Policy Meeting

Public Policy Minor

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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

This is only a partial list of courses that will count toward the policy minor.  If a course is listed below, it will count toward the public policy minor.  If you have questions about whether another course counts toward the public policy minor, please refer questions to Colin Cepuran (see below), and include a syllabus with your inquiry.

Spring 2020

GOVT Courses and Cross-Lists

  • GOVT 1313 Intro to Comparative Politics
  • GOVT 2041 Electoral Malpractice
  • GOVT 2897 Human Rights at War
  • GOVT 3042 The Politics of Technology
  • GOVT 3044 China's Next Economy
  • GOVT 3112 Congress and the Legislative Process
  • GOVT 3273 Politics and Markets
  • GOVT 3293 Comparative Politics of Latin America
  • GOVT 3384 The Asian Century
  • GOVT 3683 Comparative Corruption
  • GOVT 4451 Making Science Policy

Outside Courses

Please note that when these courses are offered as cross-lists in other departments, taking this same course in any of those listed departments counts toward the policy minor electives.

  • AEM 4310 Agricultural and Food Policy
  • AEM 4350 Political Economy of the WTO
  • AMST 2710 America's Promise
  • AMST 3065 Immigrant America
  • CEE 4210 Renewable Energy Systems
  • CRP 3860 Planning for Sustainable Transportation
  • DSOC 2201 Society and Natural Resources
  • DSOC 3040 Immigration and Public Policy
  • DSOC 4710 Schools, Communities, and Policy Reform
  • ECON 3340 The Evolution of Social Policy in Britain and America
  • ECON 3670 Behavioral Economics and Public Policy
  • ECON 3805 Competition Law and Policy
  • ECON 4150 International Trade Theory and Policy
  • ECON 4840 Policy Analysis
  • ILRHR 4635 Unemployment
  • ILRIC 4325 The European Social Model
  • ILRLR 3830 Workers' Rights as Human Rights
  • PAM 2030 Population and Public Policy
  • PAM 3190 Nonprofits and Public Policy
  • PAM 3600 Reducing Crime Through Public Policy
  • PAM 4600 International Perspectives on Population Policy

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


Colin Cepuran, Minor Coordinator

Danielle O’Connor, 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
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