Carnegie Mellon University

Bachelor of Science in Economics and Politics

The Economics and Politics major is offered jointly between the Undergraduate Economics Program (UEP) and the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy & Technology (CMIST). Students are equal members of both academic units and receive advising from both units.

Economics and Politics is available as both a primary and additional major.

Politics and economics are deeply interconnected. Political institutions and decision-making impact economic growth, income distribution, and many other aspects of economic life. Both fiscal and monetary policies affect the economy, but these policies are often employed with political considerations in mind and can influence political activity. For example, while the United Nations is often thought of in purely political terms, the Security Council can and does impose sanctions on countries--an example of an economic policy used for political change.

The Economics and Politics major is offered jointly between the Undergraduate Economics Program (UEP) and the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy & Technology (CMIST). Students are equal members of both academic units and receive advising from both units. The major will appeal to any student interested in the design, evaluation, and political implementation of policy. It will be especially attractive to students considering careers in politics, government agencies, political and business consulting, lobbying, or the law.

The BS in Economics and Politics is an interdisciplinary major. The major will develop the political context and underpinnings of economic policy making. It will explore how political institutions resolve the tradeoffs and disagreements associated with policymaking and how they can facilitate or impede desirable economic outcomes.

CMIST strengths lie in topics such as emerging technology, national security, and grand strategy. Economic policy is one facet of grand strategy, through which governments pursue domestic and international goals. It will enable students to understand economic statecraft from a broad perspective. This major will address key issues such as how multilateral economic institutions such as the IMF and World Bank use economic coercion.  Whether coercion is successful or not depends not only on the levers of power but also on variations in regime structures, alongside complex linkages in the international economy. For example, the viability of the “Euro Zone” depends on whether the political economic agreements necessary to mitigate institutional weaknesses are politically feasible or destined to failure.   In short, international economics affects everything from human rights practices to global compliance with climate change treaties.

Economics and Politics is available as both a primary and an additional major. The requirements are the same for both.

Students must earn a grade of "C" or better in all courses taken in the Department of Economics (73-xxx).

Mathematics (19 units)

Students must complete all of the following courses.

21-120 Differential and Integral Calculus 10
or 21-112 Calculus II
21-256 Multivariate Analysis 9
or 21-259 Calculus in Three Dimensions
Foundations (36 units)

Students must complete all of the following courses.

73-102 Principles of Microeconomics * 9
or 73-104 Principles of Microeconomics Advanced
73-103 Principles of Macroeconomics 9
84-104 Decision Processes in American Political Institutions 9
84-275 Comparative Politics 9
*Students who place out of 73-102 based on the economics placement exam will receive a pre-req waiver for 73-102 and are waived from taking 73-102  
Core (63 units)

Students must complete all of the following courses.

73-230 Intermediate Microeconomics 9
73-240 Intermediate Macroeconomics 9
73-265 Economics and Data Science 9
73-274 Econometrics I 9
84-226 International Relations 9

Research Design for Political Science
(previously 84-265 Political Science Research Methods)

84-310 or
International Political Economy or
Policy in a Global Economy
Communication (9 units)

Students must complete one course from the following list.

73-270 Professional Communication for Economists 9
84-250 Writing for Political Science and Policy 9
Electives (27 units)

Majors are required to take 27 units (three courses) from the elective lists below.  At least one course (9 units) must be taken from Economics (73-xxx) and at least one course (9 units) must be taken from the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy & Technology (84-xxx).  Students may complete electives through coursework in the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program (CMU/WSP).

Economics Electives
73-328 Health Economics
73-332 Political Economy
73-338 Financial Crises and Risk
73-352 Public Economics
73-353 Financial Regulation in the Digital Age
73-359 Benefit-Cost Analysis
73-365 Firms, Market Structures, and Strategy
73-421 Emerging Markets
73-427 Sustainability, Energy, and Environmental Economics
CMIST Electives
84-120 Introduction to Constitutional Law
84-200 Security War Game Simulation
84-252 Briefing in the Policy World
84-274 An Introduction to Technology and War
(formerly 84-374 Technology, Weapons, and International Conflict)
84-280 Popcorn and Politics: American Foreign Policy at the Movies
84-303 International Human Rights
84-304 In the News: Analysis of Current National Security Priorities
84-306 Latin American Politics
84-307 Economic and Political History of Contemporary China
84-309 American Political Divides and Great Debates
84-312 Terrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa
84-313 International Organizations and Law
84-315 Political Economy of International Migration
84-316 Political Economy of Transatlantic Partnership
84-317 Defense Resourcing: From Strategy to Execution
84-318 Politics of Developing Nations
84-319 Civil-Military Relations
84-322 Nonviolent Conflict and Revolution
84-323 War and Peace in the Contemporary Middle East
84-324 The Future of Democracy
84-325 Contemporary American Foreign Policy
84-328 Military Strategy and Doctrine
84-329 Asian Strategies
84-332 Contemporary US Constitutional Law Issues*
84-334 The History and Practice of Economic Statecraft*
84-335 US China Relations*
84-336 Implementing Public Policy: From Good Idea To Reality*
84-338 Analysis of US Presidential Powers*
84-339 Seminar in Public Policy Research*
84-348 Advocacy, Policy and Practice*
84-351 Bias, Objectivity, and the Media's Role in Politics
84-352 Representation and Voting Rights
84-354 The American Experiment: Unraveling the US Electoral System
84-355 Democracy's Data: Analytics and Insights into American Elections
84-360 CMU/WSP Internship Seminar*
84-362 Diplomacy and Statecraft
84-363 Click. Hack. Rule: Understanding the Power & Peril of Cyber Conflict
84-365 The Politics of Fake News and Misinformation
84-367 The Politics of Antisemitism
84-369 Decision Science for International Relations
84-370 Nuclear Security & Arms Control
84-372 Space and National Security
84-373 Emerging Technologies and International Law
84-380 US Grand Strategy
84-383 Cyber Policy as National Policy
84-386 The Privatization of Force
84-387 Remote Systems and the Cyber Domain in Conflict
84-388 Concepts of War and Cyber War
84-389 Terrorism and Insurgency
84-390 Social Media, Technology, and Conflict
84-393 Legislative Decision Making: US Congress
84-402 Judicial Politics and Behavior
84-405 The Future of Warfare
84-421 Advanced Topics in American Politics
84-440 Collaborative Research in Political Science

*Denotes courses taught in Washington, DC, through the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program (CMU/WSP).

Additional Electives


Science and Innovation Leadership for the 21st Century: Firms, Nations, and Tech



Sustainable Energy for the Developing World



International Trade and International Law



International Management



Coffee and Capitalism



Sustainable Social Change: History and Practice



Introduction to Political Philosophy



Social Structure, Public Policy & Ethics



Causation, Law, and Social Policy



Policy in a Global Economy



Social and Political Philosophy



Health, Human Rights, and International Development



Global Justice



International Negotiation



Behavioral Economics of Poverty and Development



The Rise of the Asian Economies



Public Policy and Regulations


CAPSTONE (15-30 units)

Students must complete all of the following courses.


Policy Seminar 
(may substitute 84-336 Implementing Public Policy: From Good Idea to Reality or 84-339 Seminar in Public Policy Research)

73-497 Senior Project
or Senior Honors Thesis
Note: Students in the BS in Economics and Politics who complete a Dietrich or Tepper Honors Thesis in economics may use 73-497 (Senior Project) as an economics elective.  


A maximum of four courses may double count with another major or minor.