Policy and Community Development—BS

Building a Better Tomorrow

A degree in policy and community development prepares smart leaders to empower and support healthy communities and smart policies

In the past few years, we've learned to live with a global pandemic and a divisive political environment. We've seen income disparities grow wider and have witnessed social uprisings. All have a profound effect on the financial, physical, and social wellbeing of our communities. How do we leverage this moment to recommit to racial, economic, and environmental justice? How do we make communities work better and be healthier places to live, work, and play? What policies help us get there?

Degree Courses- Policy and Community Development- BS



Develop expertise in the foundations of law.  Review civil rights and liberties. Learn about the legal process. Critically evaluate laws, policies, and programs and their impact on society, social justice, and environmental justice. The law concentration prepares you for law school and a career in law or legal aid. You can get pre-law advising in this and any other concentration if you're planning to apply to law school.

Not interested in law school, you’ll gain a solid foundation for your advanced studies in public policy, as well as be prepared for professional careers in political organizations, criminal justice, social justice, or public service. Choose from 11 different courses to customize your law concentration.

Degree Courses
Concentration Law


Develop expertise in the foundations of environmental policy. The environment concentration prepares you for a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy, Sustainable Communities, and other similar programs, as well as professional careers in environmental justice, environmental non-profits, corporate sustainability, and environmental policy.

You’ll study the laws, regulations, and policy apparatus that organizations and governments use to manage environmental issues. You’ll explore how environmental policy balances the protection, conservation, and sustainability of natural resources with affordable energy and economic growth while understanding how human activities impact the environment. Choose from 19 different courses to customize your environment concentration.

Degree Courses
Concentration Environment


Learn to apply skills in policy and community development to health. Develop foundational knowledge in public health. Focus on improving people’s physical and mental well-being in a specific geographic region. Examine social determinants of health (including health inequalities) and their policy implications. Take a population-health-environment approach to addressing community health needs. Build a course of study that focuses on improving health care, one of the fastest growing sectors of the U.S. and the global economy.

The health concentration prepares you for careers in community health or for a Master’s degree in Public Health. Choose from 14 different courses to customize your health concentration.

Degree Courses
Concentration Health

A Masters Degree in Your Plans? 

Earn an Accelerated MS degree in sustainable communities, environmental and energy policy or industrial heritage and archaeology. You can do it in just one additional year at Michigan Tech with your BS in policy and community development.

  • $2,500
    to apply to study abroad programs
  • 90%
    of undergraduates involved in research

Tomorrow Needs Policy and Community Development Experts

The expertise of policy and community development professionals is crucial for promoting social equity and reducing disparities. These professionals can navigate diverse stakeholder perspectives and interests, mediate conflicts, promote collaboration, and build consensus. Experts analyze complex data and conduct thorough needs assessments leading to evidence-based policies and programs that uplift marginalized groups, bridge the socioeconomic gap, and create opportunities for growth.

Career Opportunities for Policy and Community Development Majors

Growth is strong in several careers policy and community development degree holders gravitate to. Community health educator jobs will grow 12%, fundraiser jobs will grow 11%, and social and community service manager jobs will grow 12%. Career opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • Attorney
  • Budget Analyst
  • Case Manager
  • City Planner/Developer
  • Community Health Workers
  • Consultant
  • Data Analyst
  • Fundraiser
  • Health Education Specialist
  • Housing Administrator
  • Land Use Specialist
  • Law Enforcement
  • Lobbyist
  • Non-Profit Administrator
  • Policy Analyst
  • Public Relations
  • Real Estate
  • Regional Planner
  • Social and Community Service Manager
  • Social Worker
  • Transportation Logistics
  • Urban Design/Downtown Development
  • Urban and Regional Planner
  • Zoning Administrator

Companies Hiring Policy and Community Development Majors

These are just some of the organizations hiring policy and community development majors:

  • Advocacy organizations
  • Consulting companies
  • Corporate social responsibility/outreach departments
  • County, state, federal government
  • Diversity/Equity/Inclusion offices
  • Economic development agencies
  • Environmental agencies
  • Historic preservation agencies
  • Housing authorities and real estate firms
  • Law firms and consulting firms
  • Non-Profit organizations
  • Parks and recreation departments
  • Planning and development agencies
  • Public health agencies
  • Public/Private partnerships
  • Public utilities
  • Regulatory agencies
  • Transportation commissions
  • Think tanks

Ready to take the next step?

Learn more about studying policy and community development at Michigan's flagship technological university

"You do policy research, which is researching how governments make decisions, why governments make decisions. And so it's a lot easier to both make effective policy and hold ineffective policy accountable if there’s actual hard data to back up why it is or isn’t effective."Eric Boyer-Cole '22, BS Policy and Community Development

Study Policy and Community Development at a Technological University 

Learn how to apply technology to solve challenges and issues in public policy and sustainable community development. Gain skills to work successfully in diverse teams. Build knowledge and research foundations required to succeed in graduate school, research, or the job market. With faculty that also serve as your research advisors and mentors, you’ll conduct research that makes a real difference in communities.

  • Get personalized attention: With a student:faculty ratio of 4:1, our smaller department ensures your academic advisors and professors know you and understand your interests and needs. You can receive the guidance you need in a timely fashion. They can better help pair you with research, internship, and job opportunities that meet your needs and provide valuable experience.
  • Customize your sustainability education: Tailor your degree to fit your pathway. At Michigan Tech, our programs span anthropology, history, policy and community development, social science, and sustainability science and society. That interdisciplinary approach gives you exposure to different areas of the social sciences. Choose from 7 different minors in the department (American Studies, Global Community Development Partnerships, Global Studies, Historical Studies, Law and Society, Social and Behavioral Studies, and Sustainable Science and Society), or add any one of 80+ minors across the university.  
  • Study Abroad: All incoming undergraduate majors in the Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Tech receive a $2500 voucher that can be used for one or more study away/abroad programs. Travel for free (or close to it) to study sustainability in Costa Rica or the Western USA via Amtrak.
  • Jumpstart Your Career: You'll complete at least one capstone co-op, internship, or research project to deepen your learning and build your resume. Position yourself for many impactful jobs with a certificate in public policy. Get a master's in just one additional year in environmental and energy policy and boost your earnings potential and employment options.
  • Student enrichment: Expand yourself beyond the classroom with foreign languages, sustainability demonstration house, and undergraduate research.

Undergraduate Majors in Social Sciences

Not sure which major is the right fit? No problem.
Just declare the General Sciences and Arts major, give yourself time, and decide when you arrive on campus.
To learn more speak to an academic advisor.

Undergraduate Minors

Enhance your knowledge beyond your field of study. Explore a passion outside your major. Students from all majors can add a minor in the Social Sciences. To learn more, speak to an academic advisor.

  • American Studies
  • Global Community Development Partnerships
  • Global Studies
  • Historical Studies
  • Law and Society
  • Social and Behavioral Studies
  • Sustainability Science and Society

Tomorrow Needs You

Supercharge your policy and community development skills at a flagship public research university powered by science, technology, engineering, and math. Graduate with the theoretical knowledge and practical experience needed to empower and support healthy communities and smart policies.

"What you’re going to be doing in the workforce is helping people enact change. You already have experience doing that before you graduate."Anna Kavanaugh, Policy and Community Development