What Is Public Policy?
A passion for serving others and the desire to make the world a better place are the reasons why students choose to study public policy. Enroll in the Bachelor of Arts in Government with an Emphasis in State and Local Public Policy degree program at Grand Canyon University, and examine how ethical political leadership can make a difference. Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this government degree explores the complex facets of political behaviors and ways to apply this information to affect positive social change.
This bachelor’s in public policy degree surveys the framework of local and state governments. There is a focus on the political and social landscape of Arizona. On-campus students find the learning community at GCU to be particularly dynamic and informative, given its close proximity to county, city and state headquarters.
What Is a Bachelor of Arts in Government Public Policy?
The BA in Government with an Emphasis in State and Local Public Policy degree prepares students for a constantly changing political landscape. Students learn how to process complex information and communicate it in ways that are accessible to a wide variety of audiences.
Ethical and creative problem-solving is at the heart of a public policy degree. Students examine historic and modern problems facing American communities, and explore ways of addressing these issues in an ethical manner that is aligned with the Christian perspective. Public policy students have a passion for bringing about positive change, and this degree guides them in learning how to bring their visions to reality.
What You’ll Study for a Government & Public Policy BA Degree
The government degree builds foundational knowledge regarding the American government, American Constitution and international affairs. Students then take an in-depth look at state and local governance, political theories, municipal government and public policy analysis. Some of the core competencies covered by this degree program include:
- The American Constitution from its colonial origins to the present, including key concepts such as the separation of powers
- Qualitative and quantitative methods for researching politics, such as hypothesis testing, inference and causal reasoning
- The impact of policy making on public opinion, interest groups and governing institutions
- Contemporary topics in federalism that impact state and local communities, including health care, transportation, homeland security and environmental protections
Additionally, senior students take the Government Capstone course, which explores career opportunities in governing entities and agencies at the local, state and federal levels.
Career Opportunities with a Bachelor of Arts in Government - Public Policy Degree
This government degree with a specialization in public policy equips graduates to pursue rewarding careers in service to their communities. Some jobs that may be related to this degree include the following:
- Legislative aide or correspondent
- Research analyst
- Public administrator
- Regulatory affairs specialist
- Campaign worker
Public policy majors may venture into the corporate or nonprofit arenas. They may pursue work as advocates or lobbyists for the reform of health care, education, human rights or security. Graduates may also run for an elected office in order to directly serve the interests of their local or state communities. Upon graduation, you may decide to further refine your skill set and knowledge by pursuing a graduate degree.
General Education Requirements
General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University’s General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.
Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.
- UNV-103, University Success: 4
- UNV-303, University Success: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
- COM-263, Elements of Intercultural Communication: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments. Students are required to take 3 credits of college mathematics or higher.
- MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, crosscultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- INT-244, World Religions: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
Program Core Courses
This course is an introduction to American government and politics. It covers the constitutional foundations and governing institutions of the federal government. Throughout the course, students address common political themes, such as the nature and scope of governance, democracy, citizenship, and patterns of political behavior.
This course compares and contrasts various systems of government in Western and non-Western countries, and explores political and diplomatic processes and how they affect international relations, nations, and localities.
This writing intensive course surveys the development of the American Constitution from colonial origins to the present. Constitutional law in the broader framework of political philosophy is discussed. Major themes in this course are federalism, the doctrine of separation of powers, and the impact of Supreme Court decisions on society. Prerequisite: GOV-140.
This course focuses on the structures, processes, and policy outputs of state and local governments in the United States, with special reference to Arizona political, social, and economic environments. Prerequisite: GOV-140.
This course introduces the qualitative and quantitative methods used to research and study politics including hypothesis testing, inference, and causal reasoning. Prerequisite: GOV-140.
This course covers public policymaking in American federal government. It focuses on the impact of policy on public opinion, the media, interest groups, and governing institutions within the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches. Prerequisite: GOV-140.
This course examines the political processes that determine who gets what, when, and how in society, and explores the issues and concepts that are used to develop and critique political theories. The classics as well as the more contemporary expressions of political thought are introduced.
This course studies the development of city government in the United States; the governmental organization of several typical cities; the problems of taxation, law enforcement, health, housing, welfare, planning, and zoning; and the future of cities. Prerequisite: GOV-366.
This course explores the theory and practice of governmental administration at the national, state, and local levels and the implementation of legislation. It examines the role of the bureaucracy in the federal government and the states. Prerequisite: GOV-366.
This course analyzes contemporary topics in federalism. Topics will vary but may include case studies on environmental, health care, transportation, and homeland security policies. Prerequisite: GOV-351.
This writing intensive course provides a broad overview of careers at the federal, state, and local levels of governing bodies and agencies. The course explores the role of a bureaucrat, legislative aid, lobbyist, or campaign worker. Issues that are unique to legislatures that make the law, and to public agencies that implement and enforce the law are also explored. This course examines selected theoretical and empirical topics in government. This course represents the culmination of undergraduate study within government. This capstone course needs to be completed at the end of program. This capstone course needs to be completed at the end of program. Prerequisites: GOV-364, GOV-307, GOV-358, GOV-378, GOV-140, and GOV-210.
Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview. New modern classrooms, suite-style residence halls, popular dining options, resort-style swimming pools and a focus on creating a dynamic student life make GCU a top choice for high school graduates and transfer students. Exciting events, well-known guest speakers and Division I athletics round out the traditional student experience. Our welcoming campus community is the perfect place to find your purpose.
Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere. GCU offers the most experienced leadership in delivering online degree programs. Full-time faculty members and fully trained adjunct instructors, equipped with strong academic backgrounds and practical experience in their fields, support you every step of the way. Designed with the career-oriented professional in mind, our online classes provide an intimate environment that stimulates engaging and challenging discussions. Choose from programs across our distinct colleges, in high-demand employment areas. Classes begin frequently.
Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom. Night classes are designed for a specific number of students, providing a warm and nurturing environment that supports an engaging experience. In an evening cohort, you will progress through your degree program with the same career-minded classmates, providing an opportunity to network and forge relationships that go beyond the classroom. Classes begin frequently at various locations, including our main campus.
* Please note that this list may contain programs that are not presently offered as program availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability of the program.
* The Department of Education defines how an institution must calculate a program's On-Time Completion rate for federal disclosure purposes. The On-Time Completion rate is based on a program's published required number of months to complete all degree requirements as provided in the institution's catalog. Completion statistics are updated every January and are based on the cohort of students who started the program in the same year and then graduated within the published program length .Online and Evening program disclosures (4 years)
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.