The bachelor of science in public affairs (BSPA)

Prepares students to analyze problems and effectively solve issues with the principle goal of enhancing all aspects of public life.

Baruch College emphasizes the importance of civic engagement, community leadership, and the professional development of current and future public service leaders. The college follows the tradition of its namesake, Bernard M. Baruch, a public servant who advised seven U.S. presidents.

Public Affairs is a unique degree within the city that cultivates passion and prepares individuals to tackle social justice issues and uplift our communities both domestically and internationally. The College and School acknowledge its significance. As a result, there has been a commitment to serve more individuals focused on public service.

The program is interdisciplinary, which means that many diverse fields are studied. With this degree students develop a strong, marketable foundation that is flexible across the various sectors – public, nonprofit, and even private.

What does Public Affairs mean to you?

"I am majoring in Public Affairs to learn how to make positive, effective changes in people's lives through the public sector's various forms of service delivery as well as countless nonprofit organizations." (T. Duclosel, BSPA 2018).

For me, Public Affairs is the epitome of working for public's the canal through which future generations will be able to make positive changes and thus help our societies move forward. I think about Public Affairs as something more meaningful than a major or even a career path; it's a passion." (O. Kante, BSPA, 2019)



BSPA Curriculum: The courses examine how the public sector, along with the nonprofit and private sectors, use the policy process to effect change. Course offerings are flexible with options in-person, hybrid, and online. A majority of classes are small with 20-25 students and all are taught by accomplished scholars with doctorate degrees from major universities, as well as, practitioners with current and previous leadership roles in the field.

The Curriculum is engaging and relevant. It provides:

  • Proficiency in analysis, negotiation, rhetoric, as well as, qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Courses that specialize in areas of interest including community development, education, environmental sustainability, health care, housing, immigration, and social welfare.
  • Tools and knowledge to effectively lead, understand policy, and communicate while implementing practical solutions to challenging issues.

The BSPA requires 120 credits: a minimum of 30 public affairs credits and another 90 credits from the CUNY Pathways general education curriculum. In the Pathways curriculum, the recommended college option for BSPA students is a liberal arts minor. Minors relevant to public affairs include law, environmental sustainability, information studies, and survey research. BSPA students are not eligible to double major.

Advisement: Every BSPA student’s path is distinctive. Our team works closely with each in defining their career goals and helping them select the courses that meet their interests.

Honor Society: High-achieving BSPA students are eligible for induction to Pi Alpha Alpha, the national honor society in public affairs and administration.

BSPA Internships: In addition to the curriculum, BSPA students apply their knowledge through experiential learning.  Several credit-bearing internship courses are offered that allow students to become immersed in real-world opportunities that create building blocks to the careers they are seeking. Students have the opportunity to work at the local, state, and national level, as well as within a myriad of nonprofit organizations. Review Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs internships for more information or contact

Public Service Careers

  • Public service offers many career opportunities for those who graduate with the BSPA degree. Graduates works for governments at all levels, in nonprofit organizations, for public schools and colleges, and in private sector companies that work under contract to governments.
  • Public and nonprofit salaries are comparable to the starting level salaries in business. We also encourage students to continue on to graduate and law school.
  • Public servants address real-world policy issues and seek to make democracy effective. Democracy requires an educated population who enjoy discussing shared concerns in the public sphere, speaking confidently to those in authority, and taking responsibility for problems within their reach.
  • The BSPA philosophy is that civic engagement must be informed by knowledge, rooted in ethical values, connected to democratic aspirations, and embodied through practice.

Graduate School

BSPA students with excellent academic records are encouraged to pursue post-baccalaureate studies in a master’s program or law school. According to a 2009-2010 survey report from the U.S. Census Bureau, recipients of master’s degrees make approximately $19,000 more than those with bachelor’s degrees. The BSPA degree provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in obtaining an advanced degree. A dedicated Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs staff member helps students to understand graduate school applications, standardized admissions tests, and financial aid opportunities.

For the best in graduate school preparation, BSPA students may apply for the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute. This program helps undergraduates to prepare for graduate education in public policy and public administration. Students attend a summer session at Princeton University, Carnegie-Mellon University, the University of Michigan, or the University of California at Berkeley. The focus is on economics, statistics, leadership principles, communications, and public policy. Applicants must have completed their junior year by the start of the program with at least one full semester of coursework remaining before graduation. Students receive six credits for PAF 5000 from Baruch College, full tuition at the participating university, travel expenses, a $1,500 stipend, and university housing with a meal plan. The application deadline is in November every year with notifications of acceptance made in February.

Program Admission
To become a student at Baruch College requires an application to the City University of New York (CUNY). There are separate applications for freshman and transfers from community colleges. The deadline for entry in the fall semester is February 1 and for the spring semester it is September 15. Connect to Apply to CUNY for the online application.

There is a wide array of financial aid options and programs; including scholarships, grants, and loans to help Baruch College students pay for college.

You may select public affairs as your major when applying to Baruch or after you arrive on campus by submitting a BSPA Major Declaration Form to or in-person to an advisor located at 135 E. 22nd Street, 4th Floor.

To gain more BSPA information, email, visit an advisor from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays at 135 E. 22nd Street, 4th floor (no appointment necessary), or attend a monthly information session.