Bureaucracy and the American Political System

Introductory survey to the administrative arm of American national, state, and local government. Bureaucracy has become so important to the functioning of the federal system it has been termed "the fourth branch of government." Bureaucracy's role as a political institution of the first order, not just as an implementer of policy. Bureaucratic power, structure, and democratic control.


Government Regulation

Development of regulatory agencies, their functions, intended and unintended impact, and organizational and philosophical critiques of existing regulation. Relationship of regulation to the constitutional separation of powers and tenets of democracy explored. Questions of democratic accountability and other aspects of political context in which regulatory agencies operate. Proposed reforms evaluated.


Public Policy: Concepts and Processes

Basic policy theories and the policy process, paying special attention to key events that create or prevent policy opportunities and problems that arise throughout the policy process. Substantive policy issues used to illustrate the various concepts and process models.


Public Policy Analysis: Methods and Models

Approaches to public policy analysis. The nature of politics and policy with emphasis on the role of the citizen, uses of information types in the formation of public policy, the analysis of policy content, and the problems of training for policy analysis. Basic policy analysis methods including interviewing participant observation, document analysis, and surveying.


Internship in Political Science

Internship in government agencies, government offices, interest groups, political parties, non profit and other organizations.


The Administrative Process

Interdisciplinary examination of the internal dynamics of public and private organizations.


Intergovernmental Relations

Analysis of the nature and problems of the American federal system, with emphasis on the politics and administration of federal grants. Problems in national-state and national-local governmental coordination in administration.


Policy and Program Evaluation Research

Techniques useful for research aiding in policy making and for assessing the impact of policy. Acquaints student with the role of research in policy formation and evaluation and to give the student experience in conducting such research.


Topics in American Public Policy

Focuses on a significant public policy in American politics. Topics include but are not limited to: science; technology; education; and health politics. This course may be taken twice assuming the specific policy covered is not the same.


Comparative Public Policy: A Cross-National Approach

Various approaches to public policy outside the United States with emphasis on Western industrial societies. Includes policy formation and the various factors that influence policy outputs, the relationship between policy outputs and policy outcomes, efforts to classify and evaluate various types of policy outputs, and the influence of policy on politics.


Core Seminar in Public Policy

Focuses on the field of public policy including the following: theoretical frameworks, the role of institutions in the policy process, and the motivations of policy actors.


Public Policy Analysis: Methods and Models

Explores both qualitative and quantitative approaches to public policy analysis. Topics include the nature of politics and policy, the formation of public policy, the analysis of policy content, methodological triangulation, participatory policy making designs, and the role of the policy analyst.


Seminar in Public Policy

Topics include, but are not limited to, agriculture, cities, education, environment, health, and rural communities.


The Undergraduate Public Policy Analysis Certificate (U-PPAC) is an interdisciplinary program that provides students with knowledge of the policy process and the methodological skills for analyzing policy problems and programs. Students interested in policy issues, acquiring set of analytical and methodological tools for evaluating policies, or seeking a policy-related job in the public or private sector will benefit from the U-PPAC. All UNL undergraduates are eligible.

Students are required to complete fifteen (15) credit hours of course work plus a three (3) credit hour internship for a total of eighteen (18) credit hours. Students who have completed the program will receive a certificate in Public Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation upon graduation.


Students must meet with the policy analysis coordinator to set up a plan of study. For more information or to enroll in the certificate program, contact :

Professor Kevin Smith
Department of Political Science
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
511 Oldfather Hall
Lincoln, NE  68588-0328
Office: 402-472-0779
Fax:  402-472-8192
Email: ksmith1@unl.edu

Principles and Requirements (18 hours)

Four principles train students to analyze systematically and coherently public policies, negotiate multiple and competing interests, and develop in-depth knowledge and application in substantive policy issue(s).

First Level

Theories, processes, models, and methods of policy analysis. (6 hours; both courses required)

POLS 235 Public Policy Concepts and Processes
POLS 236 Public Policy Analysis: Methods and Models


Second Level

Examines the interpersonal, interagency and inter-group negotiation processes within which policymaking occurs. Choose one of the following. (3 hours).

COMM 211 Intercultural Communication
COMM 371 Communication in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
COMM 375 Theories of Persuasion
POLS 261 Conflict and Conflict Resolution


Third Level

Apply models, methods, and the understanding of the policy process in substantive policy arenas. Students consult with the policy certificate coordinator to create a specialized plan of study for this level. (6 hours)

Fourth Level

Internship; fieldwork (3 hours; capstone experience). Students will be placed in a governmental or non-profit agency relating to their issue area of expertise.

The internship occurs after completing or during the last semester of course work for the U-PPAC.

The political science undergraduate advisor as well as the policy certificate coordinator will help students find an appropriate policy-relevant internship.

Academic requirements for the internship will be set by the U-PPAC coordinator; however, the student can register for internship credit through political science or their major department.