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Public Policy

  • Available as major (B.S. degree)
    With a degree in Public Policy, you will specialize in problem solving on a national and global level. Study proposed solutions, and influence public policy with your Christian faith.

  • Public policy refers to all of the laws, regulations, and other programs that governments develop to address some of today’s most urgent national and global issues, such as:

    • Crime
    • Health care
    • Agriculture
    • Climate change
    • Drugs
    • Environment
    • Fiscal responsibility
    • Gun control
    • Nuclear energy
    • Immigration
    • Space exploration
    • Telecommunications
    • Trade 
    • And much more!

    If you want to work in the area of policy formation, we will prepare you for pursuing a career in government, business or with a nonprofit organization.

    Our public policy major is an interdisciplinary major, connecting the major themes of politics, history, business and economics. Through reading, discussion, analysis and writing, we help you understand the how the governments and systems of our world work.

    Then we go one step further by addressing ways to deal with world problems. Learn that your first instinct may not always be right. Consider the nuances of compromise and the tough decisions to be made. You will be stretched and challenged to consider both the time-tested and the cutting-edge paradigms influencing domestic and international policy.

    Choose a concentration in either domestic policy or foreign policy.

    Domestic policy addresses issues related to United States public policy, such as federal programs, the budget, and a range of issues from social to economic.

    Foreign policy (international relations) addresses not only the pressing issues of the day, but also the underlying systems and structures that contribute to life in a globalized world.

    At Olivet, you can: 

    • Study economics of the public sector, social psychology, business statistics, macroeconomics, international relations, physical/historical geology.
    • Get together outside of class with professors and students to discuss current political issues, life events, the future. 
    • Process and discuss information. Think for yourself. Develop your own opinions. 
    • Hear from guest speakers like Tony Campolo and Illinois State Senator Bill Brady. 
    • Participate in simulation games addressing policy creation and international policy.
    • Develop your sense of self-control, ethics and responsible policymaking.
    • Do a directed study, such as implications of nuclear policy or history of the Cold War, outside of the classroom.
    • Practice your research and writing skills as you work on source and opinion papers.
    • Learn a foreign language, such as Spanish or French. 
    • And so much more!

    Putting knowledge to work

    Join Capitol Hill Gang, the political science club open to all students. Dedicated to increasing political awareness and fellowship among students, this group educates students about what’s happening politically — both nationally and internationally. Students vs. faculty debates and service projects provide additional learning opportunities.

    Enactus (formerly known as SIFE) — Teach the business skills you learn in the classroom to those in the communities around you. Take the lead in developing and implementing projects focusing on market economics, financial literacy, success skills, entrepreneurship, environmental sustainability and ethics.

    Two educational trips to Washington, D.C., are offered each year: 

    • Federal Seminar program (study trip) – For nearly 50 years, our students have spent a week in our nation’s capital each January. This trip is sponsored by the National Association of Evangelicals. Attend seminars by congressmen, senators, Supreme Court justices, ambassadors and the public liaison from the President’s office. Listen, learn, ask questions and hear the experts’ answers. 
    • Capitol Hill Gang trip (working trip) – Get engaged in the activities of government. Interview congressmen and senators. Spend an afternoon as an intern in the office of a nonprofit or policy-making organization. Work for an evening in a community development program for a low-income neighborhood. 

    American Studies Program (ASP) semester in Washington, D.C., helps you connect biblical faith with public life and vocation. Many internship opportunities are available with government departments and leaders, nonprofit organizations. Focus on domestic or foreign policy.

    Attend special political events, such as Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. Hear from and meet our country’s political leaders. Discuss “hot button” issues and American values with your professors and peers.

    Study abroad Earn up to six hours of credit toward either the domestic policy or foreign policy concentration as you gain that understanding that only comes from planting your feet in someone else’s backyard. Find a different perspective. See the world through someone else’s eyes. Gain a new understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of Western civilizations. Immerse yourself in life at a different level of economic activity. Become a different kind of Christian leader because of your experiences.


    If you are a person who: 

    • Enjoys solving problems
    •  Studies proposed solutions to public problems
    • Has strong reading, analyzing, writing and public speaking skills
    • Is more interested in solutions than statistics
    • Is politically driven
    • Formulates and expresses your ideas well
    • Isn’t afraid ask questions
    • Is energetic, driven and a quick thinker
    • Cares about the world and making it a better place
    • Manages your time well and stays on track with assignments
    • Welcomes collaboration

    then a public policy career may be the right one for you.

    Pursue a career in the public arena in government, business or education. Participate in community political activity as a county board member, city alderman/alderwoman or school board member.

    Possible careers include: budget analyst, public affairs specialist, management analyst, public policy analyst, government agency executive, public affairs, researcher, think tank associate, public works director, city manager, nonprofit organization executive

    Public Policy is part of the Department of History and Political Science within the College of Arts and Sciences.

  • Public Policy
  • Prepare for a career in government, business or with a nonprofit organization by obtaining a degree in public policy.