The public policy minor is intended for University of Iowa undergraduate students who seek to understand how and why public policies are adopted; how they impact the economy, society and communities; and how innovative public policies are developed to improve economic prosperity, social justice and wellbeing, and environmental sustainability at the local, state, national and global levels.
The minor in public policy is well-suited for students majoring in economics, political science, education, sociology, criminology, pre-law, human rights, social justice, social work, geography, sustainability, environmental policy and planning, civil and environmental engineering, health and public health, business, anthropology, history, journalism and mass communication, African American studies, and Native American and Indigenous studies among other areas.
Students completing the public policy minor will be able to analyze the impact of past and current public policies, understand the institutions and process of policy making, and develop new public policies to tackle pressing challenges faced by our society. They will be prepared to enter policy-making fields in their areas of interest, and to make communities, states and nations more resilient, inclusive and prosperous.
The Graduate College is the curricular college for the undergraduate public policy minor, and the minor is awarded by the University College.


The undergraduate minor in public policy requires 15 s.h. of coursework taken at the University of Iowa. Students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.00 in work for the minor. Coursework in the minor may not be taken pass/non-pass.

Students must take at least 2 core courses and 3 electives from the lists below (at least 1 of those electives should be in Group A). The core courses provide generally applicable knowledge and methods. The electives allow students to explore policy areas of interest to them. The minor may be earned by any student admitted to the University of Iowa who is not concurrently enrolled in a UI graduate or professional degree program.  


2 Core Courses (6 s.h.)

PBAF:3117 Bureaucratic Politics and Public Administration
PBAF:3560 Public Policy and Persuasion
Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060. Same as POLI:3560, RHET:3560, SJUS:3560
PBAF:4205 Economics for Policy Analysis
No prerequisite, but instructor's approval required
PBAF:4233 Public Finance and Budgeting
PBAF:4340 Public Policy Analysis
POLI:3111 American Public Policy


Students must select at least three electives (9 s.h.) with at least one Group A elective from the lists below.(All core courses above can count as Group A electives if they are not taken to meet core requirements.)

Group A (at least one of these)

PBAF:3570 Poverty Policy
URP:1030 Climate Leadership and Justice
PBAF:2020 Environment and Society: Sustainability, Policy, and Politics
PBAF:2056 The Splendor of Cities
URP:4225 Applied GIS for Planning and Policy Making
URP:4256 Environmental Policy
URP:4260 Transportation Policy and Planning
URP:4271 Housing Policy
URP:4280 Planning for Disaster Mitigation and Recovery
URP:4295 Economic Development Policy

Group B

PBAF:3580 Native American Public Policy
CRIM:2210 Iowa Criminal Justice Policy and Reform
CRIM:3600 Crime and Public Policy
Prerequisite: CRIM:1410
CRIM:4120 Environmental Criminology
Prerequisite: CRIM:1410
GEOG:3780 U.S. Energy Policy in Global Context
GEOG:3800 Environmental Economics and Policy
HHP:4030 Policy, Environmental, and Social Health
Prerequisites: HHP:2200 and HHP:2310
POLI:1501 Introduction to American Foreign Policy
POL:2417 Comparative Environmental Policy
POLI:3104 Immigration Politics
POLI:3114 Women and Politics in the United States
POLI:3123 State Politics in Iowa
POLI:3127 Legislative Policy Seminar
POLI:3160 Solving Policy Problems Through Research
SOC:2810 Social Inequality

Declaring the Minor and Minor Advising

Students may declare the minor in MyUI as soon as they are enrolled in any of the public policy minor courses above.

Those interested in pursuing the minor must meet with the minor advisor, be briefed on the minor expectations for performance, and complete a Plan of Study that must be approved by the minor advisor.

Please contact Carrie Schuettpelz, Director of Undergraduate Studies at the School of Planning and Public Affairs.