Career Options

Explore your options at O’Neill

One of the best parts about Indiana University is the freedom to explore your different interests and find what makes you happy. Did you know that nearly 60% of IU students either begin as exploratory or change their major during their freshman year at IU in Bloomington? At the IU ONeill School of Public and Environmental Affairs (ONeill), we encourage you to explore the options we offer you.

We have majors ranging from management in the arts to law and public policy. Think you might want to study business, but work for a nonprofit? We’ve got you covered. Care about the environment but not sure how to make a career out of it? We can help! Love the idea of working for a hospital, but a little squeamish? We have something for that, too!

We know choosing a major is a daunting task, so take time to look through the variety of majors that we offer and the careers those majors can lead to. Who knows, maybe one of them will stand out to you! At ONeill, over 90% of our students discover us after a semester or two at IU. Maybe you’ll be next ...

Degrees, majors, and possible careers

It takes more than just passion to successfully lead an arts organization. It takes business acumen, marketing expertise, and management skills. ONeill’s Arts Management degree offers you all of that, while still allowing you to tailor your degree to your passion and career goals.

Whether you want to work in the music industry or fine arts, ONeill will help you get there. Just take a look at some of the jobs our recent grads have landed:

  • Senior iTunes producer with Apple in San Francisco
  • Junior talent buyer for Festivals with React Presents in Chicago
  • Concert promoter for Outback Concerts in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Individual giving manager with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
  • Marketing and operations associate with Chicago Philharmonic

Environmental Management centers on the business and regulatory side of environmental issues, crafting policy and laws, innovating and ensuring sustainable practices, and helping divergent groups and populations work together to protect the planet we share. With the Environmental Management degree you’ll master real-world applications of scientific theory and go on you a career that helps put the principles of sustainability into everyday practice. You’ll study environmental issues from all sides, investigating environmental law, environmental economics, risk assessment, pollution management, conservation biology, and watershed management.

Our recent grads have landed jobs with: 

  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Department of Natural Resources
  • Environmental Consulting Inc.
  • Duke Energy

The Environmental Science major at ONeill is hands-on and field-based. You’ll have the opportunity to study the health and future of forests, lakes, mountains, and cityscapes. Whether your passion is with air and water, ecosystems and geology, or environmental chemistry, you’ll have the opportunity to choose your own path. With IU’s 1,600 acre Teaching Preserve, you will get to explore your options in the field within the Environmental Sciences degree.

Graduates in this major have gone on to work with:

  • BBP Water Corp.
  • Davey Tree
  • Duke Energy

How does the environment affect society? And how does society affect the environment? With a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental and Sustainability Studies, administered jointly by ONeill and the IU College of Arts and Sciences, you’ll not only develop an understanding of the complex connections between our communities, our economy, and our environment—but you’ll be able to put sustainable practices into place. You’ll bridge the arts and humanities, social sciences, and the physical and life sciences.

Our graduates have gone on to work as:

  • Marketing Director for a local farmer's market
  • Environmental Engineeer for Freeport-McMoRan, Miami Inc.
  • Technical Unit Manager of Agriculture, Clean Energy, and Water for Winrock International

A major in Healthcare Management and Policy will help you understand the complex economic and political factors affecting an issue that is critical to all of us—our health. You’ll be taught by faculty who understand the issues firsthand, are conducting pioneering research, and bring years of professional healthcare experience into their classrooms. You might learn about healthcare law from a practicing attorney, about long-term care from the administrator of a 300-bed facility, and about strategic planning from a hospital CEO.

You’ll graduate with the organizational, managerial, and leadership skills necessary to ensure citizens have access to the health services they need—and the analytical skills to reform healthcare from the inside out. With this major, our grads have landed jobs with:

  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Cigna Health Insurance
  • Community Health Network
  • Eli Lilly
  • IU Health
  • Miller’s Health Systems
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers

HR Management combines the latest concepts in organization strategy with the dynamic and interesting process of managing people. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the demand for this fast growing field will increase 21% by 2020. With this major, you might go on to work in recruitment and staffing, employee benefits design and administration, employee training, and designing payroll and human resources information systems.

Our recent grads have earned jobs at places including: 

  • Bastian Solutions
  • Eli Lilly Co.
  • Justice Unlocked
  • State of Indiana Personnel Department

Do you want to know how the law works and how you can use it to solve difficult problems? A Law and Public Policy Major is ideal preparation for anyone interested in tackling complex issues like social justice, data privacy, education reform, tax and healthcare policy, or intellectual property rights. You’ll explore how legal institutions and their leaders shape public policy and learn how to use the law to accomplish your goals, whether you work for a government agency, a nonprofit, or a business.

If you enroll in this major, you will take two classes at the Maurer School of Law, which can help you go on to law school if you choose. This major can help you take the next steps to work in human rights and social justice advocacy, social entrepreneurship, diplomacy and foreign service, community organizing, or get into a good law school. 

Some of the places our recent graduates have gone on to work for include: 

  • Echo Global Logistics
  • JacksonKelly  Attorneys at Law
  • Medix
  • McCrea and McCrea Law Firm

With a major in Management, you’ll gain leadership skills that can take you inside corporate boardrooms or council chambers with elected officials. You’ll learn many of the same subjects as those in business management, but with a focus on public and nonprofits. You’ll be able to work in the public, nonprofit, or corporate world.

Recent Management majors have gone on to work at:

  •  Allstate
  • Aon Hewitt
  • Deloitte
  • Oracle
  • Total Quality Logistics

Do you have a passion for helping others? Do you want to make a difference with your career? A major in Nonprofit Management and Leadership will prepare you for just that. You’ll learn how to manage people and projects and develop your communication skills. You’ll study cost-benefit analysis and other subjects to graduate with the managerial tools necessary to lead healthy organizations, while also advancing a cause or mission that you are passionate about. You could work for a variety of nonprofits from advocacy and interest groups to health and wellness organizations to the arts. 

Our recent grads have landed jobs with:

  • American Red Cross
  • Norton Healthcare
  • Peace Corp
  • Riley Children’s Hospital

Be prepared to offer solutions to challenges at the local, national, and international level with a major in Policy Analysis. You’ll gain the statistical and analytical skills you need to look at policies from every angle.

With a Policy Analysis major, recent graduates have landed jobs with:

  • Canon Solutions America
  • Chapman and Cutler
  • U.S. Congress
  • Indiana State Senate

The Public Financial Management major is all about finance budgets—big budgets. You’ll learn how to tackle and manage the billion dollar budgets of cities, states, and the federal government. You’ll also study government and nonprofit accounting, tax auditing , and other topics you need to build solid financial management skills and graduate ready to balance budgets—a necessary skill in the private and public sectors.

With the Public Financial Management major, our grads have landed jobs with: 

  • Amazon
  • Cerner
  • Crowe Horwath
  • Deloitte
  • Indiana Association for Community Economic Development

Get ready to lead people and projects in the governmental area with a major in Public Management and Leadership. You'll study public finance and budgeting, urban development and planning, and contract management while gaining unique insight into the public sector

Our recent grads have gone on to work with:

  • American Red Cross
  • Cerner
  • Deloitte
  • Indiana Association for Community Economic Development

More O’Neill opportunities

Still unsure about a major? That’s okay! We have lots of opportunities designed to help you find what you’re looking for. As the #1 public affairs school in the country, O’Neill offers a lot more than just degrees. Explore our study abroad options, student organizations and other academic opportunities and you’ll find opportunities that speak to you.

Academic opportunities

If you are invited to join the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affair’s Honors Program, you will complete advanced courses, write a thesis on a topic of your choosing, work one-on-one with faculty on honors projects, and gain provisional acceptance into O’Neill’s Accelerated Master’s Program. You’ll also receive special consideration for admittance to programs like our Washington Leadership Program—where you'll spend a semester studying and interning in Washington D.C.—and O’Neill in Vietnam summer abroad program. You’ll graduate with an honors notation on your diploma and relationships that you can carry with you to graduate school or into the working world.

Interested in grad school? Consider O’Neill! With the #1 MPA program in the country, anyone would be lucky to hire an O’Neill grad. If you’re interested in getting a master’s degree in the O’Neil School, you can get a jumpstart on grad school by starting your graduate courses during your senior year. You can earn your master’s degree a full year faster by fulfilling certain graduate and undergraduate course requirements at the same time.

Explore how the world’s important thinkers have approached topics of public affairs and perform your own policy research in this multi-year program. You’ll take a series of courses together with your cohort, have exclusive access to high-caliber internships and study abroad opportunities, and complete a thesis on a subject of your choosing. These exceptional experiences will add to your resume and kick-start your career.

Experiential Learning

Students jump in front of Capitol

Freshmen interested in leadership, public policy, and making the world a better place should look into the Civic Leaders Center. This residential living-learning center offers first-year students experiences usually only afforded to upperclassmen: smaller classes, access to influential leaders and special guest speakers, career and leadership training, and trips within the U.S. and abroad. As part of the CLC, you’ll live together, learn together, and develop leadership skills together—and develop lasting relationships in the process.

Travel overseas and gain academic credit at the same time through one of the many study abroad programs developed just for O’Neill students. We partner with universities around the world to offer you English-language classes approved for your O’Neill curriculum. Destinations are always changing, offering you an opportunity to witness worldwide changes as they happen. O’Neill is unique with its study-abroad opportunities, allowing students to pick summer abroad courses, semester abroad courses, and even spring break courses.

Make Washington, D.C. your campus for a semester with the Washington Leadership Program (WLP)! You’ll complete an internship and take classes taught by ONeill faculty with guest lectures from Washington policymakers and officials. Your studies will take you inside the halls of power from federal offices to Capitol Hill. There are cohort options for both fall and spring. All selected participants combine policy based coursework with substantive internship experiences in Washington, D.C.

Watch a video about WLP

The ONeill VISTA (Volunteers in Services to America) Summer Associate program offers students full-time paid internships with local nonprofit organizations over the summer in Bloomington, Indiana. Youll use knowledge gained through your academic training to tackle poverty and work on large-scale projects for an array of agencies. Past partnerships include:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Central Indiana
  • Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington
  • Girls Incorporated of Monroe County
  • Hoosier Hills Food Bank
  • Mother Hubbards Cupboard
  • United Way of Monroe County
  • Indiana University Research and Teaching Preserve

Through the Indiana Leadership Program (ILP), you can intern with a public or nonprofit organization while participating in service and professional development activities during the academic year (fall and spring) or summer terms.

If you participate in ILP during the fall and spring, you’ll intern part-time with a local Bloomington organization while continuing to take a regular academic course load. You’ll also participate in professional development workshops.

Summer Fellows have a more intensive experience, interning over a 10-week period with one of ONeill’s partner organizations throughout south central Indiana. You’ll start with an orientation program and complete additional professional development training during your service.

O’Neill Serves connects students to volunteer opportunities that improve the quality of life for our Bloomington neighbors. By partnering with local nonprofit organizations, O’Neill Serves connects you to substantial volunteer opportunities that contribute to the community and help you lead for the greater good right away.

Student Organizations

As a Hoosier debater, you’ll compete across the country. You’ll gain unparalleled experience in public speaking, as well as in-depth research, argumentation, and critical thinking skills. You’ll also have the opportunity to quality for debate-specific scholarships.

Assume the role of a U.N. diplomat and debate on any number of important issues, including climate change, piracy, human rights, and security crises. Improve your negotiation, diplomacy, and public speaking skills through both an academic class and the Model U.N. Team.

Get involved in the undergraduate ONeill student experience by joining a student organization with your peers. You will have the opportunity to organize social and professional development programs and take part in social events among ONeill students. ONeill is home to a wide variety of interest-specific student groups:

  • Cultural Policy Management Association
  • Education Policy Student Association
  • Human Resource Association
  • Healthcare Management & Policy Student Association
  • International Public Affairs Association
  • Nonprofit Leadership Alliance
  • Public Finance Association
  • Students for Equity in Public Affairs
  • Undergraduate Student Arts Managers
  • Undergraduate Student Organization

Description of the video:

00:06
[Madison Oday] You see 'lead for the greater good' everywhere at SPEA. I know it's a slogan, but it's real. It's me.
00:13
It's why I wanted to start here.
00:15
[Chuck Bonser] We started the School of Public and Environmental Affairs because we saw a need.
00:19
It was 1972. The nation was in an era of social and political turmoil.
00:24
We needed civic leaders and public servants who could be entrusted to make sound decisions.
00:30
We needed champions for the environment who understood both science and how people interact with it.
00:35
SPEA was the right idea at the right time and it still is.
00:40
[Oday] The world is changing rapidly, and I wanted to study in a place that could prepare me for that.
00:45
I'm interested in cybersecurity.
00:47
I know I have a lot to learn about how policy works, about how governments interact with technology and with each other, so
00:55
I was attracted to SPEA because it's so interdisciplinary.
00:58
I can customize my studies to my interest, but also know I'm building a solid skill base.
00:59
[Bonser]
01:05
I don't think anyone could have anticipated the way that SPEA has grown.
01:08
We're consistently ranked as one of the top places in the country to study public and environmental affairs.
01:14
We have over 32,000 alumni around the world
01:16
and they're all doing big things. Our current students are going to do the same. They'll be financial managers and policymakers in the U.S. and
01:25
Internationally. They'll run not-for-profits that change people's lives.
01:28
There'll be environmental advocates changing the way that we approach sustainability and energy. They'll be leaders for the greater good.
01:35
They're preparing for careers that they can't even imagine at a school that's focused on tomorrow.
01:42
[Oday] In a way, we're all just getting started.
01:50
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