… a term used in the Atlas Framework


Merriam-Webster defines subject as an area of knowledge that is studied in school.

On the Atlas a Subject represents a collectively exhaustive set of mutually exclusive Topics in public policy and management. The names we have selected for subjects are derived from names commonly associated with a single university course and/or a government ministry. The Atlas uses 34 subjects, each assigned to one of the Atlas’s four domains. For example, Quantitative Methods is one of the 7 subjects in the Analysis and Skills domain; Governance and Institutions is one of the 4 subjects in the Institutions and Context domain; Public Financial Management is one of the 7 subjects in the Management Functions domain and International Development is one of the 16 subjects in the Policy Sectors domain.

An Atlas subject differs from an “academic subject” (for example, macroeconomics or international relations) which is not intended to be a mutually exclusive category. Whereas one academic subject can share topics with another (for example, competitive devaluation is a topic in both macroeconomics and international relations), an Atlas subject is a unique set of mutually exclusive topics. Atlas subjects are thus mutually exclusive in that they do not overlap with other Atlas subjects in their topic content. As described on the Subjects page, subjects can also be classified as Policy-Oriented or Management-Oriented. Some can also be classified as having high Math-Econ (mathematics and economics) content. These distinctions are used in the MPP/MPA Curricular Types categorization. And some can be classified as Archetypal Public Affairs while some others are Archetypal International Affairs. These distinctions are used in Comparisons with International Affairs Programs.

Subjects are listed on the Subjects page.

Core subjects

The 17 subjects that include core topics are called core subjects. See Defining Core.


Merriam-Webster, at, accessed 30 April 2016.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 30 April 2016.