The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Exploring and Declaring the Major

Picture of Students and Faculty Talking

For New and Incoming Students

Admission to the undergraduate degree program in public policy is granted by the University Undergraduate Admissions Office. Their website shares all requirements and application deadlines. Please note that students may study the major as first year students or as transfer students from another college or university. For particular questions about the major, please email us

For Current UMass Amherst Students

The public policy major is new, so it is currently open to those graduating in 2025 and beyond. Read more about the major requirements.

Want to learn more about the major or to declare it? Make an appointment via this link. For Advising Care Unit, choose “Explore How to Declare or Change Majors.” Then, select “Explore Public Policy Major” as the Service.

Need Help Getting Started?

Suggested Courses for First Year Students

(1) SPP 100-level elective. Choose any one of the following classes or another 100-level SPP course:

Course Title Gen Ed Offered Prereq Credits Substitutions
SPP111 Policy in an Age of Precarity SB, DU Spring none 4  
SPP181 Controversies in Public Policy SB, DU Fall none 4 POLISCI181
SPP190A Blood, Oil, and Water: The Middle East in Global Policy SB, DG Spring none 4 MES190A
SPP105 Introduction to Political Economy SB, DU Spring none 4 ECON105
Another 100-level SPP course          

(2) SPP Core Courses. Take the following courses:

Course Title Gen Ed Offered Prereq Credits Substitutions
SPP280 Public Policy SB Fall, Spring none 4 POLISCI280
SPP203 Economics for Public Policy SB Spring math* 4 ECON103, RES-ECON102

(3) *Math. Depending upon your math placement score on the algebra section, math courses may be needed to prepare for SPP203 Economics for Public Policy and SPP204 Statistical Models for Public Policy. Common pathways are below, but additional options can be found in the description of each course in SPIRE:

  • Math placement 0 - 10: Algebra prep course in summer or winter, MATH 101, MATH 102
  • Math placement 11 - 15: MATH 101, MATH 102
  • Math placement 16 - 19: STATISTICS 111
  • Math placement 20+: None. (Take the R1 exemption exam if the R1 is not completed by a different course.)

Suggested Courses for Second Year Students

(1) Complete above course requirements that remain.

(2) SPP Core Course. Take the following course:

Course Title Gen Ed Offered Prerequisite Credits Substitutions
SPP204 Statistical Models for Public Policy R2 Fall math* 4 STATISTC240, RES-ECON212, PSYCH240, ANTHRO281, PUBHLTH 223, OIM240

(3) Take SPP 200- and 300-level electives. See details and options here.

General Questions

Please email