Carnegie Mellon University

Policy Seminar

Course Number: 84-450

The Policy Seminar course takes a critical look at decision making in domestic politics and US foreign policy. It does so through weekly roundtable discussions with a diverse set of thought leaders. Based on intellectually significant essays that students are expected to read in advance of each class, these discussions give students an opportunity to ask probing questions about the three branches of the US government, media, embassies, advocacy groups, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations. This course seeks to help students understand the responsibilities and activities that leaders and decision makers carry out on behalf of their organizations. Students are instructed in how to confidently and respectfully ask critical questions of those shaping policy. The term "roundtabling" is used to describe submitting an issue for critical discussion among relevant stakeholders. Knowing how to direct a roundtable is a significant element in the professional development of anyone interested in taking part in the policy arena, and this course helps students hone this important skill. In requiring students to read important essays related to each class session and then step back from discussions with leaders to write analytical essays, this course teaches students how to develop strong arguments based on solid logic and credible evidence, an essential component in making democracy work.

Academic Year: 2023-2024
Semester(s): Fall, Spring, Mini 1, Mini 3
Units: 6
Location(s): Washington, DC


Fall 2023, Mini 1
Professor Matthew Lane
5:30 - 7:30 PM
Washington, DC

For Fall 2023, this course is only available to students participating in the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program (CMU/WSP). 

Required course for the following IPS degrees:
BS International Relations and Politics
Additional Major in International Relations and Politics
BS Economics and Politics
Additional Major in Economics and Politics
Minor in Politics and Public Policy
Minor in Military Strategy and International Relations