Academics and learning outcomes

Undergraduate program

WSU offers the Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs only on the Vancouver campus.

You may choose one of the following concentrations:

  • Public policy and politics
  • Public administration and management
  • Justice studies

Course requirements

For detailed course requirements for the major or minor in public affairs, see the college catalog.

Learning outcomes

Bachelor of Public Affairs: Student learning outcomes with WSU’s seven goals of the baccalaureate.

Graduates will use reason, evidence, and context to increase knowledge, to reason ethically, and to innovate in imaginative ways.

  • Demonstrates ability to discern between opinion and fact.
  • Demonstrates ability to evaluate normative claims.
  • Demonstrates ability to make reasoned arguments.
  • Formulates important and viable questions about public affairs.
  • Savors an appreciation for the absurd.

Graduates will solve quantitative problems from a wide variety of authentic contexts and everyday life situations.

  • Demonstrates basic numeracy while avoiding common errors.
  • Demonstrates ability to accurately interpret figures.

Graduates will have a basic understanding of major scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic affairs, economic productivity and global stewardship.

  • Understands a variety of established approaches to knowledge-building.
  • Understands connection between data and theory.
  • Understands the logic of scientific inquiry.

Graduates will effectively identify, locate, evaluate, use responsibly, and share information for the problem at hand.

  • Appropriately employs a variety of sources.
  • Distinguishes between academic and non-academic knowledge.
  • Understands the quality of sources including the role of peer-review and other editorial filters.
  • Employs previous works' findings and arguments in student's original work without changing their intended meaning.
  • Avoids plagiarism.

Graduates will write, speak, and listen to achieve intended meaning and understanding among all participants.

  • Demonstrates ability to use theory and evidence to support an argument or civilly challenge the argument of another.
  • Effectively communicates complex topics.
  • Creates audience-focused content.
  • Employs transparent communication strategies.
  • Demonstrates facility with a diversity of communication strategies when sharing knowledge with others.

Graduates will understand, respect, and interact constructively with others of similar and diverse cultures, values and perspectives.

  • Understands the concepts of public interest and public service.
  • Questions, but respects assumption rooted in cultural context or personal experience.
  • Actively seeks to understand "the other's" point of view.

Graduates will develop depth, breadth, and integration of learning for the benefit of themselves, their communities, their employers, and for society at large.

  • Applies ideas in public affairs literature to situations not directly discussed in existing works.
  • Appropriately apply analogy
  • Understands the effects of structural or institutional influences on individual experience.
  • Demonstrates comprehensive knowledge of major course of study
  • Relates the specific body of knowledge from the major to key themes in general education.
  • Develops a specialized skill base applied to problem solving.