Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs

A bachelor’s degree in public affairs provides students with the skills and knowledge to serve society through a variety of careers in public service. The program is designed to develop skills in leadership and decision-making, create a foundation for understanding American governmental and public institutions, acquire knowledge of the structure and operations associated with the nonprofit sector, and become familiar with the broad and complex economic, financial and legal environments within which public institutions function.

Careers in Public Affairs

A student shows off his UTD ring.

The BS in Public Affairs is structured to prepare students for careers in government (federal, state and local), nonprofit organizations, Foreign Service, educational institutions, consulting firms and businesses significantly affected by public policies. Careers in public administration include emergency management, economic development, criminal justice, public health, national security, labor management relations, mediation, education administration and environmental policy.

The skills acquired in the program will assist in understanding how governments and nonprofits function, managing people and resources, evaluating programs, creating and balancing budgets, overseeing expenditures, analyzing policy, as well as building knowledge of the laws and policies that govern these sectors. The training provided is applicable to any level of government or nonprofits.

Public Affairs at UT Dallas

Public affairs is an interdisciplinary program that integrates the traditions of public and nonprofit management with the challenges of maintaining and building institutions of governance in a complex society. Students in public affairs have the opportunity to engage in intellectual discussions of ethical questions related to public service and examine the values that motivate the development of public policy. Through a curriculum of core and topic-specific courses, students will refine skills in writing, research and critical thinking.

The UT Dallas program offers students the opportunity to learn from and interact with some of the nation’s leading academic and public sector experts. The general BS degree requires 120 hours to graduate: 42 hours from the University’s core curriculum, 49 hours from the major and 29 hours of electives.


The Fast Track program enables exceptionally gifted UT Dallas students to include master’s level courses in their undergraduate degree plans. Students who meet the requirements for admission to graduate school and the minimum GPA requirement for their major can take up to 15 hours of graduate level coursework that can apply toward their undergraduate and graduate level coursework. To take graduate courses in the Fast Track program upper-division undergraduates must have completed 90 semester credit hours and petition their associate dean for permission to take graduate courses.

Every new generation inherits a world more complex than that of its predecessors, which prompts a need for new thinking about public policies that impact people’s daily lives. In the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS), we examine the implications of innovation and change for individuals and communities. The social sciences are where the world turns to for answers to the important issues of today and the future such as education and health policy, financial crises, globalization, policing, political polarization, public management, terrorism, and the application of geographical information sciences to study social, economic and environmental issues.

As an undergraduate in EPPS, you will have the opportunity to work with professors who are probing issues that will affect your future. You will develop the vital skills you need to thrive in a rapidly evolving, highly competitive job market. EPPS will prepare you for careers in government, non-profits and the private sector that enable you to make a real difference in the world of today and tomorrow. EPPS is at the forefront of leadership, ethics and innovation in the public and nonprofit sectors. Our students and faculty look forward to new opportunities to study and address the complex and evolving issues of the future. Research informs much of the instruction. The school has four centers of excellence:

  • Center for Global Collective Action
  • Texas Schools Project
  • Institute for Urban Policy Research
  • The Negotiations Center

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts: Criminology, economics, geospatial information sciences, international political economy, political science, public affairs, public policy, sociology

Master of Science: Applied sociology, criminology, economics, geospatial information sciences, international political economy, social data analytics and research

Master of Arts: Political science

Master of Public Affairs: Public affairs

Master of Public Policy: Public policy

Doctor of Philosophy: Criminology, economics, geospatial information sciences, political science, public affairs, public policy and political economy


EPPS offers the following 15-hour graduate certificates, which generally can be completed in one year of part-time evening classes:

  • Economic and Demographic Data Analysis: focusing on the understanding and application of quantitative analysis of demographic and economic data.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS): focusing on the application of GIS in government, private sector and scientific areas.
  • Geospatial Intelligence: focusing on the application of geospatial ideas and techniques to national security and other intelligence activity.
  • Local Government Management: designed to broaden knowledge of important issues and approaches employed by professional local public administrators.
  • Nonprofit Management: designed to provide an overview of the nature and context of nonprofit organizations and develop competencies needed by nonprofit managers.
  • Program Evaluation: designed to provide students the opportunity to gain competencies in the design and implementation of program evaluations in fields such as education, health care, human services, criminal justice and economic development.
  • Remote Sensing: focusing on remote sensing and digital image processing.