Influence lawmaking. Change the world.

Public policy is a branch of political science that addresses public concerns and problems. Policymakers influence lawmaking at the local, state and federal levels to address those issues. Public administrators draft, analyze and implement policies through a wide range of government agencies and directly impact who has access to resources, general living standards and opportunities for diverse communities.


Program type:

Major, BSPPA



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Bachelor of Science in

Public Policy and Administration

The BS in Public Policy and Administration is designed for students who are interested in working in government or nonprofit organizations and who have a passion for making a positive impact on society. In this program, students gain understanding of public and nonprofit administration and policymaking in the United States while developing sought-after and transferable skills, such as information-gathering and processing, analysis, research, decision making, and oral and written communication.

You can choose from three emphasis areas: public administration, nonprofit management and public policy. Areas of concentration for the public policy emphasis include American politics, international and comparative politics, urban politics, public law, labor studies and gender and politics. In addition to formal course work, internships provide students with the opportunity to apply classroom learning and gain practical field experience.

Outcomes and Career Outlook

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to explain the characteristics and impact of policy-making institutions and systems, including national, state and local governments; demonstrate an understanding of administrative systems and processes; apply methods, tools and sources to answer important management and policy questions; analyze policies, programs and relevant issues, formulate evidence-based recommendations and communicate them with clarity and coherence; apply public policy administration knowledge and engage in real-world problem solving through an internship; and plan, execute, and defend a major research project.

Employment of public policy directors is projected to grow over 5% through 2029, with a median annual salary of $83,311, according to wage and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and


Median annual salary


Employment growth by 2029

Career Opportunities

  • Advocate
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Public Policy Director
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Social Services Manager
  • Veteran’s Affairs Manager

Plan of study

All majors must meet the general education requirements of the university in addition to completing degree-specific curriculum requirements.

Review Full Degree Requirements Review Sample Four-Year Plan

Student organizations

From leadership, to cultural, to just plain fun, Recognized Student Organizations at UMSL make it easy to get involved. Students who join RSOs make new friends, learn new skills, and perform better in classes. Plus, with over 120 student organizations on campus, there’s something for everyone! You might like:

Honors College

The UMSL Honors College is a certificate program that can be paired with any major without adding extra classes or extending time to graduate. Classes in the Honors College are seminar-style, meaning that they are based in reading, writing, discussion, and critical thinking. This unique class format fosters an intellectual climate centered around democracy, diversity, civility and academic excellence.

Undergraduate research

We encourage and support students as they engage in exciting activities in and outside of the classroom that enrich their academic and professional understanding of their chosen area of study. All majors are encouraged to participate in Undergraduate Research and Scholarship to produce discipline-specific intellectual or creative innovations to their field.