Contacts | Program of Study | Program Requirements | Summary of Requirements | Grading | Honors | Study Abroad | Double Majors | Courses

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Program of Study

Public Policy Studies is a multidisciplinary major grounded in the social sciences, with substantial inputs from economics, sociology, political science, and law, among other disciplines. The major recognizes that public issues are not neatly contained within traditional disciplinary boundaries and that analysts possessing a broad range of social scientific understanding, quantitative expertise, and communication skills are well placed to contribute to improved public policies. Public Policy involves direct contact with policy problems, ensuring that academic speculations are well-informed and connected to real-world conditions.

The Public Policy Studies major strives to put analysis before advocacy, stressing that compelling policy analysis is a central component of effective advocacy. We aim to be open and helpful to students of all political persuasions and challenge students to rethink clichéd responses to policy problems. The program of study for the BA degree in Public Policy Studies is designed to introduce students to policy analysis and implementation, equip them to use quantitative and economic methods, train them in policy research, enhance their spoken and written policy communication skills, and provide them with a thorough grounding in one or more specific policy areas.

Program Requirements

Two quarters of calculus, one quarter of statistics, five “core” Public Policy courses, one “Methods” and one “Windows” course, three related courses constituting an area of specialization, a BA Capstone preparation course, and a successful Capstone thesis or project: these are the necessary components for completing the Public Policy Studies major. The calculus and statistics requirements, and frequently some courses constituting an area of specialization, too, are generally fulfilled through courses offered in programs outside of Public Policy Studies. Students have considerable flexibility in terms of when in their undergraduate career they take the required courses. 

Calculus and Statistics: Public Policy Studies students take two quarters of calculus (typically MATH 13100-13200 Elementary Functions and Calculus I-II or MATH 15100-15200 Calculus I-II), and one quarter of statistics (either STAT 22000 Statistical Methods and Applications or STAT 23400 Statistical Models and Methods).

Five Public Policy Core Courses: Students are required to take PBPL 20000 Economics for Public Policy; an acceptable substitute for PBPL 20000, however, is ECON 20000 The Elements of Economic Analysis I. Completion of PBPL 20000 (or ECON 20000) is a prerequisite for the required course PBPL 22200 Public Policy Analysis. With the exception of PBPL 20000 Economics for Public Policy (which must be taken prior to PBPL 22200), the core courses can be taken in any order, and the core requirements can be fulfilled over multiple academic years.

The five core courses are listed in the table below. Except for PBPL 22300 Policy Implementation, the core courses typically are offered only one quarter each academic year: for instance, PBPL 22100 Politics and Policy is offered in the Autumn Quarter, and PBPL 22200 Public Policy Analysis is offered in the Winter Quarter. This standard timing, however, is subject to change, so students should check with their academic adviser before committing to a plan that necessitates, for instance, taking a specific core course in the quarter just before graduation.

PBPL 20000Economics for Public Policy100
PBPL 22100Politics and Policy100
PBPL 22200Public Policy Analysis100
PBPL 22300Policy Implementation100
PBPL 26400Quantitative Methods in Public Policy100

Methods and Windows

Students must take one “Methods” course and one “Windows” course to fulfill the practicum requirement of the major. The practicum requirement is designed to help students to learn research methods (e.g., demography, interviewing, GIS mapping, survey design) and then apply their methodological skills in a “real world” context, opening a “window” from the ivory tower into the outside world. Some Windows courses, in particular, involve collective work on a substantive policy problem with a community organization or government entity.

A sample of approved Methods and Windows courses are listed in the tables below; for a more complete list, please see Students can also petition to fulfill their Methods or their Windows requirement with an appropriate course that is not listed. 

Some approved Methods courses:

PBPL 26302Public Policy Practicum: Interview Project on Gun Violence100
PBPL 26303Public Policy Practicum: Interview Project on Public Education100
PBPL 28550Methods of Data Collection: Social Experiments, Quasi-Experiments and Surveys100
PBPL 28633Policy Evaluation100
PBPL 28829Artificial Intelligence for Public Policy100
ANTH 21420Ethnographic Methods100
BIOS 20172Mathematical Modeling for Pre-Med Students100
CHDV 20100Human Development Research Design100
SOCI 20516Digital Lives, Virtual Societies: rethinking qualitative methodology100
SOCI 20140Qualitative Field Methods100

Some approved Windows courses:

PBPL 23300Justice, Equity, and Opportunity: Shifting Approaches to Criminal Justice Reform100
PBPL 24751The Business of Non-Profits and The Evolving Social Sector100
PBPL 24752Impact investing: Using Impact Capital to Address Social Problems100
PBPL 26260Environmental Justice in Principle and Practice100
PBPL 26302Public Policy Practicum: Interview Project on Gun Violence100
PBPL 26303Public Policy Practicum: Interview Project on Public Education100
PBPL 28502Policing in America: Black, White and Blue100
CHDV 20305Inequality in Urban Spaces100
ENST 27155Urban Design with Nature100
ENST 27221Sustainable Urbanism100
SOCI 20140Qualitative Field Methods100

Area of Specialization

Students are required to complete three related, policy-relevant courses that together constitute their area of specialization. The specialization courses must be related with respect to a policy sub-field, such as Urban Policy, Human Rights, or Environmental Policy. Specialization courses can be drawn from any academic department, but at least one of the three courses must be listed within Public Policy Studies. Proposed areas of specialization can be pre-approved before some or all of the constituent courses have been taken. Please see the Public Policy Studies website for examples of recommended specializations:

The Capstone Requirement

All Public Policy Studies majors must complete the Capstone requirement. There are two ways to complete this requirement: the BA Thesis Seminar PBPL 29800 and the BA Project Seminar PBPL 29500. Each seminar requires students to complete a writing project that showcases the skills they acquire throughout their studies in the major. The BA Thesis Seminar (PBPL 29800) guides students in conducting original, independent research (e.g., developing methodological skills, collecting and analyzing data) as part of a year-long project that culminates in a BA thesis. The BA Project Seminar (PBPL 29500) is a one-quarter course that focuses on critical policy-relevant writing, resulting in a project that highlights student analysis of vital public policy problems. More information about the ways of completing the Capstone requirement can be found at

Email List

Students majoring in Public Policy Studies should subscribe to our e-mail list, which disseminates announcements concerning courses, internships, fellowships, and other information connected with the major. You can subscribe automatically at

Summary of Requirements

MATH 13100-13200Elementary Functions and Calculus I-II (or higher)200
STAT 22000Statistical Methods and Applications100
or STAT 23400 Statistical Models and Methods
PBPL 20000Economics for Public Policy100
PBPL 22100Politics and Policy100
PBPL 22200Public Policy Analysis100
PBPL 22300Policy Implementation100
PBPL 26400Quantitative Methods in Public Policy100
Approved Methods Course100
Approved Windows Course100
Three Courses in an Area of Specialization300
PBPL 29800BA Thesis Seminar: Public Policy100
or PBPL 29500 BA Project Seminar
Total Units1200


All courses counting toward the public policy major must be taken for quality grades.  


Only students who complete the BA Thesis Seminar (PBPL 29800) and have an overall GPA of 3.4 or higher are eligible for honors within the Public Policy Studies major. Qualifying students are recommended for honors if their BA papers are judged to be of superior quality. For additional information about honors, please visit

Study Abroad

The University of Chicago’s Spring Quarter Barcelona Public Policy program provides University of Chicago students with an opportunity to study comparative public policy in the exciting cultural and political capital of Catalonia in northeastern Spain. The program is designed to expose students to policymaking in a non-U.S. setting through a combination of courses and excursions that will allow students to learn how the political and policymaking system operates in other nations. The three-course Public Policy sequence will meet the requirement for three courses in an area of specialization within the Public Policy major (though students need not be Public Policy majors to participate in the program). In addition to the Public Policy sequence, participants take a fourth course in Spanish language. Students with sufficient knowledge of Catalan may substitute a Catalan language course in place of the Spanish language course. For more information, or to apply, visit the Study Abroad website.

Double Majors

The Public Policy Studies major is quite accessible for students looking to graduate with a double major. Frequently, one or two of the PBPL Area of Specialization courses can be drawn from 200-level course electives in other majors. The Methods requirement is another course that students can complete through coursework in another department. Public Policy Studies generally does not accept course substitutions for the core courses PBPL 22100 Politics and Policy, PBPL 22300 Policy Implementation, or PBPL 26400 Quantitative Methods in Public Policy. Public Policy Studies is open to students who wish to use a single BA thesis for multiple majors. More information for students who double major in Public Policy Studoes and Economics can be found here.

Public Policy Studies (PBPL) Courses

PBPL 20000. Economics for Public Policy. 100 Units.

This course develops the microeconomic theories of consumer and producer choices, as well as demonstrates the application of these theoretical tools to policy problems. Supply, demand, and competitive markets are examined, along with the conditions under which government policy can increase efficiency.

Instructor(s): R. Kellogg     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Completion of two quarters of calculus required; prior knowledge of economics not required. For ECON majors and students who have taken ECON 20000: consent of instructor required.
Note(s): PBPL 20000 or ECON 20000 is required of all students who are majoring in public policy. PBPL 20000 satisfies the ECON 20000 prerequisite for PBPL 22200. Students who have taken ECON 20000 require the instructor's consent to enroll in PBPL 20000.

PBPL 20115. Women, Peace and Security. 100 Units.

This course focuses on critical feminist theorizing and scholarship on militarization, war and masculinities, and on feminist articulations of peace and (demilitarized) security. Students will learn about the transnational feminist research, policy and advocacy network known as the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, and the important inroads this network has made in establishing international and national policies in the fields of gender, conflict, peace and development. The course highlights the background, history and policy significance of the historic Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, as well as subsequent and related UN resolutions. Students will also learn about alternative feminist approaches and visions for international peace and security, through powerful case study examples of feminist activism, solidarity and diplomacy.

Instructor(s): Maliha Chishti     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): PBPL 28498 Women, Development and Politics (recommended)
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 47420, GNSE 20115, GNSE 40115

PBPL 20150. Sustainable Urban Development. 100 Units.

The course covers concepts and methods of sustainable urbanism, livable cities, resiliency, and smart growth principles from a social, environmental and economic perspective. In this course we examine how the development in and of cities - in the US and around the world - can be sustainable, especially given predictions of a future characterized by increasing environmental and social volatility. We begin by critiquing definitions of sustainability. The fundamental orientation of the course will be understanding cities as complex socio-natural systems, and so we will look at approaches to sustainability grouped around several of the most important component systems: climate, energy, transportation, and water. With the understanding that sustainability has no meaning if it excludes human life, perspectives from both the social sciences and humanities are woven throughout: stewardship and environmental ethics are as important as technological solutions and policy measures.

Instructor(s): Winter: Staff, Spring: Evan Carver     Terms Offered: Spring Winter
Note(s): ENST 21201 and 20150 are required of students who are majoring in Environmental and Urban Studies and may be taken in any order.
Equivalent Course(s): CEGU 20150, GLST 20150, ENST 20150, ARCH 20150

PBPL 20170. Pandemics, Urban Space, and Public Life. 100 Units.

Much of the cultural vibrance, economic strength, and social innovation that characterizes cities can be credited to their density. Put simply, cities bring people together, and togetherness allows for complex and fruitful exchange. But togetherness also brings risks, notably from infectious disease. A pandemic feeds on propinquity. "Social distance," while a short-term public health imperative, is antithetical to the very idea of the urban. In this seminar, we will explore these competing tensions in light of current and past disease outbreaks in urban settings. Drawing on a range of texts from history, design theory, sociology, and anthropology, as well as cultural artifacts like film, graphic memoir, and photography, we will engage questions like: How are the risks of contagion balanced with the benefits of density? How are such risks distributed throughout society? What creative responses have architects, urban designers, and planners brought to this challenge? Most importantly, how can we respond constructively to the challenge of pandemic to create cities where the benefits of togetherness are maximized, perhaps even improved on compared with the pre-outbreak condition? Students will have the opportunity to propose design or policy interventions to help their own communities respond to the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, return to a vibrant post-pandemic life, and prepare for the pandemics of the future.

Instructor(s): Evan Carver     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GEOG 20170, CEGU 20170, ENST 20170, HLTH 20170, ARCH 20170

PBPL 20521. Sociology of urban planning: cities, territories, environments. 100 Units.

This course provides a high-intensity introduction to the sociology of urban planning practice under modern capitalism. Building upon urban sociology, planning theory and history as well as urban social science and environmental studies, we explore the emergence, development and continual transformation of urban planning in relation to changing configurations of capitalist urbanization, modern state power, sociopolitical insurgency and environmental crisis. Following an initial exploration of divergent conceptualizations of "planning" and "urbanization," we investigate the changing sites and targets of planning; struggles regarding the instruments, goals and constituencies of planning; the contradictory connections between planning and diverse configurations of power in modern society (including class, race, gender and sexuality); and the possibility that new forms of planning might help produce more socially just and environmentally sane forms of urbanization in the future.

Instructor(s): N. Brenner     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 30521, GEOG 20521, PLSC 30521, PLSC 20521, ARCH 20521, SOCI 30521, CHST 20521, SOCI 20521, CEGU 20521, PPHA 30521, ENST 20521

PBPL 20555. The Sociology of Work. 100 Units.

From the Great Depression to the Great Resignation, paid work has played a central role in American life. The average American spends 1/3 of their life at work - making it an area of the social world heavily examined by politicians, journalists, and social scientists. In this course, we will look at the structural and interpersonal dynamics of work to consider the questions of what makes a "good job" in America and who gets to decide? Our topics will include low-wage work, the stigma of "dirty jobs," gender and racial inequality at work, physical and emotional labor on the job, side hustles and the gig economy, and life after retirement. Students will be required to write a 15 page research paper that draws on interview data they will collect over the quarter. No prior background in doing interviews is required!

Instructor(s): K. Schilt     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 20555, CHDV 24711, SOCI 20555

PBPL 21011. Clinical Research Design and Interpretation of Health Data. 100 Units.

This course will introduce the interdisciplinary field of clinically oriented health services research with a focus on the interpretation of health-related metrics and policy-related applications. We will examine how translational medical science informs healthcare providers, payers, and professional societies. COVID-19 and postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy will illustrate the challenges of data interpretation, translation of research findings into clinical medicine, and the adoption of evidence-based guidelines. Using a highly interactive approach, students will gain experience in selection of research study designs, measurement of health status, risk adjustment, causal inference, and understanding the placebo effect. We will discuss how clinicians, administrators, and public reporting entities judge and use information derived from investigations. The COVID-19 pandemic will demonstrate the challenges that varied clinical presentations, diagnostic accuracy, and case definition (identification of diseased patients) create in the formulation of health statistics (e.g., case-fatality rates and disease attribution of mortality). We will also discuss methods of defining study populations for both clinical research and public health reporting.

Instructor(s): Gregory Ruhnke     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 29331, CCTS 21011, CCTS 41011, HLTH 21011

PBPL 21425. Health in a Changing America: Social Context and Human Rights. 100 Units.

In this interdisciplinary course, students will consider the social context of health and the social and political commitments necessary to protect health as a human right. We will analyze recent trends in population health, such as the obesity epidemic, the opioid crisis, and the large gaps in life expectancy between neighborhoods in urban centers. Using case studies, students will envision a human rights-based response to these and other health challenges. We will examine the ways that framing health as personal versus public responsibility is consequential for social policy.

Instructor(s): Alicia Riley, Graduate Lecturer in Human Rights     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 21403

PBPL 22100. Politics and Policy. 100 Units.

This course has two fundamental aims. The first is to introduce students to a set of analytical tools and concepts for understanding how political institutions generate public policy. The second is to apply these tools in examining the major institutions of democracy in the United States. Note(s): Public Policy 22100-22200-22300 may be taken in any order.

Instructor(s): C. Berry     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Public Policy 22100-22200-22300 may be taken in any order.

PBPL 22200. Public Policy Analysis. 100 Units.

This course reviews and augments the basic tools of microeconomics developed in ECON 20000 and applies these tools to policy problems. We examine situations in which private markets are likely to produce unsatisfactory results, suggesting a potential rationale for government intervention. Our goal is to allow students to comprehend, develop, and respond to economics arguments when formulating or evaluating public policy.

Instructor(s): J. Leitzel     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): PBPL 20000 or ECON 20000
Note(s): PBPL 22100-22200-22300 may be taken in any order. PBPL 22200 is not intended for students majoring in public policy who are planning to specialize in economics or to take advanced economics courses; those students should meet with the program director or administrator to arrange an alternative.

PBPL 22300. Policy Implementation. 100 Units.

Good public policy has the potential to advance justice in society. However, once a policy or program is put in place, policymakers often face challenges in getting it carried out in the ways it was intended. This course explores some of the structural and cultural challenges that government and organizations face as they attempt to put policies into effect. Focusing on the United States, we will draw on organizational theory as well as case studies from education, policing, healthcare, and the corporate world in order to investigate the broader context of policy implementation. In addition to the lectures, there will be a weekly discussion section with the TA, the exact time of which will be determined during Week 1 of the quarter.

Instructor(s): Chad Broughton (Autumn); Karlyn Gorski (Winter and Spring)     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Prerequisite(s): Second-year standing is recommended.
Note(s): PBPL 22100-22200-22300 may be taken in any order.

PBPL 23007. Clinical and Health Services Research: Methods and Applications. 100 Units.

This course will introduce the interdisciplinary field of clinically-oriented health services research with a focus on policy-related implications. Through exposure to theoretical foundations, methodologies, and applications, students without significant investigative experience will learn about the design and conduct of research studies. We will cover the integration of research within the stages of translational medicine, and how science conducted across the translational medicine spectrum informs policy through purveyors of clinical services (e.g. physicians, hospitals), government, insurers, and professional societies. We will use the examples of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy and autologous bone marrow transplantation to illustrate pitfalls in the progression from basic science research to clinical trials leading to diffusion in clinical medicine that can complicate the creation of logical, evidence-based practice guidelines, reimbursement, and clinical practice.

Instructor(s): Greg Ruhnke     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CCTS 21007, HLTH 21007, CCTS 43007, BIOS 29329

PBPL 23011. Beyond the Culture Wars: Social Movements and the Politics of Education in the U.S. 100 Units.

Passionate conflicts over school curriculum and educational policy are a recurring phenomenon in the history of US schooling. Why are schools such frequent sites of struggle and what is at stake in these conflicts? In this discussion-based seminar, we will consider schools as battlegrounds in the US "culture wars": contests over competing visions of national identity, morality, social order, the fundamental purposes of public education, and the role of the state vis-à-vis the family. Drawing on case studies from history, anthropology, sociology and critical race and gender studies, we will examine both past and contemporary debates over school curriculum and school policy. Topics may include clashes over: the teaching of evolution, sex and sexuality education, busing/desegregation, prayer in schools, multiculturalism, the content of the literary canon, the teaching of reading, mathematics and history, and the closure of underperforming urban schools. Our inquiry will examine how social and political movements have used schools to advance or resist particular agendas and social projects.

Instructor(s): Lisa Rosen     Terms Offered: Spring 2022-23
Equivalent Course(s): EDSO 33011, HIST 27718, CHDV 33011, SOCI 20588, HIST 37718, CHDV 23011, SOCI 30588, EDSO 23011

PBPL 23100. Environmental Law. 100 Units.

This course will examine the bases and assumptions that have driven the development of environmental law, as well as the intersection of this body of law and foundational legal principles (including standing, liability, and the Commerce Clause). Each form of lawmaking (statutes, regulations, and court decisions) will be examined, with emphasis on reading and understanding primary sources such as court cases and the laws themselves. The course also analyzes the judicial selection process in order to understand the importance of how the individuals who decide cases that determine the shape of environmental law and regulations are chosen.

Instructor(s): Ray Lodato     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): 3rd or 4th year standing, or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 23100, CEGU 23100

PBPL 23200. The Economics of Crime. 100 Units.

This course uses theoretical and empirical economic tools to analyze a wide range of issues related to criminal behavior. Topics include the police, prisons, gang behavior, guns, drugs, capital punishment, labor markets and the macroeconomy, and income inequality. We emphasize the analysis of the optimal role for public policy.

Instructor(s): S. Levitt
Prerequisite(s): ECON 20100/20110; STAT 23400, ECON 21010, or ECON 21020 strongly recommended
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 28700

PBPL 23300. Justice, Equity, and Opportunity: Shifting Approaches to Criminal Justice Reform. 100 Units.

The events revolving the death of George Floyd have proliferated the discourse about the criminal justice system in the United States, including the role of police and incarceration. Historically, this public discourse has been dominated mostly by media and political advocacy, with the balance of evidence-based policy solutions and political acumen receiving relatively short shrift. In this practicum, students will be trained to approach these issues from the perspective of a senior criminal justice policymaker in government who has practiced multiple theories of change, from community organizing to litigation. In turn, we will develop criminal justice policy intelligence and knowledge on the history, core themes, debates, and concepts, such as the movement to defund the police, abolish the cash bail system, and decriminalize drugs. The discussions will allow students to interrogate the extent to which efforts have been successful, imagine new strategies in the future, and learn from additional visiting guests, including politicians, community organizers, academics, artists, and formerly incarcerated individuals. We will exit with a sophisticated understanding of the skills and tools necessary to handle criminal justice policy problems raising complex legal, political and social questions.

Instructor(s): Rallins, Quinn     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): In addition to a seminar component examining criminal justice policy, students engage in a hands-on policy project involving identifying and defining key criminal issues, conducting primary and secondary research, analyzing research findings and making policy recommendations to a client in the criminal justice policy arena.

PBPL 23420. Introduction to Intergenerational Mobility. 100 Units.

The gap between top income percentiles and bottom income percentiles has increased in many countries, including the US, over the last decades. Income distribution is placed back at the center of economics and has become a prominent part of media and policy discussions. Empirical findings suggest that there exists a positive correlation between inequality and immobility. To provide deeper insight in mechanisms underlying the latter phenomenon the course covers theories of persistent inequality and intergenerational mobility. Students in this course will learn about the fundamental theories of distributive justice, theory of measures of mobility and persistence, empirical evidence on intergenerational mobility, theories of intergenerational mobility. Assignments include regular class participation and several home assignments (in particular, students will be asked to choose 1 paper to master and to write an essay on it; there will be also offered sets of problems and practical questions).

Instructor(s): Aleksandra Lukina     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PBPL 20000 and 22200 or equivalent.
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 14010

PBPL 23550. Urban Ecology and the Nature of Cities. 100 Units.

Urban ecology is an interdisciplinary field derived from the academic discipline of ecology. How well does classical ecological theory, typically formed from reductionist views of nature without humans, describe and predict patterns in human-dominated landscapes? Students will learn fundamental concepts in ecological theory, examine how these concepts apply to urban systems, and explore the paradigms of ecology in, of, and for cities. Readings and discussions will focus on classical research papers from the ecological literature, history of modern ecology, and contemporary approaches to studying biotic systems in cities.

Instructor(s): Alison Anastasio     Terms Offered: Winter. Not offered Winter 2021
Note(s): Not offered Winter 2021
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 23550

PBPL 23600. Political Sociology. 100 Units.

This course provides analytical perspectives on citizen preference theory, public choice, group theory, bureaucrats and state-centered theory, coalition theory, elite theories, and political culture. These competing analytical perspectives are assessed in considering middle-range theories and empirical studies on central themes of political sociology. Local, national, and cross-national analyses are explored.

Instructor(s): T. Clark     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Completion of the general education requirement in the social sciences
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30106, SOCI 20106, ENST 23500

PBPL 23606. Political Culture, Social Capital, and The Arts. 100 Units.

Many analysts like Robert Putnam hold that bowling alone signals a decline in social capital, with major consequences for trust and legitimacy of the political system. But new work finds that certain arts and cultural activities are rising, especially among the young, in many countries. This course reviews core related concepts--political culture, social capital, legitimacy-and how they change with these new developments. We lay out new concepts and related methods, such as a grammar of scenes, measured for 40,000+ U.S. zip codes. Scenes, nightlife, design, the internet, and entertainment emerge as critical drivers of the post-industrial/knowledge society. Older primordial conflicts over class, race, and gender are transformed with these new issues, which spark new social movements and political tensions. The course has two halves: first to read and discuss major works and complete a mid-term exam, second to continue as a seminar where the main requirement is writing a paper.

Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30184, SOCI 20184

PBPL 23700. Geographical Issues in Housing and Community Development. 100 Units.

This course is part of the College Course Cluster, Urban Design.

Instructor(s): M. Conzen     Terms Offered: Spring. This course offered in even years.
Prerequisite(s): Open to Chicago Studies Program students.
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 23777, GEOG 33700

PBPL 24005. Chicago Neighborhoods. 100 Units.

This course is an applied learning experience in which students explore the many dimensions of Chicago neighborhoods, with a particular focus on the built environment and how it impacts - and is impacted by - the social and economic life of the city. Students will observe, interpret and represent neighborhoods through a series of exercises designed to deepen knowledge about the significance and meaning of neighborhood form. Readings and fieldwork will engage students in neighborhood analysis and observation techniques that explore contemporary issues about public life, diversity, and social equity. This course is part of the College Course Cluster, Urban Design.

Instructor(s): Emily Talen     Terms Offered: TBD. Not offered in 2023-2024 academic year.
Note(s): Restricted to 3rd and 4th years This course counts towards the ENST 4th year Capstone requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOG 24000, CHST 26000, SOSC 26000, ENST 26000

PBPL 24102. Environmental Politics. 100 Units.

Politics determines not only what particular faction holds power, but the parameters upon which contests for power are conducted. Competing political factions may diverge in the details of the policies they favor, but may agree on a central organizing principle upon which their policy differences are contested. This course acknowledges that such principles exist and structure politics, economics, and social arrangements, but also challenges the notion that these are immutable, and argues that other principles could be substituted which would drastically change these arrangements. The course introduces students to alternative theories of economics, politics, and environmental policy that challenge mainstream notions of what is acceptable under the current structural and institutional constraints, including how the retreat to notions of realism and practicality place limits on changes necessary to preserve and protect the natural environment.

Instructor(s): R. Lodato     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CEGU 24102, ENST 24102

PBPL 24105. Urban Design: The Chicago Experience. 100 Units.

This course examines the theory and practice of urban design at the scale of block, street, and building--the pedestrian realm. Topics include walkability, the design of streets, architectural style and its effect on pedestrian experience, safety and security in relation to accessibility and social connection, concepts of urban fabric, repair and placemaking, the regulation of urban form, and the social implications of civic spaces. Students will analyze normative principles and the debates that surround them through readings and discussion, as well as firsthand interaction with the urbanism of Chicago.

Equivalent Course(s): SOSC 26001, SOSC 36001, GEOG 24100, GEOG 34100

PBPL 24202. Chicago Politics. 100 Units.

This course is part of the Spring 2021 Chicago Studies bundle, that will permit students to collaborate with historian and political scientist John Mark Hansen (author of The City in a Garden: A History of Hyde Park and Kenwood) in ongoing research into the history and politics of Chicago's 10th Ward (Southeast Chicago). Meeting schedule and individualized projects will be decided in collaboration with enrollees' specific schedules and interests.

Instructor(s): John Mark Hansen     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 24202, PLSC 24202

PBPL 24540. Weak Regimes and the Politics of Development. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to specialized set of topics and concepts that are of particular relevance to policy making in developing countries. The course begins by providing an overview on the functioning of politics in weakly institutionalized settings, and explores the ways in which political institutions in these settings hinder or contribute to economic development. Topics of this course include but are not limited to: State formation and state capacity, political regimes and development, foreign influence, resource curse, and civil conflict. Methodologically, this course introduces to students basic techniques of using formal model to analyze political phenomena. This course aims at enhancing student's understanding about politics from the perspective of a policy entrepreneur who develops strategy in order to advance policy changes.

Instructor(s): Zhaosong Ruan     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Prerequisites: PBPL 20000 required. PBPL 26400 recommended but not required.

PBPL 24599. Historical and Contemporary Issues in U.S. Racial Health Inequality. 100 Units.

This course explores persistent health inequality in the U.S. from the 1900s to the present day. The focus will be on racial gaps in urban health inequality with some discussion of rural communities. Readings will largely cover the research on Black and White gaps in health inequality, with the understanding that most of the issues discussed extend to health inequalities across many racial and ethnic groups. Readings cover the broad range of social determinants of health (socioeconomic status, education, access to health care, homelessness) and how these social determinants are rooted in longstanding legacies of American inequality. A major component of class assignments will be identifying emerging research and innovative policies and programs that point to promising pathways to eliminating health disparities.

Instructor(s): M. Keels     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Only students with 2nd year standing or above.
Note(s): Fulfills grad requirement: 2,4 and undergrad major requirement B.
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 24599, CHST 24599, HLTH 24599, CHDV 44599, CRES 24599

PBPL 24605. Introduction to Urban Sciences. 100 Units.

This course is a grand tour of conceptual frameworks, general phenomena, emerging data and policy applications that define a growing scientific integrated understanding of cities and urbanization. It starts with a general outlook of current worldwide explosive urbanization and associated changes in social, economic and environmental indicators. It then introduces a number of historical models, from sociology, economics and geography that have been proposed to understand how cities operate. We will discuss how these and other facets of cities can be integrated as dynamical complex systems and derive their general characteristics as social networks embedded in structured physical spaces. Resulting general properties of cities will be illustrated in different geographic and historical contexts, including an understanding of urban resource flows, emergent institutions and the division of labor and knowledge as drivers of innovation and economic growth. The second part of the course will deal with issues of inequality, heterogeneity and (sustainable) growth in cities. We will explore how these features of cities present different realities and opportunities to different individuals and how these appear as spatially concentrated (dis)advantage that shape people's life courses. We will show how issues of inequality also have consequences at more macroscopic levels and derive the general features of population and economic growth for systems of cities and nations.

Instructor(s): Luis Bettencourt     Terms Offered: TBD. Not offered in 2023-2024 academic year.
Prerequisite(s): STAT 22000
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 20285, CEGU 24600, GISC 34600, GISC 24600, ENST 24600

PBPL 24701. U.S. Environmental Policy. 100 Units.

How environmental issues and challenges in the United States are addressed is subject to abrupt changes and reversals caused by extreme partisanship and the heightened significance of the issues for the health of the planet and all its inhabitants. The relatively brief history of this policy area, and the separate and distinct tracts in which public lands and pollution control issues are adjudicated, makes for a diverse and complex process by which humanity's impact on the natural world is managed and contained. This course focuses on how both types of environmental issues are addressed in each branch of the Federal government, the states and localities, as well as theories of how environmental issues arrived onto the public agenda and why attention to them is cyclical. Students are encouraged to understand the life cycle of public policy from its initial arrival on the public agenda to the passage of legislation to address adverse conditions, as well as how changes in the policy occur after the inevitable decline of intensive attention.

Instructor(s): R. Lodato     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): This course counts towards the ENST 4th year Capstone requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): CEGU 24701, ENST 24701

PBPL 24751. The Business of Non-Profits and The Evolving Social Sector. 100 Units.

Led by an experienced practitioner, this course aims to provide both an intellectual and experiential understanding of the contemporary nonprofit sector. In addition to a seminar component examining the rapidly evolving social sector, students engage in a hands-on consulting project for an area nonprofit involving analysis, reporting, and presentation. This course satisfies the Public Policy practicum WINDOWS requirement.

Instructor(s): C. Velasquez     Terms Offered: Spring Winter
Prerequisite(s): Instructor consent required. In the preceding quarter, students must submit an application to campusCATALYST, an RSO managing student, client, and mentor recruitment for the class. Please see the campusCATALYST website or their social media accounts to find the quarterly time schedules and application link: You can reach them at if you have any questions.
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 24751

PBPL 24752. Impact investing: Using Impact Capital to Address Social Problems. 100 Units.

While modern-day impact investing (investing with the goal of generating both financial and positive social/environmental returns) has been around for fifty years, only in the last decade has this movement really caught on achieving mainstream levels of attention and awareness. Investors of all types are seeking to align their values with their investments and every day we see more examples of companies being held accountable (either by themselves or by their stakeholders) for the social and/or environmental externalities of their operations. Through a combination of readings, case studies, class discussion and projects, the course provides an introduction to and overview of the impact investing landscape, the range of investment opportunities across asset classes, and the opportunities and challenges for investors seeking meaningful impact investment vehicles. Students will learn the entire impact investment process from deal sourcing, financial and programmatic due diligence, to investment structuring to monitoring financial and social returns. Led by an experienced practitioner and supplemented by guest speakers, this course will provide both an intellectual and experiential understanding of double-bottom-line investing.

Instructor(s): Christa Velasquez     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Recommended prior coursework: PBPL 24751 The Business of Non-Profits and The Evolving Social Sector
Note(s): Registration only with instructor consent

PBPL 24776. International Environmental Policy. 100 Units.

Environmental issues have become a prominent part of the work of international organizations and their member nations. However, the resolution to issues and concerns shared in common by the nations of the world often faces obstacles based on access to wealth and resources, political and military power, and the demands of international economic institutions. While multinational agreements have been achieved and successfully implemented, resolutions to issues such as climate change have been harder to achieve. The course will look at the origins of international cooperation on environmental issues, several case studies of issues upon which the international community has attempted to bring about cooperative solutions (climate change, the ozone hole, climate refugees, etc.), and the work that regional associations of nations have done to jointly address shared environmental challenges. In addition, speakers from various consulates have addressed the class to discuss environmental policymaking in their countries.

Instructor(s): R. Lodato     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CEGU 24776, ENST 24776

PBPL 24800. Urban Policy Analysis. 100 Units.

Cities are sites of challenge and innovation worldwide. Dramatic new policies can be implemented locally and chart new paths for national policies. Five main approaches are compared: Leadership patterns: are business, political, or other kinds of leaders more important--and where, when, and why do these matter? Second do capitalism, or more recently, global markets, make specific leaders irrelevant? Third: leaders like mayors are weaker since citizens, interest groups, and media have grown so powerful. Fourth innovation drives many policy issues. Fifth consumption, entertainment, and the arts engage citizens in new ways. Can all five hold, in some locations? Why should they differentially operate across big and small, rich and poor neighborhoods, cities, and countries? The course introduces you to core urban issues, whether your goal is to conduct research, interpret reports by others, make policy decisions, or watch the tube and discuss these issues as a more informed citizen. Chicago, US and big and small locations internationally are considered; all methods are welcome.

Instructor(s): T. Clark     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): GEOG 30120, GEOG 20120, SOCI 20120, SOCI 30120

PBPL 25005. Inequality at Work: The Changing Nature of Jobs and Prospects for Improvement. 100 Units.

This course will consider sources of inequality in the labor market and in workplaces. Empirical evidence and theory on labor markets and job conditions will be analyzed to provide insights into the changing nature of work and workplace inequality for the majority of Americans -- who do not hold a four-year college degree. Although the course will consider ways to ready workers for good jobs in the economy, the emphasis will be on improving jobs themselves, through voluntary employer behavior, collective action, and public policy. The assignment for the course involves observing and/or interviewing workers in an occupation chosen by the student.

Instructor(s): Susan Lambert     Terms Offered: TBD
Equivalent Course(s): SSAD 25005

PBPL 25012. Undergraduate research seminar: Chicago Urban Morphology. 100 Units.

This seminar is open to Seniors and Juniors, particularly for but not necessarily limited to those in the fields of geography, environmental science, and urban studies. It is designed for students to undertake original research on a topic of their own choosing within the broad scope of Chicago's built environment. Following a brief reading course in the theoretical literature of urban morphology, each student will identify and select a topic of interest to research using Chicago sources, with the objective of a formal written research paper. Discussions will center around formulating research questions, theoretical underpinnings, suitable methodology, modes of writing, appropriate presentation of evidence, and effective illustration. Sessions will combine open discussion with a rotating series of periodic individual progress reports to the group, reflecting an interesting diversity of topics and mutual support in gaining experience in the research process.

Instructor(s): Michael Conzen     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Restricted to 3rd and 4th years This course counts towards the ENST 4th year Capstone requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 25012, SOCI 20552, GEOG 25012, ARCH 25012, CHST 25012, CEGU 25012

PBPL 25216. The American Presidency. 100 Units.

This course examines the institution of the American presidency. It surveys the foundations of presidential power, both as the Founders conceived it, and as it is practiced in the modern era. This course also traces the historical development of the institutional presidency, the president's relationships with Congress and the courts, the influence presidents wield in domestic and foreign policymaking, and the ways in which presidents make decisions in a system of separated powers.

Instructor(s): W. Howell     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 25215, PLSC 25215

PBPL 25220. Constructing a Society of Human Rights: A Psychological Framework. 100 Units.

This course is designed to discuss the ways that cultural and social psychology contribute to understandings about human rights conceptually, and how human rights issues emerge from social dynamics. Over the course of the quarter, students will learn about theories on intergroup conflict and prejudice, how an individual's beliefs emerge from social contexts and shape their relationships with others, how obedience to authority is created and abused, and how social positioning and narratives influence conceptions of self and other. We will also discuss the relevance and impact of psychological study and data on human rights issues.

Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 25220, CHDV 25220, INRE 30600

PBPL 25500. Introduction to U.S. Health Policy and Politics. 100 Units.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the concepts needed to critically evaluate U.S. health policy issues. The course will 1) provide an overview of the U.S. health system including its institutions, stakeholders, and financing mechanisms, 2) describe the politics of health and illuminate how the structure of our political system shapes health policy outcomes, and 3) offer a framework for assessing the critical features central to health policy debates. Building upon this knowledge, the course will conclude with a discussion of strategies for influencing the health policy process and how they might be employed in future leadership roles within the health sector.

Instructor(s): Loren Saulsberry     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): None
Equivalent Course(s): HLTH 25500, SSAD 45011, PBHS 35500, PPHA 37720

PBPL 25550. Economic Development and Polic. 100 Units.

The course will introduce students to the main concepts in development economics, such as modern growth theories and their relevance for low-income countries, and major topics in policy and research within the field. In the first part of the course, we will concentrate on the development facts, the main explanations highlighted in the field of economics for differences in growth and income levels between rich and poor countries, and the concept and measurement of poverty. In the second part of the course we will study microeconomic fundamentals of economic development. We will concentrate on topics such as fertility, nutrition and health, education, labor markets, intra-household allocation of resources and infrastructure and the relation among them. Empirical evidence from developing economies will be employed extensively paying special attention to the methods used.

Instructor(s): Menendez, A.     Terms Offered: Autumn

PBPL 25563. Does American Democracy Need Religion? 100 Units.

In the United States, we find ourselves living as part of a democracy. But that simple fact doesn't necessarily make us fans of democracy by default. In fact, it leaves many questions unanswered: Is democracy a good thing? If so, why and on what grounds? Why should you or I value democracy and its ideals (e.g., equality, liberty, fraternity)? If we do, what (if anything) grounds our devotion to this shared political tradition? And does, can, or should religion have a role to play? In this course, we will explore American democracy as a normative tradition and its relationship to various religious traditions in American society. Through examining key interpreters of American democracy such as Danielle Allen, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cornel West, Joshua Abraham Heschel, and Amanda Gorman, we will approach the question of how religion and democracy relate to one another. We'll investigate the relative independence of democracy and religion, focusing on philosophers and poets who emphasize American democracy as tradition in its own right. We will also consider "Civil Religion in America," through the work of sociologists and historians who suggest the dependence of the democratic on religion or something like it. Finally, we'll question the relative interdependence of American democracy and religious traditions by turning to claims of influential religious and political leaders and activists. No prerequisite knowledge required.

Instructor(s): Derek Buyan     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 25563, CRES 25563, RLST 25563

PBPL 25585. The Chinese Economy. 100 Units.

This course provides an overview of the Chinese economy, with two main focuses. First, we will review the significant reforms that happened in China in the past four decades, which fundamentally reshaped the modern China as we see today. Second, we will discuss some of China's key political and economic institutions, and their implications on China and the rest of the world. Throughout the course, special emphasis will be given to the role of the state in China's growth experience, at both the central- and local-levels.

Instructor(s): Wang, S     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 22030, PPHA 35585

PBPL 25595. Political Economics of Developing Countries. 100 Units.

What explains why some countries enjoy growing economies, more order, and greater freedom, while other countries remain poor, violent, or unfree. This course will examine why some countries have moved along a path of "political development" while others have not, analyzing subtopics such as leadership, foreign aid, democracy promotion, military intervention, etc. This course will use theory and history to understand the political, economic, and other social scientific logics that lead to function and dysfunction.

Instructor(s): Deniz, Emine     Terms Offered: Spring Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 35556

PBPL 25600. Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace. 100 Units.

Most countries in the world have been independent for about 50 years. Some are peaceful and have prospered, while some remain poor, war-torn, or both. What explains why some countries have succeeded while others remain poor, violent, and unequal? Moreover, fifty years on, a lot of smart people are genuinely surprised that these countries' leaders have not been able to make more progress in implementing good policies. If there are good examples to follow, why haven't more countries followed these examples into peace and prosperity? Finally, we see poverty and violence despite 50 years of outside intervention. Shouldn't foreign aid, democracy promotion, peacekeeping, and maybe even military intervention have promoted order and growth? If not why not, and what should we do about it as citizens? This class is going to try to demystify what's going on. There are good explanations for violence and disorder. There are some good reasons leaders don't make headway, bureaucrats seem slothful, and programs get perverted. The idea is to talk about the political, economic, and natural logics that lead to function and dysfunction.

Instructor(s): Blattman, Chris     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 25601

PBPL 25640. Labor Markets: A Global Perspective. 100 Units.

In this course we will explore standard models that form the core of labor economics including labor supply, labor demand, job search models, wage setting, discrimination, and migration. For each topic we will then examine empirical applications of these models with a focus on middle and low-income countries. We will discuss how these traditional models are useful, or not, in understanding labor market outcomes in these settings and how they can be expanded to better capture relevant features of labor markets outside high-income countries.

Instructor(s): Lane, Gregory     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 14020

PBPL 25663. Urban Studies: Placemaking. 100 Units.

This course considers the values that drive neighborhood transformation, how policy is shaped and implemented, and the role that arts and culture can play in mindful city-building. Classroom hours will be spent with Theaster Gates, professor, Department of Visual Art, in addition to other UChicago faculty, discussing key principles in guiding city redevelopment in mindful and equitable ways. Students will gain field experience working with Place Lab, Gates's multidisciplinary team that documents and demonstrates urban ethical redevelopment strategies initiated through arts and culture. Working across a variety of projects, students will be exposed to programming, data collection, development, community building, strategy, and documentation. Weekly site visits will give students the opportunity to see analogous projects and meet practitioners throughout Chicago.

Equivalent Course(s): ARTV 20663

PBPL 25704. Environmental Justice in Chicago. 100 Units.

This course will examine the development of environmental justice theory and practice through social scientific and ethical literature about the subject as well as primary source accounts of environmental injustices. We will focus on environmental justice issues in Chicago including, but not limited to waste disposal, toxic air and water, the Chicago heat wave, and climate change. Particular attention will be paid to environmental racism and the often understudied role of religion in environmental justice theory and practice. Throughout the course we will explore how normative commitments are expressed in different types of literature as well as the basis for normative judgments and the types of authorities authors utilize and claim as they consider environmental justice.

Instructor(s): Sarah Fredericks     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Graduate students need permission to enroll and will have additional requirements.
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 25704, CHST 25704, AMER 25704, CEGU 25704, KNOW 25704, RLST 25704, ENST 25704, HMRT 25704

PBPL 26005. Cities by Design. 100 Units.

This course examines the theory and practice of city design-how, throughout history, people have sought to mold and shape cities in pre-determined ways. The form of the city is the result of myriad factors, but in this course we will hone in on the purposeful act of designing cities according to normative thinking-ideas about how cities ought to be. Using examples from all time periods and places around the globe, we will examine how cities are purposefully designed and what impact those designs have had. Where and when has city design been successful, and where has it resulted in more harm than good?

Instructor(s): Evan Carver     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ARCH 26005, ENST 26005, GEOG 26005

PBPL 26080. The Challenge of Government Oversight. 100 Units.

Can governments hold themselves accountable? How have they tried to do so, and with what results? Students will evaluate these questions by examining how different models of government oversight work in practice. The quarter will be split attention between federal and local government structures and oversight mechanisms. At the federal level, we will discuss special prosecutors, inspector general audits, models of judicial review and oversight, and the transformation of oversight institutions in the Trump era. At the local level, our focus will be on policing as a government function uniquely in need of effective oversight and uniquely difficult to oversee effectively. As a "windows" course, this course will ask students to engage in class discussions and written assignments with current, real-world challenges facing government oversight professionals.

Instructor(s): Robert Owens     Terms Offered: Winter

PBPL 26255. Environmental Justice Field Research Project I. 100 Units.

This two-quarter sequence will expose students to real-world policy-making questions and field-based research methodologies to design an environmentally based research project, collect data, conduct analyses, and present findings. In the first quarter, we will follow a robust methodological training program in collaboration with University partners to advance the foundations laid elsewhere in the public policy studies program. In the second quarter, this expertise in a full range of research methodologies will be put into practice to tackle public policy problems in the city and neighborhoods that surround the University. PBPL 26255 and PBPL 26355 satisfy the Public Policy practicum Windows and Methods requirements.

Instructor(s): Lodato, R.      Terms Offered: Autumn. not offered in 2022-23
Prerequisite(s): Students taking this course to meet the Public Policy practicum requirement must take both courses.
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 26255

PBPL 26260. Environmental Justice in Principle and Practice. 100 Units.

This course will investigate the foundational texts on environmental justice as well as case studies, both in and out of Chicago. Students will consider issues across a wide spectrum of concerns, including toxics, lead in water, waste management, and access to greenspaces, particularly in urban areas. These topics will be taught in accompaniment with a broader understanding of how social change occurs, what barriers exist to producing just outcomes, and what practices have worked to overcome obstacles in the past. The class will welcome speakers from a variety of backgrounds to address their work on these topics.

Instructor(s): Ray Lodato     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): This course will cover the same content as ENST 26255.
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 26260, CEGU 26260

PBPL 26302. Public Policy Practicum: Interview Project on Gun Violence. 100 Units.

This one-quarter practicum in qualitative methods aims to develop interview research skills, including instrument design, questioning, transcription, thematic analysis, and write-up, in the context of a mini-BA thesis trial run. The topic of this version of the practicum is gun violence in Chicago. Students will engage in weekly in-class interviews with informants with wide-ranging vantage points on gun violence as a social and policy problem including community members, scholars, and policy-makers. Meant to prepare Public Policy Studies students for the BA thesis process, each student, using the weekly in-class interviews conducted by students, and supplemented by interviews and observations of their own, will formulate a question related to gun violence and construct the component parts of their own research paper, which they will submit at the end of the quarter.

Instructor(s): Broughton, Chad     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Open only to Public Policy Studies majors.
Note(s): Can fulfill either the “Methods” or “Windows” major requirement. Recommended for third-year students.

PBPL 26305. Public Policy Practicum: Qualitative Research in Urban Transportation. 100 Units.

This one-quarter practicum in qualitative methods aims to develop interview and observational research skills, including instrument design, questioning, transcription, ethnographic note-taking, thematic analysis, and write-up, in the context of a mini-BA thesis trial run. The topic of this version of the practicum is urban transportation. Students will engage in interviews with informants in different roles in transportation, potentially including public servants, activists, policymakers, and users of multiple modes of urban transportation. This class will include field trips within the city of Chicago. Meant to prepare Public Policy Studies students for the BA thesis process, each student, using interviews/observations conducted by themselves and their classmates, will formulate a question related to urban transportation and construct the component parts of their own research paper, which they will submit at the end of the quarter.

Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Open only to Public Policy Studies majors. Non-public policy students allowed with faculty consent.

PBPL 26366. Planning for Land and Life in the Calumet. 100 Units.

The collaborative plan to create a Calumet National Heritage Area that touches aspects of environmental conservation, economic development, cultural heritage, recreation, arts, and education will ground this course's exploration of landscape history and landscape planning in the Calumet region. Students will investigate this planning process and its relationship to other local and regional plans. A strong focus of the course is on the opportunities and challenges this complex and richly textured industrial region faces in its transition to a more sustainable future.

Instructor(s): Mark Bouman     Terms Offered: Spring. not offered in 2022-23
Note(s): This course is part of the Chicago Studies Quarter: Calumet but may be taken as a standalone class. Students interested in enrolling in all three Calumet Quarter classes should contact For more information on the Calumet quarter, visit This course is presented in partnership with the Field Museum's Keller Science Action Center, and will include mandatory Friday field excursions on 4/1, 4/8, 4/29, 5/6, 5/13, 5/20, and 5/27.
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 26366, ENST 26366

PBPL 26383. Mapping Global Chicago Research Lab: Environmental Justice and Diaspora. 100 Units.

Mapping Global Chicago is a collaborative, interdisciplinary undergraduate research initiative investigating the idea of the "global city." This year, we will investigate the relationships that people have with nature. In particular, we will ask: How do the environmental injustices that immigrants may have faced in their regions of origin compare to the ones they may face here in the diaspora of Chicago? How does facing environmental injustice impact people's relationships with land and nature? What are the environmental justice issues in people's regions of origin and in Chicago? Why do those issues exist? We will be working in partnership with the community organization Semillas y Raíces, whose mission is committed to building community and healing trauma through Indigenous practices, including gardening. Students from across disciplines are encouraged to participate in this lab. The lab has been student-designed and will take shape according to diverse student interests and skill sets, including but not limited to ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, surveys, Geographic Information Science, and data science. Working collaboratively, students will produce public scholarship to be featured on the Mapping Global Chicago website ( This course may be repeated for credit.

Instructor(s): Callie Maidhof     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Please contact Prof. Callie Maidhof ( or TA Bek Erl ( with any questions.
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 26383, CEGU 26383, ENST 26383, GLST 26383

PBPL 26400. Quantitative Methods in Public Policy. 100 Units.

This class will provide an introduction to quantitative analysis in public policy. Much of the class is devoted to learning about the effects of policies and answering empirical, policy-relevant questions from observational data. In doing so, the course provides an introduction to critical and quantitative thinking in general. Students will be introduced to the basic toolkit of policy analysis, which includes sampling, hypothesis testing, Bayesian inference, regression, experiments, instrumental variables, differences in differences, and regression discontinuity. Students will also learn how to use a statistical software program to organize and analyze data. More importantly, students will learn the principles of critical thinking essential for careful and credible policy analysis.

Instructor(s): Anthony Fowler     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CEGU 26400

PBPL 26705. Economics of Education. 100 Units.

This course explores economic models of the demand for and supply of different forms of schooling. The course examines the markets for primary, secondary, and post-secondary schooling. The course examines numerous public policy questions, such as the role of government in funding or subsidizing education, the design of public accountability systems, the design of systems that deliver publicly funded (and possibly provided) education, and the relationship between education markets and housing markets.

Instructor(s): D. Neal
Prerequisite(s): ECON 21020 or ECON 21030
Equivalent Course(s): EDSO 26700, ECMA 36700

PBPL 26831. Developing Effective Economic Policy. 100 Units.

At UChicago, we believe that developing effective public policy is a science, based on data and measurable impact. UChicago scholars have been fostering leaders who fearlessly ask the hard questions and follow the evidence to find the answers, leaders who are adept at using the best science of our day to confront the most important problems of our time. This course is designed for enterprising high school students who want to join this work at the frontiers of data collection and analysis, using the latest technology and social science methods to design economic policies that will work for society. Students will be introduced to the basic toolkit of quantitative policy analysis, which includes probability theory, sampling, hypothesis testing, regression, experiments, differences in differences, and regression discontinuity. Students will also learn how to use a statistical software program to organize and analyze data. Most importantly, students will learn the principles of critical thinking essential for careful and credible policy analysis.

Terms Offered: Summer

PBPL 26930. Environmental Economics: Theory and Applications. 100 Units.

This course presents a broad based introduction to the theory and application of environmental economics. Topics are introduced in the context of real world environmental policy questions (with special emphasis on energy policy), then translated in to microeconomic theory to highlight the salient constraints and fundamental tradeoffs faced by policymakers. Topics include property rights, externalities, Pigouvian taxes, command and control regulation, cap and trade, valuation of environmental quality, cost benefit analysis, policymaking under uncertainty, and interregional competition.

Instructor(s): Wang, S     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 36930

PBPL 27000. International Economics. 100 Units.

This course covers international economics with an emphasis on international trade. The basic theories of international trade are introduced and used to analyze welfare and distributional effects of international trade, government policies, and technology diffusion. In addition, this course also discusses the main empirical patterns of international trade and international investment.

Instructor(s): F. Tintelnot     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): ECON 20100/20110
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 27000

PBPL 27070. Philanthropy: Private Acts and Public Goods. 100 Units.

Under what conditions do philanthropy and other forms of private action come to be significant elements of the provision of public goods? What are the consequences of organizing society in this way? In this course, we will address the social role of philanthropy, its historical development as a significant economic and political institution, and the place of philanthropy in contemporary public policy and civic projects.

Instructor(s): E. Clemens     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Completion of at least 2 quarters of SOSC
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 20222

PBPL 27110. Animal Policy. 100 Units.

Brief Description: Humans share the Earth with countless multitudes of sentient, non-human beings. We categorize our fellow earthlings into, for example, farm animals; pets; wild animals; pests; and so on. For each of these animal categories, we have laws, policies, and norms that influence our interactions with our fellow creatures and also profoundly affect the births, lives, and deaths of animals. This discussion-based course examines animal-related policies. We will look at broad questions - should animal wellbeing be directly taken into account in policy analysis, or only accounted for via human interest in animal wellbeing? - as well as specific policies with respect to farm animals, zoo animals, companion animals, and so on.

Instructor(s): James Leitzel     Terms Offered: Spring

PBPL 27120. The Politics of Punishment. 100 Units.

Voters elect nearly all local prosecutors, sheriffs, and trial judges in the United States. In this seminar, we will explore the influence of political institutions on the decisions of those law enforcement officials. To that end, the course will cover constitutional design, public opinion, racial disparities, electoral accountability, special interest politics, and the collateral consequences of incarceration. While rooted in recent phenomena, this course will also focus on historical perspectives. Likewise, while substantively focused, the class will provide insights into theoretically rigorous, empirically grounded social science research.

Instructor(s): Sidak Yntiso     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Basic familiarity with quantitative methods is strongly recommended.

PBPL 27156. Urban Design with Nature. 100 Units.

This course will use the Chicago region as the setting to evaluate the social, environmental, and economic effects of alternative forms of human settlement. Students will examine the history, theory and practice of designing cities in sustainable ways - i.e., human settlements that are socially just, economically viable, and environmentally sound. Students will explore the literature on sustainable urban design from a variety of perspectives, and then focus on how sustainability theories play out in the Chicago region. How can Chicago's neighborhoods be designed to promote environmental, social, and economic sustainability goals? This course is part of the College Course Cluster program: Urban Design.

Instructor(s): Sabina Shaikh and Emily Talen     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course counts towards the ENST 4th year Capstone requirement. Restricted to 3rd and 4th year students
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 27155, GISC 27155, ENST 27155, BPRO 27155, CEGU 27155

PBPL 27325. Urban Ecology in the Calumet Region. 100 Units.

This course will give students a foundation in the local ecology of the Calumet region. Students will use local research and habitats to understand fundamental concepts in ecology and explore some of these habitats during field trips with scientists and practitioners. As a class, we will examine the extent to which these fundamental ecological concepts are applicable in the urban ecology of the Calumet, and the role humans have had in modifying local habitats, as well as restoring natural and managing novel ecosystems. In 2022, the course focus will be on wetlands: their function ecologically, and their past, present, and future in the region.

Instructor(s): Alison Anastasio     Terms Offered: Spring. not offered in 2022-23
Note(s): Attendance at the first class session is a requirement for enrollment in this course. This course is part of the Chicago Studies Quarter: Calumet but may be taken as a standalone class. Students interested in enrolling in all three Calumet Quarter classes should contact For more information on the Calumet quarter, visit This course will include mandatory Friday field excursions on 4/1, 4/8, 4/22, 5/6, 5/20, and 5/27.
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 27325, GEOG 27325, ENST 27325

PBPL 27818. Philosophical Foundations of Public Policy. 100 Units.

Evidence-based policy making" sounds like a slogan everyone can get behind. But its central components, cost-benefit analysis and program evaluation, have each been subject to severe philosophical questioning. Does cost-benefit analysis ignore important ethical concerns? Does program evaluation ignore valuable kinds of knowledge? We will introduce each of these debates, and then take up the question of how evidence-based policy might be reconciled with democratic theory. Class discussion and assignments will consider these topics in the context of specific policy areas, including climate change, discrimination, and education.

Instructor(s): S. Ashworth     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): ECON 20000, PBPL 20000, ECON 20100, or PBPL 22200.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 27818

PBPL 27900. Global-Local Politics. 100 Units.

Globalizing and local forces are generating a new politics in the United States and around the world. This course explores this new politics by mapping its emerging elements: the rise of social issues, ethno-religious and regional attachments, environmentalism, gender and life-style identity issues, new social movements, transformed political parties and organized groups, and new efforts to mobilize individual citizens.

Instructor(s): T. Clark     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 20116, GEOG 20116, SOCI 20116, HMRT 20116, GEOG 30116, HMRT 30116, SOCI 30116

PBPL 27905. Global Health Metrics. 100 Units.

This course provides an overview of the causes of illness and injury in populations across the world and the most important risk factors. We will discuss how population health is measured using summary indicators that combine mortality and non-fatal health outcomes. We will use these indicators to compare and contrast the health of populations across global regions and in time. Sound measurement of the global burden of disease is essential for prioritizing prevention strategies. Therefore, there will be a strong emphasis on understanding how data sources in information-poor settings are used to generate estimates of population health.

Instructor(s): Kavi Bhalla     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): N/A
Note(s): Limited to 3rd & 4th yr undergrads
Equivalent Course(s): PBHS 31900, HLTH 27905

PBPL 27919. Research in School Improvement. 100 Units.

Research evidence and data play an increasingly important and complex role in efforts to reform underperforming school systems in the United States. Both education policy and practice increasingly rely on sophisticated understandings of a dynamic interplay of complex organizations, systems, and policymaking. This course introduces students to cutting edge models for using research and data public school reform efforts, including examples of randomized control trials, district-based research, research-practice partnerships, and quality improvement strategies. The course includes concrete illustrations of research that reshaped educational practice drawn from the UChicago Consortium on School Research.

Instructor(s): David Johnson     Terms Offered: TBD. Offered 2022-23
Equivalent Course(s): EDSO 27919, EDSO 37919, CHST 27919

PBPL 28029. Education Policy. 100 Units.

Which education policies work and which do not? How are these policies evaluated? The main goal of this course is to familiarize students with the methods and research frontier in the economics of education, with an emphasis on policies designed to improve students' outcomes. We will explore and discuss a wide range of educational policy issues, including the returns to schooling, student in- centives, teacher labor markets, school choice, accountability, school funding, and higher education. Throughout the course, we will pay close attention to the methods employed to evaluate the effects of education policies.

Instructor(s): Derek Rury     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PBPL 26400 recommended

PBPL 28139. Society, Politics and Security in Israel. 100 Units.

This graduate course examines Israel's unique DNA through a thorough examination of its history, society, politics and security challenges. We shall explore these traits as manifested in the defining chapters of Israel's history, since the early stages of the Zionist driven immigration of Jews to the Holy Land, through the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948, until present time. Students will work with primary sources, diverse theoretical perspectives, and rich historiographical material to better understand the Israeli experience, through domestic, regional and international perspectives. Particular attention will be given to the emergence of the Israeli vibrant society and functioning democracy in the background of continuous conflict and wars. The course will explore topics such as: How Israel reconciles between the imperatives and narratives of democracy and Jewishness, between collective ethos and heterogeneous tribalism, and between protracted security challenges and resilience. We will also discuss the multifaceted aspects of the changing Israeli security doctrine and practice, in light of regional threats and international involvement.

Instructor(s): M. Elran     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): INRE 36001, JWSC 28139

PBPL 28300. Health Economics and Public Policy. 100 Units.

This course analyzes the economics of health and medical care in the United States with particular attention to the role of government. The first part of the course examines the demand for health and medical and the structure and the consequences of public and private insurance. The second part of the course examines the supply of medical care, including professional training, specialization and compensation, hospital competition, and finance and the determinants and consequences of technological change in medicine. The course concludes with an examination of recent proposals and initiatives for health care reform.

Instructor(s): Meltzer, D     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PBPL 20000 or ECON 20000 and one undergraduate course in quantitative research methods (Statistics or Econometrics) or the equivalent or consent of the instructor
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 38300, ECON 27700, CCTS 38300

PBPL 28350. Education and Economic Development. 100 Units.

This course covers policy issues related to education in developing contexts. We will analyze education policies and reforms, develop skills to be a critical consumer of relevant research on each topic, and examine implications of the findings to policy and practice. Topics include discrimination and inclusion in education, understanding factors that influence educational decisions, provision of basic needs in schools, teacher pay and incentives, education in emergency settings, and school choice.

Instructor(s): A. Adukia     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Recommended prerequisite courses: Microeconomics and econometrics. Students in their last years will be given priority.
Equivalent Course(s): EDSO 28350, ECON 16710

PBPL 28355. Health Care Markets and Regulation. 100 Units.

This course analyzes the economics of health care markets and the way regulations impact those markets. We will study the unique institutional arrangements found in the health care sector (primarily, though not exclusively, in the United States) and examine how market forces manifest themselves in this setting. We will consider the behavior of health care providers, insurers' roles both as intermediaries and risk managers, patients' health care demand, and geographic differences in medicine. The study of government regulations, including their theoretical and empirical impacts on health care markets, will be integrated throughout these topics.

Equivalent Course(s): ECON 17710, PPHA 37820

PBPL 28498. Women, Development and Politics. 100 Units.

This course will explore the dominant and emerging trends and debates in the field of women and international development. The major theoretical perspectives responding to global gender inequities will be explored alongside a wide range of themes impacting majority-world women, such as free market globalization, health and sexuality, race and representation, participatory development, human rights, the environment and participation in politics. Course lectures will integrate policy and practitioner accounts and perspectives to reflect the strong influence development practice has in shaping and informing the field. Course materials will also include anti-racist, postcolonial and post-development interruptions to dominant development discourse, specifically to challenge the underlying biases and assumptions of interventions that are predicated on transforming "them" into "us". The material will also explore the challenges of women participating in politics and what are the consequences when they do or do not.

Instructor(s): Bautista, M. and Chishti, M.      Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 28498, GNSE 28498

PBPL 28502. Policing in America: Black, White and Blue. 100 Units.

The course will focus on policing issues in Chicago and across the nation. It will feature guest speakers and class discussions. This course satisfies the Public Policy practicum Windows requirement.

Instructor(s): Clayton Harris     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring
Note(s): This course satisfies the Public Policy practicum windows requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 28502

PBPL 28525. Environmental Economics: Theory and Applications. 100 Units.

This course presents a broad-based treatment of the theory and application of environmental economics. Topics are introduced in the context of real-world environmental policy questions (with special emphasis on energy policy), then translated into microeconomic theory to highlight the salient constraints and fundamental trade-offs faced by policymakers. Topics include property rights, externalities, Pigouvian taxes, command-and-control regulation, cap-and-trade, valuation of environmental quality, cost-benefit analysis, policymaking under uncertainty, and inter-regional competition.

Instructor(s): Shaoda Wang     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Recommended prior coursework: Microeconomics or PBPL 20000

PBPL 28528. Household Finance: Theory and Applications. 100 Units.

This course will examine the choices households make about important financial decisions and how these individual choices can impact the aggregate economy. Each week, basic predictions from economic theory will be discussed and compared with empirical findings. Topics will include: asset market participation and household portfolio choice; human capital and student loans; housing and mortgages; retirement planning; credit card debt; payday loans; and the gig/sharing economy. Focus will also be placed on government policies affecting these topics, including so-called household financial engineering, the creation of Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) like "Fannie" and "Freddie," and regulatory agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The course will provide an introduction to structural modeling for conducting policy counterfactuals. Assessment will be based on problem sets, a midterm and a final. These problem sets will require students to work in R, Stata or other statistical package of the student's choice (with permission of instructor).

Instructor(s): D. Koustas     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Prerequisite(s): PBPL 20000 (PBPL 22200 preferred) or ECON 20000 and one undergraduate course in quantitative research methods (Statistics or Econometrics) or the equivalent or consent of the instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 13110

PBPL 28550. Methods of Data Collection: Social Experiments, Quasi-Experiments and Surveys. 100 Units.

The pressure in many fields (notably medicine, health research, politics, and education) for evidence-based results has increased the importance of the design and analysis of social investigations in providing a basis for policy decisions. This course will address: (i) the design of experiments, quasi-experiments, and surveys; and (ii) the use of these social investigations to provide data for generalization. Randomized clinical trials in medicine, field experiments in economics, psychology and political science, tests of quasi-experimental interventions, and national sample surveys will be among the examples. The course will explore the relative relevance of evidence from these different sources in formulating policy. This course satisfies the Public Policy practicum METHODS requirement.

Instructor(s): C. O'Muircheartaigh     Terms Offered: Winter

PBPL 28605. Economic Analysis of Law. 100 Units.

This course involves the application of the choice theory of economics to the opportunities obtainable within different legal environments. The likelihood that a person will choose to return a lost wallet, keep a promise, drive more carefully, or heed the terms in a will is partly a function of the applicable laws and regulations. Alternative rules, under the standard Law and Economics approach, are compared in terms of the economic efficiency of their subsequent outcomes. This efficiency lens of Law and Economics is applied to rules concerning property, torts, contracts, and criminal behavior.

Instructor(s): J. Leitzel
Prerequisite(s): ECON 20100/20110
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 28600

PBPL 28633. Policy Evaluation. 100 Units.

This course will teach students how to answer public policy questions using regression analysis. We will discuss applications from the fields of education, health, job training, and others. Students will learn the statistical foundations of regression as well as its practical implementation using the R programming language. They will study the interpretation of regression results including causal inference through experimental as well as quasi-experimental designs. No previous programming experience is assumed. This course satisfies the Public Policy practicum METHODS requirement.

Instructor(s): Ingvil Gaarder     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Stats and PBPL 20000 Economics for Public Policy (or equivalent) required. PBPL 26400 or equivalent recommended.

PBPL 28670. Markets and Regulation. 100 Units.

This is an applied industrial organization course that examines economically regulated market structures. We will analyze: a) types of market structures that particularly generate economic regulation; b) common methods used by regulatory agencies given a particular market structure; and c) models of the supply of and the demand for regulation of markets, with emphasis on maximizing behavior on the part of both suppliers (regulators) and demanders (firms, consumers, political representatives). We will focus on non-financial markets, as financial markets are well-covered in other courses.

Instructor(s): Kathryn Ierulli     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): PQ: PBPL 20000 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 28030

PBPL 28681. Financial Investments for Public Policy. 100 Units.

Central banks, Treasury departments, the IMF, and sovereign wealth funds use financial data and tools to inform their decisions. This class covers the main concepts of finance theory for stocks, bonds, and investment portfolios and applies them in the public policy context. Topics covered include the following: present value, real and nominal interest rates, optimal portfolio choice, Value-at-Risk and Growth-at-Risk, risk and return, the Capital Asset Pricing Model, performance evaluation, market efficiency, and return predictability.

Instructor(s): Pfleuger, C     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Students should not take PPHA 36101 and PPHA 42510 - Applied Financial Management.
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 36101

PBPL 28683. Introduction to Corporate Finance. 100 Units.

This course presents an introduction to the principles of corporate finance and its applications. These principles are critical to understanding the nature of how corporations and many government entities present their financial condition, finance themselves and manage their financial risks. We will examine corporate structure, evaluation of new projects, financial planning and governance. Perspectives will include those of the debt the shareholders and key management members, including the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. Additional material relating to the public policy issues that certain corporate decisions create will be considered. There will be problem sets, graded and ungraded, to support most areas.

Instructor(s): Schabes, D.      Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): This course requires no prior finance or business knowledge.

PBPL 28728. Climate Change and Society: Human Impacts, Adaptation, and Policy Solutions. 100 Units.

Time is running out to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. The next decade will be critical both for the transformation of society and learning to adapt to changes that cannot be avoided, and climate change will be a key part of everyday life. This class discusses how we face this global challenge. During the course, our focus will be on the impacts of climate change upon society, and the necessity of solutions that deal with the global scope, local scales, and often unequal nature of the impacts. This interdisciplinary course covers the tools and insights from economic analysis, environmental science, and statistics that inform our understanding of climate change impacts, the design of mitigation and adaptation policies, and the implementation of these policies. Students will develop a mastery of key conceptual ideas from multiple disciplines relevant for climate change and acquire tools for conducting analyses of climate impacts and policies. The latter parts of the course will hone students' ability to apply and communicate these insights through practical analysis of national policies and writing op-eds about climate-related issues. The goal is to help students from any background become informed and critically-minded practitioners of climate-informed policy making, able to communicate the urgency to any audience.

Instructor(s): Jina, A.      Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): This course is intended to be accessible to people from all disciplines and backgrounds interested in climate solutions. Some introduction to statistics and economics (e.g., PBPL 20000 or ECON 20000) may be helpful, but definitely not essential.
Equivalent Course(s): CEGU 28728, ENST 28728

PBPL 28750. Conflict: Root Causes, Consequences and Solutions for the Future. 100 Units.

The goals of this course are to introduce you to key concepts in the study of conflict, and to help you develop the analytical skills you need to understand and assess key arguments advanced in this arena. Drawing primarily on economics and political science, as well as psychology, we will seek to understand: Why do human beings engage in acts of violence? How can armed groups compel atrocities? How do we prevent cycles of violence, and aid countries recovering from war? Specifically: We will examine the role of economic shocks and ethnic divisions on civil war. We will also discern whether similar factors explain the rise of terrorism. In addition, we will study the consequences of conflict on socio-economic development, and examine the role of foreign aid and post-conflict reconciliation in helping countries recover from conflict. The class will examine these questions while focusing on analytical skills needed to understand cutting edge research in this area. Thus a major emphasis of the course is on learning how to think critically about empirical evidence, and learning the methods used in quantitative empirical analysis, such as fixed effects models, differences-in-differences research designs, and instrumental variables estimation. It is ideal for students who want to learn substantively about conflict while developing an understanding of the methodology used to produce key empirical findings.

Instructor(s): Oeindrila Dube     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Note: While the course sets out to teach these skills, you do not need previous coursework in statistics.

PBPL 28765. The Politics of Authoritarian Regimes. 100 Units.

This course provides an overview of topics related to politics in authoritarian regimes. We begin by introducing the concept of authoritarianism: how it differs from democracy and how authoritarian regimes differ from each other. We then investigate the tools authoritarian rulers employ to maintain power, including institutions, policies, and tactics, and we examine the effects and side effects of these tools. Finally, we study transitions of power and of institutions, both on the way out of authoritarianism (democratization) and on the way in (democratic backsliding). Students who take this course will acquire a broad understanding of authoritarian politics and how it is covered in the literature.

Instructor(s): Alexei Zakharov     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Prior recommended coursework for undergraduates: one semester in Statistics (Stats 220 or equivalent) and current or prior training in game theory (PBPL 222, Social Science Inquiry core, or equivalent.)
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28765

PBPL 28776. Political Development and Policy. 100 Units.

The study of the inter-relationship between politics and economics is a lively one. In 1755, when Adam Smith wrote: "Little else is required to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice, all the rest being brought about the natural course of things." he might not expected even after 400 years we would be in search of such a state. Yet alone, we would still be trying to understand the economic consequences of the political decisions, and the political consequences of the economic decisions. This course provides students with a broad understanding of development economics and political economy. We will explore questions such as but not limited to: What is the effect of state capacity, especially in the areas of fiscal and legal capacity, on development? On the other hand, how socio-political factors such as ethnic fractionalization, polarization, gender discrimination affect economic outcomes? What are economic causes and consequences of political violence? What is development assistance? How should we analyze the effect of development assistance on the developing nations?"

Instructor(s): Emine Deniz     Terms Offered: Winter

PBPL 28785. Value Creation: Social Capital, Negotiation Strategy, and Getting Things Done. 100 Units.


Instructor(s): John Burrows     Terms Offered: Autumn

PBPL 28791. Behavioral Science and Public Policy. 100 Units.

Many policies are aimed at influencing people's behavior. The most well-intentioned policies can fail, however, if they are not designed to be compatible with the way people actually think and make decisions. This course will draw from the fields of cognitive, social, and environmental psychology to (1) examine the ways in which human behavior deviates from the standard rational actor model typically assumed by economics, and (2) provide strategies for improving the design, implementation, and evaluation of public-facing policies. The basic premise of this course is that a foundational understanding of human behavior can lead not only to more effective policies, but enhanced decision-making and well-being.

Instructor(s): K. Wolske     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PSYC 28791

PBPL 28805. Behavioral Economics and Policy. 100 Units.

The standard theory of rational choice exhibits explanatory power in a vast range of circumstances, including such disparate decision making environments as whether to commit a crime, have children, or seek to emigrate. Nonetheless, shortfalls from full rationality seem not to be uncommon, and are themselves, to some extent, systematic. Behavioral economics documents and tries to account for these departures from full rationality. This course looks at areas in which some modification of the traditional rational choice apparatus might most be warranted; these include decisions that unfold over time, involve low probability events, or implicate willpower. To what extent should public policy respond to shortfalls from rationality or concern itself with promoting happiness?

Instructor(s): J. Leitzel     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 26920

PBPL 28829. Artificial Intelligence for Public Policy. 100 Units.

It is hard to name a sector that will not be dramatically affected by artificial intelligence (or machine learning). There are many excellent courses that teach you the mechanics behind these innovations -- helping you develop an engineering skill set. This course takes a different approach. It is aimed at people who want to deploy these tools, either in business or policy, whether through start-ups or within a large organization. While this requires some knowledge of how these tools work, that is only a small part of the equation, just as knowing how an engine works is a small part of understanding how to drive. What is really needed is an understanding of what these tools do well, and what they do badly. This course focuses on giving you a functional, rather than mechanistic, understanding. By the end, you should be an expert at identifying ideal use-cases and thereby well-placed to create new products, businesses and policies that use artificial intelligence.

Instructor(s): J. Ludwig     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Students should have some Statistics experience.
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 38829

PBPL 28925. Health Impacts of Transportation Policies. 100 Units.

Governments invest in transport infrastructure because it encourages economic growth and mobility of people and goods, which have direct and indirect benefits to health. Yet, an excessive reliance on motorized modes of transport harms population health, the environment, and social well-being. The impact on population health is substantial: Globally, road traffic crashes kill over 1.3 million annually. Air pollution, to which transport is an important contributor, kills another 3.2 million people. Motorized modes of transport are also an important contributor to sedentary lifestyles. Physical inactivity is estimated to cause 3.2 million deaths every year, globally. This course will introduce students to thinking about transportation as a technological system that affects human health and well-being through intended and unintended mechanisms. The course will examine the complex relationship between transportation, land use, urban form, and geography, and explore how decisions in other sectors affect transportation systems, and how these in turn affect human health. Students will learn to recognize how the system level properties of a range of transportation systems (such as limited-access highways, urban mass transit, inter-city rail) affect human health.

Instructor(s): Bhalla, Kavi     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HLTH 28925, ARCH 28925, ENST 28925

PBPL 29070. Nuclear Policy. 100 Units.

While issues arising from technologies that have both military and civilian applications are not new, the nearly incomprehensible destruction from exploding nuclear weapons focuses the mind as few other dual-use technologies can. This course will examine the development of national policies and the international regimes on the uses of nuclear energy. We will review military doctrine and the plans for nuclear war-fighting as well as the effects on societies of developing and using nuclear weapons. We will review the history of international proliferation of nuclear technology and fissile material and examine efforts to curtail the spread of weapons. In the second part of the course, we will focus on the development of civilian nuclear power and on current policy to prevent accidents and dispose of nuclear waste materials. Political leaders often face policy dilemmas because nuclear technology and materials offer great benefit, as well as presenting great danger. We will explore these dilemmas throughout the course.

Instructor(s): Benedict, K     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 33510

PBPL 29404. Inequality, Household Finance, and Tax Policy: A Practicum. 100 Units.

The first component of this course will feature seminar discussions of inequality in the US, with respect to income, gender and race, and how these interact with US tax policy. We will have a focus on income transfers to low-income households such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. We will also review current policy topics in Household Finance, the study of how households save, borrow, and/or use insurance to overcome unexpected changes in household income. In addition, we will discuss the process of filing tax returns, the prevalence of income tax refunds, and the various industries, both non-profit and for-profit, that have arisen around this phenomenon. Next, students will go into the field, and work as volunteer tax preparers for a local, Chicago non-profit, Ladder Up. Students will be trained as tax preparers (which requires a 3-hour training session), learn how these services are delivered, and will also learn about the various social goals and public benefits that are often coupled with this process. Tax season begins in late January, and the students will volunteer weekly for about 6 weeks, until the end of the quarter. Students are also encouraged, though not required, to continue to volunteer until the end of the tax season, April 15th. Finally, students will produce a final project as a part of a group project. This course satisfies the Public Policy windows practicum requirement.

Instructor(s): Jones, Damon     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 29404

PBPL 29500. BA Project Seminar. 100 Units.

The BA Project Seminar is a required course for public policy majors who are completing the BA Capstone Project. Students must attend one quarter of PBPL 29500 and submit a project by end of quarter to satisfy the project capstone requirement.

Instructor(s): Autumn: Jim Leitzel; Winter: Karlyn Gorski; Spring: Chad Broughton     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Note(s): Restricted to 4th year public policy studies majors. 3rd year students allowed with faculty consent.

PBPL 29600. Internship: Public Policy. 100 Units.

Students write a paper about their experience working for a government agency or nonprofit organization.

Instructor(s): J. Leitzel     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Prerequisite(s): PQ: Open only to Public Policy majors; students are required to submit the College Reading and Research course form. Consent of Program Director is required and must be obtained prior to beginning internship; P/F grades only.
Note(s): The College Reading and Research Course Form is required. Must be taken for P/F grading.

PBPL 29700. Reading and Research: Public Policy. 100 Units.

This is a reading and research course for independent study not related to BA research or BA thesis preparation.

Instructor(s): STAFF     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Prerequisite(s): Open only to Public Policy majors. Must be taken for a letter grade.
Note(s): The College Reading and Research Course Form is required.

PBPL 29800. BA Thesis Seminar: Public Policy. 100 Units.

This Seminar is designed to provide students with the resources, support, and structure to successfully complete a senior BA thesis in Public Policy Studies. During Autumn, students will articulate their research question, develop hypotheses or arguments, construct a review of the literature and consider what methods will provide answers to the hypotheses or questions (data collection and analysis). The Seminar will meet once a week for the main lecture and once a week for a separate TA session in small groups. The class will continue to meet during winter to consolidate the progress students have made in these different areas and to work on refining their research. The required winter workshop sessions with the Professor and TAs will follow autumn quarter schedule. Attendance in both autumn and winter is required. Final grade for PBPL 29800 will be provided in spring and will be based on one quarter of seminar registration, required attendance in Autumn and Winter quarters, and successful completion of the BA paper.

Instructor(s): Maria Angelica Bautista     Terms Offered: Autumn Winter
Prerequisite(s): Open only to fourth-year Public Policy majors.
Note(s): Students are required to register for PBPL 29800 during Autumn of their 4th year but must attend in both autumn and winter to satisfy the requirement of the major. Must be taken for a letter grade.

PBPL 29900. BA Paper Preparation: Public Policy. 100 Units.

This is a reading and research course for independent study related to BA research and BA thesis preparation.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Prerequisite(s): Open only to 4th year Public Policy majors. Must be taken for a letter grade. The College Reading and Research Course Form is required.


Undergraduate Primary Contact

Senior Lecturer and Executive Director
Jim Leitzel
Keller 3022

Faculty Director

Associate Professor and Faculty Director
Wioletta Dziuda
Keller 2077


Secondary Contact

Instructional Professor, Social Sciences Collegiate Division
Chad Broughton
Keller 3024

Preceptor/BA Advisor

Assistant Professor, BA Thesis Faculty Lead
Maria Angelica Bautista
Keller 2013


Administrative Contact

Program Administrator
Milvia Rodriguez
Keller 3018