The Master of Science in Data Science Public Policy (MS-DSPP) is a 39-credit degree program, divided into core (required) courses, elective courses, and seminars.

  • Type of Degree

    Master’s Degree

  • Format

    On-Campus, Full-time

  • Length

    2 Years

  • Department

    MS-DSPP Programs

Core Courses Anchor

Core Courses

The core courses emphasize analytical skills and core knowledge for designing and managing sound public policy.

Quantitative Social Sciences (6 credits)

  • PPOL 560 Accelerated Statistics for Public Policy I (3 credits)
  • PPOL 561 Accelerated Statistics for Public Policy II (3 credits)

Foundations of Public Policy (9 credits)

  • PPOL 506 Intermediate Microeconomics I (3 credits)
  • PPOL 510 Policy Process; or PPOL 511: Comparative Policy Process (3 credits)
  • PPOL 514 Public Management; or PPOL 515: Comparative Public Management (3 credits)

Civic Data Science (15 credits)

  • PPOL 563 Data Visualization (3 credits)
  • PPOL 564 Data Science I: Foundations (3 credits)
  • PPOL 565 Data Science II: Applied Statistical Learning (3 credits)
  • PPOL 566 Data Science III: Advanced Modeling Techniques (3 credits)
  • PPOL 567 Massive Data Fundamentals (3 credits) or PPOL 740: Relational Database Sys & SQL (3 credits)

Ethics and Law (1.5 credits)

Communication (1.5 credits)

  • PPOL 569 Communication for Data Science (1.5 credits)
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Electives Anchor

Electives

The remaining 6 credits can come from any course offered within either the McCourt School of Public Policy or the Graduate School’s MS-DS. Students with prior coursework equivalent to core courses may be allowed to test out of or waive these courses and take electives in their place. Note that the total number of credits required for graduation does not change for students who test out of core courses.

DSPP students may take additional electives, subject to the following Graduate School rules. Graduating students may take additional credits in their final semester as long as they have a 3.5 or higher. Students will need to pay for these credits. McCourt and other graduate masters students under the Graduate School are charged per credit, regardless of how many credits they take. Please note that per the Graduate Bulletin (III D.), “Students will not be allowed to register for additional credits beyond those required for graduation for the purpose of raising an inadequate GPA.” In addition, as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin (III A. 2), students are permitted to officially audit courses, but they must register with the instructor’s permission and pay for the course. They can then switch to audit via an add/drop form, and it will appear as an AU on their transcript. We are not allowed to promote unofficial audits, but sometimes faculty will give permission to students to unofficially audit the class. They do not have to pay for the class, and it does not go on their transcript.

Please see below for a sample list of electives offered over the past academic year. This list is not exhaustive and additional courses can be found on the Registrar’s Schedule of Classes. McCourt students also have the opportunity to take electives in other Georgetown graduate programs as well as through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Please contact Director of Academic Affairs Nirmala Fernandes at nf168@georgetown.edu for more information.

 

SAMPLE RECENT ELECTIVE OFFERINGS

  • Methods including courses such as:
    • PPOL 628 Text As Data: Computational Linguistics
    • PPOL 683 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Applications
    • PPOL 704 Data Science Practicum
    • PPOL 760 Time Series
    • PPOL 761 Networks
    • PPOL 762 Big Data Policy
    • PPOL 740 Databases
    • PPOL 788 Public Problem Solving in the Digital Age
  • U.S. Domestic Economic Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 614 The Federal Budget in a Time of Madness
    • PPOL 623 National Economic Issues
    • PPOL 649 Macroeconomics
    • PPOL 758 Foreign Direct Investments in the US
    • PPOL 759 Getting People to Behave
  • International Economic Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 608 Asian Economic Development
    • PPOL 676 International Financial Institutions
    • PPOL 677 International Trade Policy & Negotiations
    • PPOL 734 Latin American Economic Development
  • Development Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 638 International Health
    • PPOL 647 International Social Development Policy
    • PPOL 681 BRICS & The Global Economy
    • PPOL 685 History and Theory of Development
    • PPOL 703 Political Economy of Foreign Aid
    • PPOL 780 Economic Complexity & Development
  • Political Strategy and Governance including courses such as:
    • PPOL 600 The Press & the Presidency
    • PPOL 612 Federalism & Intergovernmental Relations in the U.S.
    • PPOL 627 Identity Politics & Interest Groups
    • PPOL 632 Strategic Advocacy: Lobbying/Interest Groups
    • PPOL 657 Policy, Politics & the Media
  • Education Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 655 Education Productivity: Teachers & Technology Effects
    • PPOL 672 Topics: Post Secondary Education
    • PPOL 797 New Players in Education: Charter Schools
  • Environmental & Regulatory Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 613 Environmental and Natural Resources Economics
    • PPOL 636 Energy, Society & Politics in Developing Countries
    • PPOL 687 Nuclear Power, Climate Change, Clean Power
    • PPOL 711 Sustainable Development
  • Health Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 604 Health Care Quality: Recent Policy Issues
    • PPOL 642 Health Policy & Politics
    • PPOL 643 Health Care Access Demand Issues
    • PPOL 798 Politics & Policies of Addiction and Recovery
  • Homeland Security Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 688 Homeland Security
    • PPOL 692 Capacity Building/Counter-terrorism (previously Post Conflict Reconstruction)
    • PPOL 694 Cyber Conflict and National Security Policy
  • Management & Leadership such as:
    • PPOL 612 Federalism/Intergovernmental Relations
    • PPOL 633 Women and Leadership
    • PPOL 663 Public Leadership
    • PPOL 699 The Power & Influence of Philanthropy: Local, National, Global
    • PPOL 748 Negotiation
  • Public Management including courses such as:
    • PPOL 639 Strategic Planning & Public Policy
    • PPOL 663 Public Leadership
    • PPOL 680 Risk Management
    • PPOL 756 Contracting
    • PPOL 779 Agency Rulemaking & Adjudication: How Fed Govt Does Business
  • Social Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 604 Policy/Politics of Entitlements
    • PPOL 607 Child Development
    • PPOL 611 The War on Drugs: Causes, Consequences and Alternatives (formerly US Drug Policy & Its Consequences)
    • PPOL 659 Race, Faith & Politics
    • PPOL 664 Tax Policy
    • PPOL 745 U.S. Immigration Policy
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Course Sequence Anchor

Course Sequence

A typical course sequence for MS-DSPP full-time students appears below.

Full-time MS-DSPP students complete the program in two years.

 

Year One: Fall Semester

  • PPOL 506 — Intermediate Microeconomics
  • PPOL 510 / PPOL 511 — Public Policy Process/Comparative Policy Process
  • PPOL 560 — Accelerated Stats for Public Policy I
  • PPOL 564 — Data Science I: Foundations

Year One: Spring Semester

  • PPOL 561 — Accelerated Stats for Public Policy II
  • PPOL 565 — Data Science II: Applied Statistical Learning
  • PPOL 568 — Data Ethics (1.5 credits)
  • PPOL 569 — Communication for Data Science (1.5 credits)

Year Two: Fall Semester

  • PPOL 563 — Data Visualization
  • PPOL 566 — Data Science III: Advanced Modeling Techniques
  • Elective

Year Two: Spring Semester

  • PPOL 514/515 — Public Management/Comparative Public Management
  • PPOL 567 — Massive Data Fundamentals (or PPOL 740 which is offered in Year Two: Fall Semester, then students can take an elective)
  • Elective
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Data Science in Action Seminars Anchor

Data Science in Action Seminars

The Data Science for Public Policy program hosts Data Science in Action Seminars approximately once every month. These sessions allow students to directly interact with leading experts who are applying data science to important policy challenges. Experts on our schedule include:

 

  • Kirk Borne, Principal Data Scientist and Executive Advisor at Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Jeff Chen, Chief Innovation Officer of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • Matt Denny, Research Scientist at Facebook
  • Subha Madhavan, Chief Data Scientist at the Georgetown University Medical Center and Director of the Innovation Center for Biomedical Informatics
  • Graham MacDonald, Chief Data Scientist, Urban Institute
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