Course Dates and Time

November 12-13, 2019

March 10-11, 2020  

10:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m.

 Course Cost

Regular Tuition: $1,995

Course cost includes a light breakfast, coffee breaks, lunch, and class materials. It does not include housing.

Ready to Evaluate?


Register for November 12-13, 2019

Register for March 10-11, 2020

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What Works? Program Evaluation Techniques for Policy Managers 

The policy process is increasingly data-driven, but it is often challenging to make sense of competing estimates of programs’ impacts.  This two-day course will help you to understand where these estimates come from and which ones are the most credible. You will develop a more sophisticated understanding of the critical distinction between causation and correlation, you will learn about techniques that can provide plausible estimates of policies’ true impacts, and you will learn why these techniques often work…and why they sometimes don’t.

You need no prior exposure to these concepts to take the course.  We will be following a “ground-up” approach, under the assumption that you are learning the material for the first time.

Course Goals

By the end of the class, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish between correlational and causal evidence of programs’ impacts;
  • Understand how to evaluate evidence produced by a range of analytical techniques, including randomized trials, simulation modeling,instrumental variables analysis, statistical matching, difference-in-differences, and regression discontinuity; and
  • Be able to explain in clear, jargon-free language how these techniques work and when they are (or are not) likely to prove useful as guides for policy formulation.

Target Audience

This course is for: 

  • Managers who supervise staff engaged in program evaluation activities;
  • Professionals who advise policymakers and wish to develop a stronger evidence base for their recommendations; and 
  • Analysts at research organizations, government agencies, and nonprofits who seek to develop a more rigorous understanding of program evaluation techniques.



Adam Thomas has been faculty member at the McCourt School since 2010.  He teaches courses in quantitative methods, microeconomics, and thesis development, and he has extensive experience teaching mid-career policy professionals at both Georgetown and at Harvard Universities.  Prior to coming to Georgetown, Adam was a researcher at The Brookings Institution. His research has been published in leading journals in several different fields, including The American Journal of Public Health,the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, The Future of Children, and The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  His work has also been cited in a variety of media outlets, including The Economist,The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Congressional Quarterly, National Public Radio, and Slate.  He received his Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.



Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

Students who complete this course will earn 1.2 continuing education units.

Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) Alignment

The content of this course covers competencies addressed by the following ECQs: Leading Change; Business Acumen; Results Driven.

Ready to Evaluate?


Register for November 12-13, 2019

Register for March 10-11, 2020

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Additional Executive Institute Courses

Develop new skills by participating in another short course this year.


Questions? Contact Our Executive Education Team

Whether you are looking to broaden your skill set or are seeking to customize an educational experience for a group of employees, we can help you find or build the right program to fit your needs, schedule, and budget.

 (202) 687-2253
 Email Us