Master of Science in Public Policy and Data Science

Leverage Pivotal Data and Analytics

Build Joint Expertise in Data Science and Policy

Analytics and big data are essential to policy development in both public and private sectors. Bolster your ability to make data-driven decisions and open doors to constantly-expanding career opportunities with the USC Price School of Public Policy and USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Master of Science in Public Policy Data Science (MPPDS).

The MS in Public Policy and Data Science builds unique proficiencies with an emphasis on public policy, and teaches you to leverage data science to:

Students on the steps of City Hall

With a vast range of applications – including crime pattern identification, traffic light synchronization, fair housing practices, health care access, transit usage, education financing and more – there will be no shortage of fields for you to apply your newly-gained expertise.

“I chose USC Price for the Public Policy Data Science program which falls at the intersection of my passions for data and public service. The program perfectly supplements my current job as a Research Programmer in the health policy field, and there have been many times when I took what I learned in class directly to the field. The skills I am learning in my courses are laying the groundwork for everything that I want to do in my career. USC Price also offers a multitude of seminars and labs that provide something for a wide variety of interests. Not only that, but the community of students, staff, and faculty at Price are incredibly supportive. I am grateful to be connected to a network of like-minded individuals with diverse passions, striving for a better world.”
Patricia Ferido, MPPDS '21

Why Public Policy and Data Science?

Man looking at data on large monitors

The effective use of big data holds the potential to revolutionize how public policy is created. In Southern California alone, nearly every governmental agency now has a dedicated big data and/or innovation unit, while several leading technology companies, including IBM and Google, have created specialized divisions and products aimed at leveraging these tools in the public policy realm. Understanding and knowing how to effectively utilize big data is crucial for work in nongovernmental organizations and nonprofits as well.

Upon graduating you will be prepared to:

Shalini Mustala

“I believe that USC Price will help me in understanding the possible ways in which data science can be used for data-driven policy making. The coursework is a perfect combination of public policy analysis and applied data science. The projects and practicum that we get to do as a part of the curriculum help in gaining an insight of the practical applications. I believe that the skills I am gaining at Price will give me confidence and the right perspective for fulfilling my career goals.”

Shalini Mustala
Graduate Student, Public Policy Data Science

Designed to Meet Your Needs

The MPPDS program culminates with a capstone project in which you work with a real-world client, producing a consultant’s report that not only addresses a compelling challenge, but also demonstrates your abilities for prospective employers in this burgeoning job market. Options for capstone study include a big data project for local governance, security and smart cities, sustainable transportation and more.

data graph

The MPPDS also offers electives that help you focus your professional interests, in addition to core courses that bridge public policy and big data. Sample MPPDS courses include:

Data and data science are revolutionizing policy and policy making. The dissemination of information which was once difficult to obtain is transforming how citizens, organizations, and nations make critical decisions. The nexus of policy and information stands as a new frontier. Governments find the combination of low-cost computing power and vast numbers of wide ranging applications of data analytics encourage new and powerful insights to be generated.

The USC Price program offers the perfect balance of management science, policy analysis, and data science to empower students to become future leaders in the government, non-profit, and non-governmental sectors. I faced the challenging task of finding a graduate program that conjoined robust policy analysis and data science among the many schools which offer a joint master’s program in data science and public policy. Faced with this choice today, the USC Price Master of Science in Public Policy Data Science would be at the top of any list.

Brandon F. De Bruhl MPP '15
USC Price Alumni and Policy Professional, Washington, D.C. Former Google Policy Fellow