Required Courses

NexPoint Tower Scholars are required to enroll in the 15 credit-hour minor in Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA).

  • Principles of Public Policy (PLSC 3320) OR International Political Economy (PLSC 3389)

    • Offered through political science and is open to all students

    • Subject to course offering, ideally taken fall of second year or spring of first year

  • Gateway to Global Policymaking (PPIA 2380)
    Study the interaction of policy problems, policy tools, and organizational structures at the local, national, and international levels

    • Taken spring of the second year

  • Junior Year Policy Seminar I: Theoretical Public Policy (PPIA 3301)
    Students develop critical skills in policy analysis, writing and presentation

    • Taken fall of the third year

  • Junior Year Policy Seminar II: Public Policy in Professional Practice (PPIA 3302)
    Students are tasked with a real-world policy problem, work on solving that problem, and finally report back to the client

  • Directed Research Project (PPIA 4306)
    Students are placed with a Dallas-based client to carry out research and solidify the practical experience gained in the two-semester junior year policy seminar

Organizations that students have been placed with include:

  • AT&T

  • City of Dallas

  • Department of Family & Protective Services

  • Emergent Risk International

  • George W. Bush Institute

  • NexPoint

  • Hunt Mexico

  • Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

  • Pointe Bello

  • Texas 2036

  • Texas Central Partners

  • Unlocking DOORS

  • Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Examples of policy projects include:

  • Evaluating the success of a current policy-initiative and determining policy recommendations moving forward.

  • Evaluating the implementation of a new initiative – What are the local/state challenges and policies that come in to play? How do you educate the community? Who is (or needs to be) involved in the process?

  • Evaluating a national/local policy and its implications for the company/organization.>

  • Determining the feasibility of a private-public partnership for a new initiative and identifying relevant actors at the local, state, and federal levels.


Students must also plan to take prior to their third year at SMU the required economics co-requisite course:

  • One Economics Pre-Requisite (or co-requisite)

    • ECO 1311 or ECO 1312; or,

    • AP Macroeconomics: 4 or better; or,

    • AP Microeconomics: 4 or better. 

To apply, go HERE.

If you have any questions, please contact us at