Welcome to Policy Analysis and Management!

Welcome to the Policy Analysis and Management major! We look forward to meeting you in August.  The following are some thoughts and guidelines to help you think about your fall classes. Please rest assured that after we meet during orientation you will have the opportunity to adjust your schedule. We also ask that you promptly activate your NetID and regularly check your official Cornell e-mail account.  Important messages regarding orientation and course enroll will be sent to your official Cornell e-mail.

Students typically enroll in 15 academic credits per semester. 15 credits per semester will result in 120 credits in 8 semesters, which is required for graduation. In order to maintain full-time status students must enroll in at least 12 credits. New students are not permitted to enroll in more than 18 credits.

In the Fall Semester PAM Freshmen Must Take:


  1. PAM 1111 – Success in PAM and HCP (1 Credit)
    This course will help students develop goals for their time as a Cornell Undergraduate, including introducing them to resources and strategies for success at Cornell.  In addition to demonstrating how to utilize advising tools, it will also review how to combine your new major with possible minors, study abroad in Washington, how best to integrate curricular and extracurricular activities, and begin exploring career options. Several classes are devoted to important topics all Cornell students should be aware of – the health and well-being offerings on campus, information about maintaining Academic Integrity – with specialized attention for PAM majors. The registrar’s office will automatically enroll you in this course.  
  2. PAM 2300 - Introduction to Policy Analysis (4 Credits)
    Introduction to Policy Analysis is a required class for all PAM students. It is taught by Professor Rosemary Avery in the fall semester only. All new PAM students will be taking this class, so it is a really good way to meet the rest of your major. The registrar’s office will pre-enroll all PAM freshmen majors in PAM 2300.
  3. ECON 1110 - Introductory Microeconomics (3 Credits)
    Introductory Microeconomics is a required class for all PAM majors. PAM courses in general rely quite heavily on microeconomics. Completing this class early on will ensure you remain on track to take other courses later (as it is a pre-requisite class for many). In order to move through the program, it is necessary to begin the economics sequence as early as possible. Professor Sanders, a PAM faculty member, teaches the ECON 1110 course that meets on MW. If possible, you should try and enroll in his section of the course. You need to enroll yourself in ECON 1110.
  4. First Year Writing Seminar (FWS) (3 Credits)
    All Cornell students are required to take a First Year Writing Seminar during their first two semesters at Cornell. If you don’t take the seminar you will receive a warning letter and you will be put on probation. More information about freshmen writing seminars is available on the Knight Institute Webpage.

To reach 15 credits we recommend you choose one of the following courses which meet the requirements on the PAM curriculum sheet:

  • PSYCH 1101 - Introduction to Psychology (or HD 1150) (3 Credits)
    Introduction to Psychology is a required course for all PAM majors. You are permitted to use HD 1150 – Infancy and Childhood in place in PSYCH 1101 if it is a better fit with your schedule or interests. 
  • A Cornell MATH course (3-4 Credits)
    PAM majors are required to take one Cornell MATH course.  Taking the course early will help with some of the more math intensive courses that occur later in the curriculum.  (Note: PAM students cannot use MATH 1101 or MATH 1710 towards this requirement)
  • A Natural Science Course (3-4 Credits)
    PAM majors are required to take two natural science courses. One of these courses must come from either biology, chemistry, or physics. BIOG 1140 is a popular course for PAM majors. If you are interested in pre-med, then beginning your natural science requirements early is particularly important.
  • GOVT 1111 - Introduction to American Government and Politics (4 Credits)
    Introduction to Government is a required course for all PAM majors.
  • An Elective Course
    Take an elective in either the College of Human Ecology or from the rest of the University. As a PAM major you are required to take 9 credits of non-PAM courses in Human Ecology, so you can start now. Also, PAM majors are permitted to take approximately 40 elective credits from throughout the university; you may want to begin exploring other areas of interest. You could use this elective to begin working towards a minor, to supplement your studies in PAM. 


Other Notes Regarding Frequently Asked Questions:

Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy:  This is an exciting time for PAM majors, and for public policy at Cornell, with the recent naming of the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, and appointment of Colleen Barry as the inaugural Dean.  As PAM majors, you will be part of the Cornell Brooks School, while still maintaining your affiliation with the College of Human Ecology (CHE). Students will benefit from the educational programming and support of both the Cornell Brooks School and CHE. PAM majors matriculated in fall 2021 will complete requirements outlined in the 2021-2022 curriculum sheet.

AP Credit: It is possible for you to waive certain PAM and Cornell requirements if you have taken appropriate AP courses. There is more information available on the registrar’s website. If you receive AP credit in place of one of above required fall courses, you do not need to repeat the course. You may instead select an alternate course from the requirements on the PAM Curriculum Sheet.    

Advising: During orientation you will meet with various Cornell personnel who will answer all of your questions. Shortly after classes begin you will be assigned a department faculty advisor to help you plan future endeavors.  Jen Wright, PAM Undergraduate Advising Coordinator, will also be available to help you navigate curriculum planning, procedures, and policies.

Transfer Students: It is difficult to give concise advice for transfer students since there is so much heterogeneity. As a general guideline, you should enroll in the PAM core requirements, and the required courses that you have not yet completed. The registrar’s office sent you a list of transfer equivalencies.  Compare these to the curriculum sheet to see what requirements remain. You may also schedule a phone appointment with Jen Wright to discuss your schedule if desired.

We are sure that there remain many questions. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly at PAM_Major@cornell.edu or at 607-255-1199.

More information about enrollment procedures, college policies, and the orientation schedule is available via the College of Human Ecology New Student Page. 


Sharon Sassler
PAM Director of Undergraduate Studies

Jennifer Wright 
PAM Undergraduate Advising Coordinator