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    Seattle University
  Dec 16, 2017
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Affairs, BA

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The major in public affairs welcomes motivated students interested in policy-making, planning, community service and advocacy in public and nonprofit organizations. The bachelor of arts with a major in public affairs degree integrates the mission of Seattle University through its focus on social justice and dedication to “empowering leaders for a just and humane world.”

Coursework in public affairs encourages students to explore diverse perspectives, apply problem-solving skills, and engage in practical experiences that enable graduates to undertake important leadership responsibilities and challenging work in the public and nonprofit sectors. The course work includes management studies and public policy analysis. Several policy pathways are available to students, allowing the students to shape their studies according to their interests and concerns. Students earning this degree will be prepared to contribute to all sectors of society and levels of government. This degree is also excellent preparation for graduate or professional school.

Upon completion of the Seattle University Bachelor of Public Affairs (BPA), a Seattle University public affairs student may apply for the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. For BPA graduates admitted into the MPA program, there is a reduced 42-credit requirement for the MPA program. See the Graduate Catalog for a description of the MPA program.

General Program Requirements

It is strongly suggested that students make an appointment with the program coordinator to discuss their interest in public affairs prior to declaring the major.

Students planning to apply to the graduate Master of Public Administration degree program must have a 3.00 or higher cumulative GPA.


In order to earn the bachelor of arts degree with a major in public affairs, students must complete a minimum of 180 credits with a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 and a major grade point average of 2.50.

II. College of Arts and Sciences Requirements

  • Modern Languages 1150, 1250, 1350, or equivalent (15)


All students with a major in the College of Arts and Sciences must demonstrate competency through the level of 1350 in a language other than English. This competency is ordinarily achieved by successful completion of the three-course sequence: 1150, 1250, and 1350. Because these courses are a college requirement, no course in the sequence may be taken on a pass/fail, correspondence, or audit basis. Placement into other than the beginning course of the sequence is achieved by acceptable performance on the Modern Language Competency Examination. See the Modern Languages Department for details on the examinations. Courses used to satisfy the College of Arts and Sciences modern language requirement may not be used to fulfill major requirements.

III. Major Requirements

A minimum of 60 credits consisting of foundation, programmatic and professional courses.

Area II: Programmatic: Policy Pathway

Students are required to take at least three courses in a particular area of interest. Policy pathway courses can be selected from one of three areas shown below or a student may choose to design their own. Courses will be determined with consent of the student’s major advisor. Elective courses may be used to fulfill policy pathway requirements.

  • Urban Planning and Sustainability 10 to 15
  • Nonprofit Leadership 10 to 15
  • International Studies 10 to 15
    (Study abroad options are available to interested students)
  • Individualized 10 to 15

Area III: Programmatic – Linked Policy Analysis/Senior Synthesis

Professional Field Internship

A second internship is required of public affairs students pursuing the MPA degree option. This second internship is not a requirement for the public affairs major. This internship will typically be undertaken in the quarter following completion of the public affairs program requirements.

  • PUBM 595 - Internship (1 to 6)

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