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Public Policy

Public Policy

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.

Special Learning Opportunities

Many Politics courses include detailed simulations that help students develop collaborative and communications skills. Every year, Earlham students organize and run a large and successful Model UN conference for regional high school students – which requires an understanding of foreign policy. The Politics capstone experience calls on students to reflect on their Earlham experience and consider the connections between various aspects of the College experience, including courses, internships and off-campus studies. Recent student-faculty research projects include a study of the issues surrounding orbital Earth science research and creating a policy brief recommending the development of a college garden on campus.


An Earlham education is already terrific training for either a career in public affairs or graduate policy studies, but the major adds more rigor to this preparation. Given that the field has several well-defined career paths, our majors having the credentials to pursue jobs with government agencies (local, state, national, and international), consulting firms, think tanks, and non-profit organizations. In addition, our graduates regularly pursue graduate studies in public policy analysis, public administration, urban affairs, and law. In recent years Earlham students have successfully gained admission to top ten schools in each of these fields – most recently this includes Syracuse, Carnegie Mellon, Oxford, the University of North Carolina, Bard, the University of Michigan and Indiana University. Earlham has a growing relationship with Indiana University, which has the second-ranked public affairs program in the nation.

Earlhamites in
Public Policy

Dennis Vera
A Resilient Heart

Dennis Vera ’19 places a priority on people, loves to socialize and has a deep love for family. She also refuses to give up.

Alejandra Traslosheros Reyes
Justice Driven

Growing up in four different countries taught Alejandra Traslosheros Reyes ’18 that you can never learn enough.

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