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University of Pittsburgh    
2022-2023 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 14, 2024
2022-2023 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Law - Public Policy Concentration

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You can earn the Public Policy Concentration by completing the Policy Track of the Semester in DC Program in the spring semester of your 2L or 3L year.

While law students learn many skills that are useful for policy-related work, they do not typically learn how to apply those skills in a policy context, for example by analyzing a government agency report, mapping the stakeholders on a particular issue, preparing questions for a Senate hearing, writing a short policy brief, or developing an advocacy campaign.

The Semester in DC Program Policy Track is designed to fill this gap by teaching you how to apply your legal advocacy, research, and writing skills in the policy context, so that you can successfully engage in policy-related work after graduation. The Policy Track is offered each spring semester jointly with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) at Pitt’s Washington Center in downtown Washington, DC.

Highlights of the Semester in DC Program Policy Track include:

  • A policy-related externship with a government or nonprofit organization in Washington, DC
  • Classes that are focused on learning from policy experts who regularly visit as guest speakers and on attaining pragmatic policy advocacy, analysis, and writing skills
  • Joint classes with GSPIA students, so that both policy and law perspectives are represented in each class
  • An individual alumni mentor for each student, as well as connections with Law and GSPIA’s alumni network of hundreds of attorneys and policy practitioners in the Washington, DC area

Semester in DC Program alumni have gone on to do all kinds of policy work after graduation, including positions:

  • With the U.S. Departments of State and Health and Human Services
  • With U.S. Senate and House offices
  • In healthcare policy for Johnson & Johnson, the Maryland Department of Health, and the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy
  • In environmental policy for the Sierra Club, the Environmental Investigation Agency, and Voices for Progress
  • In child/family policy for the Children’s Law Center and First Focus
  • In labor policy for the AFL-CIO


You can earn the Public Policy Concentration by completing the Policy Track of the Semester in DC Program after taking the required 1L Legislation and Regulation course.

The Public Policy Concentration requires students to earn 15 credits in the policy-related classes listed below. Students will have already completed the 3-credit foundational course in Legislation and Regulation in their 1L year. Students can complete the 12 remaining credits by participating in the Semester in DC Program Policy Track, which offers the listed courses. Only the courses listed below may be used to fulfill the requirements of this concentration; other courses may not be substituted.


For detailed term-specific course descriptions, please go to the Schedule of Classes Course Lists on the Law School web site.

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