Governance & Policy

Earn an Experiential Certificate in: Governance and Policy


The Gerald R. Ford Institute offers an Experiential Certificate in Governance and Policy. Graduates of this certificate will become public servants as they gain extensive knowledge of the policy process so they can effectively participate in democratic governance, practice engaged citizenship, and advocate for legislative action, regardless of their profession.  Students may choose to focus on local government, state and federal policy, or international policy and diplomacy.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this certificate, students will be able to:

  • Generalize how specific levels of government function.
  • Diagram the policy process and the interconnected roles, strategies, and structures of its component parts.
  • Discover professional positions involved in the policy process.
  • Develop individual strategies one can use to influence the political process.

Purpose Courses

Students will take 3 purpose courses across at least two disciplines and may choose to specialize in one of three areas – Local Government, State and Federal Policy, or International Policy and Diplomacy. Students must take one course from the General Government and Policy list. The remaining two courses will be selected based on student specialization and interest in consultation with their experiential certificate advisor. 

Courses for General Government and Policy include, but are not limited to:

  • E&M 372: Government Economics and Policy
  • PHIL 302: Leadership Ethics
  • PHIL 304: Ethics in Public Policy 
  • PLSC 101: Politics of American Democracy
  • PLSC 216: Public Policy Analysis

Courses for Local Government include, but are not limited to:

  • ENVN 220: Economics, Politics, and Environmental Policy
  • ETHN 402: City Seminar
  • PLSC 310: State and Local Government
  • SOC 228: Cities & Urban Life
  • SOC 370: Social Mobility & Inequity
  • TPC 368: Economic Perspectives on Modern Urban Issues

Courses for State and Federal Policy include, but are not limited to:

  • E&M 273: Environment and Natural Resource Economics
  • E&M 371: Issues in Modern Political Economy
  • E&M 374: Labor Economics
  • ENVN 220: Economics, Politics, and Environmental Policy
  • PLSC 214: Congress and the Presidency
  • PLSC 310: State and Local Government
  • PLSC 312: American Political Development
  • PLSC 338: International Political Economy
  • PLSC 324: Crime, Politics, and Punishment
  • SOC 370: Social Mobility & Inequity

Courses for International Policy and Diplomacy include, but are not limited to:

  • ANTH 279: Global Health
  • COMM 301: Intercultural Organizations and Global Governance
  • E&M 365: International Finance
  • E&M 366: International Trade
  • PHIL 309: International Ethics and Global Development
  • PLSC 256: Human Rights
  • PLSC 301: International Organizations
  • PLSC 338: International Political Economy
  • PLSC 356: International Law and Politics
  • SOC 328: Global Urbanism
  • language course at 200 level or higher

Honors courses and special topics courses that match the purpose of the Governance and Policy certificate also may be approved. 


Students pursuing a governance and policy certificate are highly encouraged to take complementary skill-based courses including:

  • COMM 205: Mass Communication
  • COMM 241: Public Speaking
  • COMM 312: Political Communication
  • E&M 101: Principles of Microeconomics
  • E&M 102: The Economy and Financial Markets
  • ENGL 208: Professional Writing
  • ENGL 316: Writing for the Nonprofit Sector

Students are also encouraged to take courses in statistics or research methods.

Professional Development


  • Professional speaker lecture series 
  • Mandatory workshops  
  • Community Leadership Innovation Badge
  • Public Leadership Innovation Badge

 Professional development hours can be fulfilled through any relevant Albion College training including workshops and innovation badges offered through the School of Public Purpose and Professional Advancement, the Institutes, and college programs. External certifications and professional training offered by third party providers may also be approved. Below is a sample list of skill development opportunities related to this pathway:

  • Innovative Cities: Making Places for Everyone 
  • How to Run for Office 
  • Local Government Simulation 
  • Learning from Leaders: Rebuilding Detroit (takes place in Detroit)
  • Economic Development at the Local and Regional Level 
  • Beyond Government: Leadership from Citizens and Groups 
  • State Government Simulation
  • Basics of Parliamentary Procedure and Robert’s Rules of Order 
  • The Politics of Policy 
  • Contemporary issues in State and Federal Government (topics to vary)
  • The Range of Nonprofits/NGOs 
  • United Nations Simulation 
  • Contemporary issues in International Affairs (topics to vary)
  • Stories from the State Department 

Experiential Learning

Students will design or select the appropriate number of experiential learning hours, including community engaged experiential learning hours, for their catalog year.


  • Community Service (80 hours)
  • Internship (150 hours)

Examples of experiential learning opportunities related to this pathway include:

  • Attending city council meetings, judicial hearings, and state government committee hearings or general sessions
  • Leadership in Student Senate, Interfraternity Council, or Panhellenic Council, Umbrella, and other campus organizations
  • Campaigning for candidates or ballot proposals
  • Participation in campus and community organizations
  • Voter Registration
  • Model United Nations
  • Writing an undergraduate thesis on a policy related topic
  • Policy related undergraduate research including through FURSCA
  • Approved Off Campus study at the Philadelphia Center, the Washington Center, or study abroad programs through the Center for International Experience

Interested in earning this Experiential Certificate? Please contact Edward Visco by email at [email protected].