Public Affairs

As a student of public affairs, you will be well-equipped to serve society through public service, civic engagement, political and government careers, public communications or nonprofit service. The interdisciplinary public affairs area of study will prepare you with leadership and decision-making skills to operate in the public interest, addressing social issues and societal concerns.

As you work toward your degree, you will examine the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of your chosen concentration, meanwhile gaining an understanding of American governmental and public institutions, within their social context, and becoming familiar with the broad and complex economic, financial and legal environments within which public institutions function. Students in public affairs have the opportunity to engage intellectually with ethical questions related to the area of concentration, and the values that drive the development of public policy. As a public affairs student, you will sharpen your skills in writing, research and critical reading and thinking, as, together with a faculty mentor, you create a program to meet your specific needs and goals.

For some concentrations, specific technical or scientific knowledge might be necessary.

Popular Concentrations in Public Affairs

  • public administration
  • public policy
  • political science
  • criminal justice
  • homeland security
  • public communications
  • health policy
  • emergency management

Degrees Available

As a regionally accredited college of the State University of New York, Empire State College offers the following degrees in the public affairs area of study:

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies

Taking individual courses as a nondegree student is also possible and will offer you the same range and depth of courses and rigorous standards as matriculated undergraduate students.

Why choose a degree in Public Affairs?

The practical skills and breadth of knowledge you obtain through your degree can prepare you for:

  • graduate school
  • law school
  • government service
  • journalism
  • leadership in emergencies
  • making policy

Sample Degree Programs

SUNY Empire State College students work closely with their mentors to design their own degree programs.

Changes to Undergraduate Degree Requirements Effective Sept. 8, 2014

The degree plan samples provided below reflect older policy. Check back as new samples are forthcoming.

These sample degree program plans illustrate the degree program format and provide examples of some different types of individualized degree programs.