UIC offers new bachelor’s degree in public policy

Rapid demographic, economic, and political changes in the U.S. have increased the demand for public policy education, say organizers of a new bachelor’s degree at UIC.

Beginning in fall 2015, students may enroll in the public policy B.A. program in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.

“Our public policy majors will gain not only an understanding of public policies on concerns like welfare, education, or housing, but also the toolkit — public opinion research, statistics, economic analysis — to analyze and improve those policies,” said Michael Pagano, dean of the college.

“This combination of policy expertise and analytical skills is highly desired by government, non-profit and private employers.”

Kelly LeRoux

Kelly LeRoux, director of undergraduate programs in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and associate professor of public administration. (Click on image for larger file.)

The new degree will be unique at UIC in combining the policy process with coursework in a policy field of the student’s choice — education policy, international studies, health policy or criminal justice, among many others, said Kelly LeRoux, director of undergraduate programs in public administration.

“Research shows that college students’ concerns about the future of the country range from jobs, the economy, income inequality, and rising student loan debt to climate change, health care, education, and U.S. involvement in foreign affairs, ” she said.

“Business, government, and the civic sector are becoming increasingly interconnected through partnerships to respond to society’s needs,” LeRoux said. “An understanding of public policy can be beneficial for all students.”

The program will prepare students for careers in government agencies, legislative staffs, political campaigns, policy institutes or think tanks, the nonprofit sector, or government relations departments in private industry, LeRoux said.

The college plans to hold virtual open houses about the new degree.

The B.A. in public policy will be the college’s second undergraduate program.  The B.A. in urban and public affairs was established in 2007.