Carnegie Mellon University

Welcome to the Institute for Politics and Strategy

Founded in 2015, the Institute for Politics and Strategy (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. In this way, IPS carries on a respected tradition of interdisciplinary political science at Carnegie Mellon University. IPS also builds upon the university’s rich heritage of applying basic science to issues of common concern, problem solving, and public policy. 

At IPS, analytical social science and interdisciplinary research and teaching are used to better 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, in our own country and around the globe. In this way, we foster in students the ability to think, research, and write about politics systematically. In the opening two decades of the 21st century, the years in which our current students were born and have come of age, the world has become more interconnected but not less complex and challenging. More often these days, problems faced by one society are faced by many societies – including economic development, mobility, equality, public health, freedom and security.

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 and are at the heart of the Institute for Politics and Strategy.  

Read the rest of the IPS vision statement here.

IPS Highlights


IPS Fall 2021 Course Registration Open House

Thursday, May 20, 2021
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
Zoom: Register here

Join us to talk informally with IPS faculty and your peers about the wide variety of Political Science courses offered by the Institute for Politics and Strategy in Fall 2021.

Please feel free to invite your friends interested in taking courses in IPS!

*Registration is required to receive the Zoom link and password.


Raaga Kalva knew she wanted to work in Washington, DC. The Germantown, Maryland native chose Carnegie Mellon University rather than the University of Maryland because she wanted to broaden her experiences. That decision played a role in getting her where she wanted to be.

At a CMU educational opportunities conference, Kalva reconnected with a former classmate who went on to become a recruiter for the Defense Intelligence Agency. That recruiter helped Kalva get a job with the DIA as a Military Capabilities Analyst.

“When looking for jobs, I’ve always been a big advocate of students reaching out to alumni as well as taking advantage of the opportunities on campus,” said Kalva, who graduated in 2019 with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in International Relations and Politics. Read more

Arana headshot

When Ignacio Arana was working on his PhD, he noticed that some foreign students from different cultures and backgrounds did not feel as comfortable in class. As a Latin American and non-native English speaker himself, he could tell that this affected their self-confidence and performance.

Now, Arana, an Assistant Teaching Professor in Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Politics and Strategy, is working to ensure none of his students feel that way. He recently received the Provost’s Inclusive Teaching Fellowship for the 2021-2022 academic year, which will help the students in his Comparative Politics class, the largest in IPS, feel empowered to participate. 

“Most of the students take it as an elective, and therefore come from other departments,” Arana said. “The class is characteristically ethnically and nationally diverse, and I also have the sense that it integrates students from heterogeneous religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.” Read more

As you consider the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program, hear some advice from former students!

Our Washington Semester Program allows students from any course of study at Carnegie Mellon to live, intern, and learn in the nation's capital. Students will of course have access to DC's bread and butter: politics, government, advocacy. But there's so much more to gain. Hear from past and current students in the video above to learn more, and apply by April 1!