Carnegie Mellon University

IRP Major Requirements


All IRP majors must complete mathematics and statistics prerequisites by the end of the sophomore year.

Mathematics:  21-111 Calculus I AND 21-112 Calculus II OR  21-120 Differential and Integral Calculus

Students who successfully pass the proctored Calculus Assessment on campus at the 21-120 level will be required to take a more advanced 21-xxx course for this prerequisite. 21-122, 21-240, or 21-256 are suggested.

Statistics:  36-200 Reasoning with Data OR  36-201 Statistical Reasoning and Practice

Core Courses

84-104                   Decision Processes in American Political Institutions
84-265                   Political Science Research Methods
84-275                   Comparative Politics
84-326                   Theories of International Relations
84-369                   Decision Science for International Relations*
84-450                   Policy Forum
36-202                   Methods for Statistics and Data Science
73-102                   Principles of Microeconomics

*Beginning with the 2017 undergraduate catalog, students are required to take this as a core course. For students following a prior catalog, this course will count as an IPS elective for the major.

Language Requirement

Students are required to complete the intermediate (200) level or the equivalent in a modern language other than English. Advanced level study is strongly encouraged.  Students who successfully pass a language placement exam on campus, at the intermediate II level or higher, will be required to take an advanced language course to satisfy the language requirement.


International Relations and Politics students will either:

Option 1) take 45 units (five courses) from the elective lists below. At least three courses (27 units) must be from the Institute for Politics and Strategy (84-xxx). Most courses listed below are 9-unit courses, but some are fewer. When courses offered for fewer than 9 units are chosen, students should note that a minimum of 45 units is required, and should plan to take one or more additional courses as appropriate.


Option 2) complete all (or the majority of) their electives via the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program (CMU/WSP) Public Policy elective sequence. Any elective units not fulfilled during CMU/WSP may be completed through coursework from the Institute for Politics and Strategy (84-xxx) elective list.

The Washington Semester Program (CMUWSP) Public Policy Elective Sequence includes:

  • Policy Forum (12 units) - This course will count as the Policy Forum (84-450) Core Course Requirement.
  • Internship Seminar 84-360 CMU/WSP: Internship Seminar (12 units)
  • CMU/WSP Elective Seminars (24 units total)

A list of CMU/WSP Elective Seminars may be found in the Public Policy Elective list below.

Grand Strategy and Political Institutions

66-221 Topics of Law: Introduction to Intellectual Property Law
79-203 Social and Political Change in 20th Century Central and Eastern Europe
79-231 American Foreign Policy: 1945-Present
79-298 Mobile Phones & Social Media in Development & Human Rights: A Critical Appraisal
79-301 History of Surveillance: From the Plantation to Edward Snowden
79-302 Drone Warfare and Killer Robots: Ethics, Law, Politics, and Strategy
79-389 Stalin and Stalinism
80-135 Introduction to Political Philosophy
80-321 Causation, Law, and Social Policy
80-335 Deliberative Democracy: Theory and Practice
84-309 Political Behavior
84-319 U.S. Foreign Policy and Interventions in World Affairs
84-320 Domestic Politics and International Affairs
84-321 Autocrats and Democrats
84-322 Nonviolent Conflict and Revolution
84-323 War and Peace
84-324 Democracies and War
84-362 Diplomacy and Statecraft
84-363 Comparative Legal Systems
84-366 Presidential Politics: So, You Want to Be President of the United States
84-380 Grand Strategy in the United States
84-386 The Privatization of Force
84-387 Technology and Policy of Cyber War
84-388 Concepts of War and Cyber War
84-389 Terrorism and Insurgency
84-393 Legislative Decision Making: US Congress
84-402 Judicial Politics and Behavior
84-405 Future of Warfare: Cyber, Violent Non-State Actors & Conflict in the Gray Zone
84-414 International and Subnational Security
88-281 Topics in Law: 1st Amendment
88-284 Topics of Law: The Bill of Rights

Economics and Society

19-452 EPP Projects
70-342 Managing Across Cultures
70-365 International Trade and International Law
70-430 International Management
73-103 Principles of Macroeconomics
73-148 Environmental Economics
73-328 Health Economics
73-331 Political Economy of Inequality and Redistribution
73-394 Development Economics
79-386 Entrepreneurs in Africa, Past, Present and Future
80-136 Social Structure, Public Policy & Ethics
80-244 Environmental Ethics
80-247 Ethics and Global Economics
80-348 Health Development and Human Rights
80-447 Global Justice
84-310 International Political Economy and Organizations
84-311 International Development: Theory and Praxis
84-312 Gender and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
84-315 Contemporary Debates in Human Rights
88-411 Rise of the Asian Economies
88-412 Energy, Climate Change, and Economic Growth in the 21st Century
88-430 Methods of Policy Analysis: International Policy

International Cultures

76-318 Communicating in the Global Marketplace
76-322 Global Masala: South Asians in the Diaspora
76-386 Language & Culture
79-205 20th/21st Century Europe
79-221 Development and Democracy in Latin America
79-222 Between Revolutions: The Development of Modern Latin America
79-223 Mexico: From the Aztec Empire to the Drug War
79-224 Mayan America
79-227 African History: Height of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to the End of Apartheid
79-229 Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1880-1948
79-230 Arab-Israeli Conflict and Peace Process since 1948
79-233 The United States and the Middle East since 1945
79-251 India/America: Democracy, Diversity, Development
79-256 20th Century Germany
79-257 Germany and the Second World War
79-259 France During World War II
79-262 Modern China: From the Birth of Mao ... to Now
79-264 Tibet and China: History and Propaganda
79-265 Russian History: From the First to the Last Tsar
79-266 Russian History: From Communism to Capitalism
79-267 The Soviet Union in World War II: Military, Political, and Social History
79-275 Introduction to Global Studies
79-288 Bananas, Baseball, and Borders: Latin America and the United States
79-291 Globalization in East African History
79-307 Religion and Politics in the Middle East
79-314 The Politics and Culture of Memory
79-318 Sustainable Social Change: History and Practice
79-320 Women, Politics, and Protest
79-338 History of Education in America
79-342 Introduction to Science and Technology Studies
79-377 Food, Culture, and Power: A History of Eating
79-381 Energy and Empire: How Fossil Fuels Changed the World
79-385 The Making of the African Diaspora
79-398 Documenting the 1967 Arab-Israeli War
85-375 Crosscultural Psychology
300 or 400- level language course

CMU/WSP Public Policy Elective Seminars

84-330 The Shading of Democracy: The Influence of Race on American Politics
84-332 Effects of US Policy on Businesses: Perspectives of Asian Americans
84-333 Power and Levers for Change in Washington, DC
84-334 Presidential Power in a Constitutional System
84-336 Implementing Public Policy: From Good Idea To Reality
84-337 Biomedical Science Research, Policy, and Governance
84-343 Language and Power: How to Understand and Use Political Speech
84-346 Legal Issues in Public Administration
84-348 Advocacy, Policy and Practice