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 Kathleen Conway, 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
84-265 Political Science Research Methods 9
84-326 Theories of International Relations 9
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) Politics and Public Policy elective sequence.

Economics Electives
73-328 Health Economics 12
73-332 Political Economy 9
73-338 Financial Crises and Risk 9
73-352 Public Economics 9
73-353 Financial Regulation in the Digital Age 9
73-359 Benefit-Cost Analysis 9
73-365 Firms, Market Structures, and Strategy 9
73-421 Emerging Markets 9
73-427 Sustainability, Energy, and Environmental Economics 9
Politics and Strategy Electives



Security War Game Simulation

International Human Rights



84-304 In the News: Analysis of Current Events 6
84-307 Economic and Political History of Contemporary China 9
84-308 Political Economy of Latin America Var.
84-312 Terrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa 6
84-313 International Organizations and Law 9
84-315 Political Economy of International Migration 9



Political Economy of Transatlantic Partnership

Defense Resourcing: From Strategy to Execution



84-318 Politics of Developing Nations 9
84-319 Civil-Military Relations 9
84-322 Nonviolent Conflict and Revolution 9
84-323 War and Peace in the Contemporary Middle East 9
84-324 The Future of Democracy 9
84-325 Contemporary American Foreign Policy 9
84-327 Repression and Control in Dictatorships 9
84-328 Military Strategy and Doctrine 9
84-329 Military Strategic Theory 6
84-352 Representation and Voting Rights 9
84-362 Diplomacy and Statecraft 9
84-363 Comparative Legal Systems 9
84-364 Comparative Presidential Behavior: Leadership, Personality, and Decision Making 9
84-365 The Politics of Fake News and Misinformation 9
84-366 The American Presidency 9
84-369 Decision Science for International Relations 9
84-370 Nuclear Security & Arms Control 9
84-372 Space and National Security 9
84-373 Emerging Technologies and the Law 9
84-380 US Grand Strategy 9
84-383 Cyber Policy as National Policy 6
84-386 The Privatization of Force 9
84-387 Technology and Policy of Cyber War 9
84-388 Concepts of War and Cyber War 6
84-389 Terrorism and Insurgency 9
84-390 Social Media, Technology, and Conflict 9
84-393 Legislative Decision Making: US Congress 6
84-402 Judicial Politics and Behavior 9
84-405 The Future of Warfare 9
84-421 Advanced Topics in American Politics 9
CMU/WSP Politics and Public Policy Electives
84-330 The Shading of Democracy: The Influence of Race on American Politics 6
84-331 Money, Media, and the Power of Data in Decisionmaking 6
84-332 Effects of US Policy on Businesses: Perspectives of Asian Americans 6
84-333 Power and Levers for Change in Washington, DC 12
84-334 The History and Practice of Economic Statecraft 6
84-335 Intelligence and Policy 6
84-336 Implementing Public Policy: From Good Idea To Reality 12
84-337 Biomedical Science Research, Policy, and Governance 6
84-338 Media and Politics 6
84-339 Seminar in Public Policy Research 12
84-340 Making Change: How Organized Interests Work in Washington 12
84-343 Language and Power: How to Understand and Use Political Speech 6
84-346 Legal Issues in Public Administration 6
84-348 Advocacy, Policy and Practice 6
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
12 units if taken during CMU/WSP, 6 units if taken in Pittsburgh
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.