Earning a bachelor’s degree in public policy provides candidates with the skills necessary to understand principles and theories surrounding the management, leadership, development, and implementation of policy and administration. Public policy professionals may pursue careers in human resources, analysis, finance, and local or state government. Through introductory course work exploring American government, the economy, and various types of public policy, students gain a broad overview of the fundamental role that governmental structures play in society. A bachelor’s degree in public policy provides a well-rounded education in this subject, as well as time during the four-year program for students to develop a specialty concentration in criminal law, international policy, or healthcare, among others.

Why a Bachelor’s Degree?

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum degree required for entry-level jobs in the field of public policy. Candidates holding a bachelor’s degree may be eligible for entry-level jobs in local government, non-profit administration, or even politics. Top online public policy bachelor’s degrees offer not only the high-quality standards of a conventional on-campus education but also the flexibility of an online schedule. The typical four-year program is designed to introduce in-depth training in the student’s major of choice, which may provide increased career opportunities in that area. Generally, main categories include legal, international, American, and management and administration-related public policy course work. There are many unique careers requiring a bachelor’s degree in public policy or a related area, including social and community service managers, expected to increase in job growth by 27% by 2020, according to theĀ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program

As the introductory-level degree in the field of public policy, bachelor’s degrees program pre-requisites are generally minimal. However, requirements vary by school:

  • Associate degree from accredited institution, or high school diploma or equivalent
  • Minimum GPA (varies by school)
  • Application including statement of intent and/or application fees (as applicable, according to school)

Inside a Bachelor’s Degree Program

Completing a bachelors degree in public policy requires four years of comprehensive study in foundational public policy concepts. Bachelor’s degree courses include introduction to American national government, comparative public policy, leadership studies, government and the economy, and computer applications in public affairs. Programs at the bachelor’s level are intended to develop not only academic skills but also professional qualifications. Graduates of the bachelor’s program are well-suited for entry-level public policy jobs, but may also choose to extend their education and career opportunities by pursuing a higher degree in this or a closely related field.

Pursuing a bachelor’s in public policy online is a smart option for busy students and those in the professional world. Online bachelor’s degrees in public policy mimic the curriculum of their on-campus counterparts but feature additional benefits like online research resources and allow students to conduct communication with professors and peers entirely online. Students may also take advantage of electronic delivery of assignments and complete assignments in multiple sessions at their leisure. Some schools may also provide career guidance to students interested in maximizing their professional opportunities after completing the undergraduate program.

What’s Next for Public Policy Bachelor’s Degree Holders?

The field of public policy offers a broad range of career opportunities, including a variety of jobs that require a bachelor’s degree at the entry-level. The BLS reports that many social and community service managers, for example, secured their positions within social serve offices or non-profit organizations by earning a bachelor’s degree and gaining minimal work experience. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree in public policy may also choose to pursue additional qualifications to enter the related fields of healthcare, corrections, or education, and others may go on to further their education to aspire to top jobs in their field.

Many opportunities exist for those holding the minimum-requirement of a bachelor’s degree in public policy, but some students may want to pursue a higher degree in this field. For those students, many traditional as well as online master’s degree and doctoral programs exist, in both public policy and in a combined curriculum of public administration and policy. Students are typically required to complete an undergraduate program and also incur field experience to be admitted to a master’s or doctoral program. Higher degrees in public policy may provide the qualifications necessary for upper-management or high-level administration positions in government or social service, and Ph.D.-holders in this field may be eligible to teach at colleges and universities, or pursue scholarly research.