About SOPA

The central focus of the Social Policy Analysis major is policy design, analysis, and communication. The major offers students an interdisciplinary orientation to its structured curriculum and emphasizes integrating rigorous instruction in theory and method with hands-on, skills-based instruction by social sciences faculty. The primary goal of the Social Policy Analysis major is to train Rice students to be the first wave of undergraduates with the specialized knowledge, skill, and experience to be leaders in the field of social policy analysis and intervention.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Substantive Knowledge: Develop a broad interdisciplinary understanding of social problems, the social policy pillars (education, health, housing, labor, income support/welfare) and the role of evidence-based policy interventions in solving social problems in the U.S.
  2. Critical Thinking: Develop the ability to apply key knowledge, theories, and research about social policy to understand and critically analyze contemporary policy problems.
  3. Empirical Analysis: Demonstrate the ability to design, implement, and analyze an empirical evaluation of a policy intervention.
  4. Effective Communication: Strengthen written, oral, and visual communication skills in order to effectively present policy research and findings to a wide range of stakeholders.
  5. Collaborative Impact: Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to work collectively with others to promote positive social change.

Declaring the Major

  • Pick up a "Declaration of Major" form from the Registrar’s Office. You will also need a list of the classes you have taken for Rice credit, so you may want to bring a copy of your transcript.
  • Contact the SOPA Faculty Director to schedule a time to meet.
  • At your meeting with the SOPA Director, you will discuss your interests and map out a curriculum based on your goals and Rice’s offerings.
  • Meet with the SOPA Director each semester as you pre-register. At these meetings, you can discuss your academic and career plans and which Social Policy Analysis courses are appropriate for you.