Central advising in the department of Policy Analysis and Management is available to help direct PAM and HCP students to resources across campus, assist with questions regarding curriculum sheet requirements, and help students with navigating department and college academic requirements and policies.
Contacting Central Advising:
Central Advising Staff and Faculty:
Students will be assigned a faculty advisor to discuss student progress, academic performance, planning for electives, summer internships, post graduate studies, employment, and so on. Optimistically the student and faculty will be able to create a sufficient relationship so that the faculty can write letters of recommendation and give personal references for students.
You should plan to meet with your faculty advisor at least once per semester to discuss your academic progress and plans for the future. These semi-annual meetings should enable the faculty advisor and student to form a sufficiently deep relationship that faculty can write letters of recommendation on behalf of students.
- You can find your faculty advisor’s name in Student Center. Your faculty advisor will likely send you a note outlining office hour times or the best way to set up an appointment. In the event a student has not received such a note, students are always welcome to send their advisor an email to learn more about office hours or to request an appointment.
- To request an advisor change, contact Jen Wright. If you know who you would like to have as a faculty advisor, check with that person first to make sure they agree, and forward their approval to Jen.
- In the event you have not been assigned a PAM faculty advisor, contact Jen Wright.
Students may utilize the academic counselors in the Office of Student and Career Development for questions and guidance. Topics that are most relevant to discuss with the academic counselors include pre-med and pre-law advisement, career planning, interview preparation, minor advisement, leaves of absence, study abroad, academic difficulties, change of major discussion, or personal concerns. However, the academic counselors are also quite knowledgeable about curriculum requirements and academic planning. More information about how to schedule an appointment with an academic counselor in the Office of Student and Career Development can be found on the college’s advising and counseling website. The office of Student and Career Development also manages the Career Exploration Center, which provides a number of resources to assist students in cover letter and resume development, interview preparation, career selection, and more. To learn more about career support resources, visit the college’s Career Development website.
The B.S. Policy Analysis and Management Curriculum encourages students to draw on skills from multiple disciplines to address multifaceted public policy issues. Throughout the curriculum students have the opportunity to develop: analytic skills to assist in creating solutions to public problems; skills in writing concisely and clearly; the ability to work effectively in group settings; skills in effectively communicating their ideas in public settings; and the ability to consider the ethical implications of their actions. Building on the foundation of core disciplines and strong quantitative skills, the curriculum provides in-depth instruction in three major areas of public policy: Health Policy, Social Policy and Regulatory Policy.
A Background in Social Sciences:
To understand the impact of policy on individuals and society it is essential to understand human behavior. And to understand how changes in policy will change human behavior it is essential to have a broad understanding of the social sciences. All PAM majors are required to take the following introductory social science classes:
- Policy Analysis Microeconomics (introductory and intermediate)
- Public sector economics
A Background in Empirical Analysis:
To measure and assess the impact of new policies and changes to existing policies requires a strong grounding in empirical analysis. Unlike the physical sciences that make use of laboratory experiments, public policies are rarely analyzed through experiments. Instead, a thorough grounding in statistics and regression analysis is necessary. All PAM students are required to take the following empirical analysis courses:
- Introduction to statistics
- Population and Public Policy
- Multiple regression analysis
- Cost-Benefit analysis
The tools for analyzing policy can be applied to a wide range of questions. Students are encouraged to apply the foundational skills they learn to study the policies in which they are most interested. All PAM students are required to take seven elective courses in policy analysis. The following are some examples of PAM electives grouped into our major areas of policy expertise:
Health Policy: covering issues such as health care reform, comparative health care systems, population health, pharmaceutical policy, and the economics of risky health behaviors. Examples of courses include:
- U.S. healthcare system
- Global health policy
- Fundamentals of population health
- Economics of health behaviors
- Contemporary issues in women’s health
- Pharmaceutical management and policy
- Comparative health care systems
Social Policy: including issues such as poverty and social inequality, neighborhoods and urban policy, welfare policy, educational policy, and criminal justice policy. Examples of courses include:
- Poverty and public policy
- Families, inequality, child well-being
- Early child policy and economics
- Economics of Social Security
- Economics of education policy
- Neighborhoods, housing and urban policy
- Immigration and public policy
- Race and public policy
Regulatory Policy: including issues such as consumer law and protection, risk management, information regulation, and government regulations of corporations. Examples of courses include:
- Corporations, shareholders and policy
- Regulating financial institutions
- Technology, policy and the law
- Consumer law and policy
Once all of the department and university requirements are satisfied, PAM majors still have approximately 40 remaining credits of electives. This amount of flexibility is a strength of our major and a tremendous benefit to students hoping to build breadth in their course of study, and those desiring to build minors in, for example, business of international relations, etc. PAM students use these electives to take courses from across the university, to complete minors, to study abroad, and to conduct independent research. By strategically selecting from the PAM electives, and electives from across the university, PAM students can create a powerful portfolio of courses that satisfy their individual career and personal interests. This flexibility results in PAM majors pursuing a wide range of post-graduate activities: consulting, investment banking, medical school, health care, law school, business school, Teach-for-America, research, government, management, and so on.
For Additional Information
Overarching Department Curriculum Goals
To graduate with a B.S. in Policy Analysis and Management students must complete all requirements noted in the Curriculum Sheet for the year that they matriculated in the department.
Suggested Order of Core PAM Classes (Curriculum Sheet Requirement #1)
Freshmen Fall Semester
PAM 2300 - Introduction to Policy Analysis
ECON 1110 - Introduction to Microeconomics
First Year Writing Seminar
Freshmen Spring Semester
PAM 2000 - Intermediate Microeconomics (Prerequisite – ECON 1110)
PAM 2030 - Population and Public Policy
First Year Writing Seminar
Sophomore Fall Semester
PAM 2101 - Introduction to Statistics for PAM Majors
PAM 2040 - Economics of the Public Sector (Prerequisite – PAM 2000)
Sophomore Spring Semester
PAM 3100 - Multiple Regression Analysis (Prerequisite – PAM 2101)
PAM 3300 - Cost Benefits Analysis (Prerequisite – PAM 2000 and PAM 2300)
Helpful Advising Tips:
- There is a natural order to economics based PAM courses: ECON 1110, PAM 2000, PAM 2040, PAM 3300. It is useful to take these courses in sequential semesters, as noted above. If for some reason (e.g. you transferred into PAM) you are unable to take the core courses as noted above, please connect with Jen Wright, for assistance developing an alternate plan.
- First year writing seminars (FWS) MUST be taken in during the first year. Students who do not complete two FWS courses in their first year will be reviewed by the committee on academic status.
- PAM 2300 is only offered in the fall; it is a great introduction to the field of policy analysis.
- There is a natural order to statistics based PAM courses: PAM 2101, PAM 3100. There are other Introduction to Statistics across the university (notably PAM 2100). However, PAM 2101 is especially designed for PAM majors.
- The PAM program was designed with the idea that students would first take a large cross-section of introductory social science courses early in the program. Therefore, students should try and take Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Psychology and Introduction to Government during the first two years.
- It would be useful to take the Cornell math course early in the program. A math course will help with the intermediate level core PAM courses.
- After taking the core PAM courses, students will be ready to handle the 3000 and 4000 level PAM electives.
- Students interested in the honors program should take PAM 3120 Research Design, Practice and Policy during their junior year.
To graduate with a B.S. in Health Care Policy students must complete all requirements noted in the Curriculum Sheet for the year that they matriculated in the department. We have created sample schedule for both the standard track and the pre-health track. Keep in mind that these samples showcase one way to complete the major. However, there are many routes to successfully complete the necessary requirements. Pre-health students in the HCP major are strongly encourage to consult the Office of Student and Career Development for pre-health specific advisement each semester.
When planning your course schedule look ahead to see what prerequisites are required for the upper level courses. For example, there is a natural order to the economics based courses (ECON 1110, PAM 2000, PAM 2040) and for the statics based courses (PAM 2101, PAM 3100). These courses are common prerequisites for many of the upper level Health Policy courses, so it is important to take these in the first two years of the major. You may notice that there are other Introduction to Statistics across the university (notably PAM 2100). However, PAM 2101 is specifically required for HCP majors.
The biology, physics, and chemistry courses also follow a natural sequence. For example, you will need to complete the introductory biology and introductory chemistry requirements before proceeding to complete organic chemistry and finally biochemistry. Consult the Courses of Study to determine the necessary prerequisites for the courses you are considering to use for your major requirements.
IMPORTANT NOTE: First year writing seminars (FWS) MUST be taken during your first year at Cornell. Failure to take both FWS courses in the first year will result in a review by the Committee on Academic Status.
PAM Mentoring is an initiative from the PAM Working Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that addresses the needs of students by providing a supportive community of peers, upper-class students, faculty members, and alumni.
Selected mentors are expected to commit to the following activities and expectations over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year:
Attend an introductory orientation/training workshop
Attend at least TWO gatherings with mentee’s
Be compassionate, available, accessible, and approachable to mentees
Be proactive in supporting mentees
Bring any challenges or concerns to the attention of the PAM Working Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion members for the purpose of continuing to strengthen your own mentoring practices and to provide the best support to undergraduate mentees.
Applications must meet the following criteria to be eligible for consideration as an undergraduate mentor:
Currently-enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student
Must have completed at least one year in your degree program
If you are interested in becoming a mentor please fill out this online application.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or for more information about the application process.
*More information how new students can obtain a mentor will be coming soon!
You are permitted to add standard classes during the first 15 calendar days of the semester.
You are permitted to drop classes during the first 57 calendar days of the semester without anything showing up on your transcript.
You are permitted to drop classes after the deadline; however, a grade of W will be recorded on your transcript. W has no effect on your GPA.
There is a manual Add/Drop form that can override the electronic system. It must be signed by the instructor in the class you are trying to enroll in or drop.
You should see the College Registrar’s website for the most up to date information on semester Add/Drop dates.
Your advisement report shows all of the requirements that you have completed, and those you need to satisfy to graduate, based on the curriculum sheet requirements. This report will update as soon as any changes are made to your enrollment. Advisement report should match your curriculum sheet requirements. If your advisement report does not match your curriculum sheet, please notify the CHE Registrar’s Office to resolve.
The College Registrar records, maintains, and handles the details for Advanced Placement (AP) credit.
You should search under the Requirements and Policies section of the Registrar’s website for information on AP credits.
You are permitted to use a total of 15 AP and in absentia credit towards your graduation requirements. You will have to self-report your AP credits. Please see the CHE registrar’s website for more details.
All undergraduate career services for Human Ecology are centralized in the Career Exploration Center. At the Career Exploration Center you can develop life-long skills for choosing careers and managing effective job and internship searches, participate in On-Campus Recruiting Program via Cornell Handshake, and meet with a professional counselor (meetings arranged through 125 Academic Surge A).
You should make contact with the Career Exploration Center early in your Cornell tenure to find out about all of the programs and services.
Informally, PAM will circulate to students any information that we have on internships and employment. You should also discuss prospects and strategies with your PAM faculty advisor.
The PAM undergraduate curriculum committee, and PAM faculty, have put a lot of thought into designing strong undergraduate programs. It is recommended that you take all of the core requirements exactly as they are.
However, in very exceptional circumstances (such as junior transfer, medical leave, and so on), it may be extremely inconvenient to take exactly the required core classes. In these circumstances it may be possible to find alternative courses at Cornell that cover similar material to the PAM or HCP core classes. Please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies or attend his office hours to discuss your options.
Interested in the following?
- Policy Analysis/Economics
- Health Care Policy/ Management
- Law and Regulation
- Family and Social Welfare Policy
- Applied Demographic Analysis
- Education Policy
- Law School
- Medical School
- PhD Economics
- PhD/Masters Public Policy
Check out the suggested courses depending on career interest at the end of the current PAM curriculum sheet.
There is a new curriculum sheet for every new matriculating freshmen class. Though changes to each year’s curriculum sheet are typically small, there may be some advantage to switching.
You are permitted to change to a newer curriculum sheet (you are not permitted to switch to an older curriculum sheet).
Simply let Lori Asperschlager (law32), the Assistant Registrar, know that you want to change.
NOTE: Once you switch to a newer curriculum sheet, you are NOT permitted to switch back. Be sure before you make a change.
PAM and HCP students are welcome to participate in the Cornell-in-Washington program. You should apply for the program directly. You can find information on their website.
There has been some confusion regarding how many credits you get for CIW. You earn a total of 15 Cornell credits. 8 of these credits can count as PAM credits and the rest are elective credits. Please note that PAM 4060 can only count towards the additional PAM electives requirement, or general electives.
PAM MAJORS BEWARE: None of the 8 PAM credits count towards the II.B or II.C. requirements for those following the 2016-2017 PAM curriculum sheet and earlier, not even PAM 4060. The only way the PAM credits count is towards the II.D. ‘Additional PAM Credits’ requirement. For those following the 2017-2018 PAM curriculum sheet and later, none of the 8 PAM credits count towards requirements 1 & 2, not even PAM 4060. The only way the PAM credits count is towards requirement 3 ‘Additional PAM Electives.’ Therefore, you must still take 18 PAM credits at the 3000/4000, even if you take PAM 4060, and even though you get 8 PAM credits.
Cornell offers a wide range of undergraduate minors.
There are no restrictions from PAM on what minors they can earn. PAM has no involvement in other department’s minors. If you decide to minor in another department and take all of the requisite courses, you will earn that minor. Officially, PAM does not need to know. You may want to discuss with your PAM faculty advisor whether you should pursue a minor.
NOTE: PAM will not change PAM or HCP major requirements to facilitate earning a minor in another department. PAM and HCP majors are not eligible to complete the PAM or Health Policy minors.
In absentia credit are credits that students earn at other institutions that they can use towards the 120 credit Cornell graduation requirements.
A maximum of 15 credits of in absentia and advanced placement (AP) credits in total may be used towards Cornell graduation requirements.
Students need to fill out the In-Absentia petition form and to be reviewed by the Assistant Registrar.
NOTE: Credits earned at Cornell approved study abroad programs, Cornell-in-Washington, Capital Semester, and Urban semester all count as Cornell credits.
If students fail to complete all of the requirements for a course by the end of a semester, there is the option to record a temporary grade of Incomplete, and then finish the course work in the near future. The option of taking a grade of Incomplete is completely at the discretion of the course instructor. It is typically used for situations where a significant health or personal issue prevents the student from completing a component of the course requirements.
The student will be e-mailed a copy of an incomplete form submitted by the instructor. The form will present a detailed record of what work the student must complete, and the deadline. The required work must be completed within 12 months of the end of the semester, but shorter periods are encouraged. After the work has been completed, the instructor must complete a Change of Grade form to change the grade from an INC. Please note that once an incomplete grade is changed to the final grade an asterisk(*) will remain next to the grade to indicate the prior incomplete.
Transferring within the College of Human Ecology is simply a matter of completing a Change Of Major form.
Transferring between colleges at Cornell is more involved. You must formally apply for admission into each college directly with the college you are interested in attending. You should arrange to apply to other colleges directly with each respective admissions office.
If you are interested in transferring into PAM, you should set up a meeting with the PAM Director of Undergraduate Studies to plan an appropriate schedule.
Cornell students are permitted to take up to two semesters for a leave of absence during their course of study.; You may want to discuss a leave of absence with your faculty adviser.; When you have made a decision, you must arrange the details and take care of paperwork with;an adviser in the student development office.
Students must earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better to graduate.
Students who fall below 2.0 cumulatively or during a semester are subject to academic action.
There are no minimum grade requirements for any single PAM or HCP course (other than passing) as long as you satisfy the cumulative GPA requirements.
In order to graduate you must earn 2 PE credits. You can take these 2 credits in any semester.
NOTE: PE credits don’t count towards the minimum 12 credits that you must enroll in each semester to be considered a full time student.
NOTE: PE credits don’t count towards the 120 credits you need to graduate.
Students in the college are permitted to enroll in 18 credit hours per term. Students with 2 terms of study at Cornell, a minimum GPA of 3.30, and that are in Good Standing with the College may petition to take up to 22 credits per semester. Petitions to take more then 18 credits are accepted only during the Add/Drop period in the term in which the additional credits will be taken. No petition to take more then 18 credits will be accepted during the pre-enrollment period.
Special studies credits are typically used for work you do that is not a standard didactic course. For example, if you complete a directed reading course with a professor, work as a teaching assistant, or work as a research assistant you can apply for special studies credits.
A maximum of 12 special studies credits total, from any college, can be applied towards graduation requirements. PAM special studies credits cannot apply toward the 3000/4000 level PAM electives (requirement #2 for the PAM major). However, PAM 4000, 4010, or 4020 can apply toward the additional PAM electives (requirement #3 for the PAM major and HCP major).
Students may register for between 1 and 3 credits per semester of PAM 4000 or 4010, or 1 credit per semester of PAM 4020. Registration for PAM 4030 may not exceed 5 credit hours per semester. A minimum of 3 hours per week of work are required for each earned credit. Consult your special studies instructor to determine the learning objective, activities, and product of the Special Studies. To enroll in PAM 4000, 4010, or 4020 complete the online Special Studies Form, to be reviewed by the faculty member, the DUS, and the Registrar. Or, to enroll in PAM 4030 complete the paper HE 4030 TA Form, and obtain appropriate signatures.
PAM 4000: Directed Readings
For study that predominately involves library research and independent readings. The student and faculty instructor should agree on the scope of the work, and plan on the direction of the readings. The student and faculty should meet bi-weekly to discuss the student’s progress and direction for the following weeks. At a minimum the student is expected to produce both a midterm and final written research paper detailing the readings and findings. However, the faculty instructor has the flexibility to require more frequent written reports if so desired.
PAM 4010: Empirical Research
For study that predominately involves data collection and analysis. The student and faculty instructor should agree on the scope of the work, and the plan for the empirical research. The student and faculty should meet bi-weekly to discuss the student’s progress and direction for the following weeks. At a minimum the student is expected to produce both a midterm and final written research paper detailing the readings and findings. However, the faculty instructor has the flexibility to require more frequent written reports if so desired.
PAM 4020: Supervised Fieldwork
For study that predominantly involves both responsible participation in a community setting and reflection on that experience through discussion, reading, and writing. Academic credit is awarded for this integration of theory and practice. Students may register for 1 credit of PAM 4020 with their faculty advisor during the semester after they have completed an internship. Internships are an invaluable learning experience, and in many instances are useful to gain career skills. However, in order to earn PAM credit there must be distinct policy analysis academic content to the work. The academic content should involve the evaluation of public policy. Additionally, in order to earn credit, students must write and submit a report to their faculty advisor that formally presents the completed filed work, and the policy analysis conclusions.
PAM 4030: Teaching Apprenticeship
For study that predominantly involves leading discussion sections or demonstrations, preparing items for course exams, grading, or participating in critiques of student work. Any grading or critiques of student work completed by the TA must be done under close supervision of the course instructor. Teaching assistants must have at least 1 to 2 hours of weekly group or individual meetings with course instructor. Students must have received a B+ or higher in the course prior to applying to be the course TA. To participate in Teaching Apprenticeship, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA at Cornell, junior or senior status, and have completed PAM 2300. Students cannot TA the same course for credit more than once. PAM 4030 credits may not be used toward the additional PAM electives requirement. PAM 4030 may apply as an elective toward the 120 credits needed to graduate.
Students who complete study abroad are permitted to count 15 credits towards their graduation requirements. These credits are all counted as elective credits. If you take a class while abroad you think could meet other requirements, you should complete a Curriculum Waiver form.
NOTE: You will not get PAM course credits for any course you take while abroad.
Some classes use a grading system of S/U (S – Satisfactory; U-Unsatisfactory) rather than the standard letter grades.
Students may have the option in some classes to select either the standard letter grading or S/U. There is no GPA impact from using S/U. If you achieve an S you will get the full credits from the class, but if you receive a U you receive no credits.
An S will be given for grades that would have been C- or above.
You must decide within the first 57 calendar days of the semester which grading option you are using (note that some classes may not have an option). The deadline for changing the course grading option is the same as the deadline for dropping a class. (Check the CHE registrar calendar).
Note: You are NOT permitted to select the S/U option for any required courses in: 1. Categories I or II for the Pam 2016-2017 curriculum sheet and earlier. 2. Requirements 1-13 for the PAM 2017-2018 curriculum sheet and later. 3. Requirements 1-14 for the HCP 2018-2019 curriculum sheet and later.
NOTE: S/Us MAY only be used for the 9 HE Credits outside the major and for electives. Students may apply no more than 12 credits of S/U towards graduation requirements. If a required course is only offered S/U, it will not count towards this limit. Students may take more S/Us if they choose, but the additional credit will not be applied towards graduation.
BEWARE: A temptation for students is to take a class as S/U, but then not put forth full effort. Every spring semester there is at least one graduating senior who takes a course S/U, ends up with a U because they didn’t try hard enough, and doesn’t graduate.
PAM and HCP undergraduates are encouraged to participate in research if they are interested. There are opportunities in PAM, Human Ecology, and the rest of the University.
There is no central clearinghouse or placement services for research. You will have to use your initiative to find opportunities. Here are some tips for starting your research journey:
- Research is about discovering something new. It is difficult…and exhilarating. You should take the same approach necessary for success in research to discover research opportunities. Faculty are just as interested in finding good research assistants as you are in finding opportunities: a good match benefits both the faculty and student. Be proactive in your search, and exhibit the traits that faculty will find valuable.
- Read about faculty research on their web pages and make a list of faculty members whose work interests you. Think about the types of projects that match your interests and skills.
- Discuss your interests with your faculty advisor or instructor of relevant courses.
- Meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to see if they know about any research opportunities in the department.
- Email professors whose research interests you and ask to meet with them. Do not send mass e-mails to professors. Send individual messages to faculty members and mention the work that they do and explain how it matches your interests. They need to know that you have done your homework about their program.
- Contact faculty members well in advance. Try to connect with faculty members the semester before you wish to start. Make a good impression on your faculty instructors and inquire about research opportunities they know about.
- Prepare a research resume with your local contact information to give to the professor for later reference. List relevant courses and grades, your career goals, and any other experiences you have had.
- Be familiar with the professor's research prior to meeting with them. Read one or more of their papers so that you are familiar with the general types of research approaches and methods that are used.
- Be sure you are seriously interested in getting involved in research. Faculty want students with a strong work ethic, who are organized and willing to work both independently and as a team member. They will need you to stay involved throughout the whole semester, so time management and commitment are key for being accepted into a research program.
- Take the courses that will enhance your credentials to join a research program.
- There are two different ways that you can be compensated for research: credit and pay. Typically undergraduate students do research for credit.