Summer Minor Program in U.S. Public Policy

A minor in public policy requires 5 courses (15 hours/credits), including:

ECON 1010: Intro to Microeconomics — Course can be taken at any time, before or after the summer program

POLA 3240: Public Policy — Must be taken during the summer unless students have previously completed this course.

POLA 4110: Policy Research Shop — Must be taken during the summer and open only to declared public policy minors — includes mandatory 20-hour service-learning requirement where students are matched to City Hall offices to write policy briefs on local issues

Elective 1 — Must be taken during the summer

Elective 2 — Must be taken during the summer

Important Policies

Pre- and Co-Requisites: There are no prerequisites for the courses during the summer. All courses are open to any student of any major.

Minimum Grades: Students must achieve a C average (2.0) across all required coursework. Students cannot take courses in the program as S/U.

Non-minor Participation in Program: All courses are open to any student except POLA 4110, which is open only to public policy minors.

Double-Counting: According to university policy, students may count no more than two courses (6 credits) toward both a major and a minor.

The Tulane Summer Minor Program in Public Policy will give students a foundation for graduate school in public policy or a career in government and politics at the local, state or national level. Students will complete relevant coursework and participate in service learning that together will provide them with tools in the analysis of policy, knowledge in substantive policy areas, and experience in local government. Students completing the minor will fulfill one of Tulane’s service learning graduation requirements.

Summer Schedule

Session 1: June 1-June 26

POLA 3240: Intro to Public Policy (required) — taught by J. Celeste Lay
This course covers the policy-making process for domestic policy in the United States. We focus on national policies. Policies are the decisions made by a variety of political actors that set and implement a course for action on particular political problems. Thus, they are the meat of politics — without policies, politics have no real stakes. We examine the important concepts and theories about policy-making and study the policy process in its various stages. In the process, there are several case studies we examine as well as an in-depth analysis of certain policies.

+ Choose 1 Elective:
ARHS Public Policy & Arts — taught by Stephanie Porras
The history and formulation of arts policy is an important and often contentious aspect of US public policy. As of January 2012, there were just under a million US businesses involved in the creation or distribution of the arts, employing 3.35 million people and worth $64 billion in exports (Americans for the Arts Study, 2013).While the federal funding of the arts has been cut dramatically in recent years, local and state governments remain interested in arts funding as a way of building communities and as an engine of economic development and urban regeneration. Liberal Arts students at Tulane who are interested in the Summer Minor in Public Policy may be particularly interested in the intersections between policy and the arts, connecting courses taken in fields like Studio Art, Dance, Theater, Art History, and English to the contemporary political and economic environment.


SOCI Immigration Policy — taught by Carl Bankston
This course is designed to give students a thorough historical, political and social background in American immigration policy. In order to do this, it is divided into two primary emphases. The first, during the first half of the semester, is mainly organized around major pieces of immigration legislation over the course of American history. The goal in this part of the course is to enable students to see immigration policy as a set of laws that have affected succeeding laws and as responses to changing economic, political, and social contexts. The second primary emphasis, with which we will be mainly concerned during the second half of the semester, is on contemporary questions and debates, such as the purposes of immigration policy, how to respond to undocumented immigrants and their children, and policies for immigrant adaptation or assimilation.


Session 2: June 29-July 24

POLA 4110: Policy Research Shop (required) — taught by Brian Brox
This class creates a partnership between city government and Tulane students in order to address issues of concern to the city and increase students’ civic engagement.  In this course, the professor solicits policy topics from local elected and appointed officials and bureaucrats and the students write policy briefs on these issue areas.  In exchange for the policy brief, policy sponsors agree to allow the students to present their findings at an official forum, such as a city council meeting.  Students will spend 20 hours per semester working for an office in City Hall as part of a required service learning element.

+ Choose 1 Elective:
ENGL Colbert & Stewart: Satire & Public Policy — taught by Kellie Warren
In this era of “truthiness,” much of the American public has an affinity for satirical news sources. We will analyze Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, The Onion, and Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update and political caricatures.  That is, we will analyze a variety of domestic policy matters (campaign finance reform, technology & communications policy, environmental & land use policy, and etc.) through the lens of satire.  We will also explore the real-world effects of political satire on public discourse and public policy.


POLA Environmental Policy — taught by Mirya Holman
This course will introduce students to the laws, institutions, stakeholders, and political processes that shape the debates over environmental policy at the federal, state, and local level. Students will develop and practice skills of analyzing and making decisions relevant to environmental policy. Drawing on political science, public policy, and environmental studies, this course will consider how the federal government regulates the environment, the political discourse around environmental issues, how to protect the environment through various policy approaches, the formation and evolution of environmental political attitudes, and the contested role of science in environmental politics.



For 2015, each class will cost $2400, or a total of $9600 for the entire 4-course sequence.

On-campus housing can be provided for approximately $40 per night.

Financial aid may be available. Students should consult the Office of Financial Aid for specific information.


How to Register

Students should complete a minor declaration form and return it to J. Celeste Lay for her signature at 310 Norman Mayer Bldg.

Registration for courses will be through Gibson starting in April.



J. Celeste Lay at

Tulane University, School of Liberal Arts, 102 Newcomb Hall, New Orleans, LA  70118, (504) 865-5225,