Program Curriculum

Learning Objectives

The Master of Arts in Policy Studies at the University of Washington Bothell (UW Bothell) takes a deliberately interdisciplinary approach to the study of policy, drawing on multiple areas of inquiry, including political science, economics, sociology, psychology, philosophy and more. In the program, you will develop the skills considered to be the heart of liberal arts education: critical thinking, research, analysis, writing and speaking, philosophical and ethical analysis, and historical and cultural thinking. The program emphasizes a strong theoretical foundation for policy research, together with the public administration knowledge typical of MPA programs

Policy Studies students build the background knowledge and analytic skill to tackle contemporary policy challenges and bring positive change in local, regional, and global communities. You will learn to apply social science theories to real-world concerns and use research to define and measure policy problems, as well as develop, evaluate, and implement solutions. Students become policy actors, equipped for professional policy work in public, private, and non-profit sectors, and will know how to pursue their craft with integrity.

Learning Objectives

In 2015, the MA in Policy Studies underwent process of self study and external review assessing the quality of its academic degree program.  The final review highlighted program strengths that include rigorous core courses, excellent connections with regional organizations, and a growing alumni network.  The review also fed strategic planning process in 2016 to architect the degree’s next stage of evolution and development.

Central to this process was a revision and rearticulation of the core values and learning objectives that underpin the program and its curriculum, below.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

  • Engage with diverse stakeholders in policy-making processes and with diverse forms of policy-making actions
  • Address the unequal impact of policy on diverse communities and stakeholders in the interests of equity, access, and inclusion

Public Good

  • Identify and propose policy mechanisms that support sustainable and ethical outcomes

Professional Competency

  • Apply management and leadership skills, including communication, collaboration, presentation, evaluation, and strategic planning to a wide range of professional policy positions across public, private, and non-profit sectors
  • Apply rigorous quantitative analysis and evaluation skills to solving policy problems

Critical Engagement

  • Critically analyze diverse theoretical, quantitative and qualitative approaches and perspectives as they frame policy problems, research, evidence, and solutions

Stakeholders—faculty, students, and alumni—responded to these revisions with high levels of support.  They noted that the revisions provide a strong and mature program vision, supportive of future student career trajectories and reflective of the type of work and skills alumni engage with after the program.

Progress in learning and applying these skills and abilities is monitored through work associated with individual courses, field work engagements, and products of individual study such as the capstone project.