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Harris MSCAPP vs. McCourt DSPP vs. other programs?


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I was wondering if anyone knows anything about how the data science/analytics + public policy Masters programs compare with each other and how they're regarded in the policy world (esp. social policy)? I recently got into the Harris MSCAPP (Computational Analysis and Public Policy) program at UChicago and it's my top choice, but I'm also considering applying to some other programs (below). Let me know what you think!

 

Georgetown McCourt - M.S. Data Science for Public Policy

CMU - M.S. Public Policy Management: Data Analytics Track

UPenn - M.S. Social Policy + Data Analysis Certificate

USC - M.S. Public Policy Data Science

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6 hours ago, gsp123 said:

I was wondering if anyone knows anything about how the data science/analytics + public policy Masters programs compare with each other and how they're regarded in the policy world (esp. social policy)? I recently got into the Harris MSCAPP (Computational Analysis and Public Policy) program at UChicago and it's my top choice, but I'm also considering applying to some other programs (below). Let me know what you think!

 

Georgetown McCourt - M.S. Data Science for Public Policy

CMU - M.S. Public Policy Management: Data Analytics Track

UPenn - M.S. Social Policy + Data Analysis Certificate

USC - M.S. Public Policy Data Science

Each of the programs has different strengths and weaknesses. Key things:

1. Harris MSCAPP will by far give the most resources and opportunities to leverage the latest and greatest in data science models mathematical capabilities. If you want to emphasize as being the most quantitatively proficient - MSCAPP is the way to go. 

2. Georgetown McCourt MSDSPP will give you the best opportunities to engage in live public policy data sets and Federal level policy practitioners via the Georgetown empire + compacts it has. That being said, if you are big on the technical side, don't expect to do anything too technically novel and innovative. They kind of built this program from scratch as a collaboration between the Data Science Masters, Policy School, and Business School without the benefit of having strong computer science/math department institutional support because Georgetown is not driving this based upon technical prowess but policy connections. Also, if you have dreams of being in a management role, this is not the program for you (at least in terms of priming you to go from grad school to management).

3. CMU - First and foremost, this is a policy management program. The Data Analytics is focused on trying to help you conduct policy management whereas the other programs broadly teach you data science for policy analysis. Lots of cross over, but the emphasis is different. I really really like the how CMU Heinz does business in having a really innovation driven and go getter attitude.

4. U Penn - M.S. and Social Policy - never seen these people from this school in the policy universe - period (and I am decently plugged in with the policy community as practitioners). This program could make sense if you are trying to prepare for a PhD, but if you are trying to go straight to workforce, I would skip. I believe this is part of Penn's effort in the past decade to make all these cash cow Grad Programs and bank on the Penn name but they got programming struggle. Also, this is a 1 year program and it looks pretty basic.

5. USC - don't know enough to talk about it coherently. 

Edited by GradSchoolGrad
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20 hours ago, gsp123 said:

I was wondering if anyone knows anything about how the data science/analytics + public policy Masters programs compare with each other and how they're regarded in the policy world (esp. social policy)? I recently got into the Harris MSCAPP (Computational Analysis and Public Policy) program at UChicago and it's my top choice, but I'm also considering applying to some other programs (below). Let me know what you think!

 

Georgetown McCourt - M.S. Data Science for Public Policy

CMU - M.S. Public Policy Management: Data Analytics Track

UPenn - M.S. Social Policy + Data Analysis Certificate

USC - M.S. Public Policy Data Science

I also just got my admit to mscapp and have done a fair amount of research on data science oriented policy programs. I would offer the following:

- I emailed the USC public policy data science program a few months ago about the funding options in the program and they informed me that the aid options are very limited - they don't offer deans merit (a major funding source that MPP applicants have access to). This raised a red flag for me. Also, the curriculum itself seems pretty similar to the MSCAPP, but it's also only 1.5 years, rather than 2 like the MSCAPP.

- I also looked a lot into schools of Information, especially Berkeley's MISM program, where the program's focus is much more on data science and design, but they offer a policy concentration. These may appeal to you as well.

Best of luck

Edited by 2020applicant...
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