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School of Public Policy


Our office and phone lines are closed March 16–April 30. Email admissions@ucr.edu if you have any questions. Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and resources.

Impact the Region and Transform the World

Study the development of a new law as a policy analyst. Communicate key messaging as a public relations officer for a private-sector firm. Serve as a liaison between elected officials and community members as a 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


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 $73,531
Legislative Director $71,912
Nonprofit Executive Director $65,500
Economic Analyst $61,157
Legislative Advocate $58,258
Project Analyst $58,132
Policy Analyst $56,956
Campaign Manager $56,924
Marketing Communications Specialist $51,203
Public Health Specialist $50,584
Grant Writer $48,046

Based on national averages. Higher earning potential with advanced degrees. PayScale.com, Salary Data & Career Research Center (United States), 2019


  SPP Internships

Develop professional skills and boost your resume by applying to the SPP Internship Program or Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) Fellowship Program

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 Yelp.com
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:  financialaid.ucr.edu

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).

Prestigious Scholarships and Awards

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. Also available are campus scholarships, and Financial Aid's Outside Agency Scholarship Search for regional and national scholarships.

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 public policy.

Notable Facts



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

A stylized graphic of a book with 1st written beneath it.

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


Award-Winning Faculty


Cecilia Ayón, professor of public policy

Associate Professor of Public Policy

  • Studies the well-being of Latino immigrant families
  • Focuses on state differences in immigration policies and impacts on health outcomes
Karthick Ramakrishnan, professor of public policy and political science

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 student ambassador and represent SPP at various events. Take part in self-development and networking opportunities. Applications accepted during winter quarter.

Public Policy Seminar Series 


(For third- and fourth-year students)

Attend public lectures by policy practitioners and researchers from affiliates such as the Center for Social Innovation, Blum Initiative on Global & Regional Poverty, Robert Presley Center of Crime and Justice Studies, and Inland Center for Sustainable Development.


Student Spotlight


Student Maya Prasad, public policy major
MAYA PRASAD, Class of ’21
  • SPP Dean’s Chief Student Ambassador
  • Former Intern, Congresswoman Katie Porter
Student Eric Calderon, public policy major
ERIC CALDERON, Class of ’20
  • SPP Dean’s Student Ambassador
  • Student Assistant, UCR Center for Social Innovation
  • Transfer & Non-Traditional Students Director, Associated Students of UCR

Public Policy Alumni


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


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
  • 15 fairs and special events, 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