Social Policy

Social policy is the study of policy solutions to the problems of education, inequality, poverty, crime, and other issues faced by society’s families and children. It is an interdisciplinary field to which the disciplines of economics, sociology, and political science contribute in equal measure. It is a basic-science field with a strong applied-research focus that can prepare students for careers in government, nonprofits, and the private sector. Students who undertake the social policy minor will work with faculty who are experts in the study of poverty, the labor market, social demography, family structure, educational inequality, political participation, organizational dynamics, and health and welfare policy. They will be strongly grounded in social science training and will apply that training to real-world applications and policies. In the minor, students will be motivated to think about how knowledge translates into policy solutions, making this an appropriate specialization for young people who plan to attend law school, programs in public health, or graduate school in the constituent social science field

Requirements of the Minor

A Social Policy minor is offered jointly by the Departments of Economics, Political Science, and Sociology. To complete the minor, students must take an introductory course, Introduction to Social Policy and Inequality: Baltimore and Beyond; a 300-level social policy elective in one of the three departments; the Baltimore Policy Fellowship; and a capstone course to be taken after the semester is completed. The preferred sequence is for students to take the introductory course in their freshman or sophomore years, the elective in the fall of their junior year, the Baltimore Policy Fellowship semester in the spring of their junior year, and the capstone course in their senior year. However, modifications in the sequence will be considered. The Fellowship semester will involve course work focusing on urban and national social policy problems coupled with an internship in Baltimore or Washington in a governmental agency or non-governmental organization that is involved with some aspect of social policy, or as a research assistant to a faculty member conducting research on social policy. The capstone course will involve discussion and research among students who have completed the Fellowship semester and is intended to build upon experiences in that semester.

Enrollment in the Fellowship semester will be limited to 15 and requires application and admission. The Social Policy Minor is grounded in the three disciplines and priority will be given to students who are majoring in Economics, Political Science, or Sociology, but students with other majors will be considered.

A list of electives to be used to fulfill the 300-level social policy elective is available on the Social Policy Program website.  Students can identify these courses in the schedule of classes as they will have a POS-Tag of SPOL-UL.   

Students interested in the minor should contact the Director of the Social Policy Program, by sending a message to

All courses must be taken for a letter grade and a grade of C- or better must be earned in all minor requirements.

Course Requirements

AS.360.247Introduction to Social Policy: Baltimore and Beyond3
AS.360.401Social Policy Seminar3
One 300- or 400-level approved social policy elective course from the Economics, Sociology, or Political Science Department3
Baltimore Policy Fellowship semester15



Andrew Cherlin
Benjamin H. Griswold III Professor of Public Policy and Chair (Sociology)

Stefanie DeLuca
James S. Coleman Professor (Social Policy & Sociology)

Robert Lieberman
Krieger-Eisenhower Professor (Political Science)

Robert Moffitt
Krieger-Eisenhower Professor (Economics)

Adam Sheingate
Professor and Chair (Political Science)

Steven Teles
Professor (Political Science)

Associate Professor

Vesla Weaver
Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor (Political Science & Sociology)

Assistant Professor

Daniel Schlozman
Joseph and Bertha Bernstein Assistant Professor (Political Science)

Senior Lecturer

Barbara Morgan
Senior Lecturer (Economics)