McCombs school launches new certificate program

Nicole Bueno

The Business and Public Policy Program, a new certificate program offered by the business school to all majors, will launch in fall 2014 after being approved last month by the McCombs School of Business. 

Three years ago, five professors created the business, government and society department within the McCombs school, the first new department in the business school in 50 years. David Spence, law and business professor, said the group founded the program as a way to keep up with the changing demands of businesses.

“We responded to part of a trend of the business school to devote increasing attention to the relations between business and government,” Spence said. “Lots of people who aren’t business majors will go on to work in the private sector.”

The program requires 18 hours, nine of which are specific to the department. In addition, certificate candidates will get admission priority if they choose to participate in the Washington Campus program, recently offered by the University as an alternative to the required “Issues and Polices in American Government” credit.

David Platt, associate dean for undergraduate programs in the McCombs school, said the program is a collaboration between professors from across campus.

“Businesses exist in the larger context of the world around them,” Platt said. “The business and public policy certificate program is the outcome of much thought and preparation by BGS … to respond to the interests and career goals of UT Austin students.”

Robert Prentice, business professor and the new department’s chair, said the interconnection seems to be getting stronger within ethics and business.

“Business students need more of a liberal arts edge to get a different view,” Prentice said.

Although no summer classes will be offered, students can take the three classes starting fall 2014. Prentice said they will accept around 40 students into the certificate program. The program is accepting applications until March 1, though Prentice said extensions will be readily granted.

“I wish I had been able to take something like this, and we want everyone to have enough time, so it’s definitely a soft deadline,” Prentice said.

In the future, Prentice said he would love to craft the program into a major, but the certificate program will remain as an independent program open to all UT students.