The goal of Hamilton's Public Policy Program is to prepare students to examine, shape and participate in civic life in all its dimensions.
While majors in Government at Hamilton focus on the process of decision-making, public policy majors focus on the outcomes, from massive programs such as Medicare and Social Security to the details of social services and education policy. Public policy at Hamilton is an interdisciplinary concentration. It draws on the tools and insights of political science, economics and philosophy to evaluate governmental decisions and design more effective programs. This practical approach to real-world problems makes the study of public policy a hands-on major where students can make a real difference in the lives of people and communities.
Why draw on three disciplines? Because in the real world, policy decisions have three distinct dimensions. Students evaluate those decisions by asking these fundamental questions:
- Is this policy economically feasible, and what are its costs and benefits to society?
- Is this policy morally defensible?
- Is this policy politically viable?
Taken together, these perspectives give students the sophisticated tools needed to analyze governmental decisions, to research issues and practices, and to write and speak with force and clarity about public policy.
One fascinating aspect of the public policy concentration is the opportunity it offers students to get involved in practical work before graduation. As part of the Senior Program, students may choose from projects submitted by a wide variety of state and local government agencies.