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Hi everyone,

I'm planning on applying to Masters programs at the end of this year specifically ones that intersect in Data Science + Public Policy. I have a BS in Geographic Information Science so my main interest is in spatial analytics and recently its been mainly in urban informatics. My background isn't in computer science, my degree only required minor levels of Python, SQL, & stats so I'm currently taking some comp sci and higher level math courses while I work.

I'm looking for any programs that would fulfill these requirements of Data Science + Public Policy (Spatial Analytics/Urban Informatics)

I've seen this list https://www.mastersindatascience.org/specialties/best-data-analytics-degrees-for-public-policy/

but I'm searching for more lesser known programs bc my GPA isn't the greatest. I'm actively taking post-bacc courses to remedy this. However I still need safe programs. If you guys know of any please post them below.

Some examples:

  • University of Missouri (Mizzou) - Data Science (w geospatial concentration)
  • UMBC - Spatial Analytics Pathway

More reputable programs I *might* apply to:

  • Northeastern - Urban Informatics
  • NYU - Applied Urban Science & Informatics (CUSP)
  • University of Chicago - Computational Social Science / Computational Analytics & Public Policy
  • University of Pennsylvania - Urban Spatial Analytics
Edited by krikri911
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If you don't have professional experience, I wouldn't apply to UoC, from my experience applying, they seem to favor applicants with a professional background over straight from undergrad candidates. Also, I can't remember how much flexibility you'd have with your schedule, but I know the CAPP program has less space for electives than their MPP program because of the computational concentration. 

Looking at Urban Planning programs with a computational aspect might be a good way to go, but I'm guessing you've done some digging there. If you're currently taking math/CS classes to supplement your undergrad courses, I would say try Indiana University's Informatics program, they've done some stuff recently with Urban Informatics. 

Honestly, depending on how "not great" your GPA is and what your exact grades situation is, go for applying to the more reputable programs, because grad school is a different game re: getting in. If you've demonstrated that your grades have gotten better through your undergrad, I think admissions are more interested in what you've done recently over how you started out as a Freshman. 

Also, consider exactly what kind of thing you want to be working on and search for professors working on the same thing, like, get on Google Scholar and search for research that interests you, because those professors will be working in programs that might work for you, even if they aren't what you expect. This is especially true in more academia/research-oriented programs as opposed to professional programs. (I ended up applying to BU's Emerging Media Studies program as well as Georgetown's and UoC's because I'm interested in politics/policy and news media as a tool for policy analysis, which is something profs there are working on.) Plus, demonstrating a specific affinity for the program and work being done through the program is a big step up in writing your statements of purpose and can help with "making up" for less than perfect grades. It shows that you've thought hard about what you want to do and how the program in question fits you and how you fit it. 

Also also, side-note: from what I've found, many of these programs, because they're more professionally oriented, don't supply a lot in scholarship/fellowship/assistantship money (or, well, they do but the starting rate is hella expensive), so taking this time to look into outside scholarships/fellowships would also be a good idea. 

Okay, that's an essay lol, but background on me: I'm an English major with a CS minor and I want to work in policy analysis, journalism, and (news) media criticism, applied to Georgetown's MSDPP, Claremont's MSADS&IR, UoC's CAPP, BU's EMS, and IU's Informatics MS. 

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