Public policy is a system of making laws, instituting regulations, and taking actions to solve a particular problem. A wide variety of issues are tackled with public policy such as health, education, crime, social welfare, and foreign policy. Public policy professionals are interested in working for public interest. You will find public policy professionals working in international organizations, governments, non-profits, and consulting firms. They do not always have similar jobs and work responsibilities. Some are policy analysts and lead consultants for government, while others may become social entrepreneurs or hold public office. Graduates of public policy use various tools and techniques to address global challenges. They acquire knowledge and skills in economics, management, and finance. These days, schools in public policy offer a variety of degree programs to train public policy students for the challenges of real world. You may also find degree programs offering executive education to meet the education needs of working professionals.
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What are the degrees available in public policy?
Public policy schools offer degrees at three different levels in the field, namely bachelors, masters and PhD. You can find the details of these degree programs below.
Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy
The bachelor’s degree in public policy is for those individuals who find it interesting to work in areas such as public administration, policy issues, policy analysis, politics, and policy advocacy. Generally, a wide range of global and national issues are covered in the degree. The degree is an educational foundation for students who wish to work in public sector, law, public administration, public policy, and health care administration. After certain core courses, students can select electives from a number of areas in public policy. Some of the important topics covered in the curriculum include economic growth and development, health law, and organizational communications. Admission requirements normally include a high school diploma or GED certificate.
Master’s degree in Public Policy
The master’s degree in public policy is normally a two year program which focuses on an advanced curriculum. Students in the program gain insight of complex public policy problems and make an effort to come up with effective solutions. The degree includes courses, fieldwork, and exercises that prepare students for practical work in the area. Students are determined to improve the world by learning to institute and implement effective policies. Core courses in the degree include policy analysis, negotiation, leadership, quantitative analysis, and politics. Normally, students are given the opportunity to work on real world projects and come up with policies that can bring about positive change in their community. Admission requirements vary among institutes; however, most schools require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and good academic record.
PhD in Public Policy
The doctorate degree in public policy is for those individuals who wish to teach at university level or acquire senior leadership positions in public, non-profit, or private sector. The PhD program generally requires students to complete courses such as economic policy, risk assessment, and decision science. There are a number of prerequisites for the degree. The admissions process is selective. Students need to have a master’s degree from an accredited institute. Most degree programs also demand work experience in public policy and planning. The PhD curriculum is founded on classroom based learning, as well as independent research on a particular topic of public policy. Students need to present a doctoral dissertation and oral defense of it, to complete their degree. Some major topics in the PhD degree include public policy analysis, social theory, advanced microeconomics, and production leadership.
Can I acquire public policy degree online?
Many schools now offer public policy degrees online. However, you would need to consider certain factors to make a prudent decision. Since there are wide variations in the degree program offered online, it is best to select a program that is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency. You may also need to acquire information on coursework and fieldwork requirements of the degree. You will complete most courses online, but some courses may require you to gain practical experience in a nearby facility, arranged by your online school. You may also consider tuition cost, qualifications of faculty members, feedback from alumni, and overall standing of the online school. A bit of homework in advance can help you acquire quality education, without having to join a campus based program. Plus, online degree programs are likely to save additional costs such as textbooks, boarding, and travelling.
What can I do with a public policy degree?
Public policy is an extensive field. Some of the prominent positions in public policy include legislators and politicians, policy researchers, lobbyists, and non-profit employees. People in public policy play a significant role in the development of society and also ensure that the government meets the diverse needs of people. Therefore, professionals enjoy meaningful work and realize the effect of their work on general public. Most professionals in public policy find their work interesting and also enjoy high job satisfaction. The dynamic nature of the work and new challenges are also attractive for people aiming to join the field.
What is the salary and employment growth of a political scientist or analyst?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for political scientists or analysts was $102,000 in May 2012. The lowest annual salaries in the profession were less than $49,290, while the top earners in the profession had an annual salary of more than $155,490. BLS also predicts the employment opportunities for political scientists. According to the projection, employment of political scientists is likely to grow at a rate of 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is much faster than the average of all occupations.