Question: What is the BA seminar sequence (PBPL 29800-PBPL 29801) and how is it different from PBPL 29900 and PBPL 29700?

Answer: The senior seminar sequence (PBPL 29800-29801) is a required, two-quarter course taught in Autumn and Winter quarters that begins the process of writing the public policy BA paper for graduating seniors. Students begin writing the BA paper in Autumn and work Winter and Spring quarters to further develop the paper producing a final draft for Spring quarter.

Public Policy 29900 is an independent study course for graduating seniors that is not required, but may in special cases be taken to earn elective credit for independent work towards completion of their BA paper. Public Policy 29700 is also an independent study course, but one designed for students wishing to earn elective credit for non-BA-related reading and research.

You cannot register for PBPL 29900 or PBPL 29700 on on the web but must see your college advisor to register. You will be given the College Reading and Research Course Form. This form requires the signature of the Public Policy Studies Program Director and your faculty advisor or preceptor. The completed form is submitted to the Registrars Office.

Question: How do I register for the BA Seminar?

Answer: Fourth-years are required to register for 29800 (100 units) and 29801 (0 units). Students choose in which quarter (Autumn or Winter) to take the credit-bearing course (29800) and the non-credit-bearing course (29801), but must take both. The goal of this arrangement is to provide structure for students during the BA thesis process throughout Autumn and Winter Quarter while offering flexibility in scheduling. Students will have the same BA Seminar experience (e.g., submit assignments on the same schedule) regardless of how they allocate the credits. PBPL 29801 (0 units) can be taken with four other classes, but students should know that this would be a demanding course load.

Question: Do I need to go through IRB for my research?

Answer: Start with this handout. Also, consult UChicago's IRB website here.

Question: Do I need a second reader to get honors in Public Policy?

Answer: No. All Public Policy BA papers are eligible for honors. Students may select a second reader/faculty adviser if they choose, but they are not required.  If the BA is evaluated as honors worthy and the student has the qualifying GPA for honors (see Honors under Program Requirements), they will graduate with special honors in the Public Policy major. 

Question: What is the field research practicum?

Answer: The field research practicum is a two quarter course designed to teach research methods in a hands-on way. Students in the practicum work collectively on a real-world policy problem, with a focus on Chicago. Recent projects have included developing and testing measures of the impact of cultural organizations on local communities for the city of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs, examining the impact of welfare reform on former welfare recipients entering the labor market under Welfare-to-Work programs and assessing economic development in the South Shore Neighborhood. Each year, the class project results in a final report prepared for the client, and often a public presentation of the findings, as well. The research practicum is generally taken by students in their second or third year.

Question: What are specialization courses?

Answer: Specialization courses (also called substantive policy courses) are three courses from any of the social sciences disciplines having a substantive or disciplinary link -- forming a subfield of study within public policy. Any courses taught in the University at the 200-level and above are eligible to serve as specialization courses with the exception of independent study courses and some introductory courses. For more information, please follow this link: Specialization Courses

Question: How do I get academic credit for my internship?

Answer: You will meet with the public policy program director prior to registering for Public Policy 29600, then complete the College Reading and Research Course Form to officially register for PBPL 29600 and finally prepare an internship paper following the completion of your internship under the guidance of the public policy director.