Carnegie Mellon University

Welcome to the Institute for Politics and Strategy! 

Bettering the world requires understanding it, and understanding it requires a blend of the study of great-power competition and the twenty-first-century threats, terror, cyber, and otherwise, facing the world. This is what we do at the Institute for Politics and Strategy.

Founded in 2015, IPS is a university-wide institute for research and undergraduate and graduate education in the fields of political science, international relations, national security, and grand strategy. IPS is dedicated to the study of politics through the discipline of political science with support from other social sciences. The institute carries on a respected tradition of interdisciplinary political science at Carnegie Mellon. IPS also builds upon the university’s rich heritage of applying basic science to issues of common concern, problem solving, and public policy. 

In the first two decades of the twenty-first century, the years in which our current students were born and have come of age, the world has become more interconnected, complex, and challenging. More often these days, problems faced by one society are faced by many – economic development, mobility, equality, public health, freedom and security. At IPS, we use analytical social science and interdisciplinary research and teaching to understand, explain, anticipate, and solve public policy problems. We employ scientific methods to expand our comprehension of the organization of human society around the exercise of power. Finally, We foster in students the ability to think, research, and write about politics systematically. 

Achieving the core objectives of all IPS majors and minors – thinking systematically about politics so that they can contribute to the future prosperity, security and liberty of all citizens – requires analytical and quantitative training in political science and an understanding of culture, history, and language. Courses and research opportunities across this diverse intellectual spectrum provide the foundation for IPS studies.

Read the rest of the IPS vision statement here.

Knowledge is power. Learn how to use it.

The Institute for Politics and Strategy seeks to train the next generation of political scientists to understand domestic and international government institutions in the twenty-first century’s changing global political structure. War has been a constant in our students’ lives, and that unfortunately that's not changing. But what is changing is the political landscape of war – from wars between nations to non-state actors like ISIS and al-Qaeda. Coupled with an increasingly global society, international relations and politics are necessary for preparing students to analyze uncertainty and transformation.

The Master of Science in International Relations and Politics, a two-year graduate program, allows students to specialize in one of four areas of political science – international security, international relations, American politics, or comparative politics. The coursework provides the quantitative analytical skills necessary (regression analysis, data visualizations, Stata software) to enter the job market ready to contribute. Learn more

Spend a semester inside the Beltway

You're up early. The Congressperson for whom you intern is on Ways and Means, and they’ve got a meeting at 9 a.m., meaning you need to be on the Hill by 8. Could be worse. You’ll swing by Ebenezers on 2nd and F on your walk to work for a pour-over and a muffin. You shuffle out of bed in your H Street house, careful not to wake your roommates. This is where you’ll start your day during the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program, sponsored by the Institute for Politics and Strategy but open to undergraduates from any course of study.

From embassy headquarters to nongovernmental organizations, think tanks to advocacy organizations, and consulting firms to media outlets, Washington, DC, is a focal point for many international and public policy activities. In this program, students live, work, and study in Washington, DC, coming into direct contact with political, business, and community leaders and learning about the most pressing policy issues of the day. Learn more

Jonathan Cervas

The unanticipated effect of COVID-19 on house apportionment, August 25, 2021

"While the COVID-19 pandemic can be held responsible for accelerating the trend toward the increased use of mail-in balloting, and it affected the ability of the census to collect in-person information, here we call attention to an unanticipated effect of the pandemic on the electoral process that, as far as we are aware, has never previously been identified," Dr. Jonathan Cervas and co-author Bernard Grofman write in a paper for Social Science Quarterly.

Ignacio Arana

The Quest for Uncontested Power: Presidents' Personalities and Democratic Erosion in Latin America, 1945–2012, August 23, 2021

Dr. Ignacio Arana published a paper in Political Psychology that examines a type of overreaching presidential behavior that has been commonplace in Latin America: between 1945 and 2012, 25 presidents from 14 countries tried to change their respective constitutions to increase their powers. 

Baruch Fischhoff

Dr. Baruch Fischhoff was awarded the 2021 Sigma Xi William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement, awarded since 1950 to a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution to scientific research. Dr. Fischhoff will be presented with the award at the Sigma Xi Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference.

Sam Abodo

"China is slowly but surely gaining control of parts of the American food supply," IPS major and Research Associate Sam Abodo writes in an opinion piece for Newsweek.