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Minor Program in U.S. Public Policy

Make Policy, Change the World

Program Director Brian Brox


The Summer Minor in U.S. Public Policy gives students a strong foundation for graduate school in public policy or a career in government and politics at the local, state, or national level.

Explore criminal justice policy, social media regulation, and the Research Shop, where you’ll engage with local public policy issues at City Hall.

Students will 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.

Minor Requirements

The minor in U.S. Public Policy requires 5 courses/15 hours, including:

  • ECON 1010: Intro to Microeconomics
    ◦ Course can be taken at any time—before, during, or after the summer program
  • POLA 3240: Public Policy
    ◦ Course can be taken at any time, though students are encouraged to take it before or during the summer program
  • POLA 4110: Policy Research Shop
    ◦ Course is only offered in summer; fulfills Tier-2 service learning requirement
  • + 2 Electives
    ◦ Courses must address some aspect of public policy in the United States
    ◦ Students are encouraged to take both electives during the Summer Program; 1 elective for the minor can only be taken as a Summer Program, while the other can be taken during a regular semester (with approval from Professor Brox)

Summer Program 2022 Course Offerings

  • POLA 3010: Criminal Justice Policy in the U.S. (3 credits)

    Instructor: Scott Nolan
    May 31-July 01 (hybrid) (Last day to add is June 3!)
    M-F 9:00-10:45 am

    An upper-level course on the legislative-made, executively administered, and judicially interpreted public policy in the American criminal justice system. We study the policymaking process, costs, and measures of effectiveness. We study the role of race, gender, and other identity factors in the crime itself, and in policy to reduce and end crime. We also study modern social movement responses to social problems and policy failures in the criminal justice system, from reform to abolition, summarize and prescribe paths for change.

    This course is a requirement for the U.S. Public Policy Minor.
    This course fulfills the NTC Race and Inclusion core curriculum requirement.
    This course fulfills the NTC Social and Behavioral Sciences core curriculum requirement.

  • POLA 4110: Policy Research Shop (3 credits)

    Instructor: Brian Brox
    May 31-July 01 (hybrid) (Last day to add is June 3!)
    M-F 12:00 -1:45 pm
    Mandatory: 20-hour service-learning component (POLA 4890)

    Research Shop introduces students to the methods of public policy analysis. The course creates a partnership between city government and Tulane students in order to address issues of concern for the city, and to increase students' civic engagement. In this class, the professor solicits policy research projects from local elected and appointed officials and bureaucrats; students then use skills developed in the class to write policy briefs on these public policy issues. 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 during the program working on research for an office in City Hall, as part of a required 20-hour service-learning element.
    This course fulfills the NTC Tier-2 Service Learning core curriculum requirement.

  • COMM 4810: Regulating Television and Social Media (3 or 4 credits)

    Instructor: Pete Kunze
    May 31-July 01 (online) (Last day to add is June 3!)
    M-F 2:00-3:45 pm
    Optional: NTC/SLA Writing Practicum (+1 credit option)

    This course surveys major issues in television and social media regulation in the United States. Key stakeholders will pay special attention, including industry figures, public administrators, lawmakers, and content creators. Key concepts and policies explored in this course include the public interest, free speech, the fairness doctrine, the digital divide, and net neutrality, as well as case studies on obscenity, privacy, children's television, public broadcasting, and social media.

    This course is a requirement for the U.S. Public Policy Minor.
    This course fulfills the NTC Race and Inclusion core curriculum requirement.
    The optional Writing Practicum fulfills the NTC/SLA Tier-2 core curriculum requirement.

  • POLA 3240: Public Policy (3 credits)

    Instructor: Anna Mahoney
    May 16-May 27 (Hybrid) (Course is no longer available for registration)
    M-F 9:30-1:30 pm

    This course covers the policymaking process for domestic policy in the United States. We will study the following questions: Why do some problems reach the political agenda and others do not? Who are the important actors in the policy process, and what roles do they play? What are the values at stake with policy debates? What explains why certain solutions are offered, and others are rejected? How do we know if a policy has been successful?

    This course fulfills the NTC Social and Behavioral Sciences core curriculum requirement.

Register today! Current Tulane students can enroll now. Non-Tulane visiting undergraduates can apply now.
Summer 2022 Academic Calendar:
For any questions or additional information about School of Liberal Arts Summer Programs, please email

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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.

For Policymakers

Each summer we have students who complete a minor in public policy. To complete the minor, students take an introductory course on public policy, a course on microeconomics, a methods course for public policy research, and two electives on specific areas of public policymaking in the United States.

As part of the policy research methods course, students are required to complete a policy research analysis project on behalf of local government. This project would result in free policy research for your office. Essentially, you provide a research project for our students, meet with them at the beginning of the summer to brief them and answer initial questions, and meet again at the end of the course to receive their written brief and oral presentation.

If your office has any policy research needs that could be fulfilled (for free) by Tulane public policy students, please reach out or learn more about this program in our FAQ.