Level 2
Public Policy Analysis for Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals: A Systematic Process for Analyzing and Developing Policy Options to Respond to Societal Challenges
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Policy analysis provides a systematic process to analyze public policy options to respond to a societal challenge such as COVID-19, climate change, and homelessness.  It involves identifying the underlying problem, key decision-makers, stakeholders, policy question, and policy options.  These options are then analyzed to identify which is likely to be the most effective, efficient, equitable, and ease of political acceptability.  Once that analysis is concluded, the analyst makes a recommendation based on those criteria.  The analyst then communicates the results to policymakers and the public.   


Educational Outcomes 

In this “learn by doing” class, students will enhance their understanding of:


  • What policy analysis is and why it is important

  • The eight-step process to do a public policy analysis based on the 4Es (effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and ease of political acceptability)

  • An overview of ways to communicate that message through 1-pagers, op-eds, presentations, videos, and infographics.


Class Topics

  • What is a policy analysis and why is it important?

  • Eight step process to do a public policy analysis

    • Step 1.  Define the problem in the form of a question

    • Step 2. Assemble some evidence

    • Step 3. Construct the Alternatives

    • Step 4. Analyze the Alternatives based on the 4E Criteria (Effectiveness, Efficiency, Equity, Ease of Political Acceptability)

    • Step 5: Project the Outcomes

    • Step 6: Confront the Tradeoffs

    • Step 7:  Decide

    • Step 8. Tell Your Story

How it Works:  You can go through the material at the pace that works for you.  The content of the class is presented through short-taped lectures of about 15 minutes on our learning management system called Ruzuku.  You will then practice the content of each lesson through exercises on which you'll receive feedback. 

During the six weeks of the class, there will be a weekly one-hour live Q&A session where you can ask questions and students can volunteer for their exercises to be "workshopped."   The date and time for the weekly Q&A session will be determined by the vote of the registered participants.  Evening (eastern) options will be offered.

Although the Q&A sessions occur over 6 weeks, it sometimes takes longer for students to complete the exercises due to their other responsibilities.  There is no expiration date for watching the videos.  In addition, you can use your three coaching calls to get feedback on your work at any time - before or after the Q&A sessions end - along with career guidance and any other professional guidance you'd like to receive.


The date/time for coaching calls is based on your schedule and that of the instructor and is scheduled via an app.  You also have long-term access to the instructor and announcements of jobs, fellowships, seminars, and workshops via the Academy's Slack channel.



F. Garrett Boudinot, Research Associate, Cornell University

“I took the “Public Policy Analysis” [Level 2] course with the Academy just after completing my PhD. While I had no formal policy training prior, I was passionate about using my science background to help inform public policy. The course was the perfect step to make that happen.


At its essence, it provided an educational framework that helped me to better understand, and more critically evaluate, all public policy. In the course I learned a toolbox of principles and practices for policy analysis. The mix of ground-level information through lectures, readings, and exercises, with practical applications for our own “policy question” project throughout the course, helped to solidify these new, broad ideas into a clear avenue for combining science and policy moving forward. The concrete skills for policymaking, policy evaluation, and importantly, communication of those ideas to relevant audiences, were combined with the “big picture” framework to help make the complex policy world approachable for those of us from a strictly-scientific background.


Dr. Stine’s continuous, personal, and in-depth feedback was invaluable, and was critical to my development through the course. Not only did I learn an incredible amount in just a short time, but I had fun throughout the process. I published the policy analysis I produced in the course as an op-ed in the Colorado Sun, a major newspaper in my state, and also leveraged my new policy background to help secure a job at Cornell University. I highly recommend courses at the Academy for Science and Technology Policy for anyone interested in the intersection of science and policy.“