Academics

Course Catalog

GRAD > PPOL-G

Public Policy

  • PPOL-G 597  Special Topics

    Description:
    This course offers study of selected topics within this subject. Course content and credits vary according to topic and are announced prior to the registration period.   More Info

    Offered in:
    • TBA
  • PPOL-G 601  Political Economy I

    Description:
    This is the first term of a two-semester, multidisciplinary core sequence exploring the basic philosophical, social, political, and economic underpinnings of public policy development, through a series of discrete units. It is taught primarily from a historical and theoretical perspective. Major units include the theory of scientific inquiry; views of human nature; the history of ideologies and institutions; theories of freedom and justice; the conservative, liberal, and radical paradigms regarding the role of the state, race, ethnicity, gender and class. (Course offered in the fall only.)   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 602  Political Economy II

    Description:
    This core course is a continuation of PPOL G 601. (Course offered in the spring only.)   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 604  Statistics I

    Description:
    This required course is one of five required quantitative and research methods courses. It introduces and develops key notions in probability, statistical inference, and hypothesis testing. The concepts learned in this course form a basis for understanding the statistical methods and models used in research. The focus is both theoretical and applied. The primary goal is to enable students to perform descriptive statistical analysis and to formulate and test hypotheses. Students will also be introduced to the use of statistics software. (Course offered in the fall only.)   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 605  Stats II: Econometrics

    Description:
    This required statistics course is the second term of the statistics sequence. It is devoted to three widely used regression methods in statistics and social science research: ordinary least squares, probit, and logit regression models. The approach is both theoretical and applied. The focus is on how to formulate a model, specify its mathematical form, and use it to test hypotheses and estimate outcomes. The course also explores some common statistical problems encountered in estimating regression models--including missing variables, multi-collinearity, and heteroskedasticity, and diagnostic procedures that identify these problems. This required statistics lab course is the second term of the statistics sequence. It is devoted almost exclusively to a study of multiple regression and time series analysis methods, focusing on regression diagnostics and remedies. Topics include weighted least squares and non-linear transformations, the special nature of dummy variables,and the particular problems associated with serially correlated errors in time series models. (Course offered in the spring only.)   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 609L  Qualitative Methods and Field Research

    Description:
    This course is designed to introduce students to qualitative research methods; its specific focus is on policy research and aging. Students practice the skills needed to observe the world around them by attending to social phenomena, descriptively and analytically. The course functions as both a seminar and a research workshop, and students learn by engaging in a field work project. GERON GR 609L and PPOL-G 609L and SOCIOL 609L are the same course.   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 611  Foundations of Public Policy Analysis I

    Description:
    This is the first term of a two-semester core sequence that makes use of both theory and case study to examine various approaches to public policy analysis, evaluation, and implementation. The course seeks to introduce students to the general methods used in formulating and analyzing policy. Major units in this course cover the history of policy analysis; theories of the policy process; the role of social construction, institutions, interests, and values in policy; organizational theory and leadership; the determination of policy goals and objectives; and various analytical and empirical frameworks for analyzing policy and its implementation. (Course offered in the fall only.)   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 612  Foundations of Public Policy Analysis II

    Description:
    This core course is the continuation of PPOL G 611. (Course offered in the spring only.)   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 621  Econ Pub Policy I

    Description:
    This is the first term of a two-semester core sequence devoted to exploring the basic economics of policy analysis from both a microeconomic and macroeconomic perspective. The course is taught from both a theorectical and case study perspective. As with traditional graduate economics offerings, the micro/macro sequence begins with the foundations of household and firm behavior. Units in this course include production decisions; the theory of consumer choice; market structures; discrimination; the simple analytics of welfare maximization; public sector economics, including expenditure analysis, taxation, and regulation; theories of externalities and public goods; tax incidence; and the principles of cost-benefit analysis. The macroeconomic units include theories of income determination and income distribution and the problem of unemployment; the workings of financial markets and interest rate structures; the impact of macroeconomic policy on state and local government; and the constraints placed on domestic policy as a result of the internationalization of the economy.   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 622  Econ Pub Policy II

    Description:
    This core course is the continuation of PPOL G 621. (Course offered in the spring only.)   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 630  Research Methods I

    Description:
    This required course provides the conceptual and practical foundation for policy research. Students develop an understanding of the fundamental concepts and problems involved in designing research. (Course offered in the fall only.)   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 641L  Organizations, Institutions and Social Change

    Description:
    Organizations are at the heart of societal governance; profit-seeking corporations mobilize and allocate economic resources, governmental agencies deliver services and regulate other organizations, while numerous non-governmental organizations, from unions to churches to advocacy groups, constitute the realm of civil society. In structuring our society in particular ways, organizations represent a form of structural power; some groups systematically benefit relative to others as a result of how organizations function. Organizations are frequently the target of public policy, as they are sites that generate and reproduce inequality, discrimination, pollution, and other social and economic problems. Organizations can also serve as agents of resistance and change; they are thus the vehicles of public policy. Policy regimes emerge through the interaction of many organizations of different types, with conflicting interests and differential access to power and resources. An understanding of organizations, their sources of power, their role in governance, and their structures and processes, is therefore highly relevant for policy analysts, for activists, and for public and private-sector managers. MBAMGT 641L and PPOL-G 641L are the same course.   More Info

    Offered in:
    • TBA
  • PPOL-G 697  Special Topics

    Description:
    This course offers study of selected topics within this subject. Course content and credits vary according to topic and are announced prior to the registration period.   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 704  Research Methods II

    Description:
    This required course assists students to become critical consumers of policy research and to apply specific quantitative and qualitative techniques in policy analysis. Both generic and policy-specific aspects of various techniques are discussed and demonstrated through background readings and examination of concrete policy reports. Students are required to apply and present analyses in their field of interest. (Course offered in the spring only.)   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 716  Pro-seminar

    Description:
    This course will provide students with skills that will help them to succeed in the PhD program. Some materials complement discussions in other classes and others reinforce those discussions. About half of the class will focus on policy relevant academic research, while the other half will emphasize professional skills.   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 723L  Cost Effectiveness: Theory, Methods & Applications

    Description:
    This course introduces students to the theoretical underpinnings of cost-effectiveness analysis and the alternative methods for measuring costs and outcomes of health interventions. Through many practical applications, students gain a familiarity with how to apply cost effectiveness, cost benefit, and cost utility methods to actual research situations. GERON GR 723L and NURSNG 723L and PPOL-G 723L are the same course.   More Info

    Offered in:
    • TBA
  • PPOL-G 740  Political Institutions

    Description:
    This core course is designed to introduce students to a number of issues in the study of the American political system at the national, state, regional, and local levels. The readings bring together research and analysis concerning specific topics and theoretical reflection concerning conceptual and analytic approaches. The course's objectives are to show how a variety of the theoretical, methodological, substantive, and political presuppositions condition research and analysis; and to encourage students to acquire both substantive knowledge of the American political system and a critical attitude toward ways in which social scientists produce this knowledge. Both the subject matter and the ways in which it is analyzed are characterized by multiple conditions and contexts. Awareness of these relations is crucial for policy analysts. (Course offered in the fall only.)   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 743  Social Welfare Policy

    Description:
    This course is a study of social welfare policy narrowly defined as the alternative plans, decisions, choices, and actions of the public sector that have a direct impact on the material welfare of socially and economically disadvantaged citizens by providing them with services and/or income. The central core of programs discussed under this definition include social insurance, public assistance, and housing services.   More Info

    Offered in:
    • TBA
  • PPOL-G 745  Advanced Quantitative Methods

    Description:
    The goal of this course is to extend the student's knowledge of statistical techniques beyond that acquired in PPOL-G 604 and PPOL-G 605, by offering additional statistical estimation methods that apply in data or modeling situations in which the regression methods taught in PPOL-G 605 are either not appropriate or are not the best. The selection of methods may change over time,depending on students' needs, or developments in the field of statistics. Like the two prior courses in this sequence, the course combines both theory and practice. The course deepens the student's understanding of multiple regression estimation by further examination of problems associated with choosing a proper model and estimating its parameters. As with other methods labs, the course has a strong practical bias, with attention to statistical and econometric theory kept to a minimum.   More Info

    Offered in:
    • TBA
  • PPOL-G 746  Geographic Information Systems for Public Policy

    Description:
    The purpose of this course is to learn principles and applications of GIS to support doctoral-level research in public policy, public administration, public affairs and urban and regional planning, with a particular focus on spatial data collections and analysis for urbanized regions within the greater Boston area. The goal of this course is to enable students to identify spatial characteristics of diverse application areas, to build maps that integrate diverse data sources, formats and displays, to perform spatial analyses, and to integrate spatial thinking and GIS analysis into their own research topics.   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 747  Law & Public Policy

    Description:
    This course exposes students to differing theoretical perspectives in the academic literature, as well as to important areas of law. The course focuses on judicial policy-making and on the nature of the litigious U.S. society. In addition to examining why the courts are such central actors in U.S. policy-making, participants also explore the consequences of the distinctive role the courts play in various policy areas--for example, abortion, civil rights, desegregation, the environment, health care, labor policy, social legislation, special education, and welfare.   More Info

    Offered in:
    • TBA
  • PPOL-G 748L  Contemporary Issues in Health Politics and Policy

    Description:
    The course studies the determinants of health policy in the US, including the decisions and non-decisions made by the institutional and political actors at all levels of government and by private sector actors. The course covers the failure of health care reform in the US; the marketing, corporatization, and commodification of health care; comparisons with Western European nations; and topics in the assessment of health care quality.   More Info

    Offered in:
    • TBA
  • PPOL-G 749L  Scientific & Political Change

    Description:
    Although relatively few Americans have backgrounds in science or engineering, they are increasingly confronted with issues that are technically complex. This course explores the resulting tensions and asks how the needs for scientific expertise and democratic control of science and technology are reconciled. The first half of the course traces the historical development of American science policy and situates this development comparatively. The second half focuses on contemporary controversies, including those over the nature of university-industry relations, patent policy, and the cases of expert/lay disagreements over risk. CRCRTH 649L and PPOL-G 749L are the same course.   More Info

    Offered in:
    • TBA
  • PPOL-G 751  Public Policy Challenges Facing Urban Nonprofit Organizations

    Description:
    Through theoretical readings and case studies, this course considers a variety of public policy issues related to the role of nonprofit organizations in American cities including: tax exemption, the increasing commercialization of the nonprofit sector, charitable choice provisions guiding the distribution of federal funds, and the role of nonprofit organizations in political advocacy.   More Info

    Offered in:
    • TBA
  • PPOL-G 752  Public Policy, Organizations, and Social Change

    Description:
    A wide ranging interdisciplinary literature has applied organizational theory to the study of a variety of policy arenas. In this course we will read classic statements of organizational theory along with examples from contemporary empirical research that apply the theories. These examples are drawn from an array of disciplines including sociology, political science, and public administration, and cover a variety of policy arenas including education, health, housing, drugs, and the environment.   More Info

    Offered in:
    • TBA
  • PPOL-G 753L  Epidemiological Thinking and Population Health

    Description:
    Introduction to the concepts, methods, and problems involved in analyzing the biological and social influences on behaviors and diseases and in translation such analyses into population health policy and practice. Special attention given to social inequalities, changes over the life course, and heterogeneous pathways. Case studies and course projects are shaped to accommodate students with interests in diverse fields related to health and public policy. Students are assumed to have a statistical background, but the course emphasizes epidemiological literacy with a view to collaborating thoughtfully with specialists, not technical expertise. CRCRTH 653L and NURSNG 753L and PPOL-G 753L are the same course.   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 760  Sociological Perspectives on Public Policy and Social Justice

    Description:
    This course introduces students to sociological perspectives relevant to the study of public policy with a focus on the relationship between public policy and social justice. We will focus on theoretical and empirical work from core aspects of the sociological discipline that are pertinent to these concerns, including urban sociology, political sociology and stratification. The course will cover the following topics: + How do various sociological traditions understand the role of the state and public institutions in relation to structures of inequality in society? Under what conditions do public institutions reproduce social inequality, act as agents of social control, work as a force for greater equity and inclusion, or otherwise support or oppose movements for social justice? + How have contemporary processes of social inequality, such as concentrated poverty, educational failure, mass incarceration and undocumented peoples, presented new challenges to equity-oriented policy-makers? + In what ways have marginalized populations organized to influence public policy to address inequality and to advance equity and social justice? + What models exist for researchers and policy-makers to collaborate with community-based organizations and for citizens to participate in the formation and implementation of public policy more generally? This course is designed as a seminar, where the professor serves as a guide and commentator on a set of texts that students examine. We will work to build a learning community in the classroom where students support and challenge each other. Students will be required to explore a theoretical or policy issue relevant to the course through a piece of original research. The course will primarily (although not exclusively) focus on the public policy/social justice relationship in eh U.S. context. But students, in their research projects, are welcome to pursue their own interests internationally or comparatively.   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 780  Policy Planning and Program Development I

    Description:
    This is the first in a two-semester course sequence and is taught as a practicum. Students work in teams providing professional services to public and non-profit agencies. The course focuses on the acquisition and application of techniques for policy planning, program development, and policy evaluation of both a technical and political nature. Depending on the year taught, students use a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods. The course begins with an examination of the substantive topic to be addressed, which varies year to year depending on the arrangement made with the partnering organization and develops various models of planning, program development and evaluation. Through participation in carefully selected consulting projects, the course covers techniques of problem definition; goal setting; evaluating an selecting programmatic options; predicting social economic and fiscal impacts; designing and testing pilot programs; implementation planning; and developing models and methods for public participation and constituency development. Ethical issues arising from policy planning and implementation are also considered. The specific focus and tasks vary from year to year. The course is designed to be an applied policy analysis experience that integrates theory, practice, and methods.   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 781  Policy Planning and Program Development II

    Description:
    This is the secondin a two-semester course sequence and is taught as a practicum. Students work in teams providing professional services to public and non-profit agencies. The course focuses on the acquisition and application of techniques for policy planning, program development, and policy evaluation of both a technical and political nature. Depending on the year taught, students use a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods. The course begins with an examination of the substantive topic to be addressed, which varies year to year depending on the arrangement made with the partnering organization and develops various models of planning, program development and evaluation. Through participation in carefully selected consulting projects, the course covers techniques of problem definition; goal setting; evaluating an selecting programmatic options; predicting social economic and fiscal impacts; designing and testing pilot programs; implementation planning; and developing models and methods for public participation and constituency development. Ethical issues arising from policy planning and implementation are also considered. The specific focus and tasks vary from year to year. The course is designed to be an applied policy analysis experience that integrates theory, practice, and methods.   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 795  Independent Study

    Description:
    Study of a particular area of this subject under the supervision of a faculty member. Students wishing to register must do so through the department.   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 797  Special Topics

    Description:
    This is an advanced course offering intensive study of selected topics in public policy. Course content varies according to the topic, which will be announced prior to the advance registration period.   More Info

    Offered in:
    • TBA
  • PPOL-G 891  Dissertation Wrkshp

    Description:
    This course is the fifth in the required five-semester "laboratory sequence" in quantitative and research methods. This course is divided into the two broad areas of research and writing, a distinction that is only conceptual; in reality, it is very difficult to divorce one from the other: good research is the product of both solid reasoning and clear communication. The research aspect of the course covers defining a proposal and a thesis, selecting a topic, literature search and data collection, alternative methodologies, an selecting an advisor and a thesis committee. The writing aspect covers organizing research materials and developing an outline, avoiding writer's block, and professional and impact writing.   More Info

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  • PPOL-G 898  Internship in Public Policy

    Description:
    Students carry out supervised internships in such settings as state and local governments quasi-public and non-profit organizations, and some areas of the private sector. Students are given credit for their internships on the basis of a detailed research or evaluation paper written about their experience.   More Info

    Offered in:
  • PPOL-G 899  Dissertation

    Description:
       More Info

    Offered in: