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Cornell University Cornell Brooks Public Policy

Undergraduate Research

The Brooks School majors are interdisciplinary with a focus on analyzing problems in the public domain, ranging from the processes of making, implementing, and evaluating government policies to the ethical evaluation of contemporary social problems.  Policy analysis is the use of evidence-based methods to study substantive public policy problems. Applied to the public sphere, the intent is to improve the quality of policy-making by critically examining the design and relevance of policies, their implementation and execution, and their impact on households, communities, and the society at large.

Aerin Brown

“Working as an undergraduate research assistant has been one of the most valuable
experiences during my time at Cornell. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from
Brooks faculty and students about applying data analyses and statistical methods to real-world
policy problems.”


Aerin Brown
Policy Analysis and Management

The field of public policy has become critically important as societies have grown more complex and as governments and public organizations play a more active role in addressing social problems and influencing the quality of people’s lives. Public policies are increasingly being developed on the basis of information about individual, household, and community behavior, and programs and projects are regularly subjected to scientific evaluations and assessments.

One out of every four Brooks School undergraduate spent at least one semester engaging in research.

The PAM and HCP majors provides a curriculum of rigorous foundational coursework in the core disciplines, including economics, statistics, government, sociology, and ethics.  Through upper-level course work in substantive policy areas and a broad range of chosen electives, students learn empirical research can generate knowledge to address domestic and international public policy problems. The curriculum is designed to teach students to read critically, think analytically, and write concisely.