BA or BS in Planning, Public Policy and Management

Pre-PPPM Major | PPPM Major | Core Courses | Internships | Thesis and Honors

Action-Oriented, Interdisciplinary, Focused on Solving Real-World Problems

The School of Planning, Public Policy and Management (PPPM) offers an undergraduate major for students who are interested in public sector and nonprofit careers and seek to make a difference in their communities. Academic coursework and learning opportunities such as internships and applied courses create a hands-on educational climate that is both exciting and challenging.

A degree with a major in planning, public policy and management (BA or BS) will prepare you for entry-level positions in local, state, and federal agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations and private firms that address public sector issues. In addition, the degree provides a sound basis for graduate study in fields such as:

  • Urban planning
  • Public policy
  • Public management
  • Business
  • Law
  • Journalism
  • Public health
  • Nonprofit management

Undergraduate Program Handbook

Pre-PPPM Major

UO students interested in our major should first declare the pre-PPPM major. These majors can access priority registration and our internship program. Before you declare the pre-PPPM major, we recommend that you speak with an undergraduate academic advisor to learn more about the PPPM program and admission requirements.

To schedule an academic advising appointment, contact:

College of Design Academic Advising
198 Lawrence Hall | 541-346-2621

Preparing for the PPPM major includes:

  • Developing a broad liberal-arts background
  • Building communication skills
  • Developing analytical skills
  • Gaining college-level volunteer, leadership, or work experience

Add a pre-PPPM Major

The PPPM Major

The university requires a total of 180 credits for an undergraduate degree, and the PPPM major requires 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 you to the broad field of planning, public policy, and management, and they provide the foundation for more advanced work in a field of interest.
  • 32 credits from elective courses (may include internship and 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 Core Courses Requirement (28 credits total)*

Overview Courses

PPPM 201 Introduction to Public Policy, 4 credits
PPPM 205 Introduction to City Planning, 4 credits
PPPM 280 Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector, 4 credits

Skills Courses

PPPM 413 Quantitative Methods, 4 credits
PPPM 434 Introduction to Urban Geographic Information Systems, 4 credits

Synthesis Courses

PPPM 415 Policy and Planning Analysis, 4 credits (Prerequisite: Economics 201)
PPPM 494 Practice of Leadership and Change, 4 credits (senior standing required)

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

PPPM Elective Credits 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)
  • 12 credits of Internship (PPPM 404; prerequisite PPPM 412)
  • 8 credits of Thesis (PPPM 403; requires school approval and a GPA of 3.75)

Fields of Interest for PPPM Elective Courses

PPPM majors may work with an undergraduate advisor to identify elective course offerings in a field of interest. These may include:

  • Arts and Cultural Leadership:
    • The arts in society
    • Creative placemaking
    • Museum practice
  • Urban Planning and Development:
    • Land use planning and policy
    • Urban transportation policy
    • Bicycle transportation
  • Environment and Sustainability:
    • Environmental policy
    • Natural resource policy
    • Green cities
  • Equity and Social Justice:
    • Community organizing
    • Inclusive urbanism
    • Justice and urban revitalization
  • Nonprofit Administration:
    • Nonprofit management
    • Fundraising for nonprofit organizations
    • Program evaluation
  • Public Leadership and Management:
    • Public sector leadership
    • Financial management
    • Strategic planning
  • Social and Health Policy:
    • Healthy communities
    • Public Health
    • International public policy
  • Global Sustainability and Development:
    • Global sustainable development
    • International NGO management
    • Sustainable urban development


Internships are optional but highly recommended for all PPPM students as a way to:

  • Explore and clarify interests and career goals
  • Apply academic learning
  • Develop new skills
  • Network with professionals

Internships also help prepare you for fellowships, professional positions, or further academic study. Students who are interested in the PPPM Internship Program should:

  1. first, enroll in PPPM 412 Internship and Professional Development. PPPM 412 focuses on strategies and tools for planning a successful internship and is the prerequisite for PPPM 404 Internship.
  2. next, meet with the PPPM Undergraduate Internship Director Jessica Matthiesen: 103 Hendricks Hall,, or schedule online:


Thesis and PPPM Honors Program

All students interested in preparing an undergraduate thesis must first contact the Undergraduate Program Director Jessica Matthiesen for advising and more information:

You may pursue an undergraduate thesis in PPPM in one of two ways if you are either:

  1. Accepted in the PPPM Honors Program
  2. Enrolled in the Clark Honors College

Students who are not enrolled in the Clark Honors College must have a 3.75 GPA to be considered for the PPPM Honors Program. The undergraduate thesis process can take up to six academic terms (2 years) to complete. Plan ahead and contact the Undergraduate Program Director early in your junior year if you are interested in the PPPM Honors Program.

Michael Hibbard Award for Excellence

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

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