Institute for Politics and Strategy Courses

About Course Numbers:

Each Carnegie Mellon course number begins with a two-digit prefix that designates the department offering the course (i.e., 76-xxx courses are offered by the Department of English). Although each department maintains its own course numbering practices, typically, the first digit after the prefix indicates the class level: xx-1xx courses are freshmen-level, xx-2xx courses are sophomore level, etc. Depending on the department, xx-6xx courses may be either undergraduate senior-level or graduate-level, and xx-7xx courses and higher are graduate-level. Consult the Schedule of Classes each semester for course offerings and for any necessary pre-requisites or co-requisites.

84-104 Decision Processes in American Political Institutions
Fall: 9 units
This is an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of politics and government in the United States. It familiarizes the student with the basic structures and processes of American government, but moves beyond the purely descriptive into the realm of the analytical. The main theoretical tools are spatial models of political decision-making, and models of collective action problems. The position taken in this course is that understanding American philosophical ideas about authority, power, and freedom is as central to demystifying the U.S. form of democracy as is understanding how decision-making institutions function. Thus, on one side, this course looks at how American political thought is infused into political institutions and society. On the other side, it investigates institutional arrangements using rationalistic theories. In addition, scientific writings at the intersection of psychology and economics are used to probe the possibility of gaining explanatory leverage on U.S. politics from the perspective of behavioral decision-making theories.
84-110 Foundations of Political Economy
Spring: 9 units
Political Economics studies the interplay between economics and politics. Politicians, for example, may deviate from welfare-maximizing policies due to political pressures. Conversely, the economic and political consequences of policy decisions can shape the choices of future governments. The course will provide a broad, accessible introduction to the key issues in micro and macroeconomics, international economics, and financial markets, emphasizing those most valuable to understanding the interaction of politics and economics. The course will examine core economic concepts to illuminate how economies work, what constraints governments face, and what the welfare implications are of policy choices. From there, the course will expand to illustrate the political and ideological influences on monetary policy and central banking, the political factors shaping economic crises, the international factors influencing the implementation of domestic polices, and political influences on economic integration.
84-198 Research Training: Institute for Politics and Strategy
Fall and Spring
This course is part of a set of 100-level courses offered by Dietrich College departments as independent studies for second-semester freshmen, and first- or second-semester sophomores, in the College. In general, these courses are designed to give students some real research experience through work on a faculty project or lab in ways that might stimulate and nurture subsequent interest in research participation. Faculty and students devise a personal and regularized meeting and task schedule. Each Research Training course is worth 9 units, which generally means a minimum for students of about 9 work-hours per week. These courses are offered only as electives; i.e., they cannot be applied toward a college or major requirement, although the units do count toward graduation as elective units. Additional details (including a roster and descriptions of Research Training Courses available in any given semester) are available in the Academic Advisory Center. Prerequisites/ restrictions: for Dietrich College students only; only for second-semester freshmen, or first- or second-semester sophomores; minimum cumulative QPA of 3.0 (at the time of registration) required for approved entry; additional prerequisites (e.g., language proficiency) may arise out of the particular demands of the research project in question.
84-250 Writing for Political Science and Policy
Spring: 9 units
The aim of this course is to equip students with the essential skills necessary to successfully write academic research papers and theses in political science, and professional documents such as policy memos, op-eds, political speeches, briefs, and PowerPoint slides. Students thus learn fundamentals of writing for political science and public policy. Key topics include principles of rhetoric, evidence-based argumentation, citation, concision, and framing. Students also learn how to cite properly using citation management software EndNote and construct powerful tables and figures using quantitative datasets. This is a writing-intensive course in which students practice writing, edit peers' writing, read about how to write, and analyze examples of stellar writing. A final project entails writing a draft senior thesis proposal.
84-265 Political Science Research Methods
Spring: 9 units
This course provides an overview of research methods in political science. Students will learn to think like social scientists and develop skills required by the discipline. The course emphasizes the nature of causality and how causal claims can be made in the social sciences. The goal for the class is for students think critically about the strengths and weaknesses of various methodological approaches and identify the methodological tools that are most appropriate for answering different research questions. Furthermore, students will increase their ability to consume political science research from a variety of subfields while also learning to design and present their own research.
Prerequisites: 70-207 or 36-220 or 36-247 or 36-207 or 36-201 or 36-200
84-275 Comparative Politics
Spring: 9 units
This course is an introduction to the subfield of Political Science called Comparative Politics. Scholars in this subfield -comparativists- use comparative methods to study and compare domestic politics across countries. In this course, we aim to learn about how political systems differ, discuss why they differ and explore the consequences of such variation. The course is divided into four sections. In the first part, we will examine the main theories and methods used to conduct research in the subfield, and discuss the development and consolidation of the modern state. In the second section, we will examine political regimes, including variation among democracies and nondemocracies. In the third unit, we will study some of the countries' central political institutions. We will compare presidentialism to parliamentarism, and examine legislatures, electoral systems, and political parties. In the final segment, we will scrutinize political mobilization and conflict. We will discuss interest groups, nationalism, social movements, protests, populism, clientelism, revolutions, civil wars, terrorism, and globalization. Throughout the course, the discussion will focus mainly on the Americas and Europe, but not exclusively. Students will be required to apply the comparative methods discussed in the course to make in-class presentations about different countries.
84-308 Political Economy of Latin America
Spring: 9 units
For most of its history, Latin America has been home to numerous political and economic experiments. Revolutions, coups, military dictatorships, democratic and authoritarian regimes have coexisted with dramatic oscillations on economic policies regarding the size and functions of the state and the role of the market. Governments have experimented with a range of strategies to attain development, using the region as a laboratory of politico-economic theories. In this course, we will examine how the complex relationship between politics and economic policies helps us to explain the current level and range of economic development in the region. The course is divided into three main sections. The first part will focus on Latin American history from its conquest to the end of the First World War (1492-1918). The second portion will cover from the aftermath of the First World War to the end of the Cold War. The third segment will center on the macro processes that have characterized the region since 1990, with an emphasis on the existing challenges to democratic and economic consolidation. In a final paper, students will discuss how current events connect to the region¿s historical complex marriage between politics and economics. Students will be encouraged to submit their papers to the CIRP Journal (, Panoramas ( or similar academic magazines.
84-309 Political Behavior
Intermittent: 9 units
The goal of this course is to understand how citizens engage with and influence the political system. This course is devoted to the study of how people behave when interacting with other citizens, politicians, and political institutions. We will primarily focus on the behavior of non-elite political actors using examples from the United States, other developed democracies, as well as developing countries. We will address questions such as what influences people to vote or abstain in an election, how people decide between candidates, how trust and cooperation develop within and across ethnic groups, and how citizens respond to political violence and terrorism. The course will integrate game theoretical perspectives with insights from psychology to help students gain a deeper understanding of the interplay between citizens' political goals and the political system in which they operate.
84-310 International Political Economy
Fall: 9 units
This course explores how political institutions, process, and actors influence economic interactions both domestically and internationally. During the semester, we will address two key questions: 1) how do governments collaborate to regulate, and stabilize, the trans-boundary flow of capital, goods, and services?; 2) what are the distributional effects of the current world economic order? In exploring these question from diverse theoretical lenses, we will discuss topics ranging from monetary and exchange rate policies, intentional trade, and global integration of production to the role of multinational corporations, social movements and civil society organizations, as well as institutions for corporate social responsibility, in the global economy. By the end of the course, students will be prepared to compare and contrast the theoretical propositions, and policy recommendations, of rival schools of thought.
Prerequisites: 73-102 or 84-110 or 12-421 or 88-220 or 73-100
84-311 International Development: Theory and Praxis
Intermittent: 9 units
What is the difference between a developed country and one that is developing? How did some countries achieve a state of development, while others remain mired in underdevelopment? What is the best solution for assisting people living in developing countries? This course will explore these key questions and many more related to theoretical foundations and daily applications of international development. Because development theory and praxis are interdisciplinary in nature, this course will take a similar approach and draws upon readings from political science, economics, history, and sociology. We will also examine the various intersections of development, gender, indigeneity, race, class, and citizenship, as they are manifest in contemporary development approaches.
84-312 Gender and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
Intermittent: 6 units
The purpose of this course is to continue a discussion on the debates, structures, and agents that inform international development in Africa but through the varied perspectives and experiences of African women. Their perspectives offer critical interventions into development discourses and practices traditionally viewed through masculine and Western lenses. In studying development from the African woman's perspective, one is better able to engage both the successes and failures of this formal process we call "development" in Africa. By examining African women and their relationship to this process, we will also see the alternative frames of feminisms and knowledges that emerge from these realities. The core questions driving this course are: (i) what are the various development ideologies and processes that have shaped contemporary Africa? (ii) How have African women adopted, rejected, and/or creolized these ideologies and processes for the purposes of changing their cultural, political, and economic conditions? The course readings come predominantly from African women, although there are texts from non-African women and men that generally serve to highlight the larger discourses taking place around a particular topic.
84-313 International Organizations and Law
Spring: 9 units
This course will take a comprehensive view on the role and function of both international organizations (IOs) and international law (IL) in world politics, and will examine its implications for both international political economy as well as security studies. It will begin with a review of classical theoretical debates regarding the function of these institutions. Do these institutions have any exogenous impact on world affairs? Do IOs meaningfully impact international cooperation? Further, it will engage with headline contemporary issues: can a non-binding international treaty such as the Paris Climate Accord meaningfully influence international climate goals? The course thus critically examines whether these institutions are effective and, if so, under what plausible conditions. It will examine a broad range of global institutions and will examine international security elements, such as how IOs and IL influence the conduct of war, human rights and civil conflict outcomes. But it will also engage with important themes in political economy, such as how institutions like the IMF relate to development or financial stability; compliance under the WTO; and whether international treaties influence international investments patterns.
Prerequisites: 36-200 or 36-201
84-315 Contemporary Debates in Human Rights
Intermittent: 9 units
What are human rights? Are human rights universal or provincial? This class will survey the origins, debates, and application of human rights around the world. As a class, we will explore the history of the term and the evolution of human rights as a set of formal and informal institutions derived from the global aspirations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the quotidian interactions between the powerful and ostensibly powerless. By the end of this course, you should come away with both a renewed and wavering belief in the idea of human rights.
84-318 Politics of Developing Nations
Fall: 9 units
Be it on our feet, in our grocery bags or in the news, our daily lives connect us to people in the developing world. Despite such an intricate relationship, we tend to know very little about developing nations and their challenges beyond a common stereotype of poverty. What are developing nations? What is their place in the world? What challenges do those nations and their populations face? In this class, we will strive to answer those questions through readings of political science and political economy scholarship and in-class activities and discussions. We will explore the socio-economic and political issues that developing nations face and take special care to practice perspective taking (i.e. we will put ourselves in specific nations' shoes and consider situations from their point of view). We will adopt various lenses (e.g. post colonialism, liberalism, feminism) throughout the semester to inform our understanding of the various positions taken by global actors. By addressing the unequal power balance between developed and developing nations as well as among developing nations, we will enrich our world view and understanding of major global issues, such as development. We will practice those skills in class through discussions and activities (you should expect very little lecturing) and outside of class through guided readings. Your learning in the course will be assessed through various writing assignments (take home exams, a final paper, weekly responses) where you will practice composing arguments based on evidence.
84-319 U.S. Foreign Policy and Interventions in World Affairs
Intermittent: 9 units
This course will discuss the various ways in which the United States, like other countries around the world, tries to influence developments within other states by intervening in their domestic affairs. Interventions of various kinds, utilizing numerous tools, are frequently undertaken by the United States with major effects on the intervened country and subsequent U.S. foreign policy. The goal of this course is to provide a better understanding of such interventions in general and a more complete picture of this frequently neglected aspect of American foreign policy in particular. Accordingly this course will focus on explaining, among other things, why interventions of various types are done, their effectiveness in achieving their goals and their effects on the target and (occasionally) on the U.S.. It will also discuss in depth various historical cases of American interventions ranging from the early 20th century to the present, widening the depth and breadth of student knowledge on American foreign policy. The course will cover both military and non-military forms of interventions including (for example): Military interventions in civil wars, FIRCs/regime change operations (both the overt and covert types), humanitarian interventions, partisan electoral interventions, economic sanctions, external help in state-building, and drone warfare.
84-320 Domestic Politics and International Affairs
Intermittent: 9 units
This course will provide students with a broad overview of the literature which investigates the effects of political institutions, or, more specifically, the inclusiveness of political institutions, on both domestic and foreign policies. Domestic political institutions influence policies through shaping policymakers' incentives, and, in turn, outcomes of domestic and international affairs influence the political survival of policymakers and even of political institutions. With this in mind, our main objective is to develop students' ability to critically and logically analyze global patterns of governance, conflict, and cooperation. To this end, students will also be introduced to fundamentals of research design and game theory, an analytical tool to analyze strategic interactions. The substantive questions we will ask include, but not limited to, the following: how does domestic politics constrain or encourage state leaders to go to war, sign trade pacts, and develop economy?; how can citizens incentivize policymakers to achieve desirable policy goals?; how do international affairs affect our lives in the long run?; and do certain foreign policies affect citizens of democracies and non-democracies differently, and if so, why?
84-321 Autocrats and Democrats
Intermittent: 9 units
The international system is populated by countries with many different types of national governments. A common simplification of the many diverse political systems in the world is to divide them into democratic states and non-democratic states or "autocracies." This simplification misses many key differences among autocracies and causes us to overlook key similarities between autocracies and democracies. This course will cover three major areas. First, we will evaluate the strategic incentives faced by all leaders and discuss how these incentives differ by regime type. Second, we will discuss how leader responses to these incentives shape policy outcomes such as economic growth. Third, we will examine the factors that promote transitions from one regime type to another. Throughout the course, students will be asked to re-consider much of what they've thought about both democratic and non-democratic leaders. Class assignments will ask students to critically examine existing theories of political organization and apply their knowledge to real world cases, both historical and contemporary.
84-322 Nonviolent Conflict and Revolution
Spring: 9 units
Conflict and revolution are usually associated with armed struggle and violence. But over the course of the last century, nonviolent conflict has become an increasingly prominent source of institutional change and political revolution around the world, from Gandhi's salt march to Filipino "people power" to the post-Soviet "color revolutions" to the Arab Spring. What are the causes, strategies, tactics, dynamics, and consequences of nonviolent conflict, and how do these differ from violent or armed conflict? When and how do unarmed "people power" campaigns topple repressive authoritarian regimes? This course addresses these questions and in the process engages contending theories of power, revolution, and insurgency. The first half of the course introduces students to key concepts, theories, and historical patterns of nonviolent conflict. In the second half of the course, the class analyzes case studies of landmark nonviolent campaigns, both successful and failed. By the end, students will be expected to write an original 10 page analysis of an historical or ongoing nonviolent conflict.
84-323 War and Peace in the Contemporary Middle East
Spring: 9 units
This course examines the drivers of war and peace in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The course is structured around five major types of armed conflict that plague the region today - civil wars, insurgent and terrorist campaigns, enduring rivalries, regional disputes, and external interventions. We will delve into the theories of what fuels - and what resolves - each of these types of conflict, while exploring cases around the region such as the disputes in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Turkey, as well as broader clashes like the Arab Israeli conflict, Shi'a-Sunni conflict, and recent great power interventions in the region. The course will rely on a mixture of research articles and books as well as more diverse materials such as war reporting, films, and memoirs in order to give students a holistic understanding of these issues.
84-324 The Future of Democracy
Intermittent: 6 units
After the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama famously argued that humanity had reached the "end of history" insofar as liberal democracy had become the last viable form of government. Yet today, illiberal democracies and dictatorships persist and the world has witnessed the return of authoritarian great powers led by China and Russia. What is the future of democracy globally? How strong and secure are autocratic regimes from Iran to North Korea? Do populist movements in the United States and Europe really put democracy in the heart of the "democratic west" at risk? This course surveys the historical rise of democracy, the domestic and international causes of democratization and democratic consolidation, the rise and fall of democracy promotion, and the impact of democratic and autocratic major powers on the spread of democracy worldwide. By the end, students will be expected to write an intelligence memo on democratic prospects in a specific country or region or a policy memo with a proposal to reform democracy promotion.
84-325 Contemporary American Foreign Policy
Spring: 9 units
This course provides a survey of American foreign policy since World War I. We will cover topics such as America's entry into the Great War, the League of Nations and America's role in global self-determination movements, the perennial battles between isolationism and internationalism, the creation of a US-led world order after 1945, Cold War nuclear strategy and nuclear nonproliferation, the modern domestic politics of foreign policy, the international dimensions of the civil rights movement, US covert action, the challenges of managing unipolarity, and contemporary issues of climate change, humanitarian intervention, terrorism, and international economic policy. This is an interdisciplinary course that marries International Relations and Political Science with American, Diplomatic and Military History. We will make ample use of primary sources and some data analysis. A good grasp of 20th century American and World History, and some familiarity with International Relations Theory are not requirements but will prove helpful. By the end of the semester, students will have the requisite historical background and analytical toolkit to analyze and evaluate contemporary foreign-policy decision-making.
84-326 Theories of International Relations
Fall: 9 units
This course focuses on teaching the main approaches for the study of international relations. Although you will learn about some current international issues and about the evolution of international relations, and see how various theories would explain important past international events, the focus of this course is analytic rather than substantive. In other words, it will focus on general arguments and their underlying logic rather than on specific events and details or, for that matter, definitive answers as to 'which side is right'. As such, this course will help you to better understand the world we live in and provide you with tools for analyzing various international events. It will also acquaint you with many of the frameworks frequently used by statesmen, either implicitly or explicitly, in order to understand the world and to make policy on various issue areas. The course will begin by analyzing approaches from the three main levels of analysis: the individual, domestic (liberal and non-liberal theories) and systemic (neorealism, etc.). It will move on to discuss approaches which focus on, for example, the effects of strategic interactions between states, of international institutions and of norms and of the overall 'social environment' that states live in. The course will then conclude by discussing the future of international relations.
84-330 The Shading of Democracy: The Influence of Race on American Politics
Intermittent: 6 units
This course will explore intersections of race, political influence and the shaping of America's democracy. Discourse will focus on racial and ethnicity-related policies, practices and processes designed to influence democratic outcomes. Students will examine complex, and often pivotal occurrences that have transformed the political landscape through the works of Richard Rorty, Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America; Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness; and, Steve Phillips, Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority. THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM (CMU/WSP) ONLY.
84-331 Money, Media, and the Power of Data in Decisionmaking
Intermittent: 6 units
This course focuses on the impact of three critical influences on policy and decisionmaking in Washington D.C.: money, in the form of political campaign dollars in particular; media, from national to local; and data that can define the policy problem and solution. The course will dive into each topic through a series of case studies of policies whose successful adoption and implementation hinged upon money, media or data. Students will come away from the course with the background and context to critically consider tough questions about the right role of these powerful influences on national policy. (Is the media "broken?" ; What is the prospect for moderating the impact of money on policy? ; Is the influence of data and facts on the wane in a hyper partisan political context?) THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM (CMU/WSP) ONLY.
84-332 Effects of US Policy on Businesses: Perspectives of Asian Americans
Intermittent: 6 units
This course explores the effects of policy, advocacy, and government on the U.S. business sector, specifically from the perspective of Americans of Asian heritage and various kinds of business entities (corporations, start-ups, small business, etc.). Each student or small group of students will be assigned a particular kind of business entity and a designated Asian heritage, and the class would work through select policies, exploring how they affect the different enterprises and Asian Americans. THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM (CMU/WSP) ONLY.
84-333 Power and Levers for Change in Washington, DC
Intermittent: 12 units
Political and policy change often appears to sweep in at the direction of high-profile, centralized decision makers. The path to change is in truth a longer tale, driven by a diversity of actors and influencers. This course aims to more fully map out the diversity of levers that drive change in federal policymaking and implementation, examining key influences such as Congress, money, media, social movements, rhetoric and data. The course aims to give students a fuller picture of how their own particular strengths and interests are valuable to creating change, through seminar dialogue, guest speakers, and reflections on students' internship organizational structures. THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM (CMU/WSP) ONLY.
84-334 Presidential Power in a Constitutional System
Intermittent: 6 units
The United States Constitution vests the executive power in a president who is sworn to faithfully execute the laws and to defend the Constitution. What this means was disputed in the Pacificus-Helvidius debate in 1793, and continues to be debated in our present circumstances. This course will examine how the constitutional framework and political forces shape presidential behavior, and how they are affected by it. Special attention will be given to executive orders, signing statements, appointments and removals, and other means presidents use to accomplish their goals in a system of separated powers and a large administrative bureaucracy. Class visitors will include individuals who have written orders, shepherded nominations through Congress, argued for or against presidential actions in federal courts, worked on presidential transition teams, covered the presidency for the press, and more. THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM (CMU/WSP) ONLY.
84-336 Implementing Public Policy: From Good Idea To Reality
Spring: 12 units
Good public policy doesn't just "happen." Rather, successful policy is the result of thorough research, careful drafting, and successful navigation within the government or non-government organization whose leadership may ultimately promulgate it. The course begins with a brief review of government and organizational behavior in a bureaucracy, and the identification of a federal agency's current policy system as a framework to which we will turn throughout the term. Study then turns to an overview of legal research skills. Though usually the province of law students and attorneys, such skills will enable students to know when policy may be crafted "from scratch" — or where, when, and how policy must conform to larger governing legal or regulatory structures. Students will then consider a particular sub-specie of public policy, administrative law, which addresses the special circumstance of regulatory agencies and the statutory regimes that create and govern them. The course culminates with students developing and "staffing" a notional policy, modeled on the federal agency policy system studied throughout the term. This course may benefit a range of audiences: students considering government and related policy careers; future business leaders who must set standards for business practices, employee behavior, or operations within the confines of governmental regulations; prospective paralegals and attorneys; or anyone interested in exploring "what the rules are" and why. THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM (CMU/WSP) ONLY.
84-337 Biomedical Science Research, Policy, and Governance
Intermittent: 6 units
This course is designed for those with science backgrounds or an interest in science to explore how the biomedical sciences intersect with policy and governance on a national and international scale. Biomedical research, in addition to contributing fundamental scientific knowledge, can lead to improvements in health, reduced illness, and have the secondary impact of job creation and other economic benefits. The course will explore how the US funds biomedical science, how Congress and government agencies implement science policies, and the policy implications of new scientific fields using biomedical research topics such as emerging infectious disease, genomics, stem cell research, etc. By the end of the course, the students will be able to understand the process of policy implementation in the US government and consider the effects of policy on biomedical science. THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM (CMU/WSP) ONLY.
84-340 Making Change: How Organized Interests Work in Washington
Fall: 12 units
American politics has many elements and founding principles. Among them is the right of individuals- alone or in groups- to assemble and petition the government in pursuit of their interests and beliefs. This class will highlight the intersection between pressure groups, politics, and policy in Washington, DC. More specifically -based in the political science and other academic literature- the class will examine how organized interests engage and try to influence elected and public officials as they make decisions and take actions related to the nation's political and policy agenda. The class will also interact with Washington-based advocacy and lobbying organizations to see how those ideas are applied in real life scenarios. THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM (CMU/WSP) ONLY.
84-343 Language and Power: How to Understand and Use Political Speech
Intermittent: 6 units
Political writing is a subspecies of language with several manifestations. There is an art to the op-ed and to the editorial, to the polemical essay and to the review. Within government, there are skills particular to writing speeches and ghosting essays, preparing Congressional testimony and Federal commission reports, and to drafting policy memoranda. There are even special forms and qualities of expression for hosting award and memorial ceremonies, and for writing thank-you notes, toasts, and letters of condolence. This course is designed to teach an appreciation for the range and nature of political writing and speech in both its public and governmental forms. It also introduces students to the fundamental skills required to do effective political writing. THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM (CMU/WSP) ONLY.
84-346 Legal Issues in Public Administration
Intermittent: 6 units
Part I of the course will focus on legal issues in public administration and cover the relationship between the government and its employees, including the role of labor unions and collective bargaining in the federal sector. Part II will cover official immunity for government officials, "equal protection of the law" and substantive due process. Part III will cover separation of powers, federalism and judicial review of agency action. Reading assignments will include short excerpts from relevant books/periodicals. Students will also be asked to read court opinions. Although these opinions may be filled with legal jargon, at their essence, most concern the tension between individual rights and government efficiency and control. THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM (CMU/WSP) ONLY.
84-348 Advocacy, Policy and Practice
Intermittent: 6 units
This course examines the role that advocacy and advocacy organizations play at all stages of the policymaking and implementation process, from grassroots to professional advocacy organizations, public facing communications initiatives to internal policy-focused actions. Part of the course will focus on the history of advocacy in policy making, and case studies will be used to explore the players, outcomes, and influences of advocates when designing and implementing policy. THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM (CMU/WSP) ONLY.
84-360 CMU/WSP Internship Seminar
Fall and Spring: 12 units
The internship is the experiential "core" of the Washington Semester Program. Students intern three days per week, for approximately 24-25 hours, in offices from Capitol Hill to the White House and including opportunities in cabinet agencies, nonprofit institutions, museums, advocacy groups, policy think tanks, cultural institutions, and news organizations. Through the internship, students gain professional experience and make long-lasting professional and personal contacts. In addition, students meet once a week with the CMU internship faculty for a 2-hour seminar to report and reflect on their internship experiences, and address pressing current issues from the perspective of their internship organization. In addition, the weekly seminar typically includes 1-2 CMU alumni from the Washington, DC, area. Their personal and professional experiences become part of the seminar conversation, and they make themselves available to students as ongoing sources of information and advice. THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM (CMU/WSP) ONLY.
84-362 Diplomacy and Statecraft
Fall: 9 units
Diplomacy and statecraft are the driving forces behind foreign policy and international politics. The class first surveys the evolution of great power politics from the Peace of Westphalia to today and examines the history and practice of different types of statecraft, including coercive diplomacy, crisis management, and economic statecraft (e.g. trade, foreign aid, financial bailouts, and exchange rate policy). The class then surveys contemporary diplomatic challenges, including challenges posed by human trafficking, global climate change, nuclear proliferation, democracy promotion, and major powers such as Russia and China. Both in the classroom and in writing, students are encouraged to think, act, and write like diplomats and to appreciate diplomacy as a vocation. Throughout the course, students build skills in foreign policy memo writing, participate in various diplomatic role-playing simulations, and connect diplomatic trend lines with today's international headlines.
84-363 Comparative Legal Systems
Intermittent: 9 units
This course carries out a comparative study of the nature of courts and law, their position in political systems and the role of judges as political actors, and the potential of legal political institutions to impact society. The course is very theoretical and is organized around key themes and concepts, rather than historical detail on countries. We will examine the political and regime logic behind the origin of judicial power, competing theories about judicial decision making, the meaning and significance of judicial independence, and the potential effectiveness of courts as tools for social and political change.
84-364 Comparative Presidential Behavior: Leadership, Personality, and Decision Making
Fall: 9 units
Presidents receive universal attention for good reasons. As the most powerful politicians in the 49 countries that they govern, their behavior and decisions have enormous consequences. Given the vast amounts of energy dedicated to understanding presidents, one would expect that many questions about presidential behavior and performance have been answered. However, there is still little understanding of how presidents matter. In this course we address the pressing question of how presidents matter from a multidisciplinary and comparative perspective. We will mainly incorporate insights from political science and psychology, but also from other disciplines that study leadership (e.g., management and history). In the first section we will discuss the comparative history, evolution, and characteristics of the presidency, examining cross-country variation of presidential powers and roles. In the second part, we will discuss theories that have addressed the role of political leaders from different disciplines and methodological approaches. In the third (and main) section, we will study the personal presidency, or how the unique background of the leaders and their personality traits are related to relevant political outcomes. In the last section, we will examine how the broader social, political, and economic context explains presidential behavior and performance.
84-366 The American Presidency
Spring: 9 units
The person elected president of the United States immediately assumes many formal and informal roles including, but not limited to, head of the Executive Branch, diplomat-in-chief, commander-in-chief, leader of party, and legislator-in-chief. Yet the president must fulfill these roles within the confines of a three-branch government and the limitations of power placed upon the office; a literal catch-22. This course therefore seeks to understand how the presidency developed to acquire its many different roles, and how the holders of the office must maneuver the intricacies and challenges of the U.S. government to influence policy and effect change. The first part of the course will study the development of the presidency from 1789 to present, interweaving the roles and responsibilities of the office as they formed and morphed throughout the course of history. The second part will survey different areas of public policy to see how the presidency has played a role in those areas through the examination of relevant cases. The course will provide students with a deep understanding of the presidency, helping them to appreciate the inherent challenges and opportunities faced by those who dare to hold the office.
84-369 Decision Science for International Relations
Fall: 9 units
Decision Science looks at choices from three interrelated perspectives: analysis, characterizing decision makers' options, in terms of expected effects on outcomes that they value; description, characterizing decision makers' beliefs and preferences; and interventions, helping decision makers to choose among the options available to them or create better ones. The course integrates foundational research in Decision Science with applications to international relations and politics.
Prerequisites: 36-200 or 36-201
84-370 Global Nuclear Politics
Fall: 9 units
The taming of the atom is one of the defining features of the modern era. The awesome creative and destructive potential of nuclear energy has had enormous impact on great power politics, the environment, economic development, and international institutions. Limiting the risk of nuclear Armageddon is one of the dominant challenges in US foreign policy and global governance alike. In this course, we will study 1) why and how countries pursue nuclear weapons and what happens when they acquire them; 2) the national policies and international regimes that have been devised to curb their spread and use, while allowing for the diffusion of energy technology, 3) the national and transnational civil society movements that have fought to roll back the nuclear age or limit its harmful effects, and 4) the role of private actors such as scientists and corporations.
84-372 Space and National Security
Spring: 9 units
Space systems contribute a great deal to America's security, prosperity, and quality of life. This course examines how space-based services provide critical support to military and intelligence operations and contribute to national security more broadly. The course is designed to investigate several interrelated themes, weaving together relevant aspects of technology, strategy, and policy. The material is approached from both functional and historical perspectives, beginning with the basics of military and intelligence space operations and ending with an examination of the space- and cyber-related technical, strategic, and political challenges facing the nation today and in the foreseeable future.
84-373 Emerging Technologies and the Law
Spring: 9 units
This course provides a forum for students to consider the relationship between key emerging technologies and the law. In the first half of the course, each session will be dedicated to discussing the legal implications of a particular emerging technology, including autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, stem cell therapy, quantum computing, and 3D printing. In the second half of the course, we will turn to overarching themes at the intersection of law and technology, including emerging technologies and the law of armed conflict, policing and surveillance, intellectual property, and privacy. Throughout the course, students will be asked to consider whether existing legal frameworks are sufficient to address issues related to emerging technologies.
84-380 Grand Strategy in the United States
Fall: 9 units
This course introduces students to the concept of grand strategy in the United States, broadly defined as the combination of diplomatic, economic, military, and political factors used by American presidents and their administrations to advance U.S. interests throughout the world. In the context of highly interdependent domestic and international politics, leaders must develop strategies that address a diverse range of internal, state, and non-state challenges while also dealing with the myriad challenges resulting from globalization, or the intersection of international politics, culture, markets, and technology. This course will review American diplomatic history over the ages, with a focus on both Cold War and post- Cold War American presidencies and their respective approaches to defending American national security whilst also playing a role as one of the world's leading powers. The course will conclude with an assessment of American grand strategy over the course of the past decade and how the United States manages relations with rising powers like China, revanchist states like Russia, and host of near-peer and other adversaries, including Iran and North Korea.
84-386 The Privatization of Force
Intermittent: 9 units
This course considers different forms of privatized force and security over time and across various strategic contexts, from historical mercenarism up to modern-day private military and security contractors. While going through the historical and modern material chronologically, the course considers the various issues that arise with each form of privatized force, including questions that arise regarding the state's monopoly on violence, legal and humanitarian issues, and civil-military relations. These range from theoretical concerns regarding modern definitions of the state, to practical operational-level concerns pertaining to field coordination issues between the military and private contractors in modern conflicts.
84-387 Technology and Policy of Cyber War
Spring: 9 units
This course examines underlying and emerging technologies and policies associated with cyber war and cyber threats. The technological concepts reviewed in this course include but are not limited to the internet, networks and sensors, and trends associated with "hyperconnectivity" (e.g., The Internet of Things). The course will review history, international policy, military doctrine, and lessons learned from the use of cyber operations and cyberspace in conflicts. The principle objective of this course is to introduce students to the technological and policy variables that affect the ability to manage cyber conflicts.
84-388 Concepts of War and Cyber War
Fall: 6 units
This course examines traditional theories, concepts, and practices in international relations and warfare- conventional, unconventional, and modern- and relates them to the emerging dynamics of cyber war. The principle concepts examined in this course reflect, have shaped, and continue to shape state and non-state actor behaviors and their calculations of how to prepare for and prosecute warfare. These include, among others, conventional and nuclear deterrence, offense-defense dynamics, first strike capabilities, and irregular warfare. The course will focus on theory but will leverage history, military doctrine, and cases to highlight the challenges of integrating cyber war into defense planning and practice. Students will be challenged to consider how the 2009 introduction of cyberspace as a warfighting domain- in addition to land, maritime, air, and space- affects the ways that scholars and practitioners- operating with force structures and strategic, operational, and tactical concepts that are decades, if not centuries old- conceive of and practice warfare in the 21st Century. The principle objective of this course is to introduce students to cyber war within the context of traditional, and emerging, concepts of armed and unarmed warfare. This course will focus on two core areas: 1) a discussion of traditional concepts of warfare in the physical domains; and, 2) a discussion of cyber war and its intersection with these traditional concepts.
84-389 Terrorism and Insurgency
Spring: 9 units
There are many forms of political violence but not all are created equal. Some, like terrorism, are a tactic while others, like insurgency, are a strategy. How important is it to define terrorism and insurgency? What are the differences and similarities between them? This course will go into depth to analyze both terrorism and insurgency and their various manifestations. The course will provide a historical overview of how terrorism and insurgency have evolved over time, while also focusing on groups, methods, ideologies and organizational structures. Is the terrorism conducted by Salafist groups like Al-Qaida and the Islamic State significantly different than that perpetrated by ethno-nationalist groups like the Provisional Irish Republican Army and Tamil Tigers? What are the best methods to counter-terrorism and how successful have states been- both historically and more recently- at combating the threat posed by terrorism and insurgency?
84-390 Social Media, Technology, and Conflict
Spring: 9 units
This course will examine the role that social media and technology have had on conflict and governance over the past decade. Interconnectedness has expanded dramatically and continues to expand, not only within coastal cities but also between them and their hinterlands, from city to city, and between home populations and global networks, including diaspora populations. The Arab Spring uprisings were significantly influenced by the use of cell phones, social media, and text-messaging as organizing tools. But it is not only protesters that are harnessing the power of social media and emerging technologies- insurgent groups like the Islamic State have been able to use Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and other social media platforms to their advantage. Apps have been used to both recruit and fund raise for terrorist groups, while individuals living on the other side of the world are radicalized by virulent ideologies spread through the Internet. The proliferation of so-called "fake news" and the ubiquity of social media has introduced an entirely new variable into the study of conflict and relations between individuals, small groups, non-state actors, and nation-states.
84-393 Legislative Decision Making: US Congress
Spring: 6 units
This course analyzes decision-making by the United States Congress. The course examines legislative behavior by focusing on the way Congress is organized (institutional and constitutional structure) and the ways legislators, voters, and various other parties interact (strategic constraints). Students will both learn the legislative process and explore the influence of norms, rules, expectations, incentives and, perhaps most important of all, the power of the electorate in influencing legislative outcomes and policy. Elections, voting decisions, committee assignments, political party power, and intra-branch relations across the Federal government are some of the topics into which we will delve. This course does not require any prior knowledge of the U.S. Congress, and there are no prerequisites for the course.
84-402 Judicial Politics and Behavior
Intermittent: 6 units
This course is a survey of research and insight into one of the most unique American government institutions: the judiciary. Rather than exclusively reading case law (as one would do in a Constitutional Law class), this course examines court structure, rules of law and, most importantly, judges as actors within an institutional setting. We will focus on how rules, norms, and expectations guide the decisions, actions, and range of options available to judges. Here we will study the nature of judicial decision-making and its antecedents, the organization of the judicial branch and its implications for behavior, and the strategic interactions both within courts and between the courts and the more "political" branches of government. The course will look at state and federal courts within the United States, supplemented with examples from international jurisdictions. Material from law, history, economics, political science, sociology, and psychology will be introduced throughout the semester. Although some of the literature uses empirical and/or game theoretical models, students are not expected to have mastered these tools prior to taking the course.
84-405 The Future of Warfare
Fall: 9 units
Warfare is constantly evolving. Long gone are the days of set-piece battles involving conventional military forces. In the contemporary conflict environment, hybrid actors and proxy groups wage war in an asymmetric and irregular manner, relying on ambiguity, strategic surprise and deception to accomplish their objectives. This course will examine new trends in warfare, from the onset of cyber war to the development of violent non-state actors with conventional military capabilities. Moreover, this course will explore the concept of the "gray zone," an area of neither declared nor undeclared hostilities where U.S. adversaries like Russia, China, Iran and others are gradually allocating resources. Case studies examined in this course will include Russian hybrid warfare in Crimea and Ukraine, Chinese cyberwarfare and information operations, Iranian sponsorship of proxy militias in Syria and Lebanon and a range of other emerging trends in areas such as technology, demographics, urbanization and social media, all of which are combining to radically alter the way wars are fought today.
84-414 International and Subnational Security
Intermittent: 9 units
Why do states fight wars? Why do some wars last for years while others end in days? How is it possible that powerful states may lose wars to under-resourced non-state actors? Why are some peace settlements stable, while other ceasefires crumble precipitously? Why do some states get challenged by subnational groups? By surveying the most recent quantitative research in political science, this course explores various security challenges that contemporary states face at the international level and in the intrastate political environment. We will focus in depth on the bargaining explanations for war, democratic/regime similarity/capitalist peace, deterrence, interdependence through trade, cooperation through international organizations, and civil wars. The goal of this course is to demonstrate how theoretical and empirical approaches in social sciences can be used to answer questions about war and peace. Students will acquire training in graphical literacy as well.
84-450 Policy Forum
Fall and Spring: 6 units
The Policy Forum 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.
84-498 Undergraduate Research
Fall and Spring
Students conduct research under the supervision of an Institute for Politics and Strategy faculty member. Students who wish to engage in research should seek out a faculty member whose interests are appropriate to the research. Prerequisite: Students must also complete an "Independent Study/Research for Credit" form, available from the Deputy Director or on the IPS website. Permission of a faculty sponsor.
84-499 Independent Study
Fall and Spring
Students conduct independent academic study under the supervision of an Institute for Politics and Strategy faculty member. Students who wish to engage in an independent study should seek out a faculty member whose interests are appropriate to the topic. Students must also complete an "Independent Study/Research for Credit" form, available from the Deputy Director or on the IPS website. Prerequisite: Permission of a faculty sponsor.
84-505 Undergraduate Internship
Fall and Spring
An internship is an approved and monitored work experience than can be related to an academic field of study through active reflection and specific learning goals. Students will be in regular contact with a faculty member in the Institute for Politics and Strategy, who will assign and evaluate academic work. Internships are available for 3, 6, or 9 units, depending on the type and amount of academic work produced. Students are responsible for finding their own internships and faculty sponsors, although assistance is available through the Deputy Director.
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