Minor in Public Policy & International Affairs

APPLY TO BE A TOWER SCHOLAR

The Tower Center and Dedman College have created a distinctive, multidisciplinary minor that will enable Tower Scholars to combine their academic major with experience in the real world of public policy and international affairs through the Minor in Public Policy and International Affairs.

This exceptional course of study will bring policy practitioners into the classroom so students have the opportunity to learn both from full-time faculty who study policy and from visiting professors who craft it. Combining strong academic training in policy analysis with practical experience will teach students how to turn their ideas into actions, launching them into leadership roles on campus and in the public and private sectors after graduation.

The invitation-only minor is open to all majors across the schools, with admission based on a competitive application process.

The Minor in Public Policy and International Affairs is scheduled to accept applications for Tower Scholars in the fall of 2014, with the first accepted cohort starting the course of study in the spring of 2015.

  • Experience Outside of Classroom

    The selective Public Policy and International Affairs Minor will prepare Tower Scholars for success by combining a strong academic background with practical experience beyond the classroom.

  • Real World Policy Analysis

    Tower Scholars will learn how to turn their ideas into action, as undergraduates and throughout their careers.

  • Unique Opportunities

    Few programs nationwide offer such unique, enriching and comprehensive programs for undergraduates, and no university in the region even comes close.

A World Class Program


This invitation-only minor requires 15 hours of political science courses. During the spring semester of their second year, Tower Scholars are required to take an Introduction to Global Policy Making course (PLSC 2380). During their junior year, students meet with actual clients, are tasked with a real-world policy problem, work on solving that problem, and finally report back to the client during the two-semester Junior Year Policy Seminar (PLSC 3301 & 3302). The minor also requires an Internship (PLSC 4306 may be used to fulfill a student’s engaged learning credit) to solidify the practical experience gained in the two-semester junior year policy seminar. The courses mentioned above will only be open to those admitted to the Minor in Public Policy and International Affairs. The fifth required course is Principles of Public Policy (currently offered as PLSC 3320, and as such, open to other students as well), and it may be taken at any time during the student’s college career. In addition, the Tower Scholars must take both an Economics and a quantitative course as co-requisites or pre-requisites, attaining the grade of C- or better, and completing the courses before they begin their junior year. Students will be deemed to have met the Economics pre-requisite (or co-requisite) if they attain the grade of C- or better in one of the following courses: ECO 1311, ECO 1312, a Macroeconomics Advanced Placement Test score of 4 or better, or a Microeconomics Advanced Placement Test score of 4 or better. Students will be deemed to have met the quantitative pre-requisite (or co-requisite) if they attain the grade of C- or better in one of the following courses: ITOM 2305, MATH 1309, MATH 1337, SOCI 3311, SOCI 3312, STAT 2301, STAT 2331, STAT 4340 or a Statistics Advanced Placement Test score of 4 or better.

Required Courses

  • Introduction to Global Policy Making (PLSC 2380)
  • Junior Year Policy Seminar (two semesters in PLSC 3301 & 3302)
    • PLSC 3301 meets UC Information Literacy and Oral Communication Proficiencies and Experiences and the Individuals, Institutions and Cultures Level II Pillar
    • PLSC 3302 meets UC Capstone and Oral Communication and Community Engagement Proficiencies and Experiences
  • Internship (PLSC 4306) may be used to fulfill a student's engaged learning credit
  • Principles of Public Policy (PLSC 3320)

Economics Pre-requisite (or co-requisite)

  • ECO 1311, ECO 1312, a Macroeconomics Advanced Placement Test score of 4 or better, or a Microeconomics Advanced Placement Test score of 4 or better.

Quantitative Pre-requisite (or co-requisite)

  • ITOM 2305, MATH 1309, MATH 1337, SOCI 3311, SOCI 3312, STAT 2301, STAT 2331, STAT 4340 or a Statistics Advanced Placement Test score of 4 or better.

Recruiting the Students


Admission to the Minor in Public Policy and International Affairs may be earned by current SMU students and transfer students who are currently enrolled at SMU via the admissions requirements below. Students must apply in the fall of their second year to be considered, and students who apply to be Tower Scholars must (1) have a GPA of 3.3 and (2) agree to complete the pre/co-requisites set out above. The selection process for choosing the Tower Scholars will be based on merit and determined by an application and interview process.

Applicants must submit the following four items:

(1) transcript(s) of all grades;

(2) a form listing contact information, areas of study, awards, interests and activities;

(3) a 1500 word essay as described in the application; and

(4) two letters of recommendation, at least one of which should be written by an SMU faculty member. 

The applicant pool will be evaluated using a variety of relevant criteria, including but not limited to: the relevance of public policy to a student’s career goals, a strong academic record, a strong extracurricular record with demonstrated interest in community and/or public service, demonstrated leadership and sense of social responsibility, and excellent written communication skills. The selection committee will be recruiting students from a diversity of majors and schools, as well as considering diversity broadly defined. Once the applicant pool has been evaluated, a select number will move on to the final stage of the application process, which is an interview with the Tower Scholars Selection Committee. In addition to all of the criteria listed above, the selection committee will seek to evaluate the verbal communication skills of each candidate and will expect candidates to be able to express why becoming a Tower Scholar would be meaningful given their specific career goals.

Application deadline: October 15, 2014

Join us to learn about becoming a Tower Scholar.


Information sessions will be held on Wednesdays at 4:30 PM on 10/1, and at 12:00 Noon on 9/17 & 10/8.

Tower Center Boardroom
Carr Collins Hall, Room 227

To RSVP for one of the sessions, please fill out this form.

If you are unable to attend these sessions, please email towerscholars@smu.edu to set up an individual appointment.

Support the Minor in Public Policy and International Affairs for Tower Scholars


The Minor in Public Policy and International Affairs for a Tower Scholar is a distinctive interdisciplinary program that will enable a select group of students to combine their academic major with experience in the real world of policymaking and international affairs. This exceptional program brings practitioners of public policy into the classroom on a regular basis to give students the opportunity to learn both from full-time faculty who analyze public policy and from visiting professors-of-the practice who currently craft it.

Support the Minor in Public Policy and International Affairs for a Tower Scholar and help us launch our students into their 21st century leadership roles.

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