BA in Public Policy

In 2018, the Education Advisory Board (EAB) ranked Public Policy as the 15th most valuable major out of 162 degrees. Researchers evaluated majors based on graduates’ unemployment rate, average salary, and the number of graduates with a post-secondary degree. Out of the top 15, Public Policy is the only social science major listed. Read more here

Policy is just a fancy word for “rules”. From schools, to parks to your own workplace, policies determine what can (or cannot) be done in a particular space. From administrative policies to ordinances and laws, we train you to locate, understand and analyze the policies that impact you, your family, community, state, nation and world.

Who is a good fit for our program?

We like to think of our public policy program as an “applied” political science degree. Students who are curious about why bad policies are perpetuated, how to fix them, at what level of government is there opportunity for positive change, and the role of non-profits in transforming democracy are an ideal fit.

Highlights of our core program:

  • Values-driven public service training means that we encourage all our students to have a vision about what a high-functioning democracy should look like
  • Analytically grounded training gives you concrete skills to take directly into the workforce, and soft-skills and leadership development to help our students work in highly collaborative environments
  • Experiential learning opportunities in-class and through field placements at some of the top government agencies and non-profits in the city, state or nationally
  • Real opportunities, real careers to help transform our democracy!

Policy Groups, Internships and Student Testimonials

We encourage our students to make a difference by participating in our student groups. The internship placement course allows our students to integrate classroom learning with practical experience in a real workplace environment.

Benjamin Brown

I am fond of the feedback, exchange of ideas, and fairness in reasoning that transpires between faculty and students at CUPPA. I believe that every Professor brings a unique style of discipline that can be used by individual students (if attentive) to craft a vast repertoire of theoretical and experiential knowledge in this field.

Benjamin Brown  |  Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Student
Sief Salameh

“The classes I took at the College of Urban Planning & Public Affairs (CUPPA) provided the conceptual foundation for approaching key policy issues, and giving us the tools to change or dismantle policies using values of equity, transparency, efficiency, and accountability. At CUPPA I found a chosen family that are all dedicated to making this world a better and sustainable place. I will forever be grateful for my experience at CUPPA because they helped me to elevate and empower my voice.”

Sief Salameh  |  Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Student


New first-year students interested in admission to the BA in Public Policy program must apply using the Common Application and be admitted by the Department of Public Administration, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. Admission is competitive, and preference is given to those applicants selected to have the best potential for academic success. See the Admissions section for more information.

Transfer students who have completed a minimum of 24 semester hours or 36 quarter hours of transferable college course work by the time of application, and do not meet the definition of an incoming first year or readmission applicant may apply to transfer into the BA in Public Policy. While 24 semester or 36 quarter hours are the minimum number of hours required, most curricula require additional credit hours and the completion of some specific core first-year courses. The minimum transfer grade point average for admission is 2.00/4.00. See the Admissions section for additional information.

Degree Requirements

Public policy specializations

To earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from UIC, students must complete University, college, and department degree requirements. The Department of Public Administration degree requirements are outlined on the Degree Requirements page linked below.  Students should consult the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs section for additional degree requirements and college academic policies. Elective courses may have prerequisites.


The Department of Public Administration offers faculty and staff to help our students with degree and career planning. Students should meet with their academic advisors at least once a semester to make sure that they are on the right track to graduate and discuss career goals.

Sharon Hayes

Undergraduate Advisor & Program Manager

400 S. Peoria Street, AEH 2108, MC 278, Chicago, Illinois