UW–Madison’s Undergraduate Certificate in Public Policy complements existing majors across campus and extends the La Follette School of Public Affairs' mission to training and mentoring the next generation of leaders in their careers and communities.
The certificate program allows undergraduate students to apply a policy perspective to their major course of study and bolsters their skills for success in the workforce or in their graduate school coursework. Students build a strong foundation for careers in government, nonprofit organizations, or the private sector.
The Undergraduate Certificate in Public Policy is ideal for students seeking careers related to key domestic and international issues such as criminal justice, education, energy, environmental studies, finance, transportation, and poverty. It also prepares students to be engaged citizens, ready to use their talents to improve the world around them.
To declare the Undergraduate Certificate in Public Policy, students must:
- Have sophomore standing
- Be in good academic standing
- Have completed or be enrolled in at least one class that meets certificate requirements
- Write a letter of intent explaining how they envision applying public policy to the context of their major program and in their future career
- Submit their resume
Requirements for the Certificate
|Introductory Course: 1 course required||3|
|Contemporary Public Policy Issues|
|Introduction to Public Policy|
|Analytical Tools for Policy Design, Implementation, and Evaluation: 1 course required||3|
|Evidence-Based Policy Making|
|Analytic Tools for Public Policy|
|Policy Specialization: 1 courses from any of these areas||3|
Social Policy, Inequality & Poverty
|Inequality, Race and Public Policy|
|Introduction to Social Policy|
|Economics of Poverty and Inequality|
|Psychology, Law, and Social Policy|
|Poverty and Social Welfare|
|Health Systems, Policy, Economics, and Research|
|Public Health in Rural & Urban Communities|
|Climate Change Economics and Policy|
|US Environmental Policy and Regulation|
|Government and Natural Resources|
|Natural Resources Policy|
|Introduction to Education Policy|
|Race, Ethnicity, and Inequality in American Education|
|Education Policy and Practice|
|A Family Perspective in Policymaking|
|Family Economics and Public Policy|
|Consumer Policy Analysis|
|The European Union: Politics and Political Economy|
|American Foreign Policy|
|The Financial System|
|Fieldwork and Internship: 1 course required||3|
|Wisconsin in Washington Internship Course|
Residence & quality of work
At least 6 credits must be earned In Residence
A 2.000 GPA is required in all courses counting toward the certificate
Courses taken Pass/Fail do not meet certificate requirements or calculate in the GPA.
Certificate Completion Requirement
This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of major current and past public policy debates, and how to approach questions and research with a public policy lens.
- Students will gain knowledge and demonstrate application of methodological tools utilized in the public policy arena (e.g., policy memo writing, policy analysis, experience working with administrative data, program evaluation, cost-benefit analysis, performance management).
- Students will demonstrate understanding and application of knowledge regarding the substantive policy area of interest of their choice (e.g., education, health, social, environmental, science).
- Students will gain practical professional experience in a public policy work setting.
Mo O’Connor, Senior Student Services Coordinator, La Follette School of Public Affairs
- 107 Observatory Hill Office Building
David Wright-Racette, Senior Student Status Examiner, La Follette School of Public Affairs
- 110A Observatory Hill Office Building
Marie Koko, Senior Career Services Coordinator, La Follette School of Public Affairs
- 204 Observatory Hill Office Building
Steve Kulig, Associate Director, La Follette School of Public Affairs
- 103 Observatory Hill Office Building
SKILLS & CAREERS
Given the increasing complexity in every realm of public policy, students in the public policy certificate program gain skills in quantitative analysis, communication, writing, critical thinking, and problem solving that are in demand by more and more employers in almost every sector.
The certificate program focuses on evidence-based practices and provides students with the skills to gather data and information from various sources, analyze and synthesize the findings, and write a clear and concise report to illustrate the main points.
With the focus on evidence-based practices, the public policy certificate program provides research and data analysis skills that are transferrable to nearly any occupation. Students maximize their electives and earn a credential that highlights these highly sought-after skills in the context of real-world practice.
Career development is an integral part of the La Follette School experience, with staff members and alumni eager to support and mentor students with diverse interests. Students benefit from networking opportunities, employer visits, professional development seminars, and other services.
The undergraduate certificate in public policy gives students access to the La Follette School’s award-winning faculty members. These interdisciplinary faculty have expertise in social policy, health policy and management, public management, policy analysis, environmental policy, poverty, and government finance. Most La Follette School faculty members hold partial appointments in other campus departments. Faculty in other departments who offer policy-related classes also teach students in the certificate program.