MPA in Data Science for Public Policy

Applications now closed for 2024 entry - programme full

The MPA in Data Science for Public Policy (MPA-DSPP) is a two-year degree programme designed to equip professionals with the core quantitative, technical and analytical tools to address modern policy challenges in a world of big data and rapid technological change.

The launch of the MPA in Data Science for Public Policy comes at a perfect time. As the world goes online, there’s an increasingly vast data footprint that can be usefully exploited to improve public services, decision-making, and governance. We are happy to launch a new programme about just that.

Professor Andrés Velasco, Dean of LSE School of Public Policy

The programme fosters a rigorous, interdisciplinary approach to public policy that tackles policy challenges with the tools and frameworks of political science, economics, econometrics and data science. Computer programming and quantitative skills play a key role in the programme.  

Students will commence their time at LSE with a dedicated pre-sessional coding bootcamp to learn the foundational packages in the Python programming language and refresh key concepts in mathematics. The core curriculum and electives in the first and second years will build on these skills and deploy them to the world of public policy. 

The MPA-DSPP offers students the tools and frameworks to analyze and address pressing challenges in an increasingly complex and data-driven world. Students will hone their quantitative and analytical skills, positioning them for a variety of technical, policy, strategy and leadership roles across Government, NGOs, IFIs and the private sector. 

Key features: 

  • Introductory programming bootcamp - A mix of lectures and open-study exercises designed to equip students with foundational computer programming skills and review key concepts in statistics and mathematics.
  • Core skills (Year 1) - rigorous training in data science, econometrics and quantitative tools, economics (micro + macro), and political science 
  • Specialization (Year 2) - two and a half units of electives to deepen knowledge in specific policy or data science domains
  • MPA-DSPP Capstone - an opportunity to bring qualitative, quantitative and coding skills together on a real-world policy problem for an external client as part of a six month project
  • A global outlook – be a part of LSE’s international community as well as a network of prestigious policy schools around the world as part of the Global Public Policy Network (GPPN).

Key facts

Applications open:

Mid-October 2023 for August 2024 intake

Start date:

Late August 2024

Application deadline:

None – rolling admissions, applications will close once spaces are filled. We receive most applications during October-February and encourage applicants to apply during this time.

Please note the funding deadlines for LSE scholarships.

SPP specific scholarships have a deadline still to be confirmed.


21 months full-time only

Applications 2023:


Intake 2023:


Financial support

SPP specific scholarships - 12 January 2024. 

Graduate support scheme - deadline 25 April 2024.

(see 'Fees and funding')

Minimum entry requirement

2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline.

There is no formal requirement for previous professional work experience, but students starting the LSE MPA would normally have one year of professional experience and many would have two or more years of experience. 

GRE/GMAT Requirement: None

English Language requirement: Higher (see assessing your application)

Who should apply

Minimum entry requirement

Upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in any discipline.

English language requirement: 'Higher' - see English language requirements

Who we are looking for

The MPA DSPP is a competitive programme and we are seeking applicants who can demonstrate a strong passion for both public policy and data-science. We particularly value applicants who have prior professional experience in related policy or data fields, but are open to promising recent graduates and those who are seeking a career pivot from a non-quantitative background. The programme will be small and highly curated.

Information for international students

If you are applying to LSE from outside of the UK then take a note of the UK qualifications we require for your programme of interest and refer to our Information for International students page where you can view entry requirement by country. 

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet the minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.

The application process

When to apply

Applications for 2024 entry will open in mid-October. Applications for this programme are considered on a rolling basis, meaning the programme will close once it becomes full. We receive a high number of applications early in the admissions cycle (from October to February) and would encourage you to apply during this time.

In addition, to be considered for any SPP or LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details. 

How to apply

LSE's 'How to apply' webpages guide you through the application process and link to the application form.

You can also view the Application Top Tips information by Kathryn Ward, Graduate Admissions Premium Service Manager, on how you can make the most of your application.

How your application will be assessed

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

Fees and Funding

Every graduate student is charged a fee for their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2024/25 for the MPA - Data Science for Public Policy

Home students, first year: £30,792 (2024/25 entry) 
Overseas students, first year: £30,792 (2024/25 entry)
Home students, second year: £30,792 (2025/26 continuing students) - provisional
Overseas students, second year: £30,792 (2025/26 continuing students) - provisional

The Table of Fees shows the latest tuition amounts for all programmes offered by the School.

Fee status

For this programme, the tuition fee is the same for all students regardless of their fee status. However, any financial support you are eligible for will depend on whether you are classified as a home or as an overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information about fee status classification.

Fee reductions

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

Scholarships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide generous scholarships each year to home and overseas students.

LSE School of Public Policy scholarships

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas. The School of Public Policy (SPP) offers programme and country specific scholarship awards. 

Find out more about SPP specific awards and how to apply

LSE Scholarships

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships

Selection for any funding opportunity is based on receipt of an offer for a place and submitting a Graduate Financial Support application, before the funding deadline. 

Funding deadline for LSE needs-based awards from LSE: 25 April 2024.

Find out more about financial support.

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

Curriculum overview

Preparation before your arrival

Prior to your arrival at LSE you will receive details about optional readings and online learning materials which are designed to help you to prepare for the programme.  

MPA-DSPP Introduction and Programming Bootcamp

Prior to the start of the Autumn Term in September, you will need to attend a four-week introductory programming bootcamp from late August. 

This bootcamp serves not only to introduce and review technical material but also to build camaraderie within the cohort and facilitate the transition to the more collaborative work and learning environment which differentiates graduate studies from many undergraduate programs. These introductory sessions are designed to accommodate and challenge students with various levels of prior experience in data science. 

Class sessions will equip students with foundational computer programming skills and review key concepts in statistics and mathematics. Through a mix of lectures and open-study exercises, students will learn how to conduct independent data analysis across a range of public policy challenges they will study throughout the MPA and in their future careers.  

Curriculum overview

MPA_DSPP_curriculum2023Click image to view

First Year 

In the first year, you will take four compulsory courses. These are in micro- and macro-economics, political science, quantitative methods of analysis and data science for public policy. The first three of these courses will be shared with the SPP’s MPA programme.

Micro and Macro Economics for Public Policy 
You will learn macro- and micro- economic concepts, models and methods suitable for appraising policy, applicable in a wide variety of contexts. This includes the study of demand and supply, the labour market, public goods, market failure, inflation and monetary policy, fiscal policy and debt, and exchange rates. 

Political Science and Public Policy
You will learn concepts and models for understanding the behaviour of political actors and why they lead to particular outcomes. This includes the study of voting, political parties, interest groups, legislative politics, corruption, democratisation and ethnic conflict. These tools are essential for designing policy interventions to achieve desired future outcomes. 

Quantitative Approaches and Policy Analysis 
You will learn skills for the quantitative evaluation of public policies, such as causal relationships; randomised control trials; difference-in-difference estimation; instrumental variables; regression discontinuity designs and cost-benefit analysis.

Data Science for Public Policy You will learn key technical skills and tools in data gathering, management and visualization as well as the main types of (non-causal) predictive models in Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence and related concepts with an emphasis on implications and applications for public life.

Second year

The second year includes one and a half units of core courses and two and a half units of optional courses (electives). The one and a half units of core courses include the one-unit MPA-DSPP Capstone and half-unit course, Technology, Data and Policy. 

You will also choose 2.5 units (*denotes a half unit) from a range of option courses (electives) from the School of Public Policy and elsewhere in LSE, subject to permission and availability.

MPA-DSPP Capstone is a compulsory one unit course. You will learn to carry out reproducible analysis and research, as part of a team, in order to address a practical policy issue relevant to a real-life client organisation. You will submit both a written report and the code used for quantitative analysis. The capstone allows you to extend your capabilities by applying what you have learned in the MPA-DSPP core courses in a professional context. 

Technology, Data Science and Policy*

This compulsory half unit course presents a comparative and historically informed perspective on policy issues in technology, data science, and emerging technologies. The course has a non-technical, interdisciplinary approach that considers policy issues from the point of view of governance, security, ethics, and the law. 

Option Courses (electives) 

In addition, you will also take 2.5 units of option courses (electives) to focus your studies in particular technical or non-technical areas in policy or data science. These electives may be chosen from a wide range available in the School of Public Policy or (with permission and subject to availability) from elsewhere in LSE, especially the Statistics, Methodology and Mathematics departments. 

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page. 

You must note, however, that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.
You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.


Class Profile 

The LSE SPP is a dynamic community of 250+ students who represent over 50 nationalities.  

We welcomed our first ever MPA-DSPP cohort in August 2023. Our MPA-DSPP are a special smaller cohort of 18 students representing 12 nationalities and a range of professional backgrounds. They benefit from belonging to a smaller cohort whilst also learning alongside our larger MPA cohort of approx. 70 students.  

Their combined experience encourages a mature and reflective approach to study that draws on professional skills and experience gained prior to the programme.

This diversity is a major strength, providing many different national, economic and societal perspectives to problems and solutions of public policy. 

Student Life and Professional Development 

School of Public Policy student groups, networks and development opportunities: 

Association of Public Policy Students (APPS) 

The Association of Public Policy Students (APPS) is an elected body of SPP students that serve as a resource for the student community. Throughout the academic year, the APPS’s numerous committees and initiatives provide opportunities for students to engage with other classmates in professional and social activities.  

Turner MBA Investment Impact Network and Training (MIINT) 

The Turner MBA Investment Impact Network and Training (MIINT) Competition gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in impact investing by sourcing and conducting due diligence on real-world, early-stage impact investment opportunities. The MIINT is supported by LSE's Marshall Institute. Find out more about the experience from our 2022 participants.   

Global Public Policy Network (GPPN) 

The Global Public Policy Network (GPPN) is a partnership between 7 prestigious universities in public policy. GPPN is a platform for institutional partnership, research collaboration, and student exchange. Members of the GPPN have organised an annual international conference for the students and deans from member schools to meet and discuss pressing issues of global public policy. GPPN members have also established exchange and dual degrees programs, allowing students to benefit from this international network of the most prestigious public affairs schools in the world. 

Womxn’s Network 

The School of Public Policy’s (SPP) Womxn’s Network is a student-run organisation focused on the advancement and empowerment of students within the SPP and broader LSE community who are marginalised by the intersectionalities of gender and/or sexuality. The Network aims to further encourage the inclusion of marginalised voices within policymaking through various events and forums designed to promote learning and open discussion. 

Public Sphere Journal (PSJ) 

The Public Sphere Journal (PSJ) is a journal of international policy studies produced by SPP students which features evidence-based research in economic policy, public management, international affairs, development studies and social policy. The PSJ offers students an opportunity to combine their unique professional and personal experiences to create a journal of international policy studies, from the initial call for papers through to the print and launch.   

Policy in Practice (PiP) seminars 

We run regular seminars through the year to connect you with policy practitioners in a range of fields, either to learn more about the work of particular organisations and sectors or to develop new skills. These seminars provide students with an opportunity to connect classroom learning to real world scenarios.  

SPP Professional Skills Accelerator 

The SPP also offers an extensive and tailored programme of Professional Skills for Public Policy which is especially designed to complement the skills and insights that you gain as part of your programme curriculum and equip you with the necessary skills for the next step in your career.   

You will benefit from a series of training workshops with experienced practitioners and experts in key areas of professional development such as leadership, negotiation and persuasive communication. 

LSE Data Science Institute  

The Data Science Institute forms the institutional cornerstone of data science activity at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Working alongside the academic departments across the School, the DSI's mission is to foster the study of data science and new forms of data with a focus on their social, economic, and political aspects.

The DSI aims to host, facilitate and promote research in social and economic data science through an annual programme of seminars, workshops and research projects delivered by a range of academic experts and research students.

LSE student societies and activities 

Your time at LSE is not just about studying, there are plenty of ways to get involved in extracurricular activities. From joining one of over 200 societies, or starting your own society, to volunteering for a local charity, or attending a public lecture by a world-leading figure, there is a lot to choose from. 

Life in London  

As a student at LSE you’ll be based at our central London campus. Find out what our campus and London have to offer you on academic, social and career perspective.  

LSE is based on one campus in the centre of London. Despite the busy feel of the surrounding area, many of the streets around campus are pedestrianised, meaning the campus feels like a real community.  

London is an exciting, vibrant and colourful city. It's also an academic city, with more than 400,000 university students. Whatever your interests or appetite you will find something to suit your palate and pocket in this truly international capital. Make the most of career opportunities and social activities, theatre, museums, music and more.  

Want to find out more? Read why we think London is a fantastic student city, find out about key sights, places and experiences for new Londoners. Don't fear, London doesn't have to be super expensive: hear about London on a budget.  

Our Alumni

The SPP boasts of a strong global community of over 2,000 alumni. Our international network of alumni not only transform the world around them by designing policy to tackle some of the world’s leading problems in the top levels of government, international organisations, and NGOs – but also makes our community a vibrant and supportive one long after graduation. 

Alumni Benefits 

As part of LSE SPP’s alumni engagement programme our alumni stay connected via our regualr newsletters and in-person and virtual professional development and social events throughout the year. In 2023 this included our ‘Alumni symposium’ event in London where we welcomed alumni to hear from guest speakers on the topic of ‘Becoming Leaders in The Public Policy Arena’.     

Our alumni also connect regularly with our students throughout their studies and share their expertise through our student mentoring scheme and our career Q&A series. 

As well as belonging to LSE School of Public Policy’s alumni network, SPP students will also belong to LSE’s prestigious alumni network of over 220,000 alumni across the world. 

Careers support

Studying at the LSE School of Public Policy is an excellent career decision with employers across the globe attracted both to the intellectual rigour and the practical applications of our curriculums. 

The MPA-DSPP is designed to produce well-rounded professionals who make an immediate impact for employers in the public sector, private companies, non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations around the world, including government departments and agencies, consultancies and international development agencies. The MPA-DSPP will be especially attractive to the growing number of employers that value computer programming skills and quantitative analysis. 

Supporting for your career

Throughout your studies and beyond you will have support to navigate your career journey and achieve your goals. 

LSE Careers offers students a programme of support throughout their studies and after graduation. 

In particular, students at LSE SPP have access to:  

  • one-to-one coaching in all aspects of career planning and professional development with the School of Public Policy's Careers Consultant 
  • a weekly SPP Careers newsletter, compiled by a student employee, with relevant short-term and long-term opportunities 
  • Q&A events with alumni working in particular sectors of interest 
  • SPP networking evening with employers
  • access to LSE Careerhub, listing hundreds of opportunities, from short-term volunteering and internships to full-time positions for experienced professionals 
  • a Careers Impact Day which takes place early in the acaemic year
  • specialist careers seminars run by LSE Careers, including sessions on CVs and cover letters, career management, networking, interviews and advice specific to particular employment sectors  

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year. LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available. 

SPP Professional Skills Accelerator

The SPP also offers an extensive and tailored programme of Professional Skills for Public Policy which is especially designed to complement the skills and insights that you gain as part of your programme curriculum and equip you with the necessary skills for the next step in your career.  

You will benefit from a series of training workshops with experienced practitioners and experts in key areas of professional development such as leadership, negotiation and persuasive communication.

Events and Contact Us

Upcoming Events 

Information for events in 2024 will be available soon.

Past Events

SPP Programmes Overview - 13 November 2023
View presentation slides

MPA in Data Science for Public Policy (MPA-DSPP) Information Session - 29 November 2023
View presentation slides
View recording
Passcode: au?8EuRl 

Information Events

SPP Programme Information Sessions

Throughout the year we will be hosting online SPP programme information sessions for prospective students. These sessions provide an opportunity for prospective students to interact with our faculty and students to find out more about a specific SPP programme.

Details of upcoming sessions can be found on our website and we also encourage you to register your interest to hear more about our upcoming sessions.

LSE information events and videos 

LSE also have a number of webinars, videos, student blogs and student video diaries which will help you gain an insight into what it's like to study more broadly at LSE. Experience LSE from home.  

LSE representatives also travel around the world to meet with prospective students at information fairs and events. Find details on LSE's upcoming visits.  

Visit LSE 

Come on a guided campus tour, attend an undergraduate open day, drop into our office or go on a self-guided tour. Find out about opportunities to visit LSE.  

LSE and SPP Speaker Series 

LSE's SPP is a hub of global debate which attracts expert guest speakers from around the world. Discover more about our events and podcast series where experts come together to debate some of the world's most pressing policy challenges.  

Discover more about SPP's guest speaker series and catch up on past events. 

Contact us 

Admissions queries: 

LSE Graduate Admissions Knowledge Base (An online resource for quick answers) 

Visit our FAQ's page


Programme queries:spp.datascience@lse.ac.uk 

Fees and Funding queries:  LSE Financial Support Office webpages 

Visa queries:LSE Student Advice and Engagement webpages 

Connect with us

You can find out more about SPP activities, faculty news, upcoming events and student life by connecting with us on social media:

LSE SPP Linkedin LSE School of Public Policy

LSE SPP Instagram @lsepublicpolicy

LSE SPP X/Twitter @lsepublicpolicy