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Bachelor of Public Affairs

The Bachelor of Public Affairs (B.P.A.) prepares qualified students for professional and technical careers in the public service or for advanced study in public affairs and administration, the social sciences and related disciplines. The program is a structured professional curriculum that builds on the foundation of a general liberal arts education. The curriculum incorporates fundamentals of social science theory and applications of that theory to public management and policy analysis. The B.P.A. provides students with skills needed for working in city, county, state and national government, in other public and non-profit agencies, and in positions in private enterprise that deal with governmental relations. Internships afford students an opportunity to apply what they have learned in public service settings.

Students interested in the B.P.A. program should consult the program's director, Dr. James T. Chalmers, as early as possible in their college careers. Ideally, students would begin B.P.A. course work and declare their major in their sophomore year.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for the College are satisfied by general undergraduate admission to the University; see Admission Requirements and ACT Score Requirement. To declare the B.P.A. as a major, a student must have a grade point average of 2.25 and follow the procedures set forth by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for declaring a major (see Declaration of Major).

Transfer Credits: Students wishing to apply transfer credits toward the B.P.A. major should consult the political science undergraduate adviser regarding departmental policies and restrictions on the use of these credits.

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the B.P.A. degree must:

  1. Complete a total of 120 credits in course work.
  2. Satisfy all of the Liberal Arts Group Requirements (see Group Requirements, College), excepting that the College’s foreign language requirement need not be satisfied.
  3. Satisfy the University General Education Requirements (see General Education Program).
  4. Satisfy the major requirements listed below. All course work must be completed in accordance with the academic procedures of the University and the College governing undergraduate scholarship and degrees; see Bachelor’s Degree Requirements, Academic Regulations, and Bachelor’s Degree Requirements: Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Major Requirements:

A Bachelor of Public Affairs major must complete a minimum of thirty-seven credits, divided between a set of prescribed core courses and coursework in a concentration area. A Writing Intensive course in political science with a co-registration in P S 5993 is also required. Any political science elective or concentration course at the 3000-level or higher, except P S 4460, 5630 and 6640, may be used to fulfill this requirement. Students must demonstrate proficiency in writing on public affairs subject matter in a form and style consistent with B.P.A. standards. Election of a corequisite to P S 5993 must have approval from the instructor and students must follow the instructor’s guidelines to demonstrate required proficiency. Upon certification by the instructor that the writing requirement has been fulfilled, a grade of Satisfactory (‘S’) will be awarded for P S 5993, a ‘zero’ credit course. 

B.P.A. Core Curriculum:

Candidates for the B.P.A. degree must satisfy the following core course requirements:

  • ECO 2010 -- (SS) Principles of Microeconomics: Cr. 3-4
  • ECO 2020 -- (SS) Principles of Macroeconomics: Cr. 3-4
  • P S 1010 or P S 1030
    • (AI) American Government: Cr. 4
    • (AI) American Governmental System: Cr. 3
  • P S 2410 -- Introduction to Public Policy: Cr. 4
  • P S 2420 or P S 2460
    • Ethics and Politics of Public Policy: Cr. 4
    • Policy and Rationality: Dilemmas of Choice: Cr. 4
  • P S 3600 or P S 5630
    • Methods of Political Inquiry: Cr. 4
    • Statistics and Data Analysis I: Cr. 4
  • P S 4460 -- Techniques of Policy Analysis: Cr. 4
  • P S 5993 -- (WI) Writing Intensive Course in P S: Cr. 0
    (taken in conjunction with a 3000-level or higher concentration course)

Concentration Requirement:

In addition to completion of required core work, students must select an area of concentration. Depending on the number of credits taken in core work, the minimum number of credits in concentration work will vary between ten and twelve. A minimum of three courses must be taken to constitute a concentration.

Governance: National, State, and Local — Ten to thirteen credits and at least three courses selected from: P S 2240, 2310, 3040, 3050, 3060, 3070, 3100, 4710, 5110, 6020.

Governmental Relations, Lobbying, and Electoral Politics — Ten to thirteen credits and at least three courses selected from: P S 3010, 3020, 3025, 3030, 3040, 3050, 3060, 3070, 3080, 5030, 5040, 5050, 6010, 6050, 6070.

Public Management — Ten to thirteen credits and at least three courses selected from: P S 2310, 3430, 5830, 5890, 6020, 6120, 6340, 6700.

Public Policy and Analysis — Ten to thirteen credits and at least three courses selected from: P S 2310, 3060, 3070, 3430, 3450, 3840, 4810, 6020, 6430, 6440, 6455.

Urban Policy and Management — Ten to thirteen credits and at least three courses selected from: P S 2000 or 2240; 2310, 3060, 3070, 3250, 3430, 5030, 6020, 6440, 6455, 6710.

Other Concentrations: With approval of the undergraduate adviser, an area of concentration may be specifically designed consisting of political science courses related to a student’s particular career objectives. Such a concentration must consist of ten to thirteen credits and a minimum of three separate courses. A proposal for such a concentration must be submitted in writing to, and be approved by, the undergraduate adviser of the Department.

Internship Option: Although an internship is not required to earn the B.P.A., it is strongly encouraged, and variable credit for a structured internship may be earned through P S 2992. Students should consult with the undergraduate adviser of the Department regarding internship requirements and placement opportunities.


Dr. James T. Chalmers
Department of Political Science -  Undergraduate Program Director

Phone: (313) 577-2637
E-mail: ad5528@wayne.edu


Political Science
2040 FAB 656 W. Kirby
Detroit, MI 48202
Phone: (313) 577-2630
Fax: (313) 993-3435
Website: clasweb.clas.wayne.edu/politicalscience
Email: ab8695@wayne.edu