College of Letters and Sciences


Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Broaden your scope. (And your career possibilities.)

Build and enhance your skills through the public policy and administration program. You’ll receive a broad liberal arts education emphasizing critical thinking, writing, and practical internship experience. This interdisciplinary field of study will help you develop foundational skills and knowledge necessary for succeeding in a variety of areas, including state and local government, nonprofit organizations and business affiliated with the public sector.

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts steady growth through 2031 in many relevant occupations available to public policy and administration majors, including jobs in law, management, human resources, urban and regional planning, and social and community service. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development also projects similar growth in its outlook through 2030.

4-year plan


Why study Public Policy and Administration at UW-Whitewater?

Options upon arrival and departure.

As the state’s most interdisciplinary program, UW-Whitewater’s public policy and administration program draws upon courses offered by 11 different academic departments and multiple colleges on campus in both online and in-person formats. They are focused on writing, quantitative analysis, and pre-professional skill development and foster a sense of civic engagement and leadership.

Students leave the program with the skills and knowledge to help them excel both personally and professionally and the ability to apply to jobs in numerous types of organizations, including government affairs, local government and executive agencies. You’ll have concrete examples – including projects, assignments and internship experience – to show employers that you have the skills to succeed in your field.

Concentrations available in the public policy and administration major include:

  • General management
  • Public policy
  • Planning and budget administration
  • Police and criminal justice administration
  • Personnel
  • Legal affairs
  • Urban affairs
  • Individualized concentration

What our Public Policy and Administration students do

Icon of a graph modeling process.

Build foundational skills and knowledge necessary for succeeding in a variety of careers

Icon of a handheld magnifying glass looking at a paper.

Conduct research both inside and outside of the classroom

Icon of a white name tag on an orange background.

Complete an internship in state and local governments, businesses, or nonprofits in the surrounding region

Hands-on learning experiences

In an interdisciplinary program like public policy and administration, practical experience is important to your success, and you’ll have a bevy of opportunities to develop and apply your skills at UW-Whitewater.

All public policy and administration majors are required to complete an internship. This experiential learning opportunity provides you with experience in your career field, supervision and coaching from prospective employers, and the ability to learn professional norms and behaviors. Completing an internship allows you to differentiate yourself in a competitive job market.


Two students participate in community events as they walk down the street.


Service learning
In one of the program’s required courses, students are given the opportunity to work on applied community problems. The service learning component allows students to apply what they’re learning in the course to hands-on professional development activities that increase their civic engagement. By addressing real community problems, students gain a deeper understanding of course content, improve their skills in advocacy, and develop a greater appreciation of social responsibility.

Undergraduate research
There are opportunities for students to conduct research both within the classroom and outside of the classroom through mentored research with faculty in the program. Completing a directed research project with a faculty member has many benefits, including:

  • Development of critical thinking and writing abilities
  • Demonstration that you are prepared for independent research, a key component of graduate school
  • Providing financial support as many undergraduate research opportunities are paid

Campus and community involvement

A student wears a DECA shirt and waves a DECA flag.


As a public policy and administration major, you might be interested in participating in UW-Whitewater’s DECA chapter, a nationally competitive, award-winning student organization. As a member, you’ll have the opportunity to build your resume through competition, engage in leadership and networking opportunities, and enjoy social events in collaboration with other student organizations.


Space and places: On and off campus

Within one hour of both Madison and Milwaukee, UW-Whitewater exposes students to numerous internship and job opportunities in southern Wisconsin. With a large diversity of spaces to work off campus, students have the ability to pursue a concentration designed to meet professional interests and career goals not traditional for public policy and administration majors.

What our graduates do

Icon of a person teaching.

Management and personnel leadership

Icon of a building on a piece of paper.

Public policy and community development

Icon of a police badge.

Criminal justice and legal affairs

Careers: What can you do with a Public Policy and Administration degree?

After earning a public policy and administration degree, UW-Whitewater graduates find a variety of positions in various sectors. Here’s just a sample of titles and companies:

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Division of Policy Development
  • State of Wisconsin
    • Department of Workforce Development
    • Legislative Audit Bureau
  • Wisconsin Policy Forum
  • Northwest Side Community Development Corporation
  • PCC Community Wellness Center (Oak Park, Illinois)
  • Mayer Brown Law Firm (Chicago)
  • CACI International (Arlington, Virginia)
  • CMFG Ventures (Madison)
  • United Way of Dane County, Early Childhood Zones
  • Arrowhead General Insurance Agency (Janesville)
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • City of Fort Atkinson
  • Village of Sussex
  • City of Whitewater

Job titles include:

  • Executive assistant
  • Program and policy analyst
  • Performance evaluator
  • Data and technology director
  • Chief operating officer
  • President and managing director
  • Program manager
  • Commercial underwriter
  • Director of marketing and corporate communications
  • Community development specialist
  • Administrative services director
  • Police lieutenant
  • Chief of staff
  • City manager

Our Public Policy and Administration faculty

Our faculty in the public policy and administration major have a wide range of experiences to make sure you choose the right path to a degree and career.

Meet our faculty

Want to learn more about a major in Public Policy and Administration?
262-472-1676 |

UW-Whitewater offers the following Public Policy and Administration undergraduate options:


In addition to UW-Whitewater’s general education requirements, as a public policy and administration major, you’ll take a variety of core and elective classes that will vary based on your chosen emphasis. Here’s an example of classes most majors will take:

  • Principles of Microeconomics / Macroeconomics
  • American Government and Politics
  • Internship in Political Science
  • Introduction to Statistical Reasoning and Analysis
  • Technical and Professional Writing

Students will have plenty of flexibility to explore electives based on their concentration and public policy and administration career interests. Here’s just a sampling of the scores of electives across politics, government and law you can choose from:

  • Race, Gender and Economic Justice
  • Human Resource Management
  • International Management
  • Public Personnel Administration
  • Public Finance
  • Urban Geography
  • Formation of Public Policy
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Business and Commercial Law
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Sociology of Police and Courts

To apply, you’ll complete the UW-Whitewater standard application for admission and indicate your interest in earning a Public Policy and Administration degree.

Apply Now

Explore related programs at UW-Whitewater