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 for 2 out of 3 semesters. 

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

Amber Hikes speaks at a podium and projected onscreen before an audience of graduates at the Palestra, under the Penn Social Policy & Practice logo

SP2’s 2023 Commencement highlights need “to improve the well-being of all people”

Themes of joy, humanity, and justice took center stage at the 2023 Commencement of Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2). In an evening ceremony at the Palestra on Saturday, May 13, graduates and their families and friends heard from SP2 Dean Sara S. Bachman and Commencement Speaker Amber Hikes, MSW’08, before cheering on the presentation of graduates across SP2’s five degree programs.

An aerial view of green trees, grass, and a playground bordered by a road and buildings

Eight SP2 students named winners in Green Space Data Challenge

For projects that transform data about green spaces into actionable community indicators, eight students in the Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP) Program at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) have been named among the winners of the Green Space Data Challenge.

Skye Horbrook, Social Justice Scholar

SP2 Social Justice Scholar Skye Horbrook works to effect change through data

From majoring in computer science at a historically Black university, to volunteering on the front lines of disaster relief and digital equity efforts, Skye Horbrook has built a path focused on using technology and data to create social change.

Contact Us

Lauren Colby

Associate Director, MSSP Program

215 898 8444

Saryu Sanghani

Program Coordinator, MSSP Program

215 573 4977