Public Policy and Service


Patrick A. McLean, director, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.
B.A., 1985, University of Dayton; M.A., 1987, Miami University (Ohio).

Edward J. Visco, associate director, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.
B.A., 2004, Albion College; M.Ed., 2006, Chestnut Hill College.


President Gerald R. Ford created what is now the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service at Albion College in 1977. The Institute provides an opportunity for undergraduate-level students to explore policy issues more fully and to prepare future leaders in all fields through course work, service, internships and personal mentoring.

The Ford Institute concentration is open to students of all majors with a serious interest in public service. The program includes courses in ethics, public policy, and political science, as well as a range of choices from courses in economics and management, English, modern languages, and communication. Students must be admitted to the Ford Institute to pursue this concentration. Visit the Ford Institute website for information on the application process.

The major in public policy provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to understanding how government works and why government decisions matter. It draws on the principles, practices, and research methods of the social sciences and philosophy to provide students with the theoretical and analytic skills relevant to today's most pressing global issues. The major prepares students for careers in government, for private-sector careers related to government policy, or for careers with a range of non-profits and international organizations. It also provides strong preparation for students planning on attending law school or earning a master's degree and/or Ph.D. in public policy, public administration, public health or social policy.

Major and Concentration

Requirements for Major in Public Policy

  • Five units: Economics and Management 101 and 230, Philosophy 304, and Political Science 216 and 338
  • One unit in statistics chosen from among Economics and Management 235, Mathematics 209.
  • One unit in research methods chosen from among Anthropology and Sociology 224, Economics and Management 379 and Political Science 100.
  • Two units, which must be taken in two different departments, chosen from the following restricted electives related to public policy:
    Anthropology and Sociology 345, 370
    Economics and Management 232, 273, 322, 323, 331, 353, 354, 375
    Education 202
    Environment 220
    History 243
    Philosophy 206, 301, 302, 303, 308, 335
    Political Science 214, 220, 319, 322, 323, 324
    Substitution as approved by the Ford Institute director.
  • One unit from among an internship, Honors thesis, or directed study in public policy approved by the Ford Institute Internal Advisory Committee.
  • A substantial paper and an oral presentation on a topic related to public policy. This paper and presentation will be completed as one of the requirements listed above.

Students who double major in public policy and another field may count up to one unit toward the requirements of both majors. If there is more than one unit of overlap between the majors, then the student must take additional electives in one of the majors to substitute for every unit of overlap beyond one in consultation with the department chair or program director.

Students who enroll in the Washington Semester program at the American University can receive up to two units of credit toward the requirements of the public policy major, subject to the approval of the Ford Institute director and the Ford Internal Advisory Committee.

Requirements for Concentration in Public Policy and Service

  • A minimum of six and one-half units including the following. Note: Students must be admitted to the Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service to pursue this concentration.
  • PBSV 101, Introduction to Public Service. (Required for first year.)
  • Political Science 101: Politics of American Democracy
  • Political Science 216: Public Policy Analysis
  • At least one unit selected from Communication Studies 241, 245; English 203, 205, 207, Economics and Management 101, one semester of modern language at the 200-level or above
  • At least one unit selected from Philosophy 201, 202, 206, 301, 302, 303, 304, 308, 309, 335, or Religion 242
  • Internship (one unit)
  • PBSV 397, Senior Colloquium (to be taken during spring of senior year, or junior year with permission of instructor)
  • All courses for the concentration must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.

Public Policy and Service Courses

101 Introduction to Public Service (1)
Prerequisite: Membership in the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.
Introduces new Ford Institute students to public policy and public service issues. Examines a broad range of themes including ethics, civic engagement, the history of public service in the United States and contemporary public policy concerns. Offered in the fall. McLean.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. McLean.

397 Senior Colloquium (1/2)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
Analysis of selected public policy issues. Colloquium includes discussion of the economics, politics, social and ethical factors that go into the making of public policy. Offered in the spring. McLean.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)