Undergraduate Courses List

Wharton’s undergraduate degree program offers you business and more — an innovative program that combines business and liberal arts on one Ivy League campus.

Social impact courses for undergraduates span areas such as health care management, finance, management, economics and public policy, legal studies and business ethics. A flexible schedule allows students to pursue academic interests within Wharton and beyond.

Wharton’s undergraduate program also offers a secondary concentration in Social Impact & Responsibility, housed in the Legal Studies and Business Ethics department.

SectionTitleInstructorDescription
BEPP201Introduction To Business Economics And Public PolicyMagenheim, EllenThis course explores the economics and politics of public policy to provide an analytic framework for considering why, how, and with what success/failure government intervenes in a variety of policy areas. Particular attention will be paid to important policy issues relating to taxation, social security, low-income assistance, health insurance, education (both K-12 and higher ed), the environment, and government deficits. The costs and benefits of alternative policies will be explored along with the distribution of responsibilities between the federal, state and local governments. While the course will focus primarily on U.S. policies, the topics covered (e.g. tax reform, deficits versus austerity, etc.) are currently at the center of the policy debate in many other industrialized countries as well.
BEPP214Nonprofit Sector: Economic Challenges And Strategic ResponsesSwanson, AshleyThe nonprofit sector plays a key role in the provision of many goods and services which are fundamental in our society and which may be difficult to provide using market mechanisms alone. Education, health care, charitable services, and the arts are some primary examples of these. Nonprofit organizations operate in service of specific social missions rather than profit maximization, but in order to serve those missions effectively while ensuring their own survival, they must also make many of the decisions typically associated with private firms. That is, they must compete for funding, human resources, and consumers of their services, they must manage and invest their resources efficiently, and they must innovate new products and services over time. Importantly, the latter requirements may at times come in conflict with the organizations’ social values. As a result, nonprofit organizations as economic decision-makers confront a number of unique challenges to their success and growth. The goal of this course is to give students a broad overview of the economic, organizational, and strategic concerns facing the non-profit sector. Our objective is to characterize the unique economic environment, identify effective strategic governance, and management approaches, and explore how appropriate measurement techniques can inform the policy treatment of nonprofits. This course is organized around a number of lectures, readings and outside speakers, a midterm exam and a required project.
BEPP230Urban Fiscal PolicyInman, Robert PThe purpose of this course is to examine the financing of governments in the urban economy. Topics to be covered include the causes and consequences of the urban fiscal crisis, the design of optimal tax and spending policies for local governments, funding of public infrastructures and the workings of the municipal bond market, privatization of government services, and public financial systems for emerging economies. Applications include analyses of recent fiscal crises, local services and taxes as important determinants of real estate prices, the infrastructure crisis, financing and the provision of public education, and fiscal constitutions for new democracies using South Africa as an example
BEPP261Risk Analysis And Environmental ManagementKunreuther, HowardThis course is designed to introduce students to the complexities of making decisions about threats to human health and the environment when people’s perceptions of risks and their decision-making processes differ from expert views. Recognizing the limitations of individuals in processing information, the course explores the role of techniques such as decision analysis, cost-benefit analysis, risk assessment and risk perception in structuring risk-management decisions. We will also examine policy tools such as risk communication, incentive systems, third party inspection, insurance and regulation in different problem contexts. The problem contexts for studying the interactions between analysis, perceptions, and communication will include risk-induced stigmatization of products (e.g. alar, British beef), places (e.g. Love Canal), and technologies (e.g. nuclear power); the siting of noxious facilities, radon, managing catastrophic risks including those from terrorism. A course project will enable students to apply the concepts discussed in the course to a concrete problem.
FNCE215Urban Real Estate EconomicsWachter, Susan MUrban Real Estate Economics uses economic concepts to analyze real estate markets, values and trends. The course focuses on market dynamics in the U.S. and internationally, with an emphasis on how urban growth and local and federal government policies impact urban development and real estate pricing. A group development project gives hands on experience, and invited guest speakers bring industry knowledge. Besides the group project and presentation, problem sets are required along with a midterm and an optional second exam.
FNCE254Impact InvestingGeczy, ChristopherThis course explores Impact Investing, a discipline that seeks to generate social benefits as well as financial returns. From tiny beginnings, the Impact Investment space has expanded and now commands significant attention from policymakers, wealthy and public-spirited individuals, academia and, not least, the world’s largest asset managers and philanthropic foundations. Evangelists believe it may be the key to freeing the world from poverty. Skeptics think it will remain confined to the boutique. Regardless, Impact Investing is becoming a distinct career specialization for finance professionals despite the diverse skillset each must have and the uncertainty of the new field’s growth.
HCMG204Comparative Health Care SystemsDanzon, Patricia MThis course examines the structure of health care systems in different countries, focusing on financing, reimbursement, delivery systems and adoption of new technologies. We study the relative roles of private sector and public sector insurance and providers, and the effect of system design on cost, quality, efficiency and equity of medical services. Some issues we address are normative: Which systems and which public/private sector mixes are better at achieving efficiency and equity? Other issues are positive: How do these different systems deal with tough choices, such as decisions about new technologies? Our main focus is on the systems in four large, prototypical OECD countries–Germany, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom–and then look at other countries with interesting systems- including Italy, Chile, Singapore, Brazil, China and India. We draw lessons for the U.S. from foreign experience and vice versa
HCMG213Health Care Strategy & Management: The Business Of Health CareKimberly, John RThis course presents an overview of the business of health and how a variety of health care organizations have gained, sustained, and lost competitive advantage amidst intense competition, widespread regulation, high interdependence, and massive technological, economic, social and political changes. Specifically, we evaluate the challenges facing health care organizations using competitive analysis, identify their past responses, and explore the current strategies they are using to manage these challenges (and emerging ones) more effectively. Students will develop generalized skills in competitive analysis and the ability to apply those skills in the specialized analysis of opportunities in producer (e.g. biopharmaceutical, medical product, information technology), purchaser (e.g. insurance), and provider (e.g. hospitals, nursing homes, physician) organizations and industry sectors. The course is organized around a number of readings, cases, presentations, and a required project
HCMG391Health Care EntrepreneurshipGrennan, MatthewDelivering basic health care advances worldwide and continuing to increase lifespan and quality (in an affordable manner) represent some of the major societal challenges of our time. Addressing these challenges will require innovation in both medical technology and the ways in which health services are delivered. Through readings, cases, guest lectures, and your own entrepreneurial work outside of class, we will examine the environment facing prospective health care entrepreneurs: (1) sources of health care innovation; (2) the many "customers" in health care: patients, doctors, hospitals, insurers, and regulators; (3) the powerful established firms with developed clinical and sales expertise; (4) the investing community. Along the way we will develop a framework for thinking about what is different (and what is not) about the challenges of health care entrepreneurship.