CWRU’s Public Policy Program is intended to provide a supplementary minor useful to majors across the university. Because the disciplinary base of public policy analysis is eclectic, so are the requirements for the minor. Undergraduate or graduate courses with public policy content are offered through the departments of anthropology, geological sciences, history, political science, and sociology in the college of arts and sciences; through the Department of Economics and other departments of the Weatherhead School of Management; through the Schools of Law, Medicine, and Nursing; and through the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Students can engage with policy issues through both courses and the extracurricular programming of the Center for Policy Studies and other university bodies.
The 15 credit hour requirements are in four categories listed below. Substitutions can be made at the discretion of the Minor Advisor. For example, if a course is not available in a timely manner, the Advisor will suggest a replacement.
It consists of 15 credit hours:
A. The Policy Process (3 credit hours): One course selected from 386, 383, or 306
POSC 386: Making Public Policy (3 credit hours)
Politics is about who wins, who loses, and why. Policy, by contrast, is often depicted as more “neutral;” policies are the means through which political decisions are carried out. In this class, we examine the notion that policy is the rational, impartial counterpart to the political arena. We will ask: How are public policies made? Why do some issues make it on to the agenda, while others do not? Can we separate facts from values, or are both always contested? We will examine how decision-making in a group introduces distinct challenges for policymaking. The course focuses on widely applicable themes of policymaking, drawing on both domestic and international examples.
POSC 383: Health Policy and Politics in the U.S. (3 credit hours)
Overview of the principal institutions, processes, social forces, and ideas shaping the U.S. health system. Historical, political, economic, and sociological perspectives on the health system are explored as well as the intellectual context of recent policy changes, challenges, and developments. Students will acquire a sense of how health services are financed and delivered in the U.S. They will also learn how to assess its performance compared to that of other similar countries.
POSC 306: Interest Groups in the Policy Process (3 credit hours)
Introduction to the institutions and processes that make up the political environment of nonprofit and other organizations in the United States, beginning with an examination of the role of civil society in a democracy and continuing with the framing of issues, role of political entrepreneurs and organized interests, elections, the legislative process and strategies for influencing it, and the roles of executive institutions and the courts.
B. Economic Analysis
Econ 102: Principle of Microeconomics (3 credit hours)
This course is an introduction to microeconomic theory, providing a foundation for future study in economics. In particular, it addresses how individuals and businesses make choices concerning the use of scarce resources, how prices and incomes are determined in competitive markets, and how market power affects the prices and quantities of goods available to society. We will also examine the impact of government intervention in the economy.
C. Policy making institutions: One course selected from HSTY 256, 358 POSC 308, 310, 323, 384, 385
HSTY 256: American Political History (3 credit hours)
From the origins of American politics in the colonial period to the present. The Revolution and Constitutional debate; presidential politics and leadership; voters and voting patterns; Congress and the courts. Emphasis both on the ideas that animated American politics and on the relation of politics to society.
HSTY 358: America Since 1945 (3 credit hours)
This course provides an advanced survey of American history from 1945 through the early 21st century, focusing on politics, foreign relations, the economy, culture, and social life. Particular emphasis will be given to political economy and the development of postwar consumerism; race, segregation, and Civil Rights; social movements for women’s liberation, Indian rights, and gay rights; the accomplishments and failures of postwar liberalism and the rise of modern conservatism; the emergence of the Cold War at home and abroad; the collapse of the New Deal Order and the new partisan realignment; the construction of the postwar international system and its late-century fraying; globalization and its discontents; the emergence of neoliberalism and its consequences; and the collapse of the Cold War and the creation of the War on Terror.
POSC 308: The American Presidency (3 credit hours)
The sources of, strategies of, and restraints on presidential leadership in the United States. Emphasis on problems of policy formation, presidential relations with Congress and executive agencies, and the electoral process.
POSC 310: Congress in an Era of Polarization (3 credit hours)
A study of Congress in the modern era with emphasis on the development of polarization, procedural changes, conflict between the legislative and executive branches during divided government, and the current state of representation.
POSC 323: Judicial Politics (3 credit hours)
Rejecting the view that judges mechanically apply the law, the study of judicial politics seeks to understand the behavior of judges as political actors with policy goals. Topics include judicial selection and socialization, judicial policy change, judicial strategy (especially the strategic interaction of judges on multi-judge panels), the interaction of courts in hierarchical judicial systems, the policy impact of judicial decisions, and the courts’ interactions with coordinate branches of government (the executive, Congress, state governments, state courts). Primary focus will be on the federal judiciary, with some discussion of state judicial systems.
POSC 384: Ethics and Public Policy (3 credit hours)
Evaluation of ethical arguments in contemporary public policymaking discourse. That is, approaches to evaluating not only the efficiency of policy (Will this policy achieve its end for the least cost?) but also the ethics of policy (Are a policy’s intended ends ethically justified or “good,” and are our means to achieve those ends moral or “just”?). Overview of political ideologies that supply U.S. political actors with their ethical or moral arguments when proposing and implementing public policy, followed by an application of these differing perspectives to selected policy areas such as welfare, euthanasia, school choice, drug laws, censorship, or others.
POSC 385: U.S. Bureaucratic Politics (3 credit hours)
Bureaucracy is one of civilization’s most important inventions. It is a way of coordinating very large numbers of people so as to do work, make decisions, and exercise power. Without it, much of modern life would be impossible. Yet “bureaucracy” is normally seen, in public discussion, as a problem, instead of as a solution. This course will consider both the reasons for and pathologies of bureaucratic organization. Its special focus is bureaucracy in American government. The course therefore will provide some introduction to the study of American public administration, but with special emphasis on how the work and performance of public bureaucracies in the United States is shaped by the specific tasks they are given and the distribution of power in the American political arena.
D. Two courses (6 credit hours) within a particular field of public policy, selected with the approval of the advisor. The listings under “Field and Course Examples” on the Policy Program website give examples of fields and of courses that could be selected within a field.