The study of creating public policy and dealing with the many obstacles behind the scenes. Students will develop the skills needed to factor in various community needs such as education, land use, healthcare, and the economy. Classes that provide more of a foundational perspective will look at trends and what policies have and have not worked in the past, and what policies work best at different levels of government.
Public Financial Management
Allocating funds for the needs of public services within any level of government. Emergency services like medical care and firefighters, and the maintenance and improvement of city infrastructure are some examples of what is publicly financed. Students will learn how to analyze what needs more or less funding, and decide what needs to happen faster, based on their level of government. They can also look toward other sources of revenue, such as raising or implementing taxes on various services.
Ethics in Public Policy
Provides an exploration into ethical practices when developing public policy, specifically looking into the connection between regulation and human behavior. Typically, this course will dive into foundational theories and look at many issues from a series of perspectives, such as social justice, religion, and moral principles. Students will also learn the ability to analyze and adjust policy while comparing interests from different parties.
Social Media Policy
With the rise of social media, more courses are diving into topics involving social media, especially for those getting into a career in public affairs or public relations. Specifically, this course can help set up a list of rules and regulations for a business in terms of how to engage in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Public affairs programs will typically explore some form of economic studies, such as microeconomics. This focuses on the supply and demand of individuals, or specific companies or organizations. There is some overlap with macroeconomics, such as how inflation can impact living expenses and the cost of goods. Other special topics that can be covered in these courses are market failures and how policy can impact the stability of a local economy.
The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) has a peer-reviewed accreditation process that ensures the curriculum of a graduate program at a particular institution meets high standards in public service. Over 300 universities around the world have been given accreditation, meaning students will receive the education and resources needed to advance in their career. All universities are required to review their curriculum and teaching capabilities on an annual basis, and NASPAA publishes employment information in all the various sectors, be it public, private, or nonprofit.
This position looks into the impact of developed policies and laws have among the community, establishments, and the policymakers themselves. They research political party interests, voting behavior, and they typically can predict what kind of an impact can happen based on their data. Roles that can be taken as a political scientist include running a political campaign, consulting campaign managers, or market research. According to PayScale, the average wage of a political scientist across the United States is $52,910 annually.
Public Health Manager
Oversees the operations of a hospital or any kind of medical facility. Their goals are to balance finances, observing medical procedures, and implementing new policies with the focus on public health services. Typically, this includes common sicknesses and prevention methods. This position often requires a Master’s degree in the healthcare field, and average compensation is around $65,300 on an annual basis according to Salary.com.
Certain news journalists fall into the public affairs spectrum if they cover government and public policy stories and discuss the impact of them in the location they cover. Duties involve gathering information from government officials, and the companies and community members involved. They must discover trends and develop reliable sources, and report as frequently as the outlet needs. Holding a degree or experience within journalism and communication is highly recommended.