Certificate in Public Policy Advocacy


Multi-disciplinary studies of the communication processes that shape public policy.

In collaboration with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the USC Price School’s Certificate in Public Policy Advocacy enable students to better understand increasingly important role played by information flows in politics and governance. Students will assess the structure of campaigns that influence public opinion, analyze strategies used by political players and civic organizations, and create public persuasion in the digital age.

The certificate is especially appropriate for students who intend to pursue work with elected officials, think tanks, foundations, community-based organizations, consulting firms and corporate offices that aim to shape public policy through advocacy. The certificate will require completion of two required courses — one in the Price School and one in the Annenberg School — and two electives from a menu of approved courses. Students will be encouraged but not required to take an elective in the school other than the one granting their degree.

Required Courses

PR 501: Advocacy Communications — Fall (4 units)

The focus is on communication strategies employed by advocates, think tanks and philanthropies to shape policy deliberations. The course examines advocacy campaigns on climate change, immigration, gun control and other issues. It examines the uses of multiple media platforms from documentary films to social media, and it explores new developments in cognitive psychology regarding the activation of public opinion.

PPD 693: Communicating Public Policy — Spring (4 units)

This course explores the relationships among policies, policymakers, and the print, electronic and digital media. It focuses on journalistic coverage of public policy and political controversies and on efforts by policy stakeholders to influence public opinion through that coverage.

Elective Courses

Pick two from the following:

PR 534: Case Studies in Public Relations
PR 536: Digital, Social and Mass Media Public Relations Strategies
PR 586: Crisis Management in Strategic Public Relations
COMM 561: Leading and Communicating Change in Global Organizations
CMGT 508: Communicating Strategy and Change
CMGT 581: Media in Social Services: Design and Evaluation of Campaigns

PPD 657: Political Leadership in Public Organizations
PPD 616: Participatory Methods in Planning and Policy
PPD 555: Public Policy Formulation and Implementation
PPDE 647: Civic Engagement in Governance

Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Applicants for the Certificate in Public Policy Advocacy must be currently enrolled in a graduate program at USC and in good standing, with a 3.0 GPA. Students may apply for the certificate through the student services offices at USC Annenberg.

For information on how to enroll, please contact Graduate Advisor Mike Ploszek:
[email protected] or (213) 740-0887

For curriculum information, please contact Prof. Roberto Suro: [email protected]