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 2024 Course Offerings

  • POLA 3240 Public Policy (3 credits)

    Instructor: TBA 
    Maymester, May 13-May24 
    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?

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

    Instructor: Jerome Dent 
    Early Summer,
    May 28-June 28
    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 4010 Gun Policy in the US (3 credits)

    Instructor: Michael Jones 
    Early Summer, 
    May 28-June 28
    11:00-12:45 PM

    Is gun violence the price we pay for freedom? Can gun violence be decreased without infringing on 2nd Amendment rights? Why do individuals own guns in America? To answer questions like these, this course will examine the evolution of firearms ownership in America, as well as changes in public perception, regulations, and policy initiatives which have framed contemporary gun politics. By aligning cutting-edge research on firearms policy with political realities, this course will assess the possible outcomes of gun policy moving forward and push students to craft their own policy proposals within the context of the contemporary policy environment

  • POLA 4110 Policy Research Shop (3 credits)

    Instructor: Brian Brox 
    Late Summer,
    9:30-11:15 AM 
    Brox will offer two sections: one online and one in-person 
    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 4890 Policy Research Shop (Mandatory 20hr Service Learning)

    Instructor: Brian Brox 
    Late Summer, 
    July 01-August 02


Register today! Current Tulane students can enroll now. Non-Tulane visiting undergraduates can apply now
Summer 2024 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.