Sample electives courses in the Public Policy PhD program

Please note that most courses are offered on a rotating basis.

Qualitative Methods
Social Welfare Policy
Advanced Quantitative Methods
Law and Public Policy
Topics in Health Care Policy
Scientific and Political Change
Public Policy Challenges Facing Urban Nonprofit Organizations

PPOL-G L609: Qualitative Methods

This advanced course focuses on the theoretical foundations of qualitative methods with emphasis on their practical relevance for public policy. Students will learn the underlying logic of the various ways of conducting qualitative research, as well as to develop skills in moving from description to theory-building with qualitative data. Through class assignments and activities, students also will become familiar with key aspects of qualitative research design, as well as issues related to reliability, validity, and the ethical dimensions of qualitative research.

PPOL-G 743: Social Welfare Policy

This course studies 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. Topics include social insurance, public assistance, health, and housing services.

PPOL-G 745: Advanced Quantitative Methods

The goal of this course is to deepen the student's understanding of multiple regression estimation by further examination of problems associated with choosing a proper mode and estimating its parameters. As with the other research/statistics courses, the emphasis is on practical uses for policy work with statistical and econometric theory kept to a minimum.

PPOL-G 747: Law and Public Policy

This course is designed to expose students to the differing theoretical perspectives in the academic literature, as well as to important areas of law.  The course focuses on judicial policy making and the nature of the litigious US society. In addition to examining why the courts are such central actors in US policy making, the course also explores the consequences of court actions in, for example, labor policy, social legislation, special education, desegregation, civil rights, welfare, abortion, the environment, and/or health care.

PPOL-G 748: Topics in Health Policy

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.

PPOL-G L749: Scientific and Political Change

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 in comparative perspective. The second half focuses on contemporary controversies, including those over the nature of university-industry relations, patent policy, and the causes of expert/lay disagreements over risk.

PPOL-G 751: Public Policy Challenges Facing Urban Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations play a variety of important roles in civic life. In addition to their well-known function as service providers (e.g. hospitals or neighborhood health clinics), nonprofit organizations offer an opportunity for self-expression, recreation, religious observation, political representation, or the pursuit of social change. Through theoretical readings and case studies, this course considers a variety of public policy issues related to the role of urban nonprofit organizations 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.