The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Major Requirements

Public policy majors must complete a total of 120 credit hours of instruction, including 44 credits for the major, and complete all General Education requirements.  

Required Courses

One 100-level Gateway Course. This must be completed by the end of the second semester in the major.

  • SPP181: Controversies in Public Policy
  • SPP101: Public Policy in a Global Perspective
  • Another SPP 100-level course

Three 200-level courses. It’s recommended that these be completed by the end of the fourth semester in the major.

  • SPP203: Economics for Public Policy
  • SPP204: Statistical Models for Public Policy
  • SPP280: Public Policy

Students must also complete:

  • SPP301: Junior Writing Seminar: Communicating Public Policy (3 credits)
  • SPP302: SPP Practicum: Contemplating Your Career (1 credit)
  • SPP400-level: Capstone for Public Policy Majors (Honors students may substitute SPP499)


In addition to the required courses, students will select elective courses that allow them to explore different interests, acquire additional skills and proficiencies, and develop a policy focus.

At least 5 elective courses are required, for a minimum of 20 credits. At least 12 of those credits must be from 300-level or above courses.

Eligible elective courses include all School of Public Policy courses as well as courses taught by SPP faculty in other departments. Students also may choose elective courses from departments across the Five Colleges, with approval.

Learn More

General Questions: Email

Declare the Major (current UMass students): 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.

Get Advising (current UMass students): Make an appointment via this link.