Undergraduate

Public & Environmental Affairs

Students who want to discover new ways to use technology to solve pressing social problems—from making clean, renewable energy a reality to improving access to quality health care—should consider the public and environmental affairs cognate. Because the implications and practical applications of technology on public policy is so vast, the cognate offers five options to choose from:
  • Environmental Management
  • Health Systems Administration
  • Public Finance
  • Policy Studies
  • Urban Affairs

Option I: Environmental Management

This cognate teaches the fundamentals of environmental management providing a broad range of topics from science to risk communication. Learn about forestry and water systems—lakes, wetlands, and wastewater treatment—as well as the air we breathe, pollution control, and toxicology. Understand environmental law and how air and water quality are regulated. Use software that environmental scientists use to generate data, which is manipulated and interpreted in problem solving.

Students interested in graduate school should consider further studies in environmental science and informatics.

Required:
  • SPEA-E 272 Introduction to Environmental Sciences
  • SPEA-E 363 Environmental Management
Select one course from the following:
  • SPEA-E 311 Introduction to Risk Assessment and Risk Communication
  • SPEA-E 340 Environmental Economics and Finance
  • SPEA-E 476 Environmental Law and Regulation
Select one course from the following:
  • SPEA-E 325 Computing for Environmental Scientists
  • SPEA-E 419 Applied Remote Sensing of the Environment
Select one course from the following: (if not used above)
  • SPEA-E 325 Computing for Environmental Scientists
  • SPEA-E 355 Introduction to Limnology
  • SPEA-E 410 Introduction to Environmental Toxicology
  • SPEA-E 411 Introduction to Groundwater Hydrology
  • SPEA-E 412 Risk Communication
  • SPEA-E 419 Applied Remote Sensing of the Environment
  • SPEA-E 422 Urban Forest Management
  • SPEA-E 431 Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment
  • SPEA-E 440 Wetlands: Biology and Regulation
  • SPEA-E 451 Air Pollution and Control
  • SPEA-E 452 Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
  • SPEA-E 456 Lake and Watershed Management
  • SPEA-E 457 Introduction to Conservation Biology
  • SPEA-E 460 Fisheries and Wildlife Management
  • SPEA-E 461 Fisheries and Wildlife Management Laboratory

Option II: Health Systems Administration

The health care industry is being transformed by technology. Doctors are just as likely to greet you nowadays with a computer in hand, as a stethoscope. Providers can seamlessly access and share medical information online, enabling them to improve the overall care they deliver to patients.

Even with the advances made to health care systems thus far, opportunities exist for improvement and beyond. This cognate introduces you to all aspects of health systems administration, including management, policy, finance and economics. Learn about hospital and long term care administration, and strategic planning for health care organizations.

Some of the most important jobs in health care happen outside the operating room. The demand for IT skills by health care organizations is rising, with a broad range of opportunities in systems design, implementation, and consulting, as well as other traditional IT jobs. Students interested in graduate school should consider further studies in public health administration and informatics.

Required:
  • SPEA-H 124 Heath Care Management and Policy
  • SPEA-V 373 Human Resources in the Public Sector
Select three courses from the following:
  • SPEA-H 352 Health Finance I
  • SPEA-H 353 Health Finance II
  • SPEA-H 354 Health Economics
  • SPEA-H 401 Strategic Planning for Health Care Organizations
  • SPEA-H 402 Hospital Administration
  • SPEA-H 411 Long Term Care Administration

Option III: Public Finance

College is often the time when students learn about finance firsthand—paying bills, balancing their checkbooks and adhering to budgets. Managing one’s own finances can seem challenging, regardless of wealth or experience, but imagine being responsible for a multibillion-dollar government budget where your accountability extends far beyond yourself. How is money managed within the public sector and what does it entail?

This cognate introduces you to public finance. Learn about government and nonprofit accounting and reporting. Discover the techniques used by financial administrators to manage public budgets, revenues and spending. Students interested in graduate school should consider further studies in public affairsarts administration, and informatics.

Required:
  • SPEA-V 246 Elements of Government and Nonprofit Financial Accounting Cycle
  • SPEA-V 346 Introduction to Government Accounting and Financial Reporting
  • SPEA-V 361 Financial Management
  • SPEA-V 372 Government Finance and Budgets
Select one course from the following (an alternative course may be chosen in consultation with a SPEA advisor and approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Informatics):
  • SPEA-V 401 Financial and Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • SPEA-V 441 Topics in Financial Management and Policy

Option IV: Policy Studies

Anyone can tell you there are two sides to every story. Policy analysts will tell you there are dozens. With this cognate you develop skills in identifying, dissecting, and improving policy. Students study finance, economics, public policy and statistics to gain the tools they need to measure the impact of policy decisions. It's cause and effect, magnified.

Information Technology skills are in demand in nearly every industry and the public sector is no exception. Students interested in graduate school should consider further studies in public affairs and informatics.

Select one course from the following:
  • SPEA-V 160 National and International Policy
  • SPEA-V 161 Urban Problems and Solutions
Required:
  • SPEA-V 348 Management Science
  • SPEA-V 370 Research Methods and Statistical Modeling
  • SPEA-V 386 Case Studies for Policy Analysis
  • SPEA-V 401 Financial and Cost-Benefit Analysis

Option V: Urban Affairs

Urban Affairs examines all aspects of cities as well as the institutions that govern them. Learn about urban planning, development and management as well as the development process for metropolitan areas. Understand federal and local government structures, fiscal management, policy issues and implications. Cases are used to illustrate analytical techniques used for decision making in the public sector.

Information Technology skills are in demand in nearly every industry and the public sector is no exception. Students interested in graduate school should consider further studies in public affairs and informatics.

Required:
  • SPEA-E 418 Vector-Based Geographic Information Systems OR V 450 Contemporary Issues in Public Affairs
  • SPEA-V 461 Computer Applications in Public Affairs
  • SPEA-V 475 Database Management Systems
Select two courses from the following:
  • SPEA-V 340 Urban Government Administration
  • SPEA-V 368 Managing Government Operations
  • SPEA-V 372 Government Finance and Budgets
  • SPEA-V 421 Metropolitan Development