Public Policy Minor

The 15-credit minor in Public Policy equips students with the necessary skills and experience to transform knowledge into tangible impact. This program enhances students' primary degree or major by enabling them to bridge their area of study with meaningful contributions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Public policy processes and decisions have a profound influence on every facet of society, ranging from the provision of police services and advancements in civil rights to the safety of our water and food supplies, as well as our endeavors in space exploration. Through this minor, students will develop an understanding of how leaders at various levels of government assess and tackle contemporary challenges.

Students who pursue the minor in Public Policy will learn:

  • How public policy processes work
  • The roles of elected officials, analysts, agencies, and interest groups
  • How federal, state, and local jurisdictions cooperate and compete to create policy outcomes
  • Effective communication skills to influence public policies
  • How to use data to analyze problems and identify whether policies and programs work

Students will also have the opportunity to engage with policies and community organizations aligned with their career aspirations.

Located within GSPIA, this credential integrates a blend of lecture-based instruction and experiential learning, catering to students' desire for hands-on training and real-world experience

Requirements for the Public Policy Minor

  • For the public policy minor, you must complete all the minor course requirements at the University of Pittsburgh and earn a 2.0 or better GPA.
  • Courses used for a minor cannot overlap with courses used for a major, a different minor, or a certificate.

Note: If a cross-listed course (e.g., ADMJ 1400/LEGLST1140 Introduction to Criminal Law) has been taken for the student’s major, it may not be double-counted towards the minor or vice versa. A cross-listed course in two different departments or programs is considered the same course.

  • A minor must be completed in conjunction with an undergraduate degree and cannot be pursued alone or added to your plan after graduation.
  • A student must be admitted into the minor by GSPIA undergraduate advisor. This is to address any possible limitations in class selection and course overlaps.
  • Declare early!  This should be done as soon as you have started taking courses towards the minor.

Declare the Public Policy Minor

Required Courses - 12 credits

The following are the required courses for the minor. Students are recommended to the interdisciplinary capstone after completing the other required courses.

PIA 0101 -- How Public Policy Works: Foundations of Public Policy
PIA 0301-- Ideas to Action: Influencing Public Policy
PIA 0201 -- Skills for Policy Research and Analysis
PIA 1003 -- Public Policy capstone 

Electives - 3 credits

Students will take one elective course (3 credits) to complete the minor. This represents a selection of initial electives. GSPIA faculty will develop and offer additional electives as the program grows.

PIA 1102 -- City of White Supremacy: Race, Space and Policy in American Cities
PS 1357 -- The Politics of Food, Land and Sustainability
PS 1516 -- Transatlantic Policy Analysis
PIA 1002 -- Internship Seminar

If you have questions or would like more information, please email