*The application window for the 2017 cohort will be January 23-February 28, 2017. APPLY HERE

Interested in a career in politics? Want to be a step ahead of others entering political careers? If so, then you may be an ideal candidate for the Public Affairs Professional Certificate. The Certificate delivers knowledge of the practical arenas of politics, hands-on training and experiential learning opportunities, interactions with professionals working in the field, and cutting-edge instruction from award-winning faculty.

What is the Public Affairs Professional Certficate?

The Public Affairs Professional Certificate is a joint program offered by the School of Public and International Affairs’ Department of Political Science and Grady College of Journalism’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations.  This interdisciplinary certificate, one of the first of its kind offered in the nation, prepares a cohort of students who are majoring in either SPIA or Grady (or both in the case of double majors) with critical academic knowledge, practical information, and technical skills in the area of applied politics and public affairs communications.  This program’s focus is to take what we have learned in political science and apply it.  By engaging in real-world applications, students and faculty will be better able to generate better theory, better research that tests the theory, and better training for those who wish to work in the real world, because if you have training in both these areas, you will better be able to make predictions about political outcomes.  Beginning in fall of 2016, the Certificate will offer two tracks:  Applied Politics and Public Affairs Communications. The goal is to provide UGA students with a competitive advantage in the area of professional/practical politics and public affairs communications.

The Public Affairs Communications Track (PAC)

Grady majors who are interested in the PAC Track, which includes POLSCI 5030 Introduction to Applied Politics, should visit the Grady PAC page for further information that is specific to that track.  SPIA majors or Grady/SPIA double majors should continue reading below. http://grady.uga.edu/pdf/PACCertificate.pdf

The Applied Politics Certificate Track (AP)

The AP track within the new SPIA-Grady interdisciplinary certificate, will prepare SPIA students to compete effectively in the world of electoral politics (running for office, campaign management, including finance, mobilization, communications, strategy), advocacy and lobbying, polling, political consulting as a business, and political data analysis, by providing some of the critical tools and skills that will be the foundation of their professional development.


    Admission to the Applied Politics Track is open to majors in SPIA and Grady/SPIA majors who meet the following criteria:

    • Completion of 30 hours (including POLSCI 1101 Introduction to American Government)
    • Completion of a statistics course (any STAT course, MSIT 3000, BIOS 2010+L)
    • Completion of one upper-division studies course (3000 level or above) offered by either POLSCI or ADPR.
    • A combined grade average of a 3.2 or higher for the three required courses.
    • Submission of an essay that details the student’s interest in applied politics.

    Fall Semester (6 hours)

    POLS 5030 Introduction to Applied Politics (3 hours) This “Launchpad” course will introduce students to substantive issues and knowledge needed to pursue a career in politics and politically-oriented advertising and public relations.  Course material will be integrated with guest lectures by a variety of practitioners from politics and public affairs.

    ADPR 3860 Introduction to Public Affairs Communications (3 hours) This course describes the field and the role of public affairs and advocacy in shaping public policy, legislation, and politics.  Relevant topics include politics and media, ethics, advocacy advertising, and elements of historical campaigns.

    Spring Semester (3 hours)

    POLS 4150 Research Methods for Political Science (3 hours) This course will be taught with a dedicated Applied Politics section and will focus on helping students develop the tools necessary to engage in applied politics and applied politics research.

    Summer or next Fall Semester (8-12 hours)

    Internship courses may generate anywhere from 8 to 12 hours of course credit depending on the combination of requirements utilized by the professor and student.  Internships will be sponsored by the Director of the Applied Politics program and developed with the specific career interests of the student in mind.  The core courses in the Applied Politics Program should be completed before the internship portion begins, however, some exceptions may occur and will be determined by the Director of the Applied Politics Certificate Program.

    1. Go to the online application here
    2. Choose your track and complete all required information in the online form
    3. Check that you have completed the prerequisites and have the proper grade requirements
    4. Submit your 250 word essay about your interests, skills, and experience in the field of Applied Politics.

    The deadline for applications is Monday, February 28, 2017 by 5 p.m.

    Students who are accepted MUST enroll in the following two courses for Fall 2016
    ADPR 3860 Introduction to Public Affairs Communications:  Tu Th 9:30 to 10:45 am
    POLS 5030 Introduction to Applied Politics: Tu Th 11-12:15 pm


    Thank you to the practitioners who have shared their stories, tips and tricks for working in politics and public affairs communications.

    Alexa Bankert, Assistant Professor of Political Science, UGA School of Public and International Affairs
    Rebecca DeHart, Executive Director, Democratic Party of Georgia
    Bill Evelyn, Broadcast/Video Specialist, UGA Marketing & Communications
    Jordan Fuchs, Vice President, Landmark Communications
    Kristin Garrett, Assistant Professor of Political Science, UGA School of Public and International Affairs
    Ben George, Catapult Consulting, former Chief of Staff for State Democratic Leader, Georgia State House
    Melissa Jackson, Broadcast Media Relations Coordinator, UGA Marketing & Communications
    Josh Jones, President/CEO Red Clay Communications
    Ronny Just, Governmental Relations Manager, Georgia Power
    Amanda Maddox, Press Secretary, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson
    Larissa Martinez, Director of Operations, Carly for America
    Powell Moore, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense
    Trey Pollard, National Press Secretary, Sierra Club
    Ralph Reed, President, Century Strategies
    Lori Ringhand, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law, UGA School of Law
    Karen Russell, Associate Professor of Public Relations & Jim Kennedy New Media Professor, UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication
    David Shafer, President Pro Tempore, Georgia State Senate
    John Sides, Associate Professor of Political Science, George Washington University
    Stuart Swinea, Field Organizer, Iowa Democratic Party
    Chuck Toney, Senior Strategist, Jackson Spalding
    Lynn Vavreck, Professor of Political Science and Communication Studies, UCLA
    James Wallner
    , Vice President for Research, The Heritage Foundation


    Thank you to the following donors whose generous support makes this program possible!

    Mr. Eli J. Abad
    Ms. Sarah Simpson Baines and Mr. Christopher Paul Baines II
    Capt J. Wesley Bernard
    Ms. Lynn M. Brynes
    Mrs. Frances Mann Bullock and Dr. Charles S. Bullock III
    Mr. Britt Bush
    Ms. Mary C. Butterfield
    Mr. Jacob J. Campbell
    Mr. James Vernon Chin and Dr. Audrey Ann Haynes
    Ms. Allyson M. Clawson
    Dr. Brett A. Clementz and Dr. Jennifer E. McDowell
    Ms. Sara E. Cockerham
    Ms. Laney N. Copeland
    Mr. Dylan R. Davis
    Mr. Christopher C. Devine
    Ms. Julia F. Drury
    Mr. and Mrs. Donavan Keith Eason
    Mr. Raphael E. Fix
    Ms. Cassidy M. Flood
    Mr. Ross E. Freeman
    Mr. Robert Mark Haire and Dr. Susan Brodie Haire
    Mr. J. Bradley Harris
    Mr. James Vernon Chin and Dr. Audrey Ann Haynes
    Mr. Coleman R. Hedden
    Ms. Abby M. Kousouris
    Ms. Ashley M. Land
    Dr. Joshua M. Lang
    Mrs. Megan Spengeman Larkins and Mr. Wallis McKinley Larkins
    Ms. Noelle C. Lashley
    Ms. Malissa M. Little
    Ms. Leanne E. Livingston
    Mrs. Brooke Malcom
    Mr. Justin P. Maloney
    Ms. Sara Beth Marchert
    McArthur & McArthur, P.A.
    Mr. John Jay McArthur and Judge Sara Miller McArthur
    Mr. Allen T. McCall
    Dr. Brett A. Clementz and Dr. Jennifer E. McDowell
    Mr. Kevin L. Mitchell
    Dr. James E. Monogan III
    Ms. Angela M. Morgan
    Ms. Katherine R. Moseley
    Mrs. Caroline Paris Paczkowski and Dr. Andrew Michael Paczkowski
    Ms. Samantha E. Paul
    Ms. Anne M. Pellegrino
    Ms. Nicole T. Phillips
    Mr. Andrew W. Pierce
    Mr. Keith T. Poole
    Mr. G. Daniel Pruitt
    Mr. and Mrs. Robert Franklin Ray Jr.
    Ms. Tiffany N. Reed
    Red Maple Group, LLC
    Ms. Cecile P. Riker
    Ms. Deondra E. Rose
    Margaret R. Smith
    Ms. Anna E. Smith
    Mr. Brett D. Smith
    Mr. Andrew D. Stancil
    Mr. Glenn A. Stegall
    Mr. Kent P. Strickland
    Ms. Jessica J. Suh
    Mr. Grant R. Thomas
    Ms. Shivani B. Vakharia
    Ms. Savannah Viar
    LTC Scott M. Virgil
    Mr. John T. Walden
    Mr. Frank A. Wasser
    Dr. Peter W. Wielhouwer
    Mr. Brad L. Williamson
    Mr. Jonathan M. Wilson


    updated 10.31.16

  • 2016 Cohort