Undergraduate Study

The B.A. in the history of public policy and law, the first to be offered in American higher education, combines comparative studies in history with studies in related academic disciplines. Students are expected to acquire competence in a foreign language, in statistics and computer operations, and in research and writing skills, culminating in the preparation of a senior thesis. An internship in governmental and public affairs is strongly recommended.


Click to view the requirements for the Major in History of Public Policy and Law:

Interested in the History of Public Policy and Law major? Try taking one of our lower division gateway courses:

  • History 5: History of the Present 
  • History 7: Great Issues in the History of Public Policy

These courses are offered in alternating years, and are only offered once per year, so be sure to check the history department yearly course offerings.

Please contact the history department Undergraduate Advisor for more information. 

Key Contacts:

Faculty Advisor:
Randy Bergstrom

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a B.A. in History of Public Policy and Law should be able to:

Critical Thinking

  1. Analyze primary sources:
    1. Explain their historical significance and the historical context in which they were produced.
    2. Explain how a primary source reflects the point of view of its creator(s).
    3. Explain how diverse groups understood and reacted to such documents, artifacts, oral testimonies, or artistic works.
    4. Formulate an argument that assesses contradictions within and among different primary sources.
  2. Analyze the historical context of public policy issues to assess the relationship between historical contexts and events, ideas and processes.
  3. Identify and summarize an author’s argument.
  4. Identify points of agreement and disagreement among conflicting interpretations of the past. Identify various disciplines’ approaches and arguments about the history of public policy in conflicting interpretations of the past.
  5. Construct a well-developed thesis and a persuasive argument.


  1. Organize an analytical essay that sustains an argument over the entire length of the paper.
  2. Present information in lucid, grammatically correct prose.
  3. Construct paragraphs with effective topic sentences.

Research Skills

  1. Use the library, relevant databases and indexes, and the Internet to identify and locate sources.

Page last modified: January 15, 2020