University of Oregon

Planning, Public Policy and Management

PPPM Major

The Pre-Major  Admission to Major  The Major  Award

The Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management (PPPM) offers an undergraduate major for students interested in public or nonprofit careers who seek to make a difference in their communities. Our approach is action-oriented, interdisciplinary, and focused on solving real-world problems. The size of the program is limited to create an environment that offers close student-faculty collaboration. Academic coursework and learning opportunities such as internships and field programs create a hands-on educational climate that is both exciting and challenging.

A degree with a major in planning, public policy and management (B.A. or B.S.) provides a sound basis for graduate study in fields such as urban planning, public policy, public management, business, law, journalism, public health and social welfare. In addition, graduates are prepared for entry-level positions in public service, and nonprofit and private firms that address issues allied to planning, public policy and public management.

"The courses [in PPPM] are intimate enough that without exception, I have felt confident speaking with my professors both during class and in office hours.  I think it is a testament to the department's commitment to create a well-rounded curriculum and a strong sense of community that I consider my two thesis advisors to be highly constructive advisors and personal friends." - Daniel Keller, 2007 PPPM & Honors College graduateStudents should apply for admission in the term prior to achieving junior class standing (90-105 credits). Strong applicants will be considered before this level on a case-by-case basis. Students must apply to the major before earning 30 credits in PPPM major courses. 

The department strongly encourages applications from individuals regardless of race, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or ability. We recognize that affirmative action and equal opportunity begin with the development of professionals who represent a diversity of ideas and cultures. The department encourages applicants who have demonstrated scholarly ability and who have some experience, either paid or volunteer, in public service.  Preference is given to applicants who have completed a majority of the university’s general-education group requirements and have a grade point average of 3.00 or higher.


Undergraduate Program Handbook (PDF)

Undergraduate Brochure 2015 (PDF)

Pre-PPPM Program

Students interested in the PPPM major may declare themselves pre-PPPM majors, and we recommend speaking with our advising staff to learn more. Pre-PPPM majors and others interested in the program may access departmental advising at 147D Hendricks Hall (541.346.3649), or email: Students should meet with the Undergraduate Advising GTF prior to declaring a pre-PPPM major.

Students planning to pursue a major in PPPM should work to develop communication skills, analytical skills, and community experience. A broad liberal-arts background, the development of analytical skills, and community volunteer and leadership experiences are excellent preparation for the PPPM major.  Pre-PPPM majors should consider coursework or experience in public speaking, debate, economics, political science, sociology, computer science, mathematics, international studies, and volunteer work.


Prior to applying for admission to the major, students should take Economics 201 (Introduction to Economic Analysis: Microeconomics) and at least one of the following three courses: PPPM 201, 205, 280.  Applications are accepted fall, winter, and spring terms.  Admission to the major is effective the following term. See “Application to the PPPM Major” for additional information.

To be considered for admission, students must submit the following materials:

  • Completed application form;
  • Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (unofficial transcripts are acceptable);
  • Brief resume of educational, employment, and volunteer history;
  • Personal statement describing career goals and how the major in PPPM will help achieve those goals. Limit your statement to two typed, double-spaced pages.

Deadline -- Application for Admission: Monday of week 4 (fall, winter, and spring terms).

Application to the PPPM Major (Fillable PDF -- please type, print and sign your application, and then submit with your other materials.)

Concurrent Degree Program:  Currently enrolled undergraduate students interested in completing a concurrent degree program please contact Jessica Matthiesen, Undergraduate Program Director, for application procedures to the PPPM Undergraduate Major.

The Major

The university requires a total of 180 credits for an undergraduate degree; the PPPM major requires a minimum of 60 credits to satisfy major requirements. These include:

  • 28 credits of required core courses: Core courses are central to the major. Together, these courses expose students to the broad field of planning, public policy and management, and they provide the foundation for more advanced work in a focal area.

  • 32 elective credits (elective courses, internship, thesis): Developing sufficient background to work in the fields of planning, public policy, and public and nonprofit management requires solid academic preparation, individualized inquiry and experiential learning. The elective requirements for the major provide for flexibility and balance in achieving these learning goals.

PPPM Major Progress Sheet


PPPM Core Course Requirement (28 credits total)**

Overview Courses

  • PPPM 201 Introduction to Public Policy (4 credits / fall term). Overview of professional public service and the planning and management of public issues.  Focuses on the goals of public services within their economic, social, and political contexts.
  • PPPM 205 Introduction to City Planning (4 credits / spring term). Introduction to planning, using urban issues as lenses to explore transportation, housing, environment, and social equity as critical elements shaping where and how people live.
  • PPPM 280 Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector (4 credits / winter term). Overview of the nonprofit sector includes its origin, growth, oversight, and varied elements.  Examines theory and research into the effectiveness of nonprofit strategies and structures.

Skills Courses

  • PPPM 413 Quantitative Methods (4 credits / fall term). The course is designed to prepare students to use data analysis techniques to answer policy and management questions.
  • PPPM 434 Urban Geographic Information Systems (4 credits / winter term). Introduction to basic application of GIS in areas of environmental, demographic, suitability and transportation-related research.

Synthesis Courses

  • PPPM 415 Policy and Planning Analysis (4 credits / winter term). Examines the approaches and methods for analyzing public policy and plans, including case studies and examples. (Prereq: Econ 201)
  • PPPM 494 Practice of Leadership and Change (4 credits / spring term). Examines the principles of leadership and change through discussions, guest lectures, and personal reflection.

**PPPM majors must take core courses for a letter grade and receive a C- or better to pass.


PPPM Elective Credit Requirement (32 credits total)

Students may satisfy this 32-credit requirement with any combination of the following:

  • up to 32 PPPM elective course credits (maximum of 4 credits numbered below the 300-level)
  • 1 credit Internship Development (PPPM 412) and up to 12 credits of Internship (PPPM 404; prerequisite PPPM 412)
  • up to 8 credits of Thesis (PPPM 403; requires departmental approval and GPA of 3.75)


Fields of Interest for PPPM Elective Courses: PPPM majors should work with the Undergraduate Advising GTF to identify elective course offerings in their field of interest. These may include:

  • Urban Planning: land development, neighborhood redevelopment, bicycle planning
  • Environment: environmental policy, climate change policy, environmental impact assessment
  • Nonprofit: philanthropy, fundraising, program evaluation
  • Public Management: public law, financial management, community leadership and change
  • Social and Health: health policy, socioeconomic development planning, healthy communities


Internship: Internships are highly recommended for all PPPM students. They offer real-world opportunities to explore and clarify interests and career goals, apply academic learning, develop new skills, and network with professionals.  Internships also help prepare students for fellowships, professional positions, or further academic study.  PPPM 412 Internship and Professional Development is a one-credit course that focuses on strategies and tools for planning a successful internship, and is a pre-requisite for PPPM 404 Internship. Students interested in developing an internship should enroll in PPPM 412 and meet with the Undergraduate Internship Coordinator (121B Hendricks Hall; email:


Students also have the opportunity to work on applied research projects through the Community Planning Workshop (PPPM 419) using up to 10 credits towards their elective credit requirement. In this workshop, students form small research teams to apply research and development techniques that lead to the identification of tangible solutions to real community problems. Admission is by application only; only students with strong backgrounds are admitted.


Thesis and Departmental Honors Program: Students may pursue an undergraduate thesis in PPPM if they are accepted in the PPPM Departmental Honors Program, or if they are enrolled in the Clark Honors College.  Students may not pursue the thesis option without prior approval; interested students should contact the Undergraduate Advising GTF for more information. A student must have a 3.75 GPA to be considered for the PPPM Departmental Honors Program; a thesis is required.


Michael Hibbard Award for Excellence

The Michael Hibbard award is given to the graduating student who demonstrates exceptional academic ability. All students are eligible for consideration.

This page was updated December 23, 2015

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