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Majors in Public Policy are expected to achieve both depth and breadth of knowledge in several fields, with Politics acting as an anchor for additional work in Economics, Statistics and Theory. Public policy students gain competence at:

  • thinking analytically and critically;
  • understanding policy contexts and processes;
  • conducting and using research;
  • applying statistical, economic and other quantitative and qualitative tools of analysis;
  • developing written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills; and
  • understanding their civic responsibilities and how to make ethical judgments.

These are critical skills for not only gaining meaningful employment post-Earlham, but also to have the largest possible impact on changing the world for the better once you have landed a job. Incoming students have the opportunity both to build a foundation by completing several core requirements and the flexibility to find their own path as they choose the electives that will help define their undergraduate experience. Students and faculty work closely both in and out of the classroom – these collaborative learning opportunities are invaluable in helping students find and meet their potential. Finally, each new major has a dedicated adviser who is committed to providing the guidance needed to not only succeed as an undergraduate, but to prepare for life beyond Earlham.


Public policy is the study of what government does, why, and what difference it makes. Stated another way, it refers to all of the laws, regulations and programs developed by governments to solve problems. Thus, majoring in public policy provides students with the critical knowledge and skills needed to make problem solving their specialty. Policy majors will learn to grapple with society’s most urgent issues, ranging from economic policy to environmental protection to national security. Addressing these problems requires in-depth knowledge, analytical skills and a sophisticated understanding of how governments and markets work. Earlham’s major in public policy meets those objectives with a collection of multidisciplinary courses, primarily from the Politics and Economics departments – but also including elective courses in History, Management, Psychology, Philosophy and Sociology.