USC Price School of Public Policy

Policy Analysis Practicum





The Policy Analysis Practicum is the Price MPP capstone, in which students apply skills and knowledge gained throughout the program to a real-world policy issue and gain practical consulting experience in policy analysis. Students work in small teams to conduct research and identify policy-based opportunities on behalf of a client.

Clients are recruited by the instructor, and group assignments are made based on an assessment of student skills and interests. Most projects employ a mixed-methodology approach that reflects the breadth of the Price MPP curriculum.  Projects integrate quantitative methods (statistical analysis, operations research, or cost-benefit analysis) and qualitative methods such as interviewing, focus groups, and archival research.

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MPP Practicum

Dr. Musso with MPP students, who delivered their practicum presentation to the Congressional Research Service in Washington, D.C.

About the MPP Practicum Course

The Practicum is conducted over two semesters to allow for an iterative process of research, analysis and presentation. In September, student groups meet with the client to begin scoping the project. Students work independently to conduct a review of published literature on the assigned topic and collaborate to structure a proposal/work plan. Research continues into the spring semester. Work is supervised by program instructors, however students are expected to meet independently with the client. Group activities constitute about 10 hours per week of consulting time in the fall and 30 hours per week in the spring.

Deliverables include a review and proposal (to be approved by the client), a draft report to instructors (mid-April), and a draft report to the client. In early May, student groups will make a formal PowerPoint presentation and deliver the final report and a summary brief of findings. The client receives a well-written and professional policy report with accompanying documents.

MPP Practicum Clients

Past clients include non-profit organizations, advocacy groups, private firms, and government agencies.

In 2015, practicum clients included: the California Foundation for Commerce and Education, California School Finance Authority, California Senate Advisory Commission on Cost Control in State Government, The City Project, Civic Resource Group, Congressional Research Service, Council for Watershed Health, Fundar, Innovate Public Schools, Presidio Trust Group, Price Philanthropies/Copley-Price Family YMCA, ProCDMX, United Nations: Division for Public Administration and Development Management, United States Government Accountability Office, and the Youth Policy Institute.
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If interested in sponsoring a project, please contact Antonio Bento, Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in Public Policy (