasis on the social sciences.
  • Bachelor of Science (BS): includes a math and science requirement and more emphasis on technical skill building.

Limited space available in each cohort. Apply Today.


Public Policy (POLC) Undergraduate Courses

Required BA/BS Public Policy Courses: Students must take the following five courses

1) POLC 1311 Public Policy Laboratory

Prerequisite: None

Public Policy Laboratory contains three elements: interaction with local leaders within government, nonprofit organizations, grassroots initiatives and business; a comparative study of Houston's public policies in relation to what is found in other major cities; and a lab component where students work in teams to resolve a policy issue for a public stakeholder.

2) POLC 2312 Introduction to Economics and Policy Analysis

Prerequisite: None

Develops the skills to understand the economic models and methods used in policy research and political discussion. Systematically evaluates the rationale for government intervention in the economy, and assess the efficiency, incentive, and distributional effects of government policies. Focus on several policy issues, such as education policy, energy and environmental policies, labor policy and health policy.

3) POLC 3313 Contemporary Political Philosophy and Policy

Prerequisite: None

Explores a number of contemporary political theories or ideologies that inform contemporary public policy positions. The theories include egalitarian liberalism, libertarianism, socialism, communism, communitarianism, race theory, multiculturalism, feminism and green political thought.

4) POLC 3314 Leadership and Public Policy

Prerequisite: POLS 1336 and POLS 1337, or equivalent

Introduction to the policy process and public policy careers, with particular emphasis on leadership, cooperation and organizational dynamics. Identify the leadership challenges that the community and the nation are facing today.

5) POLC 3315 Policy Research Methods: Statistics and Regression Analysis

Prerequisite: MATH 1310

Develops quantitative research skills with applications to public policy research. Participants will gain an overview of research design, data management, statistical analysis and interpretations of research findings.


Tools and Methods (6 hours): Students should choose two of the following courses

1) POLC 3322 Public Policy Analysis: Theory and Practice

Prerequisite: POLS 1336 and POLS 1337, or equivalent

Introduces the processes of public policymaking and provides students the empirical and analytical tools of policy evaluations and the models of policymaking and policy analysis.

2) POLC 4323 Data Analytics and Visualization

Prerequisite: POLC 3315

Data-driven techniques to analyze public policy problems. Utilizing and combining large quantities of publicly available data, such as census individual data and large-scale economic, political and social survey data. Introduce various tools and techniques to visualize political and socio-economic patterns.

3) POLC 4324 Game Theory for Policy Analysis

Prerequisite: POLC 2312

Analyze policy processes in which multiple actors are involved, based on the game-theoretical framework.

4) POLC 4325 Advanced Policy Research Methods

Prerequisite: POLC 3315

Provide students with the necessary skills in the methods of policy analysis. Introduces the conceptual and theoretical building blocks of the research process to data analysis with policy applications. Particularly guides students on how to conduct survey research.

5) ECON 4349 Introduction to Game Theory

Prerequisite: ECON 2370 and ECON 3332

Introduction to the theory of games and solution methods. Real world situations as games, predicting outcomes using game theory techniques. Bargaining, oligopoly, auctions, coordination and provision of public goods.

6) ECON 4363 Political Economy

Prerequisite: ECON 3332 and ECON 3320 or consent of instructor.

Study of politics through the language of economics with precise arguments based on mathematical models and statistical analysis; tools and facts regarding the nuances of policy making and politics; sophisticated arguments about why people vote, whether politicians matter and whose interests they represent, the role of the media, corruption, and the nature of lobbying.


Ethics and Values (3 hours): Students should choose one of the following courses

1) POLC 3341 State Authority and Freedom

Prerequisite: ENGL 1304

Studies the role of policymaking in democratic societies, as well as the function of policymakers through detailed exploration of the nature and proper scope of state authority and its dangers and limits.

2) POLC 4342 Political Economy and Ethics of the Market Processes

Prerequisite: POLS 1336 and 1337 or equivalent, or consent of instructor

Explores the relation between citizens and market processes in basic market mechanism concepts, the role of government in market processes, and the ethics and morality in market processes.

3) POLC 4344 Policy and Global Justice

Prerequisite: POLS 1336 and POLS 1337, or equivalent

Empirical and normative approaches to global poverty. Examines arguments from beneficence, arguments from distributive justice, arguments from harm and the Capabilities Approach. Analyses various approaches relevance in light of the problem of urban poverty and global slums.

4) POLC 4349 Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center Ethics and Leadership Seminar

Prerequisite: POLS 1336 and POLS 1337, or equivalent

An independent endeavor that takes place both inside and outside the classroom and is motivated by students’ own interests. Encourages students to learn more about ethics and leadership.

5) POLS 3348 Left, Right and Center

Prerequisite: POLS 1336 and POLS 1337 or equivalent, or consent of instructor

Study of the principles of conservative and progressive politics political theories and their historical roots.


Capstone (3 hours): Students should choose one of the following courses

1) POLC 4390 Public Policy Internship

Prerequisite: POLS 1336 and POLS 1337 or equivalent. To be eligible for this course, students must have completed at least 60 hours of undergraduate courses, including at least 9 hours of Public Policy (POLC) coursework, and have an overall GPA of 2.7 and above. Students who do not meet these requirements may apply to the undergraduate academic advisor for a waiver.

Internship/work experience in selected private industry, nonprofit, federal, state, and local government offices under faculty and field representative direction and supervision.

2) POLC 4399 Senior Thesis

Prerequisite: Approval of Undergraduate Director

Independent research and writing for the senior thesis.


Subject Matter Expertise (6 hours): Students should choose two courses from one of the following concentrations

Social Policy

1) CIS 2337 Fundamentals of Information Security

2) COMM 3340 Health Campaigns

3) ECON 3368 Economics of Health Care

4) ECON 4372 Economics of Education

5) ECON 4331 Economics of Gender

6) HON 3303 Readings in Mental Health & Society

7) NUTR 4349 Public Policy in Nutrition

8) PHIL 3354 Medical Ethics

9) POLS 3319 Politics of Social Policy

10) POLS 3359 Criminal Justice

11) POLS 3370 State Government and Politics

12) POLS 3373 Inside Texas Politics

13) POLS 3375 Health Policy and Politics

14) PSYC 3351 Health Psychology Research

15) SCLT 3385 Transport Economics and Policy

16) SCLT 3389 Transportation Law

17) SOC 3326 Immigration in U.S. Society

18) SOC 3327 Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States

19) SOC 3351 Social Class and Mobility in America

Globalization, Energy and the Environment

1) ARCH 3368 Sustainable Development

2) ECON 2305 Macroeconomic Principles

3) ECON 3342 Global Issues in Economic Development

4) ECON 3347 Capital Market Economics

5) ECON 3348 Food, Population, Agriculture and the Environment

6) ECON 3351 Economics of Development

7) ECON 3363 Environmental Economics

8) ECON 3365 Labor Economics

9) ECON 3377 Economics of Public Finance

10) ECON 3385 Economics of Energy

11) ECON 4370 International Trade

12) ENRG 3310 Introduction to Energy and Sustainability

13) HIST 3349 War, Globalization and Terrorism

14) POLS 3311 Introduction to Comparative Politics

15) POLS 3330 International Political Economy: Policymaking in a Global World

16) POLS 3333 Comparative Politics

17) POLS 3336 Globalization

18) POLS 4349 International Energy Politics

19) POLS 4365 National Defense Policy

Political Analysis

1) COMM 3313 Data Journalism

2) COMM 3358 Leadership Communication & Organizations

3) HON 3330 Leadership Theory and Practice

4) POLS 3312 Arguments, Data and Politics

5) POLS 3316 Statistics for Political Scientists

6) POLS 3318 Introduction to Public Policy

7) POLS 3350 Public Law - Political Theory

8) POLS 3353 Policy and Administration

9) POLS 3360 Politics and Mass Media

10) POLS 3363 Groups in the Political Process

11) POLS 3364 Legislative Processes

12) POLS 3394 Selected Topics in Political Theory and Methodology

13) POLS 4366 Constitutional Design

14) PSYC 3310 Industrial-Organizational Psychology

15) PSYC 4371 Organizational Psychology

16) TLIM 3365 Team Leadership 


Other BA/BS Public Policy Courses

1) POLC 4397 Selected Topics in Public Policy

Prerequisite: POLS 1336 and POLS 1337 or equivalent, or consent of instructor

Selected topics in public policy. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.