PPIA Fellows will complete the equivalent of four (4) undergraduate courses during the Junior Summer Institute (JSI). Courses will last for seven (7) weeks, will be just under 2 hours in length, and will meet either twice per week or three times per week. PPIA fellows should expect to complete assignments/quizzes/exams and presentations for each class. Courses will be graded as A, B, C, D or F by the instructor. PPIA fellows are expected to put forth the time and effort required to earn a grade of "B" or better in each course. Students must earn a "B” or better in each course in order to be eligible for PPIA graduate school benefits at the Heinz College.
The following four (4) courses are part of the PPIA Curriculum each summer: Statistics, Economics, Domestic Policy Analysis and International Policy Analysis. A fifth course will be chosen as an "alternative" class for those students who would not benefit from the Statistics or Economics course. We may choose to make this determination with the use of Exemption Exams during PPIA orientation or with a faculty review of your transcript just prior to the beginning of courses. The fifth course will be chosen closer to the start of the program.
Classes will be attended by PPIA students only. Heinz College generally welcomes twenty (20) students each summer to take part in the JSI. A PPIA fellow's exact class schedule will vary. You will receive your class schedule when you arrive to Pittsburgh.
Credit earned in these courses will often transfer to your undergraduate institution. Please refer to your home institution's transfer-credit policy to determine if they will count the PPIA coursework toward your undergraduate degree.
Following are the descriptions of the four (4) standard courses that are part of the PPIA JSI curriculum. The fifth (alternative) course and the course descriptions will be available to you once you are in Pittsburgh and prior to the start of class.
Couse 1 - Applied Statistics for Public Policy
Course Objectives: This course is an introduction to statistical methods. Students will obtain a working knowledge of:
a) Descriptive Statistics
b) Measures of Association
c) Difference of Means Tests, and
d) Regression Analysis
An objective of the course is to give students the skills necessary to solve practical public policy problems with different statistical and econometric methods. Students will learn how to statistically analyze data and interpret results obtained from the analysis. Students will complete a policy-relevant data analysis project that states a research question, proposes an analysis model, estimates the proposed model, and provides an interpretation of the results in the context of the policy problem.
Course 2 - Applied Microeconomics
Microeconomics is the study of how individuals make decisions given differing constraints and incentives. Because individuals make up firms, the labor force, the consumer base, and the economy, the study of individual decisions is essential for understanding how policies affect both individual and aggregate behavior and welfare.
At the end of this course, you will be able to:
Define basic microeconomic concepts such as welfare, efficiency, and equilibrium, and apply these concepts to current events
Discuss when and why the free market fails (and when it is best left alone)
Propose solutions to free market failures and critically evaluate the economic benefit of proposed policies
Clearly communicate this analysis to technical and non-technical audiences
The course is organized around a series of lectures on three critical topics: immigration, environmental 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, environmental policy, politics and climate change, 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.
Course 4 - International Policy Analysis Course: China Goes Global
The purpose of this seminar is to analyze China’s rise as a global economic, political and military 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:
China’s economic transformation and current political and human rights issues
China’s strategic and economic relations with the U.S., Russia, and Japan
China’s economic impact on Latin America and Africa
China’s relations with S.E Asian countries and conflicts in the S. China Sea
"Alternative" Course (Course 5): TBD
The "Alternative" course is for those students who exempt either Course 1: Applied Statistics for Public Policy, or Course 2: Applied Microeconomics. Exemption exams for these courses will be given during PPIA Orientation. Details of this alternative class will be given during Orientation.
We will embark on a weekend trip to Washington, D.C. in July. We will leave campus very early on Thursday, July 19, 2018 and will return mid-morning on the following Saturday, July 21, 2018. PPIA fellows will be given an exciting and busy itinerary to make the most of their time in our nation's capital. You will take part in a graduate school speaker panel and graduate school fair. Most of the PPIA Consortium schools will send representatives to Washington, D.C. so that you can meet and talk with them about their programs. In addition you 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.
The purpose of the lecture series and site visits in Pittsburgh are to introduce you to domestic and international policy topics and policy career fields. The results from a pre-survey will be used to determine speakers and site visits.