Are you prepared to create a lasting impact on our world? Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy extends a unique invitation to seize an extraordinary opportunity. We're offering up to 30 promising students the chance to develop essential skills for addressing urgent societal issues and preparing for graduate studies in public policy and international affairs. Located on CMU's scenic Pittsburgh campus, our seven-week Junior Summer Institute (JSI) equips students with the tools to tackle complex challenges while promoting awareness and career aspirations in public service. The program presents two unique tracks designed to cater to a wide range of interests and career aspirations:

1. Flagship Track: This track places a strong emphasis on the analysis of both domestic and international policies, nurturing leadership abilities, and honing quantitative skills.

2. Data Analytics Track: Specializing in the utilization of data analytics to tackle pressing societal issues, this track also focuses on fostering leadership skills and strengthening quantitative capabilities.

Both tracks provide students with a $2,000 stipend, a meal allowance of $1,000, a round-trip airfare ticket, university housing, an official Carnegie Mellon University transcript, and required books. JSI alumni from both tracks become eligible for full tuition scholarships and additional financial awards if admitted to Heinz College master's degree programs.

Competitive applicants for both tracks should have completed at least one college-level algebra course. 

At the graduate level, Heinz College offers a diverse array of compelling public policy programs, including the prestigious flagship Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM) program, a cutting-edge MSPPM: Data Analytics pathway designed to empower students with essential data science skills, and the unique MSPPM: Washington D.C. pathway, offering a dynamic blend of policy analysis and hands-on experience through a fellowship with a prominent DC-based organization. These programs are all aimed at addressing societal challenges using evidence-based approaches and technology.


Flagship 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).

Understanding 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. It will provide students with a background in descriptive statistics, univariate and bivariate data analysis, and summarizing findings from a statistical analysis.  The topics covered include:  descriptive statistics, probability theory, random sampling, and hypothesis testing. 

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 Microeconomics 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:

Telling Stories with Data (Subject to Change)

Data visualization is the art of understanding how humans understand our visual environment and of applying that knowledge to the visual representation of information. The ability to effectively tell a story through data can be the difference between an initiative being successful, research being remembered, or a story that leads to action. Part art, part science, visualizing data is a process that is both well established in some disciplines while also rapidly changing and evolving in others. Students will learn to critique and create data visualizations using different methods. Students will explore various aspects to visualization as we deconstruct and reconstruct visualizations, learning how others use different approaches to communicate effectively. We'll dig into data in different ways to help our readers understand complex issues, and finally experiment with new ways to represent data about our work, our community, and ourselves. Students will get hands-on training and experimentation with a number of tools, and have some flexibility to concentrate on mediums that best match their desired outcomes and skills for a final project (print, digital, interactive or immersive).

Understanding Systems of Oppression

See above.

Applied Statistics for Public Policy

See above.

Applied Microeconomics 

See above.


In addition to coursework, our program offers a rich array of co-curricular experiences designed to inspire a passion for public service careers, nurture leadership development, and equip our students for seamless graduate school admissions. These experiences include engaging speaker series, personalized one-on-one coaching for both career and graduate admissions, and enjoyable recreational adventures within the vibrant city of Pittsburgh.

Washington D.C. Trip

Carnegie Mellon University PPIA students will immerse themselves in an exciting weekend experience at the heart of Washington D.C. During this adventure, they will actively engage in a dynamic graduate school fair, creating a unique chance to network with admissions representatives from a majority of PPIA Consortium schools, which include some of the nation's leading master's programs in public policy and international affairs.  Furthermore, their visit to Heinz College's D.C. office promises stimulating interactions with influential public service leaders and the chance to establish meaningful connections with our esteemed alumni residing in the nation's capital.

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: TBD

Orientation: TBD

First Day of Classes: TBD

Last Day of Program: TBD

Move-out and Travel: TBD


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!