Policy Meeting

Public Policy Minor

You are here


Citizens interested in addressing societal problems and even experts with deep, technical knowledge of particular issues often find that politics and governance interfere with and complicate proposals for change.  The process through which policy problems are defined, whether issues find a place on the political agenda, and the particular alternatives that gain prominence may owe less to their efforts and preferences than to political developments and the institutional context. Once policies are enacted, the political process starts anew as implementation unfolds.  Policies may develop very differently “on the ground” than intended, as policy design and delivery can alter their meaning or actual outcomes and produce unintended consequences.  Political factors also influence the sustainability of policies and how, once in place, they themselves influence the political process.

The public policy minor enables students to comprehend such paradoxes by developing their understanding of the political dimensions of public policy and how they shape its conception, formulation, implementation, chances of success, intended and unintended consequences, and evaluation.  Students will have the opportunity to take courses that deal with public policy in the United States, Africa, China, Europe, India, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, and with attention to domestic policy (including health, education, energy, criminal justice, natural resources, immigration, social welfare policy, and urban policy) and foreign policy (including foreign aid and national security). The minor is housed in the Government Department but policy courses offered by other departments, if their content pertains to the purposes of the minor, will also be approved for elective credit.


The requirements to earn the Minor are:

1.  Submit an online enrollment application to the Undergraduate Field Coordinator, Danielle O’Connor in the Government Department.

2.  A minimum of 15 credits and five qualifying courses.

3.  Among the five qualifying courses, students must successfully complete a gateway course (which will be offered at least twice in every three years): 

• GOVT 3032 The Politics of Public Policy in the US.

4.  Students must also take one methods course. The following courses fulfill this requirement:

• GOVT 3990 Puzzle Solving with Data

• GOVT 3999 How Do You Know That? Causal Inference in the Social Sciences

5.  An additional three electives, from a list of eligible courses.

Note: We recommend that students consult with an advisor about charting their pathway through the minor. Some may opt to choose their electives exclusively from one of the following groupings: US domestic policy, foreign policy, comparative policy. Others may seek a diversity of courses or courses with a common theme.

6.  Students must earn a minimum grade of C+ on all classes to be used toward the minor.

7.  Government majors who wish to qualify for the minor may count a maximum of one course toward both the major and the minor.

Students are encouraged to sign up for the minor early, rather than waiting until they have completed the requirements.  This will permit them to benefit from faculty advising and other opportunities.  Students may tailor the minor for their particular academic and career goals.

Eligible Courses

[Note: This is only a partial list, illustrative of the courses that can qualify for the major. A team of faculty will consider other courses, including those offered by other departments besides Government, to determine which ones can qualify for credit toward the minor.]

US Domestic Policy

GOVT 1111 Intro to American Politics

GOVT 2041 Electoral (Mal)practice

GOVT 2152 Immigration and Immigrants

GOVT 3012 Politics of Poverty in the US

GOVT 3021 U.S. Social Movements and Their Opponents

GOVT 3091 Science in the American Polity, 1960 to Now (AMST 3911, STS 3911)

GOVT 3112 Congress and the Legislative Process

GOVT 3121 Crime and Punishment

GOVT 3141 Prisons

GOVT 3152 Prisons, Politics, & Policy

GOVT 3161 The American Presidency

GOVT 3241 Inequality and American Democracy

GOVT 4032 Immigration and Politics Research Seminar

GOVT 4102 Governing Green Cities

GOVT 4232 The Politics of the Inner City

STS 4071 Law, Science, and Public Values

STS 4541 Risk and Society

Foreign Policy

GOVT 2817 America Confronts the World

GOVT 3547 America, Business and International Political Economy

GOVT 3857 American Foreign Policy

GOVT 3877 Nuclear Security in a Changing World

GOVT 3907 Crises in Asia

GOVT 3998 US Foreign Policy: Democracy and Dictatorship

GOVT 4000 Anti-Americanism in Comparative Perspective

GOVT 4000 American Grand Strategy

GOVT 4142 Causes and Consequences of US Foreign Policy

GOVT 4937 Going Nuclear

Comparative Policy

GOVT 3044 China’s Next Economy

GOVT 3273 Politics and Markets

GOVT 3353 African Politics

GOVT 3827 China and the World

GOVT 3837 The Cold War

GOVT 4274 Politics of Energy and Natural Resources

GOVT 4291 The Politics of Science

GOVT 4293 Comparative Urbanization

GOVT 4303 The GMO Debate: Science & Society

GOVT 4354 Comparative Political Economy of Advanced Industrialized States

Political Economy of Development

Politics of Foreign Aid

Policymaking & Implementation in China

Cornell in Washington: Courses in this program will also count toward the minor.


Danielle O’Connor, Minor Undergraduate Coordinator
210 White Hall, (607) 255-4180

David Bateman, Assistant Professor
218 White Hall

Peter Enns, Associate Professor
205 White Hall

Gustavo Flores-Macias, Associate Professor
219 White Hall

Sergio Garcia-Rios, Assistant Professor
308 White Hall

Peter Katzenstein, the Walter S. Carpenter Jr. Professor of International Studies
321 White Hall

Adam Levine, Assistant Professor
302 White Hall

Suzanne Mettler, the Clinton Rossiter Professor of American Institutions
217 White Hall

Jamila Michener, Assistant Professor
305 While Hall

Elizabeth Sanders, Professor
312 White Hall

Nicolas van de Walle, the Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Government
206 White Hall

Jeremy Wallace, Associate Professor
211 White Hall

Christopher Way, Associate Professor
306 White Hall

Jessica Chen Weiss, Associate Professor
319 White Hall


Public Policy Minor Enrollment Form

Public Policy Minor Enrollment Form

Students interested in the Minor in Public Policy should complete the online Minor Enrollment Form, below on this page. Please review minor requirements prior to submitting your application.

For Inquiries Related to Enrollment in the Minor in Public Policy, Please Contact:

Danielle O’Connor, Undergraduate Coordinator
Department of Government
Tel: (607) 255-4180

Please Enter in this Format: (Area Code) XXX-XXX
Please Enter in this Format: MM/YY