Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy will provide up to 30 PPIA students the opportunity to gain critical skills needed to tackle complex societal problems. This seven-week Junior Summer Institute (JSI), held on CMU’s campus in Pittsburgh, PA, provides coursework focused on quantitative, analytical, policy analysis and leadership skills.

Coursework taught by Heinz College faculty reflects the multidisciplinary approach and quantitative focus for which Heinz College has become known. Students are enrolled in four courses, attend class five days a week and at the conclusion of the program, students may request an official Carnegie Mellon University transcript reflecting course grades. Additional components of the program include professional development, guest speakers, a trip to Washington D.C., networking events with PPIA alumni, and access to an online GRE preparatory course.

In addition to our traditional policy-focused JSI track, Heinz College, offers a first-of-its-kind Data Analytics JSI track for students who are passionate about using big data and analytics to address societal problems.

Students receive: $1,000 stipend, meal allowance of $1,000, one round-trip airfare ticket, university housing, an official Carnegie Mellon University transcript, and required books. JSI alumni are eligible for a full tuition scholarship and additional financial awards if admitted to a Heinz College master’s degree program.

Competitive applicants will have completed at least one course in college-level algebra.

At the graduate level, Heinz College offers several public policy programs, including our flagship Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM) program, a specialized pathway focused on Data Analytics, MSPPM: Data Analytics , and our . pathway that provides depth in policy analysis and practical experience in our nation’s capital. Our graduates apply evidence-based approaches while leveraging the power of technology and analytics to help solve societal problems.


Traditional Track Coursework:

Poverty and Social Policies: A U.S. and International Comparative

The goals of this course are to analyze the concept of poverty and its measurements and selected social policies pursued in Western Europe, the U.S. and in developing countries. The first section of the class will analyze and define poverty and inequality measurements. The second section will focus on the concept of the Welfare State and anti-poverty policies pursued in Western Europe. The third section will focus on the U.S and will analyze health, housing, social security, and welfare policies in the U.S. The fourth section will analyze poverty and the behavior of the poor in very poor countries or poor regions of the world. It will also include a discussion of specific policies such as micro financing, conditional and unconditional cash transfers (also known as Universal Basic Income).

Dismantling Systems of Oppression

This class focuses on developing critical consciousness about the relationships between self, culture, and power, connecting the personal with the socio-political to understand both external systems of oppression and the ways they are internalized by individuals and social systems. Specifically, we will focus broadly on differences of power, access, and opportunity within the following institutions: housing, education, criminal justice system, media, labor, immigration, health care and technology.

Applied Statistics for Public Policy

This course is an intensive introduction to statistical methods. Topics covered include: descriptive statistics, elementary probability, random sampling, and hypothesis testing. Throughout the course students will use computational functions in Excel as well as the statistical capabilities available through the Data Analysis Toolpak. The course culminates in a final project for which students apply the concepts and skills learned to a topic and dataset aligned with their individual interests. (Students with a strong statistics background may request an exemption and/or may have the option to take an exemption exam during PPIA orientation. If exempted, an alternative course will be added).

Applied Microeconomics

This course will introduce students to the basic concepts and tools of microeconomics and welfare economics, which are used to analyze public policy from an economic perspective. We will apply economic concepts in a practical way, using current events as supplied by the textbook and additional readings. Critical thinking skills will be further developed by using economic theory as a foundation for problem analysis. Examples of issues include: Is free trade a good thing? Does a minimum wage increase a good goal for society? How can the government reduce air and water pollution? (Students with a strong economics background may request an exemption and/or may have the option to take an exemption exam during PPIA orientation. If exempted, an alternative course will be added).

Data Analytics Track Coursework:

Data Visualization and Dashboards

This course is designed to introduce data visualization as an analytical tool, a medium of communication, and the basis for interactive information dashboards. Students will learn best practices in data visualization, sharpen analytical skills, and learn how to design dashboards for use by stakeholders. Students will have the opportunity to practice skills on concrete deliverables and will synthesize course material in a comprehensive team-based final project. This project will reinforce comfort with the Tableau software package and will provide a portfolio item for students. Students will use Tableau as their main tool to visualize data and develop dashboards but will develop transferrable skills which can apply to many of the most popular software packages in the current marketplace.

Dismantling Systems of Oppression

See above.

Applied Statistics for Public Policy

See above.

Applied Economics

See above.


Coursework is supplemented by co-curricular activities to increase awareness of public service careers, build leadership skills, and prepare students for graduate school admissions. Activities include speaker series, site visits, one-on-one career and graduate admission coaching, and recreational activities in Pittsburgh.

Washington D.C. Trip

Carnegie Mellon University PPIA students will embark on a weekend trip to Washington D.C. Fellows from CMU and Princeton participate in a graduate school fair in D.C., featuring most of the PPIA Consortium schools. In addition, fellows will visit Heinz College’s D.C. office to hear panels and presentations by PPIA and CMU alumni and faculty.

Undergraduate Course Credit

Credit earned in your PPIA courses will often transfer to your undergraduate institution. Carnegie Mellon University PPIA fellows may request an official transcript to supply to their home institution. Please refer to your home institution’s transfer-credit policy to determine if you are permitted to transfer credit from your PPIA coursework.

Career Planning

Career Services Workshops: Heinz College Career Services provides top-tier, dedicated services to students, alumni, and employers. Advisers partner with students to provide effective tools and resources for graduate school search and professional development. Students will receive one-on-one meetings with the career services staff to review their résumés and individual strengths.

Office of Admissions & Program Directors: Students will have one-on-one meetings with admissions and program staff members to learn more about applying to graduate school and preparing for life after college.

Tuition Scholarship and Financial Support for Graduate Studies

Students who successfully complete any PPIA Junior Summer Institute and are admitted to a master’s degree program at Heinz College will receive a full-tuition scholarship and a stipend of $8,000 per year. Heinz College offers professional master’s degrees in Public Policy & Management, Information Systems Management, Health Care Policy & Management, Healthcare Analytics & IT, Information Security Policy & Management, Arts Management, and Entertainment Industry Management.


Travel and Check-in: June 8, 2023

Orientation: June 9, 2023

First Day of Classes: June 12, 2023

Last Day of Program: July 28, 2023

Move-out and Travel: July 29, 2023


Program Administrators:

Gladys Perez Sriprasert, Director, Carnegie Mellon PPIA Junior Summer Institute and Director of Public Policy and Management programs

David Eber, Executive Director of Admissions & Financial Aid


PPIA Junior Summer Institute at Carnegie Mellon University

Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy

Hamburg Hall 1101 5000 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890


Learn more about the CMU JSI and Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy!