Carnegie Mellon University

Bachelor of Science in Economics and Politics

The Economics and Politics major is offered jointly between the Undergraduate Economics Program (UEP) and the Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS). Students are equal members of both academic units and receive advising from both units.

To discuss the major requirements and declaration process, please contact Emily Half, Institute for Politics and Strategy deputy director, and Steve Pajewski, Undergraduate Economics Program associate director.

Economics and Politics is available as both a primary and additional major.

Politics and economics are deeply interconnected. Political institutions and decision-making impact economic growth, income distribution, and many other aspects of economic life. Both fiscal and monetary policies affect the economy, but these policies are often employed with political considerations in mind and can influence political activity. Conversely, economic outcomes shape political preferences and policy choices. The overlap between these two disciplines is endless. For example, while the United Nations is often thought of in purely political terms, the Security Council can and does impose sanctions on countries- an example of an economic policy used for political change.

The Economics and Politics major is offered jointly between the Undergraduate Economics Program (UEP) and the Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS). Students are equal members of both academic units and receive advising from both units. The major will appeal to any student interested in the design, evaluation, and political implementation of policy. It will be especially attractive to students considering careers in politics, government agencies, political and business consulting, lobbying, or the law.

The BS in Economics and Politics is an interdisciplinary major. The major will develop the political context and underpinnings of economic policy making. It will explore how political institutions resolve the tradeoffs and disagreements associated with policymaking and how they can facilitate or impede desirable economic outcomes.

IPS strengths lie in topics like national security, grand strategy, and globalization. Economic policy is just one facet of grand strategy, through which an administration pursues domestic and international goals. This major will also address key issues such as the complementarity between the multilateral economic institutions such as the IMF and World Bank and the use of economic coercion, and enable students to understand economic statecraft more broadly. Whether coercion is successful depends not just on the levers of power but on also on variations in authoritarian regime structure, and complex linkages in the international economy. This is also important for our understanding of the relationship between international economics on human rights practices, extending even to how treaty commitments can facilitate compliance with a global initiative to combat climate change. And, not least important, there is broad recognition that the viability of the “Euro Zone” depends on whether the political-economic agreements necessary to mitigate institutional weaknesses are politically feasible or destined to failure. 

Economics and Politics is available as both a primary and additional major.

Students must earn a grade of "C" or better in all courses taken in the Department of Economics (73-xxx).


Students must complete all of the following courses.

21-120 Differential and Integral Calculus 10
or 21-112 Calculus II
36-200 Reasoning with Data 9
Foundations (48 units)

Students must complete all of the following courses.

21-256 Multivariate Analysis 9
or 21-259 Calculus in Three Dimensions
73-102 Principles of Microeconomics * 9
73-103 Principles of Macroeconomics 9
84-104 Decision Processes in American Political Institutions 9
84-275 Comparative Politics 9
73-210 Economics Colloquium I 3
*Students who place out of 73-102 based on the economics placement exam will receive a pre-req waiver for 73-102 and are waived from taking 73-102  
Core (63 units)

Students must complete all of the following courses.

73-230 Intermediate Microeconomics 9
73-240 Intermediate Macroeconomics 9
73-265 Economics and Data Science 9
73-274 Econometrics I 9
84-226 International Relations 9

Research Design for Political Science
(previously 84-265 Political Science Research Methods)

84-310 International Political Economy 9
Communication (9 units)

Students must complete one course from the following list.

73-270 Professional Communication for Economists 9
84-250 Writing for Political Science and Policy 9
Electives (27 units)

Majors are required to take 27 units (three courses) from the elective lists below.  At least one course (9 units) must be taken from Economics (73-xxx) and at least one course (9 units) must be taken from the Institute for Politics and Strategy (84-xxx).  Students may complete electives through coursework in the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program (CMU/WSP).

Economics Electives
73-328 Health Economics
73-332 Political Economy
73-338 Financial Crises and Risk
73-352 Public Economics
73-353 Financial Regulation in the Digital Age
73-359 Benefit-Cost Analysis
73-365 Firms, Market Structures, and Strategy
73-421 Emerging Markets
73-427 Sustainability, Energy, and Environmental Economics
Institute for Politics and Strategy Electives
84-200 Security War Game Simulation
84-252 Briefing in the Policy World
84-303 International Human Rights
84-304 In the News: Analysis of Current Events
84-306 Latin American Politics
84-307 Economic and Political History of Contemporary China
84-310 International Political Economy
84-312 Terrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa
84-313 International Organizations and Law
84-315 Political Economy of International Migration
84-316 Political Economy of Transatlantic Partnership
84-317 Defense Resourcing: From Strategy to Execution
84-318 Politics of Developing Nations
84-319 Civil-Military Relations
84-322 Nonviolent Conflict and Revolution
84-323 War and Peace in the Contemporary Middle East
84-324 The Future of Democracy
84-325 Contemporary American Foreign Policy
84-327 Repression and Control in Dictatorships
84-328 Military Strategy and Doctrine
84-329 Asian Strategies
84-330 The Shading of Democracy: The Influence of Race on American Politics*
84-331 Money, Media, and the Power of Data in Decisionmaking*
84-333 Power and Levers for Change in Washington, DC*
84-334 The History and Practice of Economic Statecraft*
84-335 US China Relations*
84-336 Implementing Public Policy: From Good Idea To Reality*
84-337 Biomedical Science Research, Policy, and Governance*
84-339 Seminar in Public Policy Research*
84-340 Making Change: How Organized Interests Work in Washington*
84-346 Legal Issues in Public Administration*
84-348 Advocacy, Policy and Practice*
84-352 Representation and Voting Rights
84-360 CMU/WSP Internship Seminar*
84-362 Diplomacy and Statecraft
84-365 The Politics of Fake News and Misinformation
84-370 Nuclear Security & Arms Control
84-372 Space and National Security
84-373 Emerging Technologies and International Law
84-374 Technology, Weapons, and International Conflict
84-380 US Grand Strategy
84-383 Cyber Policy as National Policy
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
84-390 Social Media, Technology, and Conflict
84-393 Legislative Decision Making: US Congress
84-402 Judicial Politics and Behavior
84-405 The Future of Warfare
84-421 Advanced Topics in American Politics
84-440 Collaborative Research in Political Science

*Denotes courses taught in Washington, DC, through the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program (CMU/WSP).

Additional Electives

19-411 Science and Innovation Leadership for the 21st Century: Firms, Nations, and Tech 9
19-425 Sustainable Energy for the Developing World 9
70-365 International Trade and International Law 9
70-430 International Management 9
79-280 Coffee and Capitalism 9
79-318 Sustainable Social Change: History and Practice 9
80-135 Introduction to Political Philosophy 9
80-136 Social Structure, Public Policy & Ethics 9
80-321 Causation, Law, and Social Policy 9
80-335 Social and Political Philosophy 9
80-348 Health, Human Rights, and International Development 9
80-447 Global Justice 9
88-366 Behavioral Economics of Poverty and Development 9
88-419 International Negotiation 9
88-444 Public Policy and Regulations 9
CAPSTONE (15-21 units)

Students must complete all of the following courses.

84-450 Policy Seminar 6
73-497 Senior Project
or Senior Honors Thesis
Note: Students in the BS in Economics and Politics who complete a Dietrich or Tepper Honors Thesis in economics may use 73-497 (Senior Project) as an economics elective.  


A maximum of four courses may double count with another major or minor.