Frequently Asked Questions

Here we answer the most commonly asked questions about the Public Policy & Analysis major.

What is the Public Policy & Analysis (PPA) major?

The Public Policy and Analysis major provides students with an extensive foundation in quantitative sciences and the knowledge of how to apply those tools to the analysis of public problems (what should government do?) and the evaluation of public policies (what difference has the policy made?). The curriculum is comprised of three primary components designed to help students explicitly connect their knowledge of quantitative methods to the application of real world problem solving. The first component entails acquiring substantive knowledge about societal problems and possible solutions. Students gain this knowledge from fields like economics (e.g., underemployment, housing, economic development), sociology (e.g., juvenile delinquency, child and family well-being), political science (voting rights, equal opportunity) and environmental sciences (e.g., run-off from farms), among others.

The second component is understanding how public problems are transformed into public policies and includes the study of problem definition, the formulation of policy alternatives, policy adoption, and policy implementation. The third component is often called the “feedback loop” as it involves the evaluation of policy implementation (was the program delivered as intended) and policy outcomes (what difference did the policy make in addressing the problem) which may provide evidence of the policy’s effectiveness, the need for policy adjustments to increase effectiveness, or reveal new (sometimes unintended) problems that require attention. 

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How many courses / credit hours do I need to complete the PPA major?

A combination of 17 courses, totaling 51+ credit hours, is required to complete the degree.

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What kind of quantitative courses will I take?

You’ll take:

  • CALC I, MATH 111, MATH 115, MATH 119, or equivalent test/transfer credit

Six core courses:

  • QTM 110: Introduction to Scientific Methods
  • QTM 120: Math for Quantitative Sciences
  • QTM 150: Intro to Statistical Computing I
  • QTM 151: Intro to Statistical Computing II
  • QTM 210: Probability and Statistics
  • QTM 220: Regression Analysis

Three upper-level elective courses (300- or 400-level seminar / lecture style QTM courses):

  • Elective course topics change every semester and include topics like Statistical & Machine Learning, Maximum Likelihood Estimation, Experimental Methods, Game Theory I/II, Survey Research Methods, Computational Modeling, Longitudinal/Panel Data Analysis, Bayesian Statistics, Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, Data Science Computing, Social Network Analysis, Social Choice Theory, and others.

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What other courses do I need to take?

Students will need to complete four courses offered by Political Science, one course offered by Economics, and three elective courses. Elective courses include courses from Economics, Sociology, Political Science, and Environmental Sciences and will be updated / listed on this website each semester.

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Can I double major in PPA and another subject? Will the same courses count toward both majors?

Yes, you can double major:

  • You can complete one major, two majors, or one major and one minor.
  • You can only double count two courses between any two majors or a major and a minor. That means that if you pursue PPA and an East Asian Studies major, a maximum of two courses between these two majors can overlap.
  • A number of double majors may not be allowed. Check with your faculty advisor or Ann Powers to ensure your double major is allowed.
  • Double majoring can affect your ability to graduate on time; you will need to map out your schedule carefully to ensure you can complete two majors in four years

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How can I participate in an honors program in the PPA major?

Students who wish to participate in an honors program will apply to the Political Science honors program

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Where can I declare this major?

QTM oversees the administration of the PPA major. You can declare the PPA major online here, after which QTM will email you with further instructions.

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Will I graduate in time if I pursue the PPA major?

Every course of study is different. We’ll sit down with you and review your particular plan so that you know what to expect. E-mail Ann Powers, Academic Department Administrator, at or call 404-727-6830

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What is the Washington Semester? How can I apply to it?

Information about the Washington Semester may be found here:

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