Brookings Public Policy Minor


To provide UNLV undergraduate students with a unique educational experience, the opportunity to explore the world around them through a series of courses taught by UNLV faculty and scholars from the Brookings Institution.


The Brookings Public Policy Minor (BPPM) offers a multidisciplinary curriculum based upon local, national and global themes. These courses unite the best teaching and scholarship of UNLV faculty and Brookings experts. This unique collaboration draws upon the diverse faculty and programmatic interests of UNLV to link knowledge, academic inquiry, and practice with the outstanding policy programs of the Brookings Institution. The collaboration recognizes its responsibility to present multiple perspectives and enhance critical thinking and decision making skills in a broad range of subject areas such as geography, economics, political science, public policy, international security, the environment, history, science, foreign languages, language arts, and fine and applied arts. In an increasing diverse society, at a metropolitan university located in the heart of a global city, BPPM recognizes the unique needs of today's linguistically, ethnically, and socially diverse classrooms and is committed to creating curriculum materials that model effective ways of working with students of all backgrounds. UNLV students are coming of age in a world of global markets where democratic forms of government emerge, struggle, and adapt amid a technological revolution that continues to alter how we think, act, and live on a daily basis. BPPM addresses the challenge of effective teaching, learning, and communication in this ever-changing global environment. UNLV faculty and students, in collaboration with Brookings colleagues, will meet this challenge, and help build sustainable local, national, and global communities. In BPPM courses students will:

  • Learn about real people in real places
  • Link societies by their connections and commonalities as much as by their differences
  • Integrate general issues of globalization, past and present, into the study of specific people and places in the world
  • Include cross-disciplinary approaches to break down conventional academic barriers
  • Emphasize experiential as well as classroom learning
  • Foster research and information literacy through coordinated lectures, readings, and assignments

Admission Policies

Students may declare the Brookings Public Policy minor at anytime subsequent to being matriculated. Students must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.00 to declare and to graduate with a minor in the Brookings Public Policy Minor. A minimum overall GPA of 3.00 must be maintained in order to continue in the Brookings Policy minor. A minimum grade of C is required in courses in the minor.


To gain acceptance into the minor, students should meet with an advisor from the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs Advising Center (895-1009). Students should meet with their advisor prior to each semester they are taking classes. The program has developed a schedule of when classes will be offered. Meeting with an advisor will ensure the student stays on track and can graduate in a timely manner.

Courses (Total Credits: 18)

Participating students must complete
  • GSC 101 - Brookings: Introduction to Public Policy
Four of the following upper-division courses
  • PSC 401O - U.S. Elections and Governance
  • ECON 313 - Economic Analysis of Public Policy
  • ECON 312 - Global Economy and Development
  • GSC 440 - Brookings: Metropolitan Policy (under development)
  • PSC 405 W - New Issues in Foreign Policy

Capstone course requirements include a research paper written under the supervision of a Brookings scholar and/or UNLV faculty member affiliated with Brookings Mountain West. Selected student papers may be published by the Brookings Mountain West, the Brookings Institution, and UNLV's Institutional Repository, Digital Scholarship@UNLV.

Students who complete an approved sequence of courses will obtain from UNLV a “Brookings Minor in Public Policy.” Participating students must complete:

  1. The introductory level (1xx) survey course, tentatively titled, “Think Tank 101,” designed to provide a general introduction to key global and national public policy issues that parallel Brookings five major programs.
  2. Four, three credit “Brookings course”, selected from a rotating slate of courses approved for this program. Undergraduates must select these four courses (one each from four of five content areas that parallel Brookings programs) at 400–level, and achieve a grade level of 3.0 or above for each of the courses.
  3. Students must also complete a three -credit “capstone” course in their college, whose requirements include research paper of roughly 3,000 words, patterned on a Brookings Policy Brief. That paper would be written under the supervision of a UNLV faculty member and one of the Brookings Scholars engaged in this program. Selected student papers may be published by the Brookings Institution.

Each of the courses would be centered around — and guided by scholars from — the five research programs at Brookings: Governance Studies, Economic Studies, Foreign Policy Studies, Global Economy and Development Research, and Metropolitan Studies.

  • Governance Studies brings together people interested in improving the performance of our national government and bettering the economic security, social welfare, and opportunity available to all Americans.
  • Economic Studies monitors the national economy and seeks answers to policy issues in the United States. The program's research aims to increase the public's understanding of how the economy works and how to make programs and policies better.
  • Foreign Policy: The U.S. and the international community face great challenges in the 21st century — globalization offers more freedom and prosperity, but also new threats to our security. Foreign Policy scholars and research help policymakers and the public address these crucial issues.
  • Global Economy and Development examines the opportunities and challenges presented by globalization, which has become a central concern for policymakers, business executives and civil society. Global experts address the issues surrounding globalization within three key areas: the drivers shaping the global economy, the road out of poverty and the rise of new economic powers.
  • Metropolitan Policy: This Brookings Program is redefining the challenges facing metropolitan America and promoting innovative solutions to help communities grow in more inclusive, competitive, and sustainable ways.


Brookings scholars currently engage with UNLV faculty both in the classroom and in related research efforts. For example, Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies and Co-Director, Center on Children and Families delivers talk to undergraduate classes during his visits and now partners with Vicky Albert, UNLV professor of social work on a Pew Charitable trust-funded examination of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. Adele Morris, Fellow, Economic Studies and Policy Director for Climate and Energy Economics, and UNLV associate professor of economics Brad Wimmer, are creating a economic policy course that could serve as a model for future courses in the minor. Similarly, Dave Damore, associate professor of political science is planning a public policy course that will engage with a number of Brookings scholars scheduled to visit UNLV in Spring 2011. In addition, military and foreign policy scholars and nuclear energy experts at Brookings collaborate with UNLV scientists focused on our nation’s nuclear stockpile, alternative energy, and remediation challenges. As future Brookings scholars engage with UNLV faculty across the UNLV, opportunities to develop additional courses will expand.

Each of the “UNLV-Brookings” courses will be taught by a UNLV faculty member in collaboration with one or more Brookings colleagues. Collaboration would include, at a minimum, Brookings scholars involvement and approval of the course syllabus, to ensure that it is connected and relevant to the major policy discussions facing national and global leaders. Collaboration would often extend to include one or more Brookings scholars in-person teaching of selected class lectures for the courses in question. It also may involve participating in review of assignments and grading, and additional teaching through the use of electronic classrooms.

  • UNLV faculty may be appointed nonresident senior fellow status at Brookings.
  • Brookings scholars may be granted adjunct faculty status in recognition of their participation.
  • UNLV faculty might be funded by UNLV to visit Brookings in order to obtain a first-hand perspective on the scope and diversity of Brookings programs.
  • Selected students may be eligible for a Washington field trip or for internships at Brookings.

Priority enrollment would be open to students enrolled in the Brookings Minor. Completion of six courses is required to complete the minor. Classes would, however, be open to all UNLV students.