Have a passion for justice?

You see today's demands on national leadership to address the issues you care most about through greater innovation. You want to move beyond textbooks to engage the actual experts and institutions working on the issues. You want a global perspective on national policy options. What does it take to formulate and advocate for policies in pursuit of justice? What does it take to gain the clarity and confidence you need to help you find your place professionally among those already hard at work on these issues?

ASP's public policy track investigates a pressing public policy issue being debated on Capitol Hill. We focus on the political difficulties policymakers face when economic, humanitarian, and national security priorities come into conflict with one another. How might biblical teachings on shalom and justice help us navigate the trade-offs? We directly engage policy advocates and political actors on all sides of the issue to hear them explain the reasoning behind their positions, their points of disagreement with their policy opponents, and their impressions of what is required for their policy agenda to succeed on Capitol Hill. 

Your education takes place outside the classroom through private briefings with think-tank specialists, U.S. House and Senate staff experts, and federal agency officials at their offices. Your research team conducts personal interviews with leading professionals in the executive branch, legislative branch, advocacy community, foreign embassies, and international organizations. You attend Congressional briefings and hearings, as well as think-tank conferences.

What do you gain from your hard work on the individual and group projects? You produce an original piece of research supported by Washington, D.C.-based field work and leave with stories to tell that help distinguish your applications to post-graduate programs and professional employment opportunities. If you are a major or minor in Political Science, Pre-Law, Public Policy, History, or International relations, then this track may be perfect for you.

Public Policy Analysis Field Seminar

3 semester credits

Students directly engage Washington, D.C.-based leaders and leading institutions—governmental and non-governmental, national and international—that have a stake in a program-selected public policy debate. Students organize into small (3 or 4 person) research teams. The main team task is to write a Group Policy Report (GPR) analyzing competing economic, humanitarian and rule-of-law/national security priorities in the selected debate. The GPR is supported by field-based research which includes participation in at least 6 one-hour meetings with policy experts and 2-3 team interviews with policy professionals. Students present their GPR research findings and policy recommendations at a policy conference in a congressional committee hearing room on Capitol Hill. A follow-up assignment challenges students to clarify the underlying values they prioritized when making policy recommendations. Specifically, in writing their Public Policy Ethics Plan, each student explains the role biblical ideas and theological traditions play in (a.) how they came to understand the policy issue as a public justice issue, (b.) how they chose among competing policy prescriptions, and, by extension, (c.) what they believe about the proper role of government in society.   

Public Policy Analysis Field Seminar Syllabus


Advocacy and Diplomacy Field Seminar

3 semester credits

Each student writes an Individual Advocacy Case Study (IACS) analyzing a policy advocacy campaign led by a national political actor (“the protagonist”). The advocacy campaign is focused on a well-defined domestic or foreign policy or program. Students are encouraged to select a case related to their internships. The IACS documents specific advocacy goals and objectives adopted by the protagonist. A situational analysis explains the economic, political, and social context of the advocacy campaign. The IACS concludes with an evaluation of the protagonist’s decisions about target audiences, messaging, and communication tactics. The study is supported by a lecture series of Washington, D.C.-based policy advocacy, diplomacy, and lobbying professionals. Each student presents their IACS to a Washington, D.C.-based policy professional who works directly on the issue.  

Advocacy and Diplomacy Field Seminar Syllabus


(Possible Credit: Political Theory, Public Policy, Political Science, Pre-Law, History, International Relations, Public Relations, Political Economy)