Policy Specialization | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Policy Specialization

This specialization prepares students to pursue policy changes on a wide variety of issues that affect marginalized populations.

Students develop competencies in policy design and analysis; research and writing for policy deliverables like policy briefs and white papers; planning and executing advocacy campaigns; and lobbying. In the context of careers such as legislative aides, policy analysts, community organizers and lobbyists, students are ready to confront issues of health care reform, urban education and income disparity.

Students graduating with the Policy specialization are qualified for a broad range of policy-related careers in the public, voluntary and private sectors. This specialization prepares students to find high-impact policy positions at local, state and national levels both the executive and legislative branches of government.

Specialization Requirements: 9 Credits

  • Policy Design Lab (3 credits)
  • State Level Lobbying (3 credits)
  • Social Policy Analysis and Evaluation (3 credits)


The Policy specialization requires 120 hours of policy-related tasks during the concentration practicum. Sample Policy practicum sites include:

  • Children’s Education Council of Missouri
  • Jobs with Justice
  • National Council on Aging
  • Forward Through Ferguson
  • Missouri Budget Project
  • Planned Parenthood

Policy specialization students also have opportunities to pursue practica with legislators and other policy-makers in Missouri’s capital, Jefferson City, as well as in Washington, D.C.

Additional Resources

The Brown School hosts an active program of education, discourse and research to promote reasoned, evidence-based public policy. Students benefit from panels, lectures and visits from policymakers, as well as sponsored practicum and networking opportunities with a policy focus.

Susan Stepleton

Specialization Chair

Anna Goldfarb Shabsin holds both her JD and her MSW degrees and has used them in combination to inform her teaching and practice. Prior to joining Brown, Anna practiced law in St. Louis for a decade.

Aaron Beswick

Featured Graduate

“Whether you are a future analyst or advocate, the Brown School brings a critical analysis of social problems—plus an emphasis on evidence-based interventions, innovative transdisciplinary solutions, and serving as partners of and advocates for marginalized communities.”

—Aaron Beswick, MSW/MPH ’15, Senior Policy Manager, Illinois Department of Public Health