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College of Education > Department of Education Policy Studies > Undergraduate Major - Education & Public Policy

Undergraduate Major - Education and Public Policy

Welcome to Education and Public Policy (EPP). We offer an interdisciplinary major for students interested in the design, implementation and improvement of policy aimed at the betterment of a diverse and democratic society. 

Through the investigation of current policy challenges, EPP students develop skills in research and analysis. The major blends core courses in educational policy with foundations courses in sociology, political science, economics, business, and research methods. Elective courses within the major include policy problems, public systems, leadership, ethics, diversity, equality, and equity. In addition to academic studies, the EPP major includes a semester field experience culminating in a real-world, meaningful research project.

Graduates of the EPP program are ready to enter professional careers in the U.S. or around the world in educational organizations, government, community development, public service, and non-profits. They also enter a variety of graduate programs including educational policy, public policy, public administration, sociology and law.

Find out more at our Bulletin page! The Education Policy Studies Department also offers an Undergraduate Minor in EPS; find out more here.

Student Features

Current Students

Christopher Carver, walking past a wall mural while studying abroad in Chile. "This is more of an 'education' picture at the el Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (GAM). The art is advocating for excellent education for all Chileans. Also an education that is free and inclusive." Christopher Carver
Christopher Carver has taken advantage of the many opportunities here at Penn State.  In his junior year, he was selected by The McCourtney Institute of Democracy as a Nevins Fellow. The fellowship provided him with a funded internship through The Convergence Policy Resolution Center in Washington, DC, which matched Christopher’s interests in social justice and bipartisanship. To be considered for an internship, he enrolled in PLSC 209: Democratic Leadership, a five-week, one-credit intensive course offered in the fall.  He also participated in a study abroad program to Chile, where he worked for a non-profit devoted to ending hunger. This was an opportunity that appealed to his desire to learn the history and geography of Chile, as well as contribute to the community.

Emma Rohan Emma Rohan
Emma Rohan has been an active and engaged student in an integrated undergraduate-graduate program at Penn State. She is simultaneously pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Educational Theory & Policy. Currently, she works with World in Conversation, where she has facilitated hundreds of dialogues on relevant and contentious social issues in domestic, international, and global initiatives.  As a Nevins Fellow through the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, she worked with the Jefferson Center in Minneapolis, MN to lead Citizens Jury events. This was an opportunity that came to her through the course PLSC 209: Democratic Leadership, an intensive class that is offered in the fall semester. Additionally, she has studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco, interned at UNESCO in Paris, and was an outdoor adventure guide throughout college. She wrote her undergraduate thesis about charter school policies in the United States and her master’s thesis on the impact of charter schools on Pennsylvania labor markets.

EPP Alums

Elijah Armstrong standing on a path with woods behind himElijah Armstrong
Elijah Armstrong is currently an Ed.M. candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, in the Education Policy and Management program. He has an interest in education in carceral settings, and wants to develop and implement interventions that prevent marginalized students from being forced out of school and into the juvenile justice system. Elijah graduated from the Education and Public Policy program in May of 2019. In his time at Penn State, he was very involved in campus activism, co-founding the student group No Hate Penn State, as well as helping to plan the Sacred Trauma festival. He was also a participant in the UNESCO Youth as Researchers program. He has found the quantitative research skills developed from Dr. Morgan’s Special Topics class and the memo writing practice from Dr. Mitra’s professional development class to be vital to his success at Harvard. Although Elijah is having a great time in Cambridge, he misses Webster’s Bookstore and Cafe, and suggests everyone take advantage of the location as much as possible during their time in State College.

Marcy Herr standing in front of the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Marcy Herr
Following graduation from Penn State in 2014 through the Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate program with an EPP degree as well as a Master’s degree in Educational Theory & Policy, Marcy Herr accepted a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant to teach English in rural Malaysia for ten months. Then for 2.5 years, she worked alongside the US Embassy Kuala Lumpur and the Malaysian Ministry of Education as a Program Coordinator for the 100 ETAs that annually pursued a Fulbright grant. For the past year, she has been working for the Institute of International Education's Bangkok team as a recruiter of students throughout Southeast Asia who are interested in attending NYU Abu Dhabi. In January, she will transfer internally to recruit students for NYUAD in Latin America and The Caribbean on the Mexico City IIE team. The picture here was taken in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where she lived for three years while working for the Fulbright program.

Madeline SmithMadeline Smith
Madeline Smith is continuing her education at Villanova University School of Law and is really enjoying her studies. She has been able to build on the foundation she received as an EPP student at Penn State by continuing education policy research in the area of special education law. A Staff Writer on the Villanova Law Review, she will be published in that same journal this coming year. Her article is on an Individual Education Plan implementation case, analyzing it in light of the Supreme Court's ruling in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District and the IDEA's legislative purpose.