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Public policy studies major Miranda Cross speaks at Young Diplomat Forum while other students listen


The courses below are offered by the Public Policy Studies program. Courses in other departments may also count toward the PPS major. For a full list of eligible courses, please see the Vanderbilt undergraduate catalog or YES (enrolled students only).

PPS 2100 (The Politics of Public Policy): Understanding and navigating the policy process. Public opinion, media, elections, interest groups, and agenda settings. Legislatures, executives, decision making, implementation, and policy feedback. Current policy issues. [3] (SBS) 

PPS 2200 (Social Contexts of Public Policy): Sociological underpinnings and aims. Theoretical and empirical works in sociology, anthropology, political science, and economics. Public policy outcomes and their relation to broader social structures, goals, and values. [3] (SBS)

PPS 2250 (History and Ethics of Public Policy): U.S. domestic and international policy-making.  Domestic and comparative history; ethics frameworks relevant to public policy. [3] (SBS)

PPS 3100 (Cities in the 21st Century): Local policy and politics. Education, crime, health, finance, development, and transportation. Urban government and management [3 credits] (SBS). 

PPS 3150 (Public Finance): State and local government finance. Revenue sources including taxation, debt, and fees. Financing and budgeting tools. The politics of financial decision making for state and local governments. [3] (SBS)  

PPS 3160 (Public Advocacy): Development of policy research and discourse skills. Framing issues, telling stories, and choosing and presenting facts in support of a policy position. Navigating policy bureaucracy. [3] (SBS)

PPS 3200 (Research Methods for Public Policy Analysis): Surveys in public policy analysis. Types, design, modes of implementation, sampling strategies, and data collection. Data management, cleaning, and analysis. [3] (SBS)

PPS 3250 (Advanced Quantitative Methods for Public Policy): Causal inference, the empirical toolkit for public policy analysis.  Potential outcomes framework, multivariate regression, matching estimators, randomized controlled trials, instrumental variables, difference-in-differences, and regression discontinuity. [3] (SBS)

PPS 3850 (Independent Research in Public Policy): Normally only open to majors in Public Policy Studies. May be repeated for a total of 6 credit hours, but students may only earn up to 3 credits per semester of enrollment. [1-3] (No AXLE credit)  

PPS 4980 and 4981 (Honors Seminar in Public Policy): Senior honors thesis development [3] (No AXLE credit)