Public Policy Studies
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Overview: Public policy students examine the social, political and economic relationships that urban dwellers develop with each other and with the institutions that make and carry out public policy for them. These students tend to be good problem-solvers and persistent in tackling vital challenges.
Curriculum: By necessity, the field of urban affairs is interdisciplinary and broad-based. A goal of the bachelor of arts in urban affairs degree program is to acquaint the student with a variety of interdisciplinary approaches to the study of urban phenomena including the social, political and economic aspects.
Faculty: Faculty members specialize in areas including criminal justice, demography, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), human ecology, land use analysis, public finance, public organizational studies, public policy analysis, strategic planning, urban affairs, urban development policy and urban geography.
Internships: Learning opportunities in the community are critical to the study of urban affairs and flow naturally from the strong community commitment of the public policy studies faculty. Three to six credit hours of internship ("Field Service") are required in the undergraduate curriculum in urban affairs, typically at a public or nonprofit agency.
Interns have worked with such agencies as the St. Louis Police Department; the St. Louis Community Development Agency; Bi-State Development Agency; Clark Oil; Blue Cross/Blue Shield; MasterCard International Corp; the city of Webster Groves, Mo.; the city of Manchester, Mo.; the city of University City, Mo.; and various nonprofit agencies.
Careers: Students with the undergraduate degree in urban affairs are prepared for a wide variety of graduate and professional school opportunities including law, social service, urban planning, political science and public administration. Many students also begin entry-level positions in public service agencies dealing with criminal justice and social services.
Demand in these fields will be spurred by the continuing importance of environmental, economic, transportation and energy production planning. Other factors contributing to demand for experts in urban affairs include interest in zoning and land use planning in undeveloped and non-metropolitan areas, including coastal areas; the need to replace aging public infrastructure; historic preservation and rehabilitation activities; central city redevelopment; and commercial development to support suburban areas with rapidly growing populations.