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) 
    • 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
    • Taken spring of the third year
  • 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
    • Students may apply to have this course as an Engaged Learning credit
    • Taken fall of the fourth year

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
  • Highland Capital Management
  • Hunt Mexico
  • Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute 
  • Pointe Bello
  • Texas 2036
  • Texas Central Partners
  • Unlocking DOORS

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.


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