Use data science to actively impact equity, equality, and social justice.

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World-Class Faculty

The MSSP program faculty are here to help you shape your own area of policy expertise, drawing on decades of scholarship, teaching, and experience in areas including education and social policy, homelessness, integrated database systems, the labor market, and technology, ethics, and social policy. The MSSP+DA program faculty are here to help you shape your own area of policy expertise, drawing on decades of scholarship, teaching, and experience. Their expertise spans areas as diverse as ontologies of computational and data analytics, the integration of administrative data for research, and the usage of interactive visual analytics systems.



You may choose two elective courses to maximize breadth in multiple substantive policy areas or to specialize your degree in an area of social policy analysis and conduct further research.

Elective courses may be identified in any of the 12 graduate schools at Penn. For more information on selecting elective courses, please visit the MSSP Resources page.

Course Grid

The course grid reflects the required 12 course unit course of study for MSSP+DA students to ensure on-time graduation. Any alteration from the plan of study requires approval from an academic advisor.

1st Semester (Fall) 

  • MSSP 6280: Policy: Analysis of Issues, Strategy and Process (1 CU)
  • MSSP 7100: Democratizing Data (1 CU)
  • MSSP 6070: Practical Data Science (1 CU)
  • MSSP 8970: Applied Linear Modeling (1 CU)
  • MSSP 6060: Data for Equitable Justice Lab* (non-credit, 0 CU)

4 CU

2nd Semester (Spring) 

  • MSSP 6310: Law and Social Policy (1 CU)
  • MSSP/SWRK 7300: Community Mapping (1 CU) 
  • MSSP 6080: Practical Machine Learning (1 CU) 
  • Elective (1 CU) 
  • MSSP 6060: Data for Equitable Justice Lab* (non-credit, 0 CU) 

4 CU

3rd Semester (Fall) 

  • MSSP 6340: Capstone I: Telling Stories with Data (0.5 CU) 
  • MSSP 6680: Economics for Social Policy (1 CU) 
  • MSSP 6290: Research & Evaluation Design (1 CU) 
  • Elective (1 CU) 

3.5 CU

4th Semester (Spring) 

  • MSSP 6350: Capstone II: Internship (0.5 CU)

0.5 CU

*MSSP 6060: Data for Equitable Justice Lab is required to be taken in both the Fall and Spring semesters of the first year of study.

Data for Equitable Justice Lab

Social Policy Internship

Rebecca McGavin, MSSP+DA"18


Rebecca McGavin, MSSP+DA’18

“The MSSP+DA program allowed me to study, research, and find a way to combine my passions for data, visualization, and social policy. It was the people: my cohort, professors, and the administration who enabled me to thrive and pursue my passions while developing advanced quantitative and critical methods.”

Related News

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Jessie Harper joins SP2 as director of inclusion education and Social Justice Scholars Program

Dr. Jessie Harper has joined SP2 as the inaugural director of inclusion education and the Social Justice Scholars Program. Dr. Harper comes to SP2 after nearly two decades at Penn’s Graduate School of Education (GSE), where she most recently served as assistant dean of faculty affairs and diversity.

Julian Quiros

SP2 student and alumnus named 2023 Data Fluencies Dissertation Research Grantee

In support of a project aiming to advance responsible use of data and technology in the U.S. child welfare system, PhD student Julian Quiros, MSSP+DA’17, has been named a 2023 Data Fluencies Dissertation Research Grantee.

SP2 faculty stand onstage at Commencement in front of a blue background with the School's logo

New year brings new leadership appointments for SP2 faculty

Four SP2 faculty members have been appointed to new leadership roles to direct the PhD in Social Welfare Program, the Master of Science in Social Policy Program, and School-wide strategic initiatives.