Carnegie Mellon University

Institute for Politics and Strategy Minors

Kiron K. Skinner, Faculty Director; kskinner@andrew.cmu.edu
Emily Half, Deputy Director; ehalf@andrew.cmu.edu, Baker Hall A55B, 412-268-7082

The International Relations and Politics (IRP) minor analyzes the role of politics at the national, regional, international, and transnational levels; examines political and institutional arrangements within and among these levels; and investigates the grand strategy of nation-states.

Statesmen, scholars, and policy makers often define grand strategy as the combination of diplomatic, economic, military, and political factors used by leaders to defend their respective nation-states. The IRP minor investigates the way in which leaders and citizens construct grand strategy and national security policy more generally; the impact of domestic and international forces on states’ security and economic policies; and the significance of alliances, coalitions, and international institutions for world politics. The study of grand strategy and political institutions is the flagship initiative of the minor.

In the tradition of Carnegie Mellon University, political science is studied and taught in an interdisciplinary manner.  Utilizing the interdisciplinary strengths of the social sciences at CMU, IRP students study political phenomena through the perspectives of decision science, economics, and political history. Students pursing the minor will be asked to develop an understanding of game theory, economic and statistical analysis, qualitative analysis, rational choice theory, and theories of behavioral decision making as they study alliances, coalitions, institutions, and political strategy.  Recognizing the influence of language and culture on politics and international relations, students are encouraged to study a modern language other than English.

The minor in Cybersecurity and International Conflict analyzes the role of cyber warfare and cybersecurity in international politics—past, present, and future. Cyber attacks by nation-states and their proxies have the potential to reshape how wars are fought in the twenty first century. As such, the complexity and policy challenge of cyber-engagements is immense and altogether without precedent. The minor addresses the role of deterrence, dissuasion, and attribution in cyber conflict, while also studying the nuances of key components of modern warfare—from the security dilemma to escalation management.

Rooted in the discipline of political science, the minor in Politics and Public Policy investigates U.S. public policy issues and other matters of domestic politics while providing students hands-on and practical learning experiences.  Students pursuing the Politics and Public Policy minor must participate in the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program for one semester during their undergraduate experience.

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. Open to all Carnegie Mellon undergraduates, the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program (CMU/WSP) allows students to study public policy and intern in Washington for one semester. Undergraduates from any course of study who would value firsthand policy experience are invited to apply to the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program and declare a minor in Politics and Public Policy.

In this semester-long 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.

Students earn 48 units for the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program, interning three days per week in any sector or field of interest within Washington, DC, while taking classes taught by Carnegie Mellon faculty.  The Institute for Politics and Strategy sponsors events and policy-oriented opportunities in Washington for students participating in the program to further enrich their experience and enhance their understanding of how Washington functions as a hub of international and public policy decision making.