Study Specializations

I Evaluation and Analytical Methods I Health Policy I Public Management Education PolicyEnvironmental Policy I Urban Policy I Economics I Policy History Emergency Services

Evaluation and Analytical Methods
How do policymakers know if the programs they design and implement are having the effects intended? This is the focus of the evaluation and analytical methods specialization. Evaluation research can involve everything from large-scale assessments of how federal initiatives affect the quality of life for certain populations, to smaller-scale analyses of local programs. Students receive training in a variety of analytical methods, including statistics, data analysis, and benefit-cost evaluation, and apply these skills to public policy and management issues. Jane Lincove, Zoë McLaren, and Yusuke Kuwayama are the advisers.

Health Policy
Through disciplines such as sociology, political science, economics, and history, students in the health policy track study the critical problems facing our health care system. The School partners with agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Social Security Administration, and the Maryland Department of Health to train students to understand the development, present operation, and future of our health care system. Students take courses such as health care finance and service delivery, the politics of health, and health economics. Nancy Miller, Zoë McLaren  , and Loren Henderson are the advisers.

Public Management
Public management is concerned with the skills and strategies that managers require to translate government policy into positive action. The public manager must understand not only organizational systems, but also how the political environment may shape or constrain approaches to management and implementation. The public management track introduces students to a toolbox of management skills drawn from professionals in the public, nonprofit and private sectors. Students take courses in public management as well as budgeting, organizations and leadership, and program evaluation. Lauren Hamilton Edwards, Susan Sterett, and Mir Usman Ali are the advisers.

Education Policy
Education is an important policy area and a very large budget item for most state and local governments. Federal and state education policies are often on the frontiers of policy development. In the education policy specialization, students focus on various types of education policies made at every level of government, and learn about the multiple disciplinary and methodological perspectives on education policy. Students take courses such as education law, finance, civil rights and policy formulation.

Higher education policy – Pamela Bennett
Pre K-12 education policy – Jane Lincove
Pre K-12 & higher education policy – Jane Lincove

Environmental Policy
This track is for students who wish to understand the complex problems of the physical environment, and the nexus between the environment and public policy. How do existing public policies affect the environment in positive and/or negative ways? How might policies be developed and implemented in order to help undo environmental damage and/or to prevent further damage? Yusuke Kuwayama is the adviser.

Urban Policy
Many of the nation’s most serious problems, such as poverty, unemployment, crime, and inadequate education, are centered in our urban areas. The urban policy track combines analytic training with opportunities for applied research and real world experience. Operating in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan area, one of the nation’s most strategic urban corridors, the program exposes students to urban issues in neighborhoods, cities, suburbs, and metropolitan areas. Students take courses in public policy, economics, environment, and history, learning to formulate questions about pressing urban issues, and contribute to the solutions. Pamela Bennett and Loren Henderson are the advisers.

Disciplinary Specializations

Economics (Ph.D. only)*
In the economics track, students learn to apply economic analysis techniques to problems in fields such as health, public finance, human resources, and international economics. Students are trained in the theory and application of microeconomics and econometrics, and in mathematical techniques to perform economic analysis. Students take courses such as benefit-cost evaluation, managerial economics, and forecasting to strengthen their analytic abilities and deepen their understanding of a wide range of policy areas. Tim Gindling is the primary adviser.

Emergency Services (Ph.D. only)
This area of study is for the professional specializing in public health, disaster care, and emergency management. There are two pathways: health, and emergency management. The health pathway includes courses in disaster health, catastrophes, and systems design. The emergency management pathway includes courses in disaster mitigation, catastrophe preparation and response, and strategic planning. Contact Lucy Wilson for more information about this specialization.

Policy History (Ph.D. only)*
How do we explain change in public policy in the past and the present? What ideas, experiences, and interests have shaped these changes? Why do different policies emerge and secure
acceptance at different times? The policy history specialization seeks to provide answers to these questions. Historical analysis provides a context for exploring policy shifts over time, and explains how past experiences shape current discussions. The curriculum uses an interdisciplinary approach to analyze policy development and implementation, with courses that examine the history of public policy in the fields of legislation, government, business, ideology, civil rights, and science and technology. Daniel Ritschel is the primary advisor.

*UMBC offers an M.A. in Economic Policy Analysis and an M.A. in Historical Studies, with a specialization in Policy History.