Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy will provide up to 30 PPIA students the opportunity to gain key skills needed to solve policy problems at the intersection of technology and society. This seven-week Junior Summer Institute (JSI), held on CMU’s campus in Pittsburgh, PA, provides intensive training in quantitative analysis and leadership. Our traditional policy-focused JSI track includes courses in policy research, statistics, and economics; we also offer PPIA students a specialized Data Analytics JSI track, which is the ideal experience for students who are passionate about using big data and technology for social good.

Students take three courses and a mini-course, attending five days a week; at the conclusion of the program, students receive an evaluation of individual progress as well as course grades and an official Carnegie Mellon University transcript.

At the graduate level, Heinz College offers several public policy programs, including our flagship Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM) program, as well as our more quantitatively rigorous MSPPM: Data Analytics pathway, and our MSPPM: Washington D.C. pathway that provides depth in policy analysis and practical experience in our nation’s capital.

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 (details below).


Traditional Track Coursework:

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 Economics

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? Is 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).

Poverty and Social Policies

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).

Mini-Course in Diversity & Equity TBD

Data Analytics Track Coursework:

Applied Statistics for Public Policy

See above.

Applied Economics

See above.

Data Science for Good TBD

Mini-Course in Diversity & Equity TBD


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. in July. Fellows from CMU and Princeton participate in a graduate school speaker panel and 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. PPIA fellows are expected to attend each scheduled event, and generally have one free evening to enjoy the city on their own.

Undergraduate Course Credit

Credit earned in your PPIA courses will often transfer to your undergraduate institution. Carnegie Mellon University PPIA fellows receive 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.

Leadership and Professional Development

Students may participate in workshops focused on negotiation techniques, leadership, and data visualization tools.

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, Health Care Analytics & IT, Information Security Policy & Management, Arts Management, and Entertainment Industry Management.



Travel and Check-in:             Thursday, June 9, 2022

Orientation:                             Friday, June 10, 2022

First Day of Classes:               Monday, June 13, 2022

Last Day of Program:             Friday, July 29, 2022

Move-out and Travel:             Saturday, July 30, 2022


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!


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