Welcome! Explore the PAM major, the curriculum, what our alums do after graduation, and the research topics of our faculty. A PAM degree gives you a solid foundation in applied social sciences, empirical analysis, and evaluating effective policy outcomes. These skills can be used no matter where life takes you: the for-profit sector, the non-profit sector, or government.  If you want to make a difference in the world, PAM is for you!

The PAM department offers two undergraduate degrees:

Policy Analysis and Management Major: PAM is an interdisciplinary major that focuses on analyzing problems in the public domain, ranging from the processes of making, implementing, and evaluating government policies to the ethical evaluation of contemporary social problems.  Policy analysis is the use of evidence-based methods to study substantive public policy problems.

Health Care Policy Major: HCP is a social science-based major that provides students in-depth training in health policy analysis and requires a strong foundation in natural sciences.

Exploring and Shaping Public Policy

PAM offers two minors:

  • Minor in Policy Analysis and Management
  • Minor in Health Policy

Learn more about PAM Minors

Learn more about minor options that compliment your PAM major

The PAM 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:  

A Background in Social Sciences: 

To understand the impact of policy on individuals and society it is essential to understand human behavior.  To understand how changes in policy will impact 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) 
  • Psychology 
  • Sociology 
  • 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 more.

For Additional Information
Overarching Department Curriculum Goals

Please do no hesitate to email Sharon Sassler, PAM’s Director of Undergraduate Studies.

The Honors Program is a rigorous and rewarding endeavor.  Though the application process begins in your junior year, in order to be successful it is important that you plan your curriculum carefully, even as a freshman and sophomore.

Learn more about the PAM Honors Program

Each year graduating students are selected by the PAM department as Outstanding PAM Seniors because of their exceptional academic performance, recognition of their character and achievements both on and off campus; their demonstrated leadership, and contributions they have made to the department and campus community during their time with us. 

Outstanding PAM Seniors

This five-year accelerated program is open to a maximum of five students per year in certain disciplines. In the College of Human Ecology, the accelerated program is open to students majoring in human biology, health and society; biology and society; human development; and policy analysis and management. In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, students majoring in biology and society are eligible to apply.

Full details for the program here: 5 Year Bachelors/Masters of Health Administration Program

Interested in studying abroad? PAM offers exchange programs in:
Milan, Italy
Gothenburg, Sweden
Paris, France
Singapore, SG

Full details here: Off-Campus Opportunities

PAM degrees have led our students to a myriad of places!  

What PAM Alumni are doing now