Department of Public Policy Leadership

University of Mississippi

Program Description

Established in 2006, Public Policy Leadership (PPL) began formal operation in the Fall of 2007 as a department within the College of Liberal Arts and in partnership with the Trent Lott Leadership Institute ( The Department offers a BA degree in Public Policy Leadership. The BA in public policy leadership prepares high-performing students for positions of leadership in an increasingly complex world. The interdisciplinary curriculum incorporates economics, geography, history, public administration and policy, philosophy, and political science. The program emphasizes the global nature of responsible decision making, the ethical imperatives of leadership, critical thinking, communication skills, and the conceptual and methodological skills necessary for careful policy analysis. Public Policy Leadership and Lott Leadership Institute offer students the benefits of a small institute—selective admission, challenging academic program, and small classes—with the advantages of a large public university—affordable tuition and a wide range of resources and opportunities. The small and intimate nature of the program allows a high level of interaction and communication among faculty and between faculty and students.

The B.A. in Public Policy Leadership degree program prepares students for a variety of career possibilities, including graduate school and law school, public service, nonprofit organization, business, etc.

The Department of Public Policy Leadership has excellent faculty members who bring research, service, and disciplinary training to bear on engaging high performing students to accomplish five aims: (a) develop effective thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills, (b) recognize the importance and demands of ethics, diversity, and responsible leadership, (c) understand policy-making – from the local to the global, (d) acquire skills in policy analysis, and (e) deepen their substantive knowledge of particular policy areas.


Course Requirements for the Major in Public Policy Leadership:

The B.A. degree with a major in public policy leadership consists of 33 hours, including:

  • PPL 101 Foundations of Public Policy Leadership (3): Theories and principles of public policy formation, implementation, and assessment.
  • PPL 210 Public Policy Research Methods (3): Applications of quantitative analysis in the study of social, political, and economic problems.Students may not receive credit for both this course and Pol 251
  • PPL 212 Critical Thinking, Communications, and Public Policy (3): Principles and methods of critical thinking and effective oral and written communication.
  • PPL 300 Public Policy and Ethics (3): Analysis of the common good with emphasis on ethical standards that should define and constrain the state’s pursuit of a just society.
  • PPL 310 Public Policy Design and Analysis (3): Concepts, processes, methodologies, and issues involved in advanced public policy design and analysis. Students may not receive credit for both PPL 310 and Pol 367.
  • Political Science 101 Introduction to American Politics (3): Constitutional principles of U.S. governmental framework. Political participation, electoral processes, political institutions.
  • Economics 202 Principles of Microeconomics (3): The nature of economics, economic concepts, and institutions; the role of the price system in directing the production of goods and services; distribution of income; and comparative economic systems.
  • Economics 203 Principles of Macroeconomics (3): Resources and goals of the economy; national income; unemployment; money and banking; fiscal and monetary policy; contemporary problems; economic growth; and international economics. Prerequisite: ECON 202.

    An additional 18 hours of 300-level or 400-level PPL courses with at least one class in each of the following three categories:

  • Leadership/Organization
    • PPL 370 Philosophy of Leadership: Classics of Ethics and Politics (3): Examination of classic texts dealing with leadership and politics.
    • PPL 371 Nonprofit Organization and Grant Writing (3): The course will expand student awareness of the scope and breadth of the nonprofit sector in the United States, examine the inner workings of nonprofit organizations, and provide a foundation for further study related to the field of nonprofit organizations. It will also focus on grant writing and methods of raising funds for the nonprofit sector.
    • PPL 372 Introduction to Public Administration (3): The course will acquaint students with the history, language, issues, and theories central to the study of public administration and public management. Students will critically think about the structure of American government that affects public policy.
    • PPL 384 Civic Engagement, Public Policy, and Democracy in the U.S. (3): Examination of how Americans’ civic engagement shapes public policy and public life.
    • PPL 491 Topics in Leadership/Organization (3): The course explores themes in leadership and organization of public policy. May be repeated once with a change in topic.
  • Domestic Policies
    • PPL 328 The Corporation and Public Policy (3): Policy issues related to local, national and global regulation of corporations.
    • PPL 331 Political Philosophy (same as Philosophy 331) (3): Theories of the state and the just society from J.S. Mill to the present.
    • PPL 342 Philosophy and Diversity in Public Policy (3): Introduction to diverse contemporary ethical frameworks; consideration of policies which address diversity inherent in democratic, open societies.
    • PPL 345 Environment, Ethics, and Public Policy (same as Philosophy 345) (3): Ethical implications of environmental problems such as the endangerment of species and the disruption of fragile ecosystems.
    • PPL 383 Social Policy in the United States (3): Contemporary U.S. social policy and politics, with an emphasis on protections against disadvantage and risk.
    • PPL 385 Food Policy and Agriculture Systems (3): This course will delve into questions surrounding issues of food as well as the health implications of farming. From the global to the national to the local level, food policy will be examined along with the important social, environmental, and economic problems stemming from federal, state, and local policies that affect the food system.
    • PPL 387 Education Policy (3): This course explores the debates regarding the problems facing pre-K-12 education in the U.S., their causes, and possible solutions. It focuses on the interaction of policy and practice, especially regarding a wide range of reform ideas, analyzes a number of reforms, and discusses how key institutions and actors shape the American pre-K-12 education system.
    • PPL 386 Science, Technology, and Public Policy (3): Examination of factors which shape public policy decisions in area of science and technology.
    • PPL 492 Topics in Domestic Policies (3): The course will focus on domestic policies. May be repeated once with a change in topic.
  • International Policies
    • PPL 320 Issues in Global Economics (3): Application of microeconomic and macroeconomic tools to analyze current global issues, including market interdependence, trade disputes and liberalization, currency realignment, economic policy coordination, and the causes and consequences of recent international economic crises.
    • PPL 329 Economic Geographies of Globalization (3): Contemporary economic geographies of internationalization and globalization. Advanced study of regulatory policies and economic actors.
    • PPL 330 Global Border Policies (3): Students will analyze the nature of international borders and border policies. They will examine the ways in which countries regulate their border policies in an environment of increased financial transactions, trade, and migration flows.
    • PPL 340 Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights (3): Origins and challenges for the concept of and practices related to human rights; understanding of conflicts that divide Western and non-Western ideologies regarding individuality, liberty and justice.
    • PPL 360 Global Perspectives, Issues, and Policies (3): This course introduces students to competing worldviews and global issues that have significant policy implications for individual countries and the world. Students will develop critical perspectives for analyzing contemporary international events and issues and evaluating policies.
    • PPL 376 Policymaking and Governance in China (3): This course is intended to provide an introduction to the study of policymaking and governance in China, which involves an introduction to policymaking and governance in the West. It will concentrate on contemporary China and does not presume any previous background on China.
    • PPL 380 World Regions: Geography and Policy (3): Examination of the major forces of global change and their implications for public policy within the context of a comparative study of major world regions.
    • PPL 381 Global Environmental Issues (3): Interdisciplinary study of environmental issues facing the contemporary world and the role of public policy in addressing them. Employs integrated, human/environmental interaction perspective on issues including energy, climate, pollution, resources, technology and biodiversity.
    • PPL 382 Geography of Religions and Belief Systems (3): Introduction to religious and non-religious belief systems around the world along with an exploration of interactions among and between them with specific study of policy implications and foundations for conflict and cooperation.
    • PPL 388 Public Policies of the European Union (3): Examination of the policies of European Union enlargement and analysis of government policies at the EU, national and local levels.
    • PPL 493 Topics in International Policies (3): The course will focus on international policies. May be repeated once with a change in topic.
  • Students can use up to 6 credit hours of study abroad (PPL 496), up to 6 credit hours of thesis (PPL 402 and 403), and up to 3 credit hours of internship (PPL 497 and 499) toward the major, but the total credit hours used toward the major from all three combined (study abroad, thesis, and internship) cannot be over 9 credit hours.


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