Increase equality. Promote equity. Forge policy change.

  • Natalie Lau

    Alumni Stories

    Reimagining the Purpose of Capital: MSSP Grad Named a Winner of 49th St. Gallen Symposium Essay Competition

    Natalie Lau, a Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP) student at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), has been named as a winner of the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award. The... Read More

  • Alice Cooper

    Student Life

    Toward Equitable Education for All: MSSP Student Channels Social Policy Theory into Social Good

    For Alice Cooper, an MSSP (Master of Science in Social Policy Program) student at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), social policy theory and practice are inextricably linked. Cooper earned her B.A. in Political... Read More

  • Penn JD MSSP Cohort 2018 poses

    Student Life

    Answering the Call for Social Change: MSSP/JD Degree Sees Significant Enrollment Increase

    Regardless of party affiliations, the current political climate in America can be characterized as a whirlwind – intense and unpredictable. The silver lining, however, comes in the form of our emerging policymakers and social change... Read More

MSSP

The Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP) is an eleven-month, ten-course program that prepares professionals with knowledge and skills to use policy to increase equality, promote equity, and forge social change. MSSP graduates are prepared for policy leadership positions in government, philanthropic foundations, research institutes, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations, and other related settings, through:

  • Understanding the world views, assumptions, and philosophies underlying all policy solutions;
  • Understanding how decisions about social policy issues are made, shaped and influenced at local, state, national and global levels;
  • Formulating a social reform agenda that is evidence-based and aims at improving the equity, effectiveness, and efficiency of policy creation and implementation; and
  • Generating and considering a wide array of policy options to address social problems.

The program is designed for:

  • Early and mid-career professionals engaged in policy work in a wide variety of organizational settings;
  • Bachelor’s degree recipients who wish to develop policy skills; and
  • Students pursuing other advanced degrees at Penn who wish to have a graduate degree in social policy. The MSSP may be combined with the following degrees: Master of Social Work (MSW), Master of Public Health (MPH), and Juris Doctor (JD).

MSSP+DA

The MSSP program + Data Analytics for Social Policy Certificate (MSSP+DA) is a new 12-course, three-to-four-semester offering. MSSP+DA is a STEM-designated degree.

Despite the unquestionable relevance and powerful utility of the social analysis of digital data, there are currently not enough professionals trained in the substantive knowledge and skills of social policy analysis and data analytics. Data analytics developed as the multidisciplinary convergence of computer science, statistics, and cognitive sciences. Adding the discipline of social policy to this convergence, SP2’s Master of Science in Social Policy program plus the Data Analytics for Social Policy Certificate (MSSP + DA) is the first to train students explicitly in the use of data analytics for social policy analysis, research and evaluation. The MSSP + DA provides cutting edge training for the growing and highly needed professionals of data analytics for social policy.

The MSSP + DA curriculum provides students with core policy courses. The MSSP + DA curriculum also provides students with core training and skills in the conceptual foundations of data analytics, programming of data structures, applications of machine learning and predictive analytics, spatial analytics, and the data processing techniques for web scraping and data visualization for a broader public audience. Students will learn program languages such as SAS, R, Java, Python, GIS, and ArcGIS for the processing, cleaning, and analyzing of digital data for social policy.

Throughout the program, the data analytic material is taught in relationship with the various theories, approaches, and domains of social policy analysis. The MSSP + DA also provides students with competitive and cutting-edge opportunities for policy internships in data analytics, positioning graduates to work in the fast growing and developing world of data analytics for social policy.

The full-time course of study will be completed in three to four semesters, providing an intensive and competitive program and comprehensive skill training in data analytics for social policy. No variation or extension in the MSSP + DA is possible.

Faculty Policy Experts

Faculty Policy Experts

Faculty Policy Experts

Meet the MSSP program faculty experts.

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Admissions & Application

Admissions & Application

Admissions & Application

Review admissions requirements and tuition information for the MSSP and MSSP+DA.

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Curriculum

Curriculum

Curriculum

The MSSP and MSSP+DA curriculums are designed to provide students with the knowledge base and analytical skills to participate in policy analysis, creation, and evaluation.

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Readings for Incoming Students

Readings for Incoming Students

Readings for Incoming Students

Review the required reading list for incoming students.

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Contact Information

Contact Information

Contact Information

View contact information for Admissions and MSSP program staff.

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FAQs

FAQs

FAQs

View frequently asked questions about SP2's MSW program.

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SP2 News

Control Societies speaker series

Faculty & Research

Innovative SP2 Faculty-Founded Speaker Series Awarded Additional Year of Grant Funding

As part of an ongoing University-wide initiative to foster diversity and inclusion, the Excellence Through Diversity Fund, awarded annually by the Provost’s...

Christina Bach on Penn's campus

Faculty & Research, Alumni Stories

Oncology Social Workers: Navigating Health Care and Supporting Families

When Christina Bach tells people what she does for a living, they usually respond with, “Oh, I could never do...

Imrul Mazid

Student Life

Connecting Communities: NPL Student & AMCLI Fellow Reflects on Muslim American Nonprofit Leadership

For Imrul Mazid, a student in the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) program at Penn’s School of Social...

Catherine Wilsnack and Allison Werner-Lin

Faculty & Research, Alumni Stories

SP2 Alumna Earns National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Research Training Award Fellowship

For the last decade, Allison Werner-Lin, PhD, LCSW, associate professor at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), has...

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