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UT News

LBJ School Launches Bachelor of Public Affairs Degree

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AUSTIN, Texas The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin is launching its first undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of Public Affairs. Building on the school’s world-renowned graduate education program, the new program will serve as the school’s premier offering for undergraduate students, focused on skills in leadership, policy analysis, data analytics, communication and organizational management for a career in public service.  

“UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs has been training leaders for more than 50 years. These leaders have spanned roles and industries — including a governor, nonprofit CEOs, a university president and many other trailblazers — but they have all come to the LBJ School as graduate students,” said UT President Jay Hartzell. “We are thrilled to now allow our undergraduate students the opportunity to access this same sort of world-class educational experience. An LBJ education will give them earlier exposure to opportunities to lead and will open new ways to positively impact society through constructive discourse and public policy.” 

Students in the major will receive a comprehensive education in public affairs and gain the professional training to solve real-world public challenges through innovative policy solutions. Students will study the ethics of working in public affairs and why public policies are necessary; how policies are proposed, adopted and implemented; and the economic costs and benefits calculations of policies. Students will be encouraged to specialize in a specific policy domain — such as health care, the environment, national security or foreign affairs — to differentiate themselves in the job market. 

“The Bachelor of Public Affairs program equips students with in-demand skills essential for today’s job market,” said JR DeShazo, dean of the LBJ School. “With a strong emphasis on data analytics, policy analysis and organizational leadership and management, our graduates will be prepared for high-impact careers in public service and beyond.” 

Key areas of the Bachelor of Public Affairs program include: 

  • Policy Analysis: Knowing when to use quantitative or qualitative tools to analyze problems. 
  • Data Analytics: Understanding the intricacies of how to work with various forms of data. 
  • Communication: Discerning how to communicate concisely to specific policy audiences. 
  • Organizational Leadership and Management: Leading, following and working effectively with others in professional settings. 

Students will be ready to enter policy-centered careers across domains such as health care, education, national security, energy, housing, and more. The LBJ School has more than 4,800 alumni around the world serving as leaders in government, nonprofits and the corporate sector. 

Public sector job growth is increasing, according to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union. In 2023, the U.S. more than doubled the number of government jobs from 2022. However, there are many vacancies, resulting in industry efforts to recruit and retain public service workers. Boosting employment in the public sector aims to improve public services such as education, health, transit, safety, and more.   

The program will begin accepting applications Aug. 1, 2024, for students who will enter UT in Fall 2025. Prospective students are encouraged to visit the LBJ School’s website for more information on the curriculum, admissions requirements and application deadlines.