The interior of the Kansas House of Representatives

Public Policy

If you want to change the world, change the laws.

With a minor in public policy, students learn how to effect real, tangible change.

Lake Forest College offers a minor in public policy so students who dream of making the world a better place can learn how to bring about change. This interdisciplinary program allows students to choose a path of study that aligns with their personal aspirations. With a minor in public policy, students learn how to evaluate, assess, and analyze policy issues

The minor in public policy is founded on the belief that a well-educated citizenry is critical for democracy to thrive. The curriculum and programming are designed to help Lake Forest College students understand the importance of sound public policy in all aspects of society. We teach students how to approach problems from a variety of perspectives, to understand the circumstances and objectives of all constituency groups, to navigate government channels to bring about change, and to develop substantive solutions. 

In addition to the core curricular requirements for the minor, the Public Policy Studies Program also hosts an annual Public Policy Analysis Challenge.  The Challenge encourages students to enhance public policy in a specific area.  The theme for the Challenge's inaugural year was Privacy and the Internet, while the theme for the 2023-2024 academic year is Violence in America.  Each year, the Public Policy Studies Program invites industry experts to campus to share their insights with students and provide unique opportunities for career advancement.  All students are encouraged to attend the on-campus presentations and enter the Challenge.

Apply your passion

Our interdisciplinary approach to public policy enables students to focus on their areas of interest. By studying public policy in tandem with their major(s) or other minors, students gain insight into changing policy on issues surrounding their interests. Students can combine a variety of studies—politics and public policy, sociology and public policy, legal studies and public policy, social justice and public policy, environmental studies and public policy, and so much more—to achieve a fulfilling knowledge base that can help lead to a change-making career. 

Pivotal internships

Our students are competitive when applying for graduate school, internships, and jobs, including opportunities with regional, state, and national campaigns, political offices, and think-tanks. With opportunities to explore public policy in hands-on settings thanks to the resources and connections provided by the College and the program, students have an edge after graduation. We connect students to internships relevant to their passions and interests to help them maximize the impact of their studies. 

Faculty from across disciplines

The faculty who teach classes in the public policy program represent various areas of expertise from across the College in order to provide a wide breadth of knowledge and give students access to multiple avenues of policy work. We offer courses taught by faculty from the African American studies, philosophy, history, international relations, sociology, politics, economics, religion, environmental studies, legal studies, education, and communication departments. Our faculty leave their personal politics at the door and lead with the belief that inter-disciplinary discussions in a non-ideological setting are essential to understand and evaluate solutions to any policy problem.

Why public policy? 

By studying public policy, students are well-prepared to identify and approach problems in their communities. With knowledge and understanding of the public policy process, students can go on to effect change at local, state, and federal levels. 

Analysis is at the core of public policy. By analyzing a problem from all perspectives, students gain a comprehensive understanding of the complexities and nuances of creating sound and sustainable public policy. Our students are trained to use evidence-based practices in order to form policy proposals that offer effective, comprehensive, and sustainable solutions.

A lot of policy issues are systemic, and they're not going to change overnight, but taking smaller steps toward individual issues will eventually make change. I have a lot more confidence in myself and my ability to create change than I ever did before.
Abby Mann '24
Sara Patton photo
Public policy is the result of someone’s bad experience, and learning about public policy will give you the tools to prevent other people from having the same experience.
Sara Patton '23

Related programs

Contact us

Robert Lemke
Morten Professor of Public Policy
Department of Economics
Brown Hall 418