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Graduate Bulletin Homepage |Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy | Public Policy Courses

Courses in Public Policy

Pub 500 Selected Problems in Public Affairs (4)
Specific topics relevant to the understanding and study of public policy-making. Topics for examination may vary from semester to semester. May be repeated for credit if topic is different.

Pub 501 (Eco 509, Hpm 501) Health Policy Analysis (3)
This course introduces students to policy analysis and management by examining issues in the health sector. It fosters an appreciation of the complexity of policy problems and provides the basic tools used in policy design, implementation and evaluation.  Prerequisite: Hpm 500.

Pub 502 (Pos 502, Phi 505) Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Public Policy (4)
This course is concerned with the examination of some of the methodological and normative assumptions involved in the formulation and implementation of public policy. Topics may include epistemological issues such as the nature of rationality, justification, evidence, and relativism; and moral and political issues such as nature of liberty, equality, and justice. The significance of these issues will be discussed in connection with concrete problems such as punishment, affirmative action, welfare legislation, reproductive liberty, and the right to life. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Pub 503 (Pad 503) Public Economics and Finance I (4)
This course examines the application of market mechanisms such as prices, profits, and information in allocating resources in major domestic policy areas. Topics include the economics of markets and firms; basic management and cost accounting; and the effects of alternative payment systems on agency behavior, output, and services.

Pub 504 (Pad 504) Data, Models, and Decisions I (4)
Introduction to computer-based tools for planning, policy analysis, and decision making. Topics include administrative and policy models in spreadsheets, dynamic models in difference equations and spreadsheets, making decisions with multiple criteria, resource allocation, probability and decision trees, data bases and information management, and telecommunications in local networks and the Internet. Prerequisites: Familiarity with word processing on either IBM or Macintosh platforms.

Pub 505 (Pad 505,Crj 504, Pos 505, Ssw 504) Data, Models, and Decisions II (4)
A case-based approach to methods of data collection, statistical modeling, and analysis particularly appropriate to problems in public management and policy. Topics include case studies of data modeling and decisions in the public sector, data collection, exploratory data analysis, population and sampling distributions, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, correlation, and regression. Prerequisite: Data, Models, and Decisions I.

Pub 506 (Pos 506) Implementation and Impact (4)
Examination of the process by which policies are put into effect; alterations during that process; effects intended and unintended; and feedback into further policy making. Implementation and impact of legislative, administrative, and judicial policies in particular policy areas.

Pub 507 Professional Application I (2)
This course emphasizes the early development of professional skills, the ability to work in teams, career planning, and an awareness of trade-offs in modern administration. It normally is taken during the fall semester.

Pub 508 Current Research Topics in Public Policy Analysis (2)
Designed as a joint student-faculty seminar. Exposes members of the campus community to the wide variety of public policy research currently in progress on this campus. Seminar participants review and comment upon presentations of research reports.

Pub 509 (Pos 509) Citizen Participation and Public Policy (4)
The historic origins of the increasingly used statutory mandate for 'citizen participation' as a requisite test of legitimacy, both in the formulation and implementation of public policy; a survey of applications in federal and state law and impact on the subjects and objects of public policy.

Pub 510 (Pos 510) Minorities and the Politico-Legal System (4)
Selected minority problems that appear in connection with the politico-legal system. Legislative, administrative, and judicial responses and exploration of alternative public policy options.

Pub 511 Land Use Policy (4)
The place of land in American history, the preservation ethic, pressures that point to federal action, the role of the state, especially New York, in grappling with land determination. Crisis in public policy on strip mining, power plant siting, wilderness protection, husbandry of national forest, and dedication of open space.

Pub 512 (Hpm 502) Central Issues in Health Policy (3)
An examination of some of the major issues confronting health policy makers in the areas of health systems, family and community health, and environmental and occupational health. Provides an overview of the impact of public policy on health status, with a more intensive study of a few specific problems such as the financing and organization of medical care for the elderly, retarded and mentally ill.

Pub 513 (Pos 513) Field Seminar in Public Policy (4)
A survey of the substantive, methodological, and normative concerns found in the study of public policy. Offered jointly by the faculty in public policy.

Pub 514 Economics for Public Affairs II (4)
Further development and application of microeconomic concepts and tools to issues in public policy analysis. Particular attention is paid to the use of the norms of equity and efficiency in the evaluation of government policies, and the practical concerns of performing policy analysis. Students gain an appreciation for the strengths and weaknesses of the economic perspective in performing analysis. Prerequisite: Public Economics and Finance I and completion or concurrent enrollment in Data, Models, and Decisions II.

Pub 516 (Hpm 516) Introduction to Health Policy and Politics (3)
Analysis and description of the health policy processes, with very strong focus on public health problems, including medical care; nature of the public policy process, especially for health issues; and employment in written work of differing models for analyzing health problems.

Pub 520 Welfare Policy and Management (4)
Analysis of current and former welfare programs, including objectives, policy designs, management systems and effects on low income families. Attention is given to the fine print of laws and regulations and mechanisms for implementing them.

Pub 521 (Pad 601) Historical Analysis and Public Policy (4)
The class introduces masters students to the unique approach of historians who tackle contemporary policy issues. It aims to demonstrate how historical analysis can be useful in understanding policy challenges. Students will see that the historical approach is especially suited to particular challenges, such as discovering long-term patterns in government institutions that are likely to shape policy outcomes.

Pub 522 Politics and Policy (4)
Examination of the influence of political factors on the initiation, formulation and implementation of public policy. Considers the role of political institutions and forces in defining and shaping policy options and choices. Seeks to equip the student with the background necessary to operate effectively within the political environment of policy-making.

Pub 523 (Pln 523) Urban Community Development (3-4)
Examines policies and programs designed to reduce social and economic distress in U.S. communities. Focuses on local and neighborhood-based efforts to address problems of inadequate housing, unemployment, lack of community services and facilities, crime etc. Considers role of government, private sector, and nonprofit organizations in community revitalization.

Pub 524 Selected Modes of Reasoning in Public Policy Analysis (4)
Views public policy, its analysis and its effect through the sustained and rigorous focus of a particular mode of reasoning. Explores how a reasoning mode is translated into action through the policy process. Builds skill in mustering a particular mode of reasoning to argue public policy positions.

Pub 525Q (Wss 525, Pos 525Q, Aps 525) Feminist Thought and Public Policy (4)
Examination of the implications of public policy research and implementation from a feminist perspective; the coherence or lack of it amongst different models of public policy formation, different perspectives on specific public policy issues, and different orientations within the women's movement.

Pub 528 (Pln 528, Pos 528) U.S. Housing Policy (4)
United States housing policies since the New Deal, especially their distributional impact and their ability to expand housing production. Emphasizes policy options available to state and local governments and community organizations to expand affordable housing and revitalize inner-city neighborhoods.

Pub 529 (Pos 529) Law and Policy (4)
Examination of the role of the courts in the public policy process and in substantive policy fields; integrates the literature of law and policy and applies it to such areas as mental health care, corrections, human resources, education, and housing policy.

Pad 530 (Pub 530) Intergovernmental Relations, Federalism and Public Policy (4)
This seminar seeks to examine the ways in which various aspects of intergovernmental relations affect the adoption and implementation of public policy. The course will focus on the actors in the intergovernmental system and the modes of behavior that have been developed to manage the disparate agendas at play. It will provide an overview of the theoretical literature in federalism and intergovernmental relations and establish linkages to public policy concepts and approaches. This course will also include attention to experience of other federal countries as well as the U.S.

Pub 532 (Pad 532) Performance Measurement and Contracting in Government (4)
This course considers the problem of measuring performance in government, where performance measurement is used for accountability, managerial, and evaluation purposes. As most government services and goods are provided via arms length transactions with non- or quasi-governmental organizations, a focus of the course is the problem of contracting in the public sector. The course also considers alternative means (e.g., auctions) by which governments allocate use of public assets (e.g. timber rights, bandwidth). Prerequisites: Pad 503 and Pad 505, or their equivalent.

Pub 531 (Pln 529, Lcs 529) Planning for Jobs, Housing and Community Services in Third World Cities (3-4)
Reviews the potential for community development and the improvement of physical, social and economic conditions in the poor urban neighborhoods of countries characterized by mass poverty. Focuses on shanty-town upgrading, sites and services, job-creation programs, and micro-enterprise promotion. Discusses the roles of local and national governments, community participation, business, non-profits, and international aid.

Pub 535 (Pln 535) Environmental Restoration & Brownfields Redevelopment (3-4)
Introduces students to the fundamental issues that confront stakeholders engaged in redeveloping brownfields. Risk analysis and communication, economic aspects, political and social constraints, and the role of public participation are central themes. Linked to brownfields are also smart growth, sustainable development, urban revitalization, and quality of life concerns. The nexus of these fundamental planning concepts and environmental quality will also be explored.

Pub 540 (Soc 540, Pln 540, Pos 540) Urban Policy in the United States (4)
A research seminar on federal, state, and local policies toward the contemporary city. Evaluation of alternative conceptions of federalism, government intervention vs. market processes, and the political economy of growth. Case studies of current policy issues.

Pub 550 (Pad 550) Foundations of Government Information Strategy and Management (4)
Introduces the interaction of policy, management, and information technology in the design, operation, and evaluation of government operations and public services. Relies heavily on case studies to illustrate how these domains play out in multiple settings and across sectors-public, private, and not-for-profit. Prerequisites: Pad 500, Pub 522, and Permission of Instructor.

Pub 555 (Pad 555, Pos 555) Disaster, Crisis and Emergency Management and Policy (4)
Study of the policies designed to prepare for, respond to, mitigate, and recover from natural and technological disasters, accidents, or terrorist attacks. Surveys government, non profit, and private sector activities in emergency and crisis management and policy.

Pub 557 (Pad 557) Intelligence Analysis for Homeland Security (4)
This course provides instruction in conducting intelligence analysis, with emphasis on homeland security issues at the State and local levels.  After an overview of the history and structure of the US foreign intelligence community, we review the fundamentals of intelligence analysis tradecraft as practiced within the CIA and other federal intelligence agencies.  Extensive time is devoted to learning and using structured analytic techniques through student-led analytic exercises on terrorism and major crimes.

Pub 558 (Pad 558) Intelligence & US National Security Policymaking (4)
This seminar examines the role of intelligence in the formulation and implementation of US foreign policy.  Through critical analysis and case studies, students will develop techniques to increase intelligence’s contribution to policy deliberations while ensuring that it does not prescribe policy.  The course will assess the most appropriate role for the CIA and the Intelligence Community in supporting this executive branch process.  After an overview of the CIA, its functions, structure, and capabilities.  We review the US foreign policy process, key players, and institutional bias.  The bulk of the course is devoted to a series of mock intelligence and policy meetings on the Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq crises to critically analyze the CIA’s proper role in supporting the policy process. 

Pub 560 (Pln 560) Local Economic Development Strategies and Techniques (3-4)
Discusses the theory and practice of economic development in urban, small town, and regional settings. Analyzes and evaluates federal, state and local programs. Examines how the community planning process can influence local economic development.

Pub 565 (Pad 565) Hudson River Watershed: Environment, Society and Policy (4)
Interdisciplinary consideration of Hudson River and its watershed from environmental perspective: history; political, social, economic, geographic and demographic factors; urban development; ecology; geologic origins; living resources; pollution; environmentalism and cultural forces leading to environmentalism; environmental policy; governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions.

Pub 573 (Pln573) Metropolitan Governance and Planning (3-4)

Physical, social and economic conditions in selected metropolitan areas in the U.S. are examined, and the role of institutions of governance and planning in producing and reinforcing current conditions is explored. Pros and cons of competing models of metropolitan governance are examined, and evidence that highly fragmented units of government intensify economic and fiscal disparities, and undermine regional competitiveness and efficiency, is scrutinized. Strategies capable of moving toward greater regional cooperation in planning and governance are considered.

Pub 581 (Pos 581) Comparative Defense Policy (4)
Examines how different countries tailor grand strategy and military doctrine to their conception of national security. Draws from cases in Europe, North America, and Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Pub 597 (Pos 597) The Politics of Economic Integration (4)
Examines the political origins and thrusts of the Common Market, integration and imperialist strategies pursued by nation states. Case studies of integration and/or disintegration include the political development of Germany, the USA, EEC, and COMECON.

Pub 598 (Pos 598) Defense Policy and National Security (4)
Defense policies and decision makers' conceptions of national security. Focuses on main international actors of the twentieth century; emphasizes economic and strategic considerations in defense policy making in World Wars I and II and the postwar era.

Pub 601 (Hpm 601) Workshop in Public Health (3)
Students work in teams on selected health policy problems that draw upon the analytic and management skills learned in other courses. Topics address health and environmental/occupational health. Prerequisite(s): Completion of other core courses.

Pub 604 (Pos 604, Wss 604) Inequality and Public Policy (4)
This course addresses the formulation and implementation of public policies that seek to end inequalities based on gender, race, class, sexual identity and/or other categories of marginalization.  Theoretical and case study readings focus on the challenges, paradoxes and successes of a variety of social change initiatives.  Prerequisite: Wss 525 (Feminist Thought and Public Policy) recommended. 

Pub 606 (Pad 606, Pos 606) Social Capital and Public Policy (4)
This course examines how social capital -- the structure of social ties, norms and networks within social groups -- affect the development and effectiveness of public policy. The course addresses the role of networks in structuring opportunity and inequality; efforts to transform social capital into political action; and the ability of policy to effectively tap into the beneficial aspects of social networks as well as curb negative effects like discrimination. Particular attention is paid to issues of racial and economic inequality.

Pub 612 Nonprofits and Public Policy (4)
This course examines the intersection of nonprofit organizations and public policy. Issues include: the legal framework; tax policy related to tax exemption, competition with commercial enterprises, and charitable contributions; the context and constraints of sector interdependence; arts policy; the role of nonprofit organizations in community development; and the policy advocacy debate.

Pub 629 (Pad 629) Risk Analysis (4)
This course will review the state-of-the-field in health and environmental risk analysis, with special attention to psychological, organizational, institutional, political, legal and economic factors that influence contemporary attitudes and policies concerning such risks.

Pub 631 (Aps 631) Economics of Education II (3)
This course examines K-12 education policy from an economic perspective. Economic principles are applied to issues of resource allocation, finance, and the behaviors of key stakeholders. Topics include: models of student achievement with particular focus on the role of resources, school finance, teacher labor markets, and the effect of various forms of school choice. Prerequisites: Pad 503, Aps 602, or permission of instructor.

Pub 635 (Pad 635, Hpm 615) Health, Safety and Environmental Regulation (4)
Presents a political and economic assessment of risk regulation policies as they have developed for air and water pollution, work place risks, auto safety, drug regulation and nuclear power. Prerequisite: Hpm 501 or consent of instructor.

Pub 636 Campaigns and Elections (1-4)
Drawing on successful public service practitioners from around the region, this course will cover the key aspects of campaigns and elections. These include polling, voter identification, media relations, fundraising, get-out-the-vote techniques and winning ways of staying on the campaign message. Attention will also be paid to the impact of political campaigns on public policy (e.g. campaign finance reform.)

Pub 648 (Crj 648) Terrorism, Public Security, and Law Enforcement (3)
This course reviews the role of domestic law enforcement in homeland security, including the prevention of and response to terrorism. Consideration of strategic issues that arise with respect to specific forms of terrorist threats, and of managerial issues, including the collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence, risk assessment and resource allocation, intergovernmental and interagency cooperation and conflict, and investigative authority and civil liberties. 

Pub 650 (Pad 650) Building a Case for IT Investments in the Public Sector (4)
This course presents a formal methodology for making IT investment decisions including problem definition, stakeholder analysis, process analysis, best and current practices, technology awareness, and case building. Students will engage in a project with a university or government customer to build a business case for a new IT investment. Prerequisites: Pad 500, Pub 522, or permission of instructor.

Pub 652 (Pad 652) Seminar on Information Strategy and Management (1-4)
Leaders from government agencies, nonprofit organizations, private companies, and research organizations discuss their perspectives on the field of information strategy and management. Seminar is intended to be taken in conjunction with Pad 550 or 650.

Pub 655 (Crj 655) Crime, Criminal Justice and Public Policy (3)
Analysis and evaluation of crime control policy and criminal justice. Overview of concepts of policy analysis and principles of evaluation research as applied to crime and criminal justice problems. Consideration of deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and prevention as policy objectives, and intensive examination of selected policy initiatives. Analysis of the criminal justice policy process.

Pub 660 (Pad 660) Theories and Models of the Policy Process (4)
Current theories of the policy process, including policy streams, advocacy coalitions, punctuated equilibria, institutionalist and rational choice models. Considerable emphasis on theory, hypothesis testing and empirical research. Students will finish the seminar prepared to do sophisticated original research in the policy process.

Pub 663 (Pos 663, Pad 663) Comparative Policy Systems (4)
This seminar investigates why some industrial societies have addressed challenges such as economic management and social welfare more effectively than others. It compares both policies and institutional structures charged with implementation in countries including France, Japan, and Britain. Privatization and prospects for international cooperation are explored.

Pub 665 (Pad 665) Biodiversity, Conservation and Public Policy (1-4)
This course is a survey of approaches to domestic environmental politics, planning and public policy analysis that pertain to conservation biology and environmental policy. In this course, we will review economic, political and legal approaches to politics and policy analysis. In discussions, students will explore strategies for introducing ecological information and conservation needs into the public forum.

Pub 666 (Pos 666, Pad 666) International Environmental Policy (4)
Considers alternative explanations for global environmental dilemmas, including population growth, poverty and runaway technology and the way in which each factor has shaped environmental policy.

Pub 667 (Pad 667, Pos 667) Politics of Environmental Regulation (4)
Evaluation of environmental regulation in the United States and considers the response of political and administrative institutions to complex problems such as toxic wastes. Comparative perspectives on Western and Eastern Europe and Japan.

Pub 690 Internship in Public Affairs (4)
Individual directed internship program with an appropriate institution concerned with the administration of public affairs. Normally the internship will be for a full semester and the student will be required to submit a written and systematic analysis of the internship experience for evaluation. The student is required to submit an internship prospectus, approved by the advisor, and a copy of the final written internship evaluation to the director of the program. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Pub 691 Independent Research in Public Affairs (1-12)
Individual work in preparation for required essay. Prerequisite: Consent of program director or program advisor.

Pub 698 Master's Essay in Public Affairs and Policy (4)
Required of all students receiving the M.A. in public affairs and policy.

Pub 705 Substantive Areas in Public Policy (4)
An intensive analysis of substantive areas in public policy such as health, science, technology, environment and other issues relevant to student programs and curricular coherence. Students will be expected to write a major research paper demonstrating analytic skills and familiarity with scholarly literature.


Last updated on 7/10/2008