Carnegie Mellon University

Minor in American Politics and Law

The minor in American Politics and Law is designed to equip students with comprehensive insights into the political and legal landscape of the United States. Our curriculum emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach, blending theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Students have the opportunity to engage with a variety of courses that cover key aspects of American civics, policy development, and legal principles. A core objective of this program is to nurture critical and analytical thinking skills through engagement with primary source materials, real world examples of policy and legal conflicts, and current events and matters of national policy debate. Students are challenged to dissect and debate major policy issues facing the nation, fostering their ability to develop, draft, and articulate informed political analyses and recommendations on complex matters. 

Through this minor, students will develop a robust understanding of both the historical and contemporary dynamics of American politics and law. This approach ensures that they not only grasp the fundamentals but also learn to apply this knowledge in real-world scenarios. It provides a gateway to understanding the intricate workings of American governance and law, and a platform for building a career that makes a meaningful impact in society. The skills and objectives learned in the minor provide students from any discipline with core and foundational knowledge, particularly useful for students entering law school. This program is uniquely tailored not only for those aspiring to careers in the public sector, policy analysis, or law, but also for students from diverse academic backgrounds seeking to integrate this knowledge into other disciplines. 

Curriculum (60-63 units)

Foundational (18 units): 

Students must complete:

Foundational Courses for the Minor in American Politics and Law
84-104 Decision Processes in American Political Institutions 9
84-120 Introduction to US Constitutional Law 9
Communication (6-9 units):

Students must complete one of the following courses:

Communication Courses for the Minor in American Politics and Law
84-250 Writing for Political Science and Policy 9
84-252 Briefing in the Policy World 6
American Politics (18 units):

Students must complete 18 units from the following list of courses:

American Politics Courses for the Minor in American Politics and Law
84-280 Popcorn and Politics: American Foreign Policy at the Movies 10
84-304 In the News: Analysis of Current National Security Priorities 6
84-309 American Political Divides and Great Debates 9
84-319 Civil-Military Relations 9
84-324 The Future of Democracy 9
84-325 Contemporary American Foreign Policy 9
84-328 Military Strategy and Doctrine 9
84-338 Analysis of US Presidential Powers* 6
84-351 Bias, Objectivity, and the Media's Role in Politics 6
84-352 Representation and Voting Rights 9
84-354 The American Experiment: Unravelling the US Electoral System 6
84-355 Democracy's Data: Analytics and Insights into American Elections 9
84-365 The Politics of Fake News and Misinformation 9
84-367 The Politics of Antisemitism 9
84-380 US Grand Strategy 9
84-393 Legislative Decision Making: US Congress 9
84-402 Judicial Politics and Behavior 9

Advanced Topics in American Politics

79-250 Voting Rights: An Introduction 9
79-248 US Constitution & the Presidency 9
Law (18 units):

Students must complete 18 units from the following list of courses:

Law Courses for the Minor in American Politics and Law
84-313 International Organizations and Law* 6
84-332 Contemporary US Constitutional Law Issues* 6
84-373 Emerging Technologies and International Law 9
84-402 Judicial Politics and Behavior 9
17-333 Privacy Policy, Law, and Technology 9
66-221 Topics of Law: Introduction to Intellectual Property Law 9
70-364 Business Law 6
73-408 Law and Economics 9
76-219 Law & Blame 9
76-475 Law, Performance, and Identity 9
79-360 Crime, Policing, and the Law: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives 9
88-281 Topics in Law: 1st Amendment 9
88-284 Topics of Law: The Bill of Rights 9

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

Students may double count a maximum of two courses with another major or minor. Unlimited double counting is permitted with General Education requirements.