Heinz DC students meet with former U.S. Secretary for Transportation and Commerce Norman Mineta in the Policy Analysis Capstone Class.

After completing the first year in Pittsburgh, Heinz DC students undertake their final year of coursework in Washington taking a series of seminar classes (78 units total) designed to offer higher level skill development and application to real world policy and management issues.   Below is a sampling of current courses offered in DC:

Policy Analysis Capstone (12 units)

This class gives students exposure to policy leaders who have influenced, developed, and led U.S. and foreign policy. Through discussions, tabletop exercises and informal exchanges, students learn how theory intersects with policy practice and decisions are made in the real world. Recent speakers have included:

  • The Hon. Norman Y. Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation (2001-06) and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce (2000-01);
  • Vice Admiral Manson K. Brown (Ret., U.S. Coast Guard), Deputy Commandant for Mission Support (2012-14);
  • The Hon. Sandra Day OConnor, retired Associated Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1981-2006);
  • Mr. Colbert I. King, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post (1990-present);
  • The Hon. Bob Casey, Jr., U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania (2007-present);
  • The Hon. Paul O'Neill, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury (2001-02) and former President of Alcoa, Inc. (1987-99);
  • The Hon. Dick Thornburgh, former Under-Secretary General at the United Nations (1992-93), former U.S. Attorney General (1988-91), and former Governor of Pennsylvania (1979-87).

Policy Topics (24 units)

A series of four policy mini courses (6 units each) are offered to provide students with exposure to several different policy areas, allowing students to gain an understanding of how the tools of policy analysis can be used across sectors and industries. Recent classes have included:

  • Global Health Strategy
  • Federal Budget Policy
  • International Development Policy
  • Cybersecurity Policy

Policy Methods (24 Units)

The trademark of a Carnegie Mellon degree is the foundation of quantitative analysis, and the second-year method-based classes build on the tools acquired during the first year in Pittsburgh. The quantitative skills taught in these courses are highly sought after in public interest organizations.

  • Program Evaluation
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis

Systems Synthesis (15 units)

A hallmark of the Heinz College degree, this capstone class provides an opportunity for students to work in teams over the course of their final semester to tackle a real world issue. In past years, systems projects in DC have focused on:

Domestic issues:

  • U.S. Small Business Administration: “Analyzing Support for Women Entrepreneurs"
  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management: “Collaborate. Innovate. Evaluate. Innovation in the Federal Government through the Lab @ OPM”
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security: “Civil Immigration Enforcement: A Process Analysis”

International issues:

  • U.S. Department of State: "Fostering Performance and Outcomes Measurement in the TechCamp Program"
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation: “Investor Outreach at MCC: Strategies to Increase Post Compact Investment”
  • United Nations World Food Programme: “Assessment of Government Capacity for Meeting Nutritional Needs in the Latin American & Caribbean Region”

Nonprofit issues:

  • D.C. Central Kitchen: “Evaluating the Healthy Corners Program”
  • National Academy of Sciences: “Women in IT: Recruit Them and Retain Them”
  • National Council on Aging: “Developing the Aging Mastery Program”

Washington Seminar (3 units)

This class brings students together for periodic sessions to share experiences, build skills for professional development and engage in mentoring and coaching. Past sessions have included Strengthsfinder 2.0, Managing Up, Negotiation and Developing Your Networks.


(Please note: courses and faculty are subject to change.)