The School of Policy, Planning, and Development, or SPPD, is a program that is quite unique to the University of Southern California. There are several other schools in the country that offer such majors, but none like SC. The program formed several years ago as a junction between the school of Public Administration and the school of Urban Planning and Development. The degree that one is conferred is a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy, Management, and Planning.
Within this major, there are a series of professional tracks that offer a greater in-depth evaluation of there chosen field. These four tracks are as follows: Public Policy Areas and Interests, Public Management, Health Policy and Management, and Urban Planning and Development. As you might gather, this degree has a very diverse course material. The core classes are simply survey classes which cover the entire PMPL major. They explore the potential subject matter of each of the tracks. If you are unsure of which emphasis is right for you then these courses are perfect for your exploration. Yet if you enter PMPL with the direct intention of pursuing a certain track, then you might find them irrelevant and slightly boring.
A PMPL major is geared to teach an individual how to establish them as a civil servant. It is a great background for individuals who seek to enter politics, from city to federal government, and even as a background for law. There is a unique program that is currently under development by the University to create a track that is focused in Real Estate Development. As of right now, the closest track is the Urban Planning and Development track. It concentrates on the policy issues behind development in an urban setting. One learns of how the environment and community is affected by the development. Issues that are addressed include sustainable development and even zoning ordinances.
The three other emphasis all revolve around the policy issues pertaining to field of study. Public Policy Areas and Interests is the most general of the 3. Similar to the core work, it allows one to gain a complete understanding of the major. A jumping point from this major is to enter a masters program to pursue a specific field. Public Management is designed to train the student for a career in politics.
The PPD major is often misunderstood and under-rated. It helps to develop a sense of problem solving that is not addressed on the same level in other areas. Urban Planning teaches its students the way that a city is affected by its recent development, while a Real Estate Development major through the Marshall School of Business focuses mainly on the finances aspect. A similar break down occurs with the Public Managment track vs. a standard Pre-Law emphasis. PMPL is a major that builds and prepares a unique individual, that is prepared for civic duty.