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

Want to learn more about the major or to declare it? Read about the major requirements, and make an appointment to review the requirements 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 of the following classes:

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
SPP151 Blood, Oil, and Water: The Middle East in Global Policy SB, DG Winter none 4 MES151
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 A score of 16 or higher on the algebra section of the math placement test, OR MATH 100, OR MATH 101 & 102, OR MATH 104, OR completion of the R1 & SPP 204 4 ECON103, RES-ECON102

(3) Math. If you scored 0 - 15 on the Math Placement Test algebra section, we recommend that you review the tables above and below and take the math needed to be prepared for SPP203 and SPP 204. If you plan to take a "substitute" course, check SPIRE to learn the prerequisites for that class. 

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 A score of 11 or higher on the Math Placement Test or completion of the R1 requirement. 4 STATISTC240, RES-ECON212, PSYCH240, ANTHRO281, PUBHLTH 223, OIM240
SPP302 Practicum: Contemplating Your Career   Fall, Spring   1 SOCBEHAV 250

(3) Take SPP 100-, 200-, or 300-level electives. See details and options here.

General Questions

Please email