Skip to main content

Special Topics in Environmental Policy and Culture (390-0-25)


Applied Policy Analysis


Kimberly Ruggles Marion Suiseeya
Office Hours:

Meeting Info

Locy Hall 214: Mon, Wed 9:30AM - 10:50AM

Overview of class

Couse title: Applied Policy Analysis

Public policy issues are questions about what governments should - or should not - do to address problems that affect large numbers of people. What should governments do about rising rates of homelessness and unhoused populations? Climate change? Corruption? Education? Water quality and access? Trade? Migration? Environmental conservation? This list and a multitude of additional public policy problems facing governments present a variety of challenges. This course explores what it means to identify, examine, and explore solutions to public policy problems like these and others, while practicing concrete skills and approaches to public policy analysis. Students will hone skills in effective written and oral communication, applying ethical frameworks to public policy decision-making, and conducting policy analysis on a range of possible topics using different modes of inquiry.

Learning Objectives

The overarching objective of this interactive course is to cultivate critical and analytical thinking skills to apply nuanced, creative approaches for understanding and addressing public policy problems. By the end of this course students will be able to: Foundational Knowledge (1) Identify and understand how the major steps in policy analysis, including how and when public policy issues gain or lose traction and how and the extent to which policy problems are addressed. (2) Interrogate how different approaches to policy analysis shape public policy and their impact on different communities. (3) Understand common pitfalls in policy analysis and how to avoid them. Application (1) Evaluate public policy problems using different theoretical approaches. (2) Produce an analysis that evaluates a public policy problem and offers a well-reasoned assessment of politically, economically, and socially possible pathways forward. (3) Effectively communicate ideas, opinions, and arguments on different public policy topics. During the course, students will develop: (1) Skills for effectively engaging in class discussion, including challenging and offering substantive replies to others' arguments, comments, and questions, while remaining sensitive to the original speaker/writer and the classroom audience. (2) Peer-to-peer relationships for ongoing support.

Teaching Method

Lecture, interactive sessions

Evaluation Method

Learning assessments include participation, short written assignments, final policy analysis brief, and an oral presentation.

Class Materials (Required)

Chrisinger, David. 2022. Public Policy Writing that Matters. 2nd Edition. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN: 978-1421442327 Linquiti, Peter. 2022. Rebooting Policy Analysis: Strengthening the Foundation, Expanding the Scope. 1st Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage CQ Press. ISBN: 978-1544372600

Class Notes

Student Enrichment Services offers advice on how to find and afford our course materials. Please visit for more information on their services.