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Policy Studies Overview
Students in the policy studies program gain skills in political, social, economic, and historical analysis, communication, and problem-solving. And since our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and experience you need to rise to leadership in your field, you’ll be encouraged to explore careers through an active internship program and to play leadership roles within the campus community.
Chatham students in policy studies are fortunate to have small class sizes that enable intense learning opportunities both from peer-to-peer interactions and one-on-one mentoring from faculty. Programs are flexible and designed to meet the unique interests and abilities of each student. They graduate with a profound understanding of both how policymaking happens and how they can contribute to the process in meaningful ways.
— DR. JENNIE SWEET-CUSHMAN, assistant director, Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics, and assistant professor of political science
New Leadership Pennsylvania Promotes Women in Politics
The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) at Chatham University combats gender inequity in politics by hosting the NEW Leadership Pennsylvania™ summer institute—an intensive, non-partisan, six-day residential program.
Explore the Policy Studies Degree:
Chatham’s policy studies program is designed to prepare students for a career in developing domestic or international policy in public or private settings, such as in public service, elected office, or government agencies. It’s also appropriate background for work in non-governmental policy organizations, and forges a strong foundation for graduate work in public policy, law, and other academic fields.
- All students complete a capstone seminar that channels the knowledge they’ve accumulated into a discipline-specific project under close faculty guidance. Chatham is one of the few universities across the country that offers such an independent and student-driven program.
- Graduate with an advanced degree through one of our partnerships, including the Accelerated Graduate Program in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University, the 3/3 program at Duquesne University Law School, and the Early Assurance Program with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
- Chatham University is a founding member of PLEN (Public Leadership Educational Network) which offers week-long seminars and summer internships in Washington, D.C. The seminars include sessions with people on Capitol Hill, and feature topics on public policy, pre-law, science policy, women in Congress, and women in international policy.
- Chatham is home to the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics, which offers a variety of ways for students to become involved in programming and other efforts.
Understanding Public Policy
This course introduces students to the concepts and tools used in the analysis of public policies, and uses these concepts and tools to examine public policies in the United States and other industrial democracies.
An examination of the factors accounting for economic growth and development of modern economically developed nations and less-developed areas. A review of the problems encountered in initiating and sustaining the process of economic development. Major policy issues are discussed. This course fulfills a global general education mission course requirement.
Economic Analysis of Public Policy
This course focuses on evaluating the rationale for government intervention in the economy and evaluating the efficiency, incentive, and distributional effects of government policies. Policies’ impacts on issues such as how best to protect intellectual property, improve airline safety or control illegal immigration are also analyzed.
If one word could best sum up Chatham's faculty, it would be engaged. Professors bring experiences to relate the course lessons to real-world situations.
Global Focus Program
Chatham’s award-winning Global Focus program engages students in the critical and holistic exploration of one specific country or region of the globe every year. The program reinforces cross-cultural ties and internationalization initiatives in the Greater Pittsburgh area and beyond. Featured countries have included Indonesia, Canada, Southern Africa, Germany, Brazil, Chile, Vietnam, and more.Learn More
International Studies Certificate
Students can enhance their degree with a certificate in international studies in one of five major global regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. The certificate includes a language requirement, history and culture courses, and an international field experience (which Chatham helps to fund).
Preparing for Law School
Chatham's pre-law program is designed to encourage and support students with an interest in careers in law. It also helps students prepare to attend law school. The program includes the pre-law advisor, a pre-law minor, co-curricular programs offered in partnership with the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics, as well as the support of an advisory committee.
Alumna profile: Vanessa McCarthy-Johnson ’18, MBA ‘19
In 2019, it’s surprising to hear anyone say the words “I love politics.” But Vice President of Wilkinsburg Borough Council, Vanessa McCarthy-Johnson ’18, MBA ’19, credits her passion for government as the catalyst that led to her seeking not one but two degrees from Chatham—that, and her four daughters.
Jobs graduates have gotten include Student Defense Counsel, US Marine Corps; Co-Chair, Mt. Lebanon Environmental Team; Associate Attorney in Immigration Law, Seth Law Center; Assistant Director of Executive Education Programs, Carnegie Mellon University; Staff Attorney, Domestic Violence Service Center; Data Scientist, ADM Associates; and graduate student in the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
Students have interned at a variety of settings, including organizations such as the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, League of Women Voters, City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office, Haitian Families First, Pittsburgh Public Schools, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, and the City of Pittsburgh.