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Public Policy

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Careers in Public Policy, Science, and Technology

Public Policy is a maturing policy field focused on the interactions among scientific developments, technological change, social values, and governmental activities at both international and domestic levels. It is concerned with the ways in which citizens and professionals in industry, government, labor, academia, and non-profit organizations understand these interactions and apply their understanding to solve social, environmental, human health and economic problems, as well as promote and manage scientific and technological systems that could serve as solutions.

Career Paths

Recent graduates with policy degrees work in research, analysis, or management with such job titles as research analyst, program or policy analyst, legislative analyst, or the more specific environmental protection specialist.

Career paths in policy making, policy analysis, and policy research require different kinds of skills and capabilities as well as different types of training and work styles. In addition, career paths leading to similar positions may differ. For example, senior executive-level policy making positions in federal agencies often require scientific or technical credentials, whereas senior congressional committee policy making positions are less demanding of technical qualifications and more demanding of political skills. The same may be said of policy management careers. A person entering the field as a research or policy assistant might expect to move to analyst or technical consultant, to project director or senior professional staff, and ultimately to policy making positions such as assistant secretary, executive director, or vice president. With some exceptions, a Ph.D is usually required for movement to senior levels, and generally the closer the position is to academe or high-level think tanks, the more a Ph.D is needed.

Qualifications Necessary

To be successful, interested students should develop their analytical skills, both qualitative and quantitative. Knowledge of the policy environment and the significant issues affecting policies and information management skills are needed. Other needed skills include effective reporting and communicating skills (verbal and written), a strong background in economics, political and persuasive skills, especially diplomacy when working with diverse groups. In addition, good teamwork and networking talents, substantive knowledge of` a specialized area such as biotechnology, defense, space or the environment, and a technical degree (i.e. Ph.D, MS, or BS in physics or engineering) may be required for positions in some science and technology organizations.

Potential Employers

Online Resources