Jul 18, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2023-2024 
USC Catalogue 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Public Policy (BS)

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The Bachelor of Science in Public Policy is an interdisciplinary major that prepares students for graduate study and/or professional careers by engaging them in the analysis of society’s political, social and economic issues. The major introduces students to theoretical foundations and practical applications through a set of cross-cutting introductory courses and specialized courses in one of four tracks: health policy and management, public policy and law, philanthropy, nonprofits and social innovation, or public policy and data analytics. Students will be introduced to analytical and research tools relevant for and connected to professional practice, as exemplified by consultative class projects and the mandatory internship. 

Pre-Major Requirements

Students must complete the pre-major requirements. A minimum grade of C, 2.0 (A = 4.0), must be earned in each of the pre-major courses. All pre-major requirements must be taken for a letter grade.


Students select one track for degree emphasis; they take 28 units from the track selected. Each track includes five required courses and two elective courses with the exception of the Public Policy and Data Analysis track, which has four required courses and three elective courses. During advisement, students will be given a list of recommended elective courses particularly appropriate for the chosen track. Students may work with their adviser for approval to take track electives outside of the courses listed to meet their academic needs. The required courses for each track are listed below followed by track elective options.

Public Policy and Data Analytics Track

Cross-cutting Topics Course

Students will be required to take 4 units of a cross-cutting topics course. It is taken preferably junior year after completion of the core curriculum. Students may select a course from the list below. If a student uses a course to satisfy a requirement or elective that has already been taken in the track requirements, it can not be double-counted as the cross-cutting course. The cross-cutting course must be a different course. 

Additional Requirements


All students will take 4 units of a capstone experience during their senior year. This may be fulfilled by taking PPD 431 Undergraduate Policy, Planning, and Development Studio  (4) or PPD 497a Senior Thesis  PPD 497b Senior Thesis  (2-2). Students wishing to enroll in PPD 497a , PPD 497b  must have a 3.7 GPA in PPD courses and an overall 3.5 GPA.


Public Policy majors are required to complete 140 hours of internship by enrolling in PPD 301 PPD Practices: Internship Seminar  or the Washington, D.C., Semester internship. Internships are matched as closely as possible to the student’s interests and skills.

PPD 301  and the internship in a position provide numerous opportunities to develop and formulate future career goals, as well as to gain personal and professional experience while completing the undergraduate degree.


Price School honors are available at graduation to qualified PPD majors and result in a special designation of departmental honors on a student’s transcript. Achievement of PPD honors requires a 3.7 GPA in PPD major courses and a 3.5 overall GPA as well as nomination by the professor in the capstone experience. In addition, students must earn an A in their capstone course (PPD 497a , PPD 497b  or PPD 431 ).

Washington, D.C., Semester

The Washington, D.C., Semester program provides an intensive semester of confrontation with the political center of the nation and its complex components. The program offers opportunities for behind-the-scenes work in national government agencies and related organizations, combined with an academic environment and the chance to explore, share and learn with a group of fellow students.

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