Emory’s Institute for Quantitative Theory and Methods (QTM) is partnering with Goizueta Business School and the Department of Political Science to offer two new majors next year.
A joint bachelor’s of business administration (BBA) and quantitative sciences (QSS) major will be offered in Fall 2018. The QTM department and the Political Science department are offering a Public Policy & Analysis (PPA) major starting Spring 2018.
Discussions of a BBA+QSS major have been ongoing for four to five years, according to Senior Associate Dean and BBA Program Director Andrea Hershatter. Hershatter worked with QTM Director Clifford Carrubba to create the major and get approval from Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Joanne Brzinski.
Carrubba said he worked with several Emory political science professors, including Michael Rich, Michael Owens, Adam Glynn and Pablo Montagnes, to develop the PPA major. There are currently more than 300 colleges in the United States that offer an undergraduate public policy major, according to Rich. Emory is joining the field with a PPA major distinguished from the standard public policy program at other colleges in that Emory’s program is more committed to developing rigorous training on the technical skills side, according to Carrubba.
The forthcoming BBA+QSS major aims to teach students about data analytics and business skills, according to Hershatter. To declare a BBA+QSS major, a student must be enrolled in the Business School.
Students who pursue the BBA+QSS joint major will officially receive a BBA degree from the Business School. This is the first joint major that is offered by a cooperative arrangement between the College and the Business School, according to Hershatter.
“Up to 63 College hours and a minimum of 65 post-BBA matriculation hours comprise the BBA degree,” Hershatter said. While enrolled in the BBA program, students will take courses in both the College and the Business School. Joint majors will still have to complete general education requirements (GERs) and the BBA core curriculum, which is composed of eight courses, five seminars, and a two-hour senior capstone course.
Hershatter said that students who want to complete the joint major in four years must plan carefully, as there is not a lot of room for students to take classes that are neither GERs nor major requirements.
“BBA advisors will work with our QSS+BBA [majors] to assure they stay on track,” Hershatter said. “We have absolutely assured that there is room in the curriculum for a student to complete GERs, BBA requirements, and the QSS major, but how that works will vary.”
A strong QSS background would complement any area of the Business School (finance, marketing, management/consulting, accounting and information systems/operations management), Hershatter said. Data has become a fundamental operational tool for every area, and the joint major will give students the skills needed to model data and make informed analytical judgments about what that data implies in a specific area of business, company or industry, according to Hershatter.
“A lot of companies hire math, computer science or engineering majors as a proxy for their quantitative and analytic ability,” Hershatter said. “To the degree that we can instill business students with that same level of data facility, coupled with a management education, they will be extraordinarily equipped to make meaningful contributions to companies.”
The typical data science degree focuses on math, statistics and computer science and mainly prepares students to take on the role of a data analyst/data scientist. The QSS major at Emory focuses on teaching students how to know which questions to ask, how to identify the best data to answer those questions and how to communicate the results from the data, according to Carrubba. With the combination of the BBA and QSS major, students will get the big picture of the business world as well as the technical skills needed to be effective data-driven decision makers, Carrubba said.
The PPA major will provide students with expertise in public policy as well as a leading edge in technical data analysis skills, according to Rich. A total of 51 credits are required to complete the PPA major, and students are required to take core QTM and political science classes. Students can fulfill electives by taking courses in other subjects such as economics, sociology and environmental science, giving the program an interdisciplinary focus.
“Emory’s program is, I think, very distinctive at the undergraduate level because it is a joint major in QSS and political science, so the depth and breadth of coursework in statistics and research design is more intense and deeper than undergraduate programs elsewhere,” Rich said. “They will probably have a stronger quantitative analysis preparation than what students would get at the vast majority of master’s programs in public policy.”
Students who graduate with this degree will be well-prepared for entry-level positions at public policy think tanks, policy analyst positions in fields such as health or non-profits and graduate programs in public policy, according to Rich.
Mikko Biana (21C) is considering the PPA major because he is interested in the content of the major and believes it would diversify his law school application.
“I’m interested in how public policy provides tangible solutions to problems in our society,” Biana said.
Correction (11/17/17 at 2:01 p.m.): The article was misidentified the PPA program as the Public Policy Analysis program. The article has been updated to reflect that the PPA program is the Public Policy & Analysis program. The article also misidentified QSS as quantitative social sciences. QSS stands for quantitative sciences.