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Pubpol shuffles Econ requirements

As registration approaches, aspiring public policy majors can leave Econ 51 out of their book bags.

The Sanford School of Public Policy has changed its major requirements, replacing the Economics 51 or 55 requirement with a revamped PubPol 128 and a new economics policy analysis course called “Economics of the Public Sector.”

Current public policy majors are required to take PubPol 128 “Microeconomic Policy Tools,” or an approved substitute course, after fulfilling their Econ 51 or 55 prerequisite.

“The change gives us a chance to introduce students in greater depth to public policy analysis, which is something we’ve always wanted to do, and now we finally have the resources to do it,” said Ken Rogerson, director of undergraduate studies in public policy. “We think that we can teach a little more in-depth about economic policy analysis rather then just economics, because economic theory and economic concepts are great to know, but that’s different than economic policy analysis.”

Hiring more economics professors has given Sanford the ability to teach the required economic policy courses itself, Rogerson said

This change will not affect current juniors or seniors, but the department is giving sophomores the chance to choose Econ 51 or the new course. Rogerson said students who take Econ 51 or 55 for another major or minor will not have to take the new PubPol 128.

Corinne Krupp, associate professor of the practice of public policy, said Econ 51 is a very broad overview of micro- and macroeconomics, and Econ 55 is not focused enough on policy for public policy majors.

Rogerson said the new PubPol 128 course will teach basic economic principles and apply them to the study of public policy.

“We’ll adjust it just a little to address those students who may not have a lot of economic policy background, but it will still be our intro economic policy analysis class,” Rogerson said.

Krupp said the second course will involve public finance, budgets and cost-benefit analysis.

Connel Fullenkamp, director of undergraduate studies and associate professor of economics, said he expects smaller enrollments in Econ 51 and 55 because of the public policy changes.

Freshman Bethany Bosley said the new major requirements made the public policy major more appealing to her.

“I wanted to take public policy, but was worried about the economics aspect,” she said. “Econ is a lot of math, and the 128 course seemed more relevant. Now, I probably will take public policy.”

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