Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

Applications to the Certificate in Public Policy are open May 1-May 31 and November 1-November 30 each year. 

The Undergraduate Certificate in Public Policy allows undergraduate students to apply a policy perspective to their major course of study and bolsters their skills for success in the workforce or in their graduate school coursework. Students build a strong foundation for careers in government, nonprofit organizations, or the private sector. 

The certificate program is ideal for students seeking careers related to key domestic and international issues such as health policy, criminal justice, education, energy, environmental studies, finance, transportation, and poverty. It also prepares students to be engaged citizens, ready to use their talents to improve the world around them. 

More information about how to apply is below under the Applying for Admission heading. The FAQ at the bottom of the page is also a useful resource. Other questions can be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Program Requirements

Students must complete 12 credits – one course in each of four foundational course categories. To earn a certificate, students must complete all requirements for a bachelor’s degree, requirements of their declared major(s), and graduate from UW–Madison. Learn more about program requirements.

Applying For Admission

The La Follette School administers an annual application process for the Certificate in Public Policy and admissions requirements are below. Applications are considered once a year and the application opens May 1 and closes May 31 each year.

Skills & Careers

Given the increasing complexity in every realm of public policy, students in the public policy certificate program gain analytical, writing, critical-thinking, and other skills that are in demand by more and more employers in almost every sector.


The certificate program gives students access to the La Follette School’s award-winning faculty members. Faculty members have expertise in social policy, health policy and management, public management, policy analysis, environmental policy, poverty, and government finance. Faculty in other departments that offer policy-related classes also teach students in the certificate program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Us
Observatory Hill Office Building
1225 Observatory Drive

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“The professors do a really good job of communicating how classroom knowledge corresponds to real-world application.”

Ruanda McFerren
Ruanda McFerren, MPA, MS ’18

Undergraduate Certificate information video