Carnegie Mellon University

Additional Major in Engineering and Public Policy

The EPP department offers additional major B.S. degree programs with each of the five traditional engineering departments in the engineering college. The engineering additional major leads to a fully accredited engineering degree that prepares students for traditional technical career. EPP additional major engineers are not educated to be a different kind of engineer. Rather their education is intended to enable them to be better, more socially responsible engineers in the traditional technical fields. 

The undergraduate additional major programs in EPP combine the strong foundation in mathematics and physical sciences, and the development of engineering skills with a rigorous preparation in the analysis of social and political problems. The curricula include subject matter which is not part of traditional engineering or social science curricula, but which contains elements of each. Students complete courses in four core areas: economics, statistics, decision-making, and communication. Breadth is achieved through EPP Technology-Policy elective courses. Finally, students apply their skills in a project preparatory course and two interdisciplinary problem-solving projects. Problem areas for these projects are chosen from local, state, and national situations, and include such topics as: information privacy and security, environmental monitoring, global energy issues, terchnological innovation, and internet communicaiton technologies. Students from several CMU colleges enroll in these projects courses exposing EPP additional majors to working in truly multi- and inter- disciplinary situations.

If you would like to learn more about this program, please schedule an appointment with Deanna Matthews, Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Affairs.

EPP Program Educational Objectives

Students who earn an additional major in Engineering and Public Policy at the undergraduate level do so in conjunction with a traditional engineering major. The elements of the EPP undergraduate program broaden the traditional scope of technical analysis to encompass an engineering solution’s potential impact on society. Thus, our graduates have the same skills as their peers in traditional engineering majors, but with a broader societal perspective and additional analysis skills. This enables our graduates to understand the interface between technology and society and to help solve the complex, interdisciplinary systems problems facing our world.

EPP Student Outcomes

By the end of the combined B.S. programs in a traditional program and the EPP program, students should have attained the following:

  • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  • An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  • An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability 


  • An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
  • An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  • An ability to communicate effectively
  • The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
  • A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  • A knowledge of contemporary issues
  • An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
  • An ability to demonstrate that engineering analysis alone is not sufficient to solve a “real world” societal need or problem
  • An ability to complete an analysis of a problem that involves technical, social science/behavioral, and policy dimensions and components
  • An ability to characterize the scale and systems level impacts of technology and public policy solutions
  • An ability to structure unstructured problems as part of a multi-disciplinary team
  • An ability to recognize they are appropriately trained for careers beyond traditional engineering

Course Requirements

Introductory Courses

19-101      Introduction to Engineering and Public Policy

19-201      EPP Sophomore Seminar

Core Area Courses

73-100      Principles of Economics

36-220      Engineering Statistics and Quality Control or other approved statistics course

Decision Science elective - one of the following, or other approved course

19-301      Decision Making Methods for EPP

88-223      Decision Analysis and Decision Support Systems

88-302      Behavioral Decision Making

EPP Writing and Communications - one of the following, or other approved course

15-221      Technical Communication for Computer Scientists

19-325      Writing for Policy

76-270      Writing for the Professions

Technology-Policy Electives

At least 3 courses of EPP Technology-Policy electives (24 units minimum)

Capstone Courses

19-351      Applied Methods for Technology-Policy Analysis

19-451     EPP Projects (taken twice)
or 19-452

EPP Technology-Policy Electives include courses that synthesize engineering analysis and social analysis perspectives and apply them to problems with substantial societal and technological components. Specific areas of interest for these courses are (1) energy, resources, and the environment, (2) risk assessment, (3) forensic engineering, (4) urban engineering, (5) information and communication technology, and (6) product engineering and design, among others. Courses that teach methods or analysis skills necessary for solving complex problems or courses that provide technical background for policy relevant issues are also included. 

A common lament from recruiters of undergraduates is a lack of general team-oriented, multi-faceted, problem-solving skills, along with poor written and oral communication skills to a broad audience. The capstone experience for EPP undergraduates consists of problem-solving project courses to synthesize technology-policy issues with social science analysis. In the EPP Projects Course, students experience working on unstructured, real-world problems that, for proper treatment, require teamwork and contributions from diverse disciplines. The EPP Projects courses provides all of those skills to students, and is the course most often identified by our alumni as the essential course of their undergraduate careers. Offered each semester, the courses involve faculty and students from EPP, the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, and the Heinz College. Problem areas are abstracted from local, state and national situations and involve the interaction of technology and public policy. Learn more about EPP Project Courses.

Recent student enrollment

Academic Year

Total Students

Graduates

2017-2018

2016-2017

2015-2016

2014-2015

2013-2014

2012-2013

83

83

83

78

86

73

25 (anticipated)

24

12

32

23

21