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Summer Minor Program in U.S. Public Policy

The Tulane Summer Minor Program in Public Policy will give students a foundation for graduate school in public policy or a career in government and politics at the local, state or national level. Students complete relevant coursework and participate in service learning that together provide them with tools in the analysis of policy, knowledge in substantive policy areas, and experience in local government. Students completing the minor will fulfill one of Tulane’s service learning graduation requirements.

Summer Schedule

May 13-May 24
POLA 3240: Intro to Public Policy
(required) — taught by J. Celeste Lay

This course covers the policy-making process for domestic policy in the United States. We focus on national policies. Policies are the decisions made by a variety of political actors that set and implement a course for action on particular political problems. Thus, they are the meat of politics — without policies, politics have no real stakes. We examine the important concepts and theories about policy-making and study the policy process in its various stages. In the process, there are several case studies we examine as well as an in-depth analysis of certain policies. Class will meet approximately 3.5 hours per day for two-week session.

May 28-June 22
POLA 4110: Policy Research Shop
(required) — taught by Brian Brox

This class creates a partnership between city government and Tulane students in order to address issues of concern to the city and increase students’ civic engagement. In this course, the professor solicits policy topics from the City of New Orleans and the students write policy briefs on issues related to poverty, crime, and education in New Orleans. In exchange for the policy brief, policy sponsors agree to allow the students to present their findings at an official forum, such as a city council meeting. Students will spend 20 hours per semester conducting research for an office in City Hall as part of a required service learning element. Fulfills Tier 2 service learning graduation requirement

Choose one or both electives:

POLA 3010: Gun Policy in the United States – taught by Geoffrey Dancy

Gun violence is a persistent and regrettable element of life in the United States. At the same time, the proper scope of gun rights and gun regulations is a divisive subject, commanding an outsized amount of attention in American politics. But rarely do most citizens explore these issues, or challenge their own assumptions, by drawing on research. In this class, we survey a wide variety of cutting-edge research on firearms and firearms policy in the United States. In so doing, we hope to confront challenging questions related to the place of firearms in society: Is gun violence a price we pay for freedom? Are guns integral to American culture? Does the availability of firearms change the way that humans interact? What does it mean to have a “right” to bear arms?


PECN 4980/POLS 3010: Child Development, Poverty & Juvenile Justice – taught by Alison Denham

Key psychological and psychophysical capacities emerge in the early years of an individual’s life and continue to develop through adolescence. This course focuses on better understanding the contributions of early childhood and juvenile development to individuals’ prospects and outcomes. It examines the ways in which conditions of poverty in early childhood affect developmental prospects and outcomes and current social welfare policies that seek to address these problems. It also critically analyzes contemporary juvenile justice practices in the context of adolescent development.


For 2019, each class costs $3000, or a total of $12,000 for the entire 4-course sequence.

On-campus housing can be provided for approximately $40 per night.

Financial aid may be available. Students should consult the Office of Financial Aid for specific information.

How to Register

Students should complete a minor declaration form and return it to Brian Brox for his signature. Registration for courses will be through Gibson starting in April.


Brian Brox at

A minor in public policy requires 5 courses (15 hours/credits), including:

ECON 1010: Intro to Microeconomics — Course can be taken at any time, before or after the summer program

POLA 3240: Public Policy — Course can be taken before, during or after the summer program; students are encouraged to take it before or during summer program.

POLA 4110: Policy Research Shop (only offered in summer, required course, fulfills tier 2 service learning requirement)

POLA 3010: Gun Policy in the US (only offered in summer 2019)


PECN 4980/POLS 3010: Child Development, Poverty & Juvenile Justice (only offered in summer 2019)

If taking only one elective over the summer, students will need to take an additional elective in public policy, which must be approved by Prof. Lay.

Important Policies

Pre-Requisites: There are no prerequisites for the courses during the summer. All courses are open to any student of any major. Prerequisites may be in place during the fall and spring semesters.

Minimum Grades: Students must achieve a C average (2.0) across all required coursework. Students cannot take courses in the program as S/U.

Non-minor Participation in Program: Courses are open to all students but declared minors will have priority registration.

Double-Counting: According to SLA policy, students must have 27 credits in each major that do not also count toward a minor. No courses may overlap between minors.