Bachelor of Arts in Economics-Public Policy and Master of Public Policy

University of California-San Diego
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Bachelor's programs

Bachelor of Arts in Economics-Public Policy and Master of Public Policy (BA/MPP)

The BA/MPP is a joint program with the UC San Diego Department of Economics. The program incorporates graduate-level coursework into the final undergraduate year of study for a Bachelor of Arts in Economics-Public Policy. The Master of Public Policy is awarded upon completion of an additional year of coursework as a matriculated graduate student at the school.

The curriculum is built around micro– and macro-economics and econometrics, economic policy analysis, public finance and taxation, the study of the politics of policymaking and implementation, law and regulation, institutional processes, the opportunity for the development of advanced training in hard skills such as GIS and remote sensing, and a full year of developing an expertise in at least one area of public policy.

Program Overview

In addition to the first year core classes, students must declare at least one Area of Specialization and complete a second year capstone course with a substantial research project.

In order for a student to be eligible for the BA/MPP, they must first be a declared Economics (EN25) major, have completed their undergraduate college breadth requirements, the lower division course work in math and economics as outlined below, and the upper-division sequences required for the major (ECON 100 A, B, C; ECON 110 A, B; and ECON 120, A, B, C). Admission requires a major GPA of 3.4. Applications to the program are taken in spring quarter of the junior year. Upon admission, the student must change their major to Economics-Public Policy (EN29). Only BA/MPP students may declare the Economics-Public Policy major.

Core Courses

Policy Analysis and Public Welfare: The course explores the political and economic foundations of public policymaking, examining both the processes through which preferences of individuals are converted into public welfare policy and the public’s response. Included are an introduction to the concepts of rationality, individual decision making, cooperation, collective action, and market failures. The course is writing-intensive and includes cases on the U.S.

Market Failures and Policy Interventions: Applies economic reasoning to public issues, policies and programs. It considers incentives and organizations; models of economic behavior, including markets, the absence of markets and interventions; the price system; policy objectives and instruments.

Policy Making Processes: This course is designed to teach students how to “read” a country’s political and economic system. The course examines how the evolution of different institutional frameworks in the countries of the Pacific region influences the way in which political choices are made.

Public Finance and Taxation: This course introduces principles of taxation and expenditure analysis, public budgeting and assessment of budget priorities.

Policy Analysis and Decision Theory: This course introduces students to the methods of policy analysis and decision-making theory—methods to assemble panel data to capture the impact of new policy on observable data, decision-making theory, uncertainty, decision criteria, expected utility and risk.

Capstone Courses

Students take the Capstone in their second year and after the successful completion of all first year core courses.

Public Policy Capstone: The capstone is designed to test the hard skills of policy design and evaluation by using them in the analysis of a real-world problem. The course requires a research project that examines an existing pubic or nonprofit sector policy or managerial problem.

American and Comparative Business Regulation

Required Course:

Sample Electives Classes:

  • California Politics and Public Policy
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Governance, Public Administration, and Development
  • International Political Economy: Trade and Investments
  • International Trade Agreements
  • Urban Economic Policy

Environmental Policy

Sample Electives Classes:

  • Marine Science, Economics, and Policy
  • Science and Marine Environmental Policy
  • Special Topics in Remote Sensing and Data Analytics- Environmental Policy
  • Special Topics in Remote Sensing and Data Analytics- Urban Policy
  • Sustainable Development

Health Policy

  • Introduction to Health Policy (MPH program)

Sample Electives Classes:

  • Case Studies in Health Care Programs for the Poor and Underserved Populations
  • Comparative Social Welfare Policy
  • Environmental and Regulatory Economics
  • The US Health Care System

Inequality and Social Policy

Must Choose One

  • Comparative Social Welfare Policy
  • Immigration and Immigration Policy

Peace and Security

Must Choose One:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Food Security
  • Global Corporate Accountability: Governance, Responsibility, and NGOs
  • Human Rights, Public Policy, and International Relations
  • Humanitarian Interventions
  • Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
  • State Building and Modeling State Capacity
  • The New ‘New’ Civil Wars
  • The Political Economy of Authoritarian Regimes
  • The Political Economy of Foreign Aid
  • The Political Economy of State Capacity
  • The Politics of Economic Inequality
  • U.S. National Security and Decision Making
  • Violence in Latin America

Must Choose One:

Sample Electives Classes:

  • Big Data Analytics
  • Public Opinion and Foreign Policy

Note: Course schedules are published on a quarterly basis and are subject to change without notice. Some elective courses that can be applied to meet career track requirements may not be offered in a given academic quarter or academic year. See the UC San Diego General Catalog. 

While the MPP does not have a language requirement, students may decide that language proficiency is an important skill for their career goal. Students will be allowed to use up to 24 graded units of undergraduate or GPS language courses toward the 92 units required for the degree. The courses must be taken at UCSD or through a UC transferable program while a matriculated student at GPS, and must match course work on a country focus. Approval by petition by fall of the second year is required.

Country/Regional Specialization

  • Southeast Asia—Bahasa Indonesian, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Burmese, Tagalog, Hindi and Thai
  • Other regions/countries and appropriate languages may be allowed by petition and intellectual justification.

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