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The multidisciplinary coordinate Major in Social Policy & Practice introduces students to problems, policies, and methods in the social policy and welfare field through four core courses and additional elective coursework in the social and behavioral sciences. The major is designed to encourage students to explore social policy interests prior to employment or graduate education. It also serves as an excellent pre-professional major for social work, the social sciences, education, law, public health, public policy, and related fields.

The program in Social Policy & Practice is designed to grant students a considerable degree of freedom in the choice of electives and to offer ample avenues for students interested in pursuing independent research and/or internship experiences. The program is particularly interested in encouraging the study of social problems related to living in an urban environment such as issues related to race, class, poverty, gender, social justice and the intersections among them. Students in the program are encouraged to pursue study abroad opportunities. The option to write an honors thesis is available to students who are in the University’s Honors Program.

Social Policy & Practice graduates often find that they have many career options because of their broad academic backgrounds and well-developed writing, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills that are highly valued by employers in a wide variety of settings. Students in the major are well prepared for entering the fields of social work, education, public policy, public health, law, medicine, business, and any other field that values a solid liberal arts education.

Below requirements only apply to those students who declared the Social Policy & Practice (SPP) major before August 1, 2010. Students who declared the SPP major after August 1, 2010 should see the new requirements here.


Four prerequisites must be completed with a minimum letter grade of C in order to enroll in SOWK 200-Introduction to Social Policy & Practice (3 credits), the first Social Policy & Practice core course and to declare the major. This applies to courses taken at Tulane University or equivalent courses taken at other institutions.

  • ECON 101-Introductory Microeconomics
  • POLS 210-American Government
  • PSYC 100-Introductory Psychology
  • SOCI 106-Urban Sociology

Course Requirements
(30 Credits – At least 10 courses)

A. Core Classes (2 courses, 6 credits)
Social Policy & Practice majors are required to complete two core courses which “bookend” the major:

  • SOWK 200-Introduction to Social Policy & Practice (3 credits)
  • SOWK 400-Community Organizing for Social Change: Theories and Methods (3 credits)

Each core course is offered every Fall and Spring. Students accepted to the major will be assigned a specific schedule to start the core courses with the gateway course – SOWK 200 – when their declaration is processed.

The first course students take, upon being admitted into the major, is SOWK 200-Introduction to Social Policy & Practice and the final course students take is SOWK 400-Community Organizing for Social Change: Theories and Methods. This latter course is conceptualized as the coordinate major capstone course.

B. Concentration in a Major Social or Behavioral Science (2 courses, 6 credits)
All social policy majors must concentrate in one of three major behavioral science departments: Political Science, Economics, or Sociology. Majors are required to take two approved electives in their concentration department. Refer to the list below for approved concentration electives.

  • Economics: ECON 102-Principles of Macroeconomics (3 credits) and ECON 332-Urban Economics (3 credits)
  • Political Science: POLA 324-Public Policy (3 credits) and POLA 425 Power & Poverty in America (3 Credits)
  • Sociology: SOCI-205 Population and Society (3 credits) and SOCI-218 Wealth, Power & Inequality (3 credits)

C. Additional Electives (At least 6 courses, 18 credits)
In addition to the two courses that form the Concentration, Social Policy & Practice majors must take at least six more approved electives. Two of the six courses may simultaneously fulfill primary or other major and/or minor requirements. Importantly, only 2 of the 6 electives can be taken at the 100 level. The remainder of the electives must be taken at the 200 level or above.

In addition to courses listed above, for the concentrations that lie outside of the student’s chosen concentration, the following is a list of additional approved electives organized by discipline. It is important to note that some of these courses have prerequisites. Students should consult the course catalog prior to registering to ensure that they have met any department-specific prerequisites.


  • ECON 354-Developmental Economics (3 credits)
  • Other courses pending

Political Science

  • POLA 327-Court and Politics (3 credits)
  • POLS 401-Comparative Political Economy of the Welfare State (3 credits)
  • POLA 427-Race, Sex, and Power (3 credits)

Social Work

  • SOWK 211-Family Violence Intervention: Making A Difference (3 credits)
  • SOWK 212-Social Work Intervention With Children & Youth (3 credits)
  • SOWK 222-Drug Abuse: Univ. & Innercity (Booze, Pot, Coke, & Crystal Meth: PolyDrug Abuse Among College & Inner-City Residents) (3 credits)
  • SOWK 223-Guns and Gangs: At Risk Youth in the Inner City (3 credits)
  • SOWK 240-Human Sexuality: Beyond Sex in the City (3 credits)
  • SOWK 413-Legal Skills for Social Service Professionals (3 credits)


  • SOCI 109-Social Problems (3 Credits)
  • SOCI 151-Work in American Society (3 credits)
  • SOCI 160-Environmental Sociology (3 credits )
  • SOCI 250-Organizational Behavior (3 credits)
  • SOCI 270-Social Psychology of Everyday Life (3 credits)
  • SOCI 612-Race and Ethnicity in America (3 credits)
  • SOCI 630-Urban Policy and Planning SOCI 631-Urban Experience

Tulane University, Stephen Ostertag, 220F Newcomb Hall, New Orleans, LA  70118 504-862-3023