Carnegie Mellon University

Minor in Politics and Public Policy

Rooted in the discipline of political science, the minor in Politics and Public Policy investigates US public policy issues and other matters of domestic politics while providing students hands-on and practical learning experiences.  Students pursuing the Politics and Public Policy minor must participate in the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program (CMU/WSP) for one semester during their undergraduate experience.

From embassies to nongovernmental organizations, think tanks to advocacy organizations, government agencies to congressional offices, and consulting firms to media outlets, Washington, DC, is the center for many political, international relations, and public policy activities. Students in the program come into direct contact with political, business, and community leaders and learn about the most pressing policy issues of the day.

The CMU/WSP, sponsored by the university's Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy & Technology (CMIST), is a semester-long program in which students live, intern, and take CMU classes in Washington, DC.  Undergraduates from any course of study at the university may participate in the program. Students earn 48 units for the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program, interning about twenty-four hours per week in any sector or field of interest within Washington, DC, while taking classes taught by Carnegie Mellon faculty. 

Through this experiential learning program, CMU/WSP participants develop professional and networking skills, explore how coursework connects to the real world, learn to give and receive constructive feedback in the workplace and classroom, and intentionally reflect on their learning and growth.  CMU/WSP students are connected with Washington, DC- based alumni to share career advice and tips about life in DC. CMIST also sponsors events and policy-oriented opportunities in Washington for students participating in the program to further enrich their experience and enhance their understanding of how Washington functions as a hub of international and policy decision making.

A maximum of two courses may double count between the minor in Politics and Public Policy and another major or minor.

Curriculum (66 units)

Core Seminars

Students must take the following courses while participating in the CMU/WSP (24 units):

84-360 CMU/WSP: Internship Seminar 12
84-450 Policy Seminar 6
84-451 Policy Seminar II 6
Elective Seminars

Students must take 24 units from the below list of elective seminars offered in the CMU/WSP. Offerings vary by semester. (24 units):

84-313 International Organizations and Law 6
84-330 The Shading of Democracy: The Influence of Race on American Politics 6
84-331 Money, Media, and the Power of Data in Decision making 6
84-333 Power and Levers for Change in Washington, DC 12
84-334 The History and Practice of Economic Statecraft 6
84-335 US China Relations 6
84-336 Implementing Public Policy: From Good Idea To Reality 12
84-337 Biomedical Science Research, Policy, and Governance 6
84-339 Seminar in Public Policy Research 12
84-340 Making Change: How Organized Interests Work in Washington 12
84-348 Advocacy, Policy and Practice 6
Foundational Course

Students select one course from the following list of courses offered at Carnegie Mellon University’s Pittsburgh or Qatar campus.  Students may take this course before or after participating in the CMU/WSP. (9 units):

84-104 Decision Processes in American Political Institutions 9
84-226 International Relations 9
84-275 Comparative Politics 9
Economics Requirement

Students must complete one of the following courses.  Students may take this course before or after participating in the CMU/WSP.  Unlimited double counting in this category is permitted.

84-110 Foundations of Political Economy 9
73-102 Principles of Microeconomics 9
73-103 Principles of Macroeconomics 9
73-104 Principles of Microeconomics Accelerated 9