Rollins Announces New Major in Public Policy and Political Economy

The new major explores how politics and economics interact to produce public policies such as regulation of business, environmental protection, and health care.

Beginning this spring, Rollins College will officially offer a new major in public policy and political economy in the College of Arts & Sciences.

This new interdisciplinary program will allow students to study theoretical ways in which economics and politics combine to shape public policies in the U.S. and other countries.

With this new major, students will acquire a broad understanding of major public policies while obtaining analytical and practical skills that will prepare them for careers in business, entrepreneurship, government, and law. Other schools offering similar programs include Williams College, Carleton, Stanford University, and Washington University in St. Louis.

The public policy and political economy major will consist of 13 major requirements. The analytical foundation will offer students the opportunity to become immersed in the process of policy making, as well as political and economic values. Majors must also complete a citizenship and responsibility component, which includes taking courses in applied social ethics and understanding the consequences of public policy alternatives. A few of the core requirements will include Contemporary Issues in Public Policy and Economics, Introduction to American Politics, Health Care Policy, and Economics in Historical Perspective. Students can also choose five courses from a wide range of electives such as Limits to Growth, Social Problems, and Poverty and Social Welfare. All seniors must complete a public policy practicum where students work in an applied setting or research a policy of significance.

“We believe an interdisciplinary major in public policy offers students a unique opportunity to combine multiple disciplines in the liberal arts while simultaneously providing important skills desired by graduate and professional programs or employers,” says Professor of Political Science Donald Davison. “In addition to the important substantive content delivered in the courses it enhances students’ critical thinking and analytical skills.”

Students pursuing this area of study can expect to:
• Apply the skills from the major to research and propose practical solutions to problems in the real world.
• Consider questions such as what is of value to society and its citizens? How can those values be achieved?
• Understand the conditions that encourage and discourage effective human social and political cooperation.
• Learn about social values such as liberty, social justice, and social responsibility.
• Learn how to analyze the tradeoffs made among competing values when producing public policies.
• Earn a degree that is attractive to a diverse array of employers.

For more information on the new major at Rollins College, please contact either of the co-directors of the program: Professor of Political Science Donald Davison at 407-646-2158 or ddavison@rollins.edu or Associate Professor of Economics Phil Kozel at 407-646-2569 or pkozel@rollins.edu.