Online Public Policy Bachelor's Degree

What You'll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Public policy programs combine coursework in political science, law, human services, and sociology to prepare students for careers in government, law, business, and communications. With a public policy bachelor's degree, students can pursue jobs as market research analysts, city planners, survey researchers, and public relations specialists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the market research analyst field will grow 23% between 2016 and 2026.

Online public policy programs advance the careers of current public policy professionals, deepening their knowledge of bureaucratic structures, economic policies, and social practices. Recent high school graduates who begin a public policy degree online develop the skills they need for the field.

Why Earn a Public Policy Degree Online?

Public policy degrees online allow learners to complete a bachelor's program while also working full time and maintaining personal obligations. Online degrees boast convenience and flexibility, permitting students to take classes and complete coursework on their own schedules.

Part-time students benefit from asynchronous programs, which feature nonsequential classes that students take on their own timelines. Synchronous programs require learners to complete classes along an established degree schedule, which may prove difficult for part-time students. Many synchronous programs operate on a cohort model, through which students who begin their degrees at the same time progress through the program together.

Public policy degrees online avoid costs associated with on-campus study. Online students do not have to worry about parking fees, room and board, commuting expenses, or other related charges. Online learners may also pay cheaper tuition than their on-campus counterparts. For example, many schools charge a flat-rate tuition for their distance learners, regardless of each student's state of residence.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in Public Policy?

Public policy degrees online equip learners with the knowledge and skills they need to pursue a variety of careers. Coursework in political science, public administration, and legal studies builds critical-thinking and analytical skills, which may apply to careers in government, education, communication, and law. Public policy bachelor's degrees offer information on how local, state, and national policies impact individuals, communities, and populations. This insight allows students to pursue professional opportunities in public service and politics. Students also develop valuable research skills needed for graduate study in public policy or a related field, such as economics, business administration, or media relations.

Skills and Knowledge Gained

Public policy coursework introduces learners to theoretical and practical information on economics, sociology, public administration, and communication. The range of topics covered in public policy programs equip students with interdisciplinary knowledge and the ability to synthesize information. Public policy students also learn to apply abstract concepts to specific events, people, and trends.

Students pursuing bachelor's degrees in public policy develop critical-thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills. Public policy classes emphasize research methods and data analysis, training learners to assess qualitative and quantitative research data. Learners transfer these competencies to future careers as market research analysts, public relations professionals, and policy researchers. Public policy coursework also includes experiential learning activities, which help learners to identify social, economic, and political issues. Through hands-on exercises, learners create solutions and effectively implement policies in specific contexts.

Public policy degrees online afford students the opportunity to engage with technical language and detailed information. By exploring the construction and content of official documents like laws, regulations, and policies, public policy students train to become the future authors of comparable texts. Learners also develop writing skills to construct reports, along with oral communication skills to explain the intricacies of education, healthcare, and related policies to others.

Careers and Salary Potential

Public policy degrees online prepare students for careers in consulting, public policy research, and education. With decision-making and analytical skills, public policy graduates understand how policies and regulations impact individuals and groups at the local, regional, and national levels. They can apply policy to specific contexts and situations, including healthcare, business, and education. Public policy degrees online also develop communication skills, training students to prepare and deliver written and oral reports.

  • Consulting: Consultants offer expertise on specific topics and disciplines, providing new perspectives to existing organizations, business, or situations. By contributing ideas and insights to a current context, consultants help shape goals, solve problems, and facilitate change.

  • Public Policy Research and Development: Public policy research and development professionals gather information on policy differences, disparities, and applicability. With collected data, public policy researchers and developers analyze policy efficacy and efficiency to suggest changes and develop new guidelines. Policy analysis creates awareness of policy gaps and helps solve oversights and problems.

  • Education: The education sector comprises instruction from preschool through post-secondary study. Public policy professionals who work in education study educational policy as it relates to students, teachers, and the educational system.

  • Financial Services: The financial services sector provides support to commercial and retail customers. Financial services includes banking, investments, real estate, and insurance areas in which public policy professionals function as compliance officers, consumer advocates, and market analysts.

  • Healthcare: The healthcare industry includes everything from curative activities within physician offices and hospitals to preventative and palliative care. The economic, privacy, and ethical aspects of the healthcare industry allow public policy professionals to interpret and assess healthcare regulations and policies as they relate to consumer and provider needs.

Market Research Analyst

Annual Median Salary: $63,230

Market research analysts gather information about market and sales trends. They write, administer, and collect polls, surveys, and other assessment tools to analyze consumers' and businesses' behaviors, preferences, and habits. Market research analysts present findings to companies and businesses to help determine pricing, product development, and promotional campaigns. They condense complicated findings into charts, graphs, and oral presentations.

Paralegal

Annual Median Salary: $50,410

Paralegals work with lawyers and other legal professionals as researchers, investigators, interviewers, and writers. They keep detailed records about witnesses, evidence, and court proceedings for civil and criminal attorneys. Paralegals interact with clients and lawyers alike, often acting as intermediaries via phone, email, and written correspondence. They use software and technology management systems to maintain official documents.

Journalist

Annual Median Salary: $39,484

Journalists publish articles in newspapers, magazines, and online publications, and report for television and radio news outlets. Journalists use leads and tips to gather information about specific topics and subjects, synthesizing data from various sources into cohesive articles or reports. They also work with editors to develop their ideas and to revise and rework drafts.

Senior Policy Analyst

Annual Median Salary: $75,419

Senior policy analysts specialize in a policy field or in how policy relates to a specific industry. Senior policy analysts assess education, healthcare, and government policies and procedures to determine efficacy and efficiency. They develop analytical tools and assessment plans, using findings to suggest alternative implementation options and policy changes. Senior policy analysts may oversee teams of other analysts.

Social and Community Service Manager

Annual Median Salary: $64,100

Social and community service managers work with individuals and groups to determine program and service needs. They collect data regarding community challenges, such as substance abuse, obesity, mental health issues, and unemployment. This data allows social and community service managers to develop and oversee programs to combat problems. They monitor the effectiveness of programs, and make changes as needed. Social and community service managers often write grants and proposals for funding from local, state, and national organizations and agencies.