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Cornell University Cornell Brooks Public Policy

Student Resources

Undergraduate Student Resources

Welcome to the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy. Explore our policy majors, the curriculum, what our alums do after graduation, and the research topics of our faculty. A Brooks School degree gives you a solid foundation in applied social sciences, empirical analysis, and evaluating effective policy outcomes. These skills can be used no matter where life takes you: the for-profit sector, the non-profit sector, or government.  If you want to make a difference in the world, the Brooks School is for you!

About the PAM & HCP Majors

The Brooks School offers two undergraduate degrees:

Policy Analysis and Management Major:  Policy Analysis and Management Major: PAM is an social sciences-based multidisciplinary major that focuses 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.

Health Care Policy Major: Health Care Policy (HCP) is a multidisciplinary social science-based major that provides students in-depth training in health policy analysis and allows interested students a path to build a strong foundation in natural sciences.

Minoring in PAM, Health Policy or Demography

The Brooks School offers three undergraduate minors:

Minor Options for students majoring in PAM & HCP

Learn more about minor options that compliment your PAM or HCP major

Undergraduate Curriculum in Policy Analysis and Management 

The PAM major curriculum encourages students to draw on skills from multiple disciplines to address multifaceted public policy issues. Throughout the curriculum students have the opportunity to develop: analytic skills to assist in creating solutions to public problems; skills in writing concisely and clearly; the ability to work effectively in group settings; skills in effectively communicating their ideas in public settings; and the ability to consider the ethical implications of their actions. Building on the foundation of core disciplines and strong quantitative skills, the curriculum provides in-depth instruction in three major areas of public policy:  

A Background in Social Sciences: 

To understand the impact of policy on individuals and society it is essential to understand human behavior, which is at the center of social science disciplines. All PAM majors are required to take the following introductory social science classes:  

  • Introductory and Intermediate Microeconomics
  • Public Sector Economics
  • Sociology 

A Background in Empirical Analysis:  

To measure and assess the impact of new policies and changes to existing policies requires a strong grounding in empirical analysis. A thorough grounding in statistics and regression analysis is crucial. All PAM students are required to take the following empirical analysis courses:  

  • Introduction to Statistics 
  • Multiple Regression Analysis 
  • Population and Public Policy 


The tools for analyzing policy can be applied to a wide range of questions. Students are encouraged to apply the foundational skills they learn to study the policies in which they are most interested. All PAM majors are required to take seven elective courses in policy analysis. The following are some examples of PAM electives grouped into our major areas of policy expertise: 

Health Policy: covering issues such as health care reform, comparative health care systems, population health, pharmaceutical policy, and the economics of risky health behaviors. Examples of courses include:  

  • Comparative health care systems
  • Contemporary issues in women’s health
  • Economics of health behaviors
  • Fundamentals of population health
  • Global health policy
  • Pharmaceutical management and policy
  • U.S. healthcare system

Social Policy: including issues such as poverty and social inequality, neighborhoods and urban policy, welfare policy, educational policy, and criminal justice policy. Examples of courses include:  

  • Economics of crime
  • Economics of discrimination
  • Economics of social security
  • Environmental policy
  • Ethnography of poverty and inequality
  • Evolving families
  • Neighborhoods, housing and urban policy
  • Race and public policy
  • Technology, policy and the law
  • Urban policy

Regulatory Policy: including issues such as consumer law and protection, risk management, information regulation, and government regulations of corporations. Examples of courses include:  

  • Consumer law and policy  
  • Corporations, shareholders and policy 
  • Regulating financial institutions 
  • Non-profits and public policy


Once all of the program and university requirements are satisfied, PAM majors still have approximately 40 remaining credits of electives. This amount of flexibility is a strength of our major and a tremendous benefit to students hoping to build breadth in their course of study, and those desiring to build minors in, for example, demography, government, business of international relations, etc. PAM students use these electives to take courses from across the university, to complete minors, to study abroad, and to conduct independent research. By strategically selecting from the Brooks School electives, and electives from across the university, PAM students can create a powerful portfolio of courses that satisfy their individual career and personal interests. This flexibility results in PAM majors pursuing a wide range of post-graduate activities: business school, consulting, government, health care, investment banking, law school, management, medical school, Teach-for-America, research, and more.

Please do not hesitate to email Sharon Sassler, Brooks Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Brooks Honors Program

The Honors Program is a rigorous and rewarding endeavor. Though the application process begins in your junior year, in order to be successful it is important that you plan your curriculum carefully, even as a freshman and sophomore.

Learn more about the Brooks Honors Program

5 Year Bachelors/Masters of Health Administration Program

This five-year accelerated program is open to Brooks majors and other participating majors across campus.

Full details for the program here: 5 Year Bachelors/Masters of Health Administration Program

Off-Campus Opportunities

Brooks School students are encouraged to explore public policy globally through Cornell’s many study abroad opportunities.  For questions about how to fit study abroad into your schedule, contact, or visit the Brooks Undergraduate Program Office in MVR 2301E.