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Master of Science in Public Policy and Data Science

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Fill out this form to hear from a Price admissions counselor, get invited to webinars for prospective students, and learn more about admissions and financial aid.




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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).

Learn about the application process →

Application Deadlines

New! James Irvine California Scholarship

At USC Price, we are committed to supporting the educational goals of California residents.

Beginning with the incoming class for the 2024-2025 academic year, domestic California residents who apply by our December 15th deadline and are admitted to the Master of Science in Public Policy Data Science will be guaranteed scholarship funding. To learn more about our James Irvine California Scholarship including eligibility requirements, visit this page.

“The MPPDS offers courses in a mixture of lecture, seminar, and lab formats, allowing the students to build a theoretical framework for policy analyses while gaining hands-on experience proposing these meaningful changes. The program not only equips policymakers with innovative skills in data science but also presents students with a broader range of choices and opportunities in the job market.”

Sharon Lee, MPPDS ’23

Build Joint Expertise in Data Science and Policy

The Master of Science in Public Policy 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.

Mark Phillips

Program Director, Mark Phillips

Associate Professor (Teaching)
Department of Public Policy and Management

(213) 740-0210
[email protected]

“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 am on a mission to leverage knowledge from data in the design and analysis of policies. I aim to work towards sustainable development, specifically relevant to environmental pollution, sustainable cities and health policy. I have always been amazed at the power of data and the strength of effective policy on creating an impact on people’s lives. When I came across the MPPDS program offered at Price, I was instantly intrigued by the idea of the intersection. USC Price School has a great reputation for nurturing passionate public policy students who went ahead to create a meaningful impact. I consider choosing Price as one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

Shalini Mustala, MPPDS ’21

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:

“The MPPDS program at Price is one of the few public policy/data science joint programs in the nation. The intersection of these two fields provided me with both quantitative research foundational skills and an understanding of real-world policy frameworks to apply them to. These areas of study are worthwhile in their own right, but being able to study them concurrently and understand the way research practice and implementation are linked significantly prepared me for entering my career after my graduate program ended. As a current data analyst at a policy research center, I cannot imagine any other degree program serving me as well as my time as Price did.”

Cameron Yap, MPPDS ’22