Data Science for Public Policy


The Master of Science in Data Science for Public Policy (MS-DSPP) program is a joint endeavor of the McCourt School of Public Policy and the Graduate Analytics Program. The degree will incorporate significant existing material from McCourt’s MPP and the Graduate School’s M.S. in Analytics, Concentration in Data Science program.

The program aims to instill students with data science skills and public policy expertise so they may become highly marketable graduates capable of contributing to public sector, non-profit, and private organizations.

The 39 credit, full-time MS-DSPP program spans four semesters over two years, with most students taking four courses in the first semester and three courses in all ensuing semesters. Core coursework encompasses these broad thematic areas – Quantitative Social Science, Foundations of Public Policy, Civic Data Science, Ethics and Law, and Communication. Students also complete six elective credits and participate in Data Science for Action Seminars.

The McCourt School of Public Policy also offers programs of study leading to a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree, a Master of International Development (MIDP) degree, a Master of Policy Management (MPM) degree. 

Degree Offered

  • Master of Science

Application Deadlines

Fall 2020

December 1, 2019 (Early Action, Scholarship)       

January 15, 2020   (Priority, Scholarship)

April 1, 2020           (final)

(Note: Those applying with a completed application by November 30 will be considered for scholarship and will be notified of their decision by mid-January.)

Application Requirements

Please be sure to review the Graduate School Admissions How to Apply page.


The MS-DSPP full-time Program is designed for both U.S. and international recent college graduates (0-5 years) with some background in statistics, economics, mathematics, or computer science who are interested in developing technical data skills for public sector work. A bachelor’s degree (or international equivalent) is required. In addition, applicants must have completed a college level calculus course with a grade of B or higher.

Applicants will need to provide evidence of an interest and ability in technical subject matter. Such evidence could consist of higher level mathematics and statistics classes, computer science undergraduate coursework, or significant work experience using a computer language such as R, Python or C++. It is also recommended to have completed a course in microeconomics.

Work Experience

For the MS-DSPP program, work experience is not a prerequisite but it is highly recommended and considered during application review.  The McCourt School of Public Policy believes students with work experience derive more from classes through prior exposure to relevant issues/topics addressed in a professional work environment whether in the public, private, or non-profit sectors. Candidates applying directly from undergraduate institutions should exhibit professional capabilities through part-time employment, internships or other non-paid experience, including campus leadership.


In reviewing your application, the McCourt School considers all the elements listed below.

Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Applicants for admission to the McCourt School must upload a resume or curriculum vitae (C.V.) with their online application. Please feel free to include a list of published work.


Unofficial Transcripts – Applicants are required to upload to the application system unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. Do not send electronic or paper copies of your transcripts before receiving an offer of admission. Review the unofficial transcript requirements for additional details and FAQs. Foreign transcripts should be accompanied by a notarized translation into English.


Three recommendations are required. Ideally, applicants should submit at least one each from an academic and work-related source. The online application utilizes a secure online recommendation system which will:

  • automatically email your recommendation providers with instructions for online submission of the recommendation;
  • allow applicants to track recommendations received or not received and follow up with recommenders who still need to submit their appraisals;
  • expedite the processing of the recommendations, which will be included in the online application once submitted.

In the event your reference cannot access the online recommendation, please contact the McCourt School Admissions staff for instructions.

Official GRE or GMAT Scores (**GRE is strongly preferred)

The Georgetown University GRE code is 5244.  The GMAT code is JT7-D8-97.

Official TOEFL or IELTS 

The McCourt School of Public Policy’s TOEFL code is 5244. For the IELTS, see (new window).

All applicants to the McCourt School are required to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the English language sufficient to meet the admission requirement of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Proficiency can be demonstrated by:

  • the receipt of a bachelor’s or advanced degree from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or from a university where English is the language of instruction for the entire institution (please note that applicants receiving degrees at universities in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, are required to submit the TOEFL or IELTS unless the primary language of instruction at the institution is English)
  • submission of an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report with a minimum score of approximately 100 (internet test). (Minimum of 22 on each individual section.)
  • submission of an official International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – Academic Module score report with a minimum score of 7.0.

The TOEFL and IELTS must be received directly from the appropriate testing organization. Photocopied/faxed documents will not fulfill this requirement.

Academic Statement

Please submit a statement of purpose (1 page single-spaced) that addresses the questions below. The questions can be answered separately or in a combined essay.

1. What motivates you to work at the intersection of data science and public policy? Please tell us about a personal/professional/academic experience that fueled your passion for data science and public policy and how this informs your commitment to pursue a career in this field.

Personal Statement (Optional)

In 250 words or less, please provide further explanation of any unusual circumstances, such as a period of poor academic performance or a large gap in your resume. If you choose to submit an Optional Statement, please upload it to the Writing Sample section of the application.

Additional writing samples are not encouraged.


Interviews are not required but prospective students are encouraged to attend an information session, participate in an online chat or meet with a McCourt School Admissions (new window) staff member in person or over the phone.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Data Science for Public Policy (MS-DSPP program) is a 39 credit degree program, divided into core (required) courses and elective courses. Students complete the full-time M.S. degree in two years. Students must earn at least a “B” average (3.0 GPA) in order to graduate.

Visit the MS-DSPP Degree Requirements (new window) page on the McCourt School website for additional information.