The fall 2020 admissions application is now open! Apply Nov. 1–30.

A man and a woman look at books that sit on a shelf in a library. Other shelves of books are around them.

School of Public Policy


Impact the Region. Transform the World.

Study the development of a new law (Policy Analyst). Communicate key messaging for a private-sector firm (Public Relations Officer). Serve as a liaison between elected officials and community members (City Manager). The Undergraduate Public Policy Program — taught by world-renowned faculty — will help you solve real-world issues in the Inland Empire and around the world! 



Undergraduate Research

We put research in your hands.


UCR offers research opportunities to all undergraduate students! This advantage catapults you to the “top of the list” for jobs and/or graduate school. Current SPP research includes:

  • Bridging the gap between abstract political theory and “nitty gritty” policy work
  • Discovering how residential conservation during droughts affect wastewater reuse
  • Exploring immigration’s impact on voting patterns
Lizzette Capul

“I came to UCR’s School of Public Policy because students actively engage in hands-on experiences on and off campus.”

Lizzette Capul ’18 (Public Policy)
Transferred from Riverside City College
Former SPP Dean’s Student Ambassador


Earning Potential with a SPP Degree


Profession Earning Potential
Lobbyist $70,798
Budget Analyst $58,669
Project Analyst $56,552
Campaign Manager $54,015
Public Policy Analyst $53,823
Nonprofit Director $52,996
Marketing Communications Specialist $50,444
Public Health Specialist $48,554
Paralegal $46,467
Grant Writer $45,733
Academic Adviser $41,006
Legislative Assistant $40,543

Based on national averages. Higher earning potential with advanced degrees. (PayScale, 2017–2018 College Salary Report)



Our SPP Undergraduate Public Policy Internship offers a first-rate internship experience in local/regional public agencies.

Sofia Perez

“The internship [at the Western Municipal Water District] was quality-based and gave me hands-on experience and an insight into policy that I had not known before. I most definitely recommend the program to students in search of a meaningful internship.”

Sofia Perez '15 (Public Policy)
Former SPP Dean’s Student Ambassador

High-Profile Companies Hire SPP Graduates

SPP graduates go on to work as analysts, attorneys, campaign managers, health educators, grant writers, politicians, marketing/communications specialists and more!

The logo for A-Check Global
The logo for PAE
The logo for S.E.I.U
The logo for Well Fargo bank
The logo for
The logo for CPC


A UC Degree Is More Affordable Than You Might Think




of UCR undergraduate students received some form of financial aid.




of UCR transfer students received some form of financial aid.




of students' financial aid need was met with need-based aid. 

(Financial Aid Office, 2018–19)

Let us show you how:

SPP Scholarships

SPP offers the Public Policy Scholarship (for Public Policy majors) and the Western Municipal Water District Scholarship (for third- or fourth-year students from western Riverside County).

National Prestigious Scholarships and Awards (NPSA)

Freshman and transfer UCR students can fund their education with prestigious scholarships, such as the Donald A. Strauss Scholarship and the Undergraduate Fulbright Scholars (Research and English Teaching Award). Support is offered throughout the application process. UCR regional and national scholarships are also available via Financial Aid's Outside Agency Scholarship Search.

Majors & Minors

UCR is the only UC campus to offer an Undergraduate Public Policy Major. You can major or minor in two of six specialized tracks:


  • Health/Population Policy
  • Social/Cultural/Family Policy
  • Economic Policy
  • Urban/Environmental Policy
  • Policy Institutions and Processes
  • International/Foreign Policy


Undecided? We Can Help!

SPP helps students successfully transition into a major field of study that is consistent with their aptitudes, values and goals.

Learn More


Take a Tour

Explore UCR’s park-like campus, the perfect setting for learning and thriving as a student in education.

Notable Facts



A stylized graphic of a graduation cap and diploma

UCR is the only University of California campus to offer an undergraduate degree in Public Policy.

A stylized graphic of a book. The word 1st is written beneath it.

School of Public Policy at a major research university in the Inland Southern California region. 


Award-Winning Faculty

You have big dreams. We'll help them come true!


Faculty member Cassandra Guarino

Professor of Education and Public Policy 

  • Studies teacher quality, value-added, labor markets, school choice, health and education
  • Led a study that shows female faculty take on more internal service work than their male colleagues
Faculty member Karthick Ramakrishnan

Professor of Public Policy and Political Science

  • Focuses on the ways in which immigrants are involved in American democracy
  • Serves as the director of UCR’s Center for Social Innovation, Immigration Research Group and the National Asian American Survey

Success Programs

Every program is designed to help you succeed — from the moment you first step on campus to the day you graduate.

FR Freshman Students    TR Transfer Students


Interdisciplinary Coursework 



Public Policy coursework is interdisciplinary. Select courses from 12 departments: Anthropology, Economics, Environmental Sciences, Ethnic Studies, Film and Visual Culture, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology and Women’s Studies.

Domestic or International Policy Practicum 


(For third- and fourth-year students)

Participate in paid or voluntary internships with a government agency, nonprofit/for-profit organization, trade association, labor/trade union or public affairs firm.

SPP Dean’s Student Ambassador Program 



Become a role model and represent SPP at various events. Take part in self-development and networking opportunities. Applications accepted during winter quarter.

Public Policy Seminar/Colloquia 


(For third- and fourth-year students)

Attend public lectures by policy makers and non-UCR administrators and researchers from organizations such as the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development (CSSD), the Presley Center for Crime & Justice Studies, One Health Center and Policy Matters. Topics include current issues facing the Inland Empire and our global community.

Fellowship Programs 



Develop professional skills, boost your resume and get paid with a SPP fellowship.

Student Spotlight


David Angel
DAVID ANGEL, Class of ’19
  • SPP Dean’s Student Ambassador
  • Former intern, California State Senator Ed Hernandez and Congresswoman Norma Torres
  • Assembly District Delegate representing CA Assembly District 52 at the 2017 and 2018 CA Democratic Conventions
Nelowfar Ahmadi
  • SPP Dean’s Ambassador
  • Former intern, Congressman Mark Takano’s District and Washington, D.C. offices
  • Participant, UCDC Academic Internship Program
  • Member, College Democrats at UC Riverside
  • Volunteer, UCR’s R’Garden and local campaigns
  • Undergraduate Education Student Ambassador

Public Policy Alumni

Join us in making global impacts.


Cassie Nguyen
CASSIE NGUYEN ’15 and ’17

(B.A. and Master of Public Policy)

  • Executive Director, Spotlight On Hope Film Camp (SOH) at Think Ten Media Group
  • Former SPP Dean’s Student Ambassador
  • Fellow, Randall Lewis Health Policy Fellowship
  • Ambassador, the American Cancer Society and the National Brain Tumor Society
  • Recipient, the Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship ($10,000)
A photo of Daniel Peeden and a photo of  Darrell Peeden in the same image

(B.A. and Master of Public Policy)

  • Co-Founders, Sigma Beta Xi, Inc., a developmental organization for young men
  • Former SPP Dean’s Student Ambassadors
  • Recipients, Abraham Rice Scholarships, Social Innovation Change Makers and Nonprofit Excellence Awards
  • Co-Founders, Trigeia, Inc. and Chips N’ Dip

Career Center

Get help with career success.


UCR’s Career Center — and Virtual Career Center — offers full-service counseling and resources, regardless of major or class level.


  • Career and graduate/professional school planning
  • Job/internship search strategies and database
  • Skill-building workshops, employer information sessions and panel discussions
  • 11 fairs, including the Internship and Nonprofit Job Fair and the Spring Job Fair: Career Night
An announcement for UCR's Internship and Non-Profit Job Fair
An announcement for UCR's Spring Job Fair: Career Night