PPIA Program

“Diversity & Leadership in Public Service”

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Program Overview
The institute will provide 20 students the opportunity to develop the skills needed for admission into the nation’s top policy programs. This seven-week program will be held on the Carnegie Mellon campus and provide intensive training in policy, quantitative, communication and leadership areas. Introductory sections of statistics and economics are offered. Students take four classes and attend classes five days a week and receive course grades, an official Carnegie Mellon University transcript, and an evaluation of individual progress at the conclusion of the program. Current H. John Heinz III College MSPPM students, PhD candidates and recent graduates serve as teaching assistants, leading discussion seminars and providing tutorial resources.

Students receive:   $1,000 stipend, meal allowance of $1,000, one round-trip airfare ticket, university housing, required books, and GRE preparatory course discount.


Applied Statistics for Public Policy

This course is an intensive introduction to statistical methods. It is designed for students who want to do data analysis and to study further ideas in applied statistics with a focus on public policy. The topics covered include: – Descriptive Statistics – Elementary Probability – Random Sampling – Controlled Experiments – Hypothesis Testing – Regression – Analysis of Variance Emphasis will be placed on the statistical reasoning underlying the methods. Students will also become familiar with the use of a statistical software package. Note: The material in this course is cumulative in nature. Thus, it is important to not fall behind in your reading or assignments or you will find yourself lost.

Applied Economics

This course introduces microeconomic theory – the study of how individuals make decisions given the constraints that they face, and the consequences of the decisions they make. Because it allows us to understand how different incentives will affect the behavior and welfare of consumers, households, firms, and other types of individuals, microeconomics is extremely useful for understanding, analyzing and implementing public policies. As the course progresses, we will see many examples that illustrate the broad applicability of economics to public policy issues. By the end of this course, you should be able to (1) understand the core concepts of microeconomic analysis, (2) apply these concepts in order to analyze new situations, policy proposals, controversies, etc. and (3) be able to use the logic and language of microeconomics in order to effectively communicate the conclusions of your analyses to both technical and non-technical audiences.

China Goes Global

The purpose of this seminar is to analyze China’s rise as a global economic and political power and discuss China’s impact on the global economy and international political and strategic relations. The main sections of the course will be geared to analyze: 1. China’s economic transformation 2. China’s strategic and economic relations with the U.S., Russia, and Japan 3.China’s economic impact on Latin America and Africa and 4. China’s relations with S.E Asian countries and conflicts in the S. China Sea.

Policy Analysis Seminar:  Critical US Policies Issues

The course is organized around a series of lectures on three critical topics: immigration, climate change and health care policy. Each of the sections will provide the students with the analytical skills required to conduct policy analysis in different policy areas and the basic knowledge needed to understand these policy issues.

The course will discuss immigration policies and their economic impact, climate change, US policy in a global context, and policy applications at the local level, and health care policies in the US with a focus on the history of healthcare legislation, the Health Care Reform Law of 2010 and its impact

An alternative course for students who exempt Statistics or Economics will be available.


Washington D.C Trip

Carnegie Mellon University PPIA students will embark on a weekend trip to Washington, DC in July. PPIA fellows will be given an exciting and busy itinerary to make the most of their time in our nation’s capital.   CMU and Princeton fellows participate in a graduate school speaker panel and graduate school fair in Washington DC. Most of the PPIA Consortium schools will send representatives to Washington, DC so that students can meet and talk with them about their programs. In addition fellows will visit the Heinz College’s D.C. office and listen to panels and presentations by PPIA and Carnegie Mellon alumni and faculty. PPIA fellows are expected to attend each scheduled event, and will 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 their home institution. Please refer to your home institution’s transfer-credit policy to determine if you are permitted to transfer in credit from your PPIA coursework.

Each week, leaders in the public and non-profit sectors will meet with students to discuss issues, challenges and rewards in public and non-profit management.

Students will enjoy a wide variety of opportunities to learn about policy and management in practice: site visits to key organizations; training in conflict negotiation techniques; faculty discussing their research and its impact on policy; and opportunities to get engaged in and enjoy the local community.

Career Planning 

Career Services Workshops: Career Services provides top-tier services to students, alumni, and employers. They will 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 participants’ resume 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.

GRE Preparation: Students will have the option to purchase a GRE class at a significant discount.  Class prices depend on the option selected by the student. The Heinz College will cover 50% of the cost and participating students must use money from their stipend to pay for the remaining balance.

Scholarship Support for Graduate Studies

  • Students who successfully complete any PPIA Junior Summer Institute and are admitted to the Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM) or the Master of Science in Health Care Policy and Management (MSHCPM) programs at the Heinz College will receive a minimum of a half-tuition and up to full-tuition scholarship and a stipend of $6,000 per year.
  • Program Administrators:
    • Gladys Perez, Director, Carnegie Mellon PPIA Junior Summer Institute and MSPPM Program Director
    • David Eber, Director of Admissions & Financial Aid


Program Begins: June 13, 2019

Program Ends: August 3, 2019

Contact Information
PPIA Junior Summer Institute at Carnegie Mellon University
H. John Heinz III College
Hamburg Hall 1118
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Email: heinz-ppia@andrew.cmu.edu 

Learn more about the CMU JSI and H. John Heinz III College!