The standard ten-course, ten-credit MSSP curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge base and analytical skills needed to participate in policy analysis, creation, and evaluation.

The MSSP+DA curriculum provides students with the core MSSP policy training and skills in the 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.

MSSP Core Courses

MSSP 628: Policy: Analysis of Issues, Strategy and Process

MSSP 629: Research & Evaluation Design

MSSP 630: Quantitative Reasoning

MSSP 631: Law and Social Policy

MSSP 897: Applied Linear Modeling

MSSP 668: Economics for Social Policy

MSSP 632: Capstone I: Policy Communications

MSSP 633: Capstone II: Policy Internship

MSSP XXX: Theory Elective

MSSP+DA Core Courses

MSSP 628: Policy: Analysis of Issues, Strategy & Process

MSSP 629: Research & Evaluation Design

MSSP 631: Law and Social Policy

MSSP 668: Economics for Social Policy

MSSP 710: Democratizing Data? Critical Data Studies in Algorithmic Governance

MSSP 897: Applied Linear Modeling and Lab

MSSP 607: Practical Data Science

MSSP 608: Practical Machine Learning

MSSP/SWRK 730: Community Mapping or MUSA 503 Modeling Geographic Objects

MSSP 634 Capstone I: Telling Stories with Data (0.5 CU)

MSSP 635 Capstone II: Policy Internship in Data Analytics (0.5 CU)

MSSP 606: Data Equitable Justice Lab (non-credit)

Social Policy Internships

Students in the MSSP program have the opportunity to practice their policy analysis skills and gain work experience through a required policy internship. The 6-8 week internship is structured on the basis of individual student interests and past social policy experience(s). When appropriate, students may complete the internship requirement at their current place of employment. Internships may occur anywhere in the United States or in another country best suited to the learning objectives of the student. In every case, the policy internship must consist of a minimum commitment of 150 hours. Credit for the internship is incorporated into the MSSP Capstone course.

The MSSP+DA provides students with competitive and cutting-edge opportunities for policy internships in data analytics that emphasize competency development in both policy analysis and data analytics. These parallel competencies position graduates to work in the fast growing and developing world of data analytics for social policy. Credit for the internship is incorporated into the MSSP+DA Capstone Seminar. The Data Analytics policy internship must consist of a minimum commitment of 150 hours.


Students in the MSSP program take three elective courses. Students in the MSSP+DA program take two elective courses.

Elective courses offer students the opportunity to maximize breadth in multiple substantive policy areas or to choose a specialized area of social policy analysis and conduct further research.

Elective courses may be identified in SP2, the Fels Institute, Perelman School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Wharton School of Business, Graduate School of Education, departments in the School of Arts and Sciences, and other Penn Schools and departments for possible approval.

Waiver Exam

MSSP students are eligible to elect to take a waiver exam for MSSP 630: Quantitative Reasoning. Any student who passes the waiver exam must take an MSSP elective in its place, which may include, but is not limited to, a more advanced research methods course.

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