Skip to main content

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
    • in-person or online
  • POLA 4110: Policy Research Shop
    • Course is only offered in summer; fulfills Tier-2 service learning requirement
    • in-person or online
  • + 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 2023 Course Offerings

  • COMM 3810 Race & Prison in Public Policy (3 credits)

    Instructor: Jerome Dent
    May 30-June 30 (online)
    9:00-10:45 am

    In his essay, “From Slavery to Mass Incarceration,” sociologist Loic Wacquant details the 4 iterations of the “peculiar institution,” arriving at the conclusion that the US is the “first genuine prison society in history.” With the work of scholars like Loic Wacquant, Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow), Angela Davis (Are Prisons Obsolete?), Joy James (Imprisoned Intellectuals and Resisting State Violence), and Jared Sexton (Black Masculinity and the Cinema of Policing), we are in a moment in which the existence of the prison and the carceral apparatus are being called into question and critiqued as intrinsically racist institutions. With the knowledge that black and brown folks are an overrepresented population housed in prisons throughout the country, this course will look at the policies necessary for the creation and maintenance of this system within the US, with a particular focus on the history of The Louisiana State Penitentiary (aka Angola). The readings for the course will include readings from scholars and activists including Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Eldridge Cleaver, Manning Marable, Simone Brown, Jared Sexton, and Michelle Alexander.

  • POLA 3240 Public Policy (3 credits)

    Instructor: Anna Mahoney
    May 15-May26 (in-person or online)
    9:30-1:30 pm

    This course covers the policy making 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? 

  • POLA 4110 Policy Research Shop (3 credits)

    Instructor: Brian Brox
    May 30-June 30 (in-person or online)
    1:00-2:45 pm
    Mandatory: 20-hour service-learning (POLA 4890)

    This course is designed to increase your knowledge of (1) urban politics, (2) governance, (3) American politics, (4) public policymaking, and (5) policy research and its differences from other types of research. It helps students to understand the roles of various governmental and nongovernmental actors that affect the policy-making process and the tools or instruments that are commonly used by policy makers. Students will be expected to learn to communicate with policy makers and to articulate the results of their analyses to these groups. The course will improve writing and oral communication skills, as well as teamwork, to produce a professional-quality product that can be used by city officials in an area of concern.

  • POLA 3010 Early Childhood and K-12 Education Policy (3 credits)

    Instructor: Lindsay Weixler & Jen Roberts
    May 15-May 26 (in-person)

    Students will be introduced to U.S. education policy, covering both early childhood and K-12 education, through a focus on five core topics: teacher workforce, parent choice, standards, accountability, and funding. Each class will consistent of background readings from a variety of disciplines (e.g., psychology, education, economics, sociology, history) on the day’s topic, the analysis of a case study, and a local guest speaker working in that area. Students will be evaluated on course participation, contributions to discussions, and a policy memo proposing a solution to an issue raised in the course.

  • COMM 3811 Media & Internet Policy (3 credits)

    Instructor: Ben Pearson
    July 31-August 11 (online)
    9:30-1:30 pm
    Mandatory: 20-hour service-learning (POLA 4890)

    The United States has one of the largest, most politically and culturally influential, and most profitable media ecosystems in the world. This powerful industry is governed by a unique and complex system of policies, laws, and institutions. In this course, you’ll gain an understanding of this system of governance through a detailed overview of key issues in US media and internet policy and regulation in the United States. In addition to learning about foundational, contemporary, and emerging issues in media and internet policy, we will also explore the roles of key stakeholders including tech and media companies, industry figures, non-governmental organizations, lawmakers, and government institutions such as the Federal Communications Commission. We will explore the debates around important topics in US media policy such as free speech, net neutrality, disinformation, the public interest, the digital divide, social media regulation, broadcast media, antitrust issues, online privacy, and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence. We will also learn about the regulation and governance of American media and communications infrastructure, such as broadband/fiber, cellular networks, and satellite systems. 

  • PECN 4970 Political Economy and Public Policy (3 credits)

    Instructor: Kathleen Weaver
    May 30-June 30 (in-person or online)
    11:00-12:45 pm

    Harold Lasswell famously defined politics as competition over who gets what, when, and how.  It’s a simple, even facile, definition, but this is a key concern of political economy.  How do governments distribute resources, provide for citizens’ welfare, and make decisions about what economic policies to prioritize?  Do policymakers and state leaders respond primarily to the “median voter,” the most vulnerable citizens, the business elite?  This course will introduce students to key concepts in political economy, making it tangible by incorporating case studies about US politics and public policy.  Toward the end of the course, we will focus on inequality in America and proposed solutions to it from a variety of schools of thought.

Register today! Current Tulane students can enroll now. Non-Tulane visiting undergraduates can apply now.
Summer 2023 Academic Calendar:
For any questions or additional information about School of Liberal Arts Summer Programs, please email

Back to All Summer Programs

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.