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MPA in Data Science for Public Policy


In a world of big data and rapid technological change, 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.

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: 

  • 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: October 2022 for September 2023 intake
Application deadline: Rolling admissions. We receive a high number of applications early in the admissions cycle (November-February) and encourage applicants to apply as early as possible to allow for the necessary processing and preparation time. 
Duration 21 months full-time only
Tuition fee Year one: £28,512 (2023 entry) (Fees are subject to change until 12 December 2022)
Year two: £28,512 (2024, continuing student)
Financial support Graduate support scheme (see fees and funding pages)
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. 
English language requirements

Higher 

How to apply

Applications for the MPA in Data Science for Public Policy will open in October 2022. 

Apply by using the online application system. You must also submit your supporting documents via the online application system.

If you have studied or are studying outside of the UK then have a look at our Information for International Students to find out the entry requirements that apply to you.

As part of the application process you will need to submit:

  • Two references
  • Personal statement
  • Résumé or CV

Curriculum overview

Detailed curriculum information can be found in the 'Programme structure and courses' section of the MPA-DSPP admissions pages

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 (on campus from late August)

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

First year 

The first year consists of four compulsory courses:

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.

These provide a rigorous, holistic foundation to students in their second year and beyond.

Second year

In the second year, students will take two compulsory courses:

The MPA-DSPP Capstone class, where students bring together their core skills to solve a real policy problem.

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. 

 

Careers 

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. 

Graduates of the MPA-DSPP will be well placed to pursue careers in a wide range of sectors including Government and Politics, Consultancy, Financial Services, NGOs & Charities, Technology Firms, Research & Think Tanks, International Development and Aid, Public Policy, and International Finance and Trade. 

Find out more about our SPP alumni and their career journeys after graduation.

Support for your career

Find out more about LSE Careers and SPP Careers support

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

LSE Careers Consultants make sure that you get the best possible support in developing your career plans during your time studying. Whether you are looking for a general policy or data science role in government or a niche, technical role in the private or third sector, we can help you develop and hone your plans and profile.     

In particular, MPA-DSPP students at LSE have access to: 

  • careers discussions with the School of Public Policy's Careers Consultant

  • a Careers Impact Day which takes place early in year 1, followed by a networking evening with employers in relevant sectors

  • 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 

  • access to LSE Careerhub, with thousands of short-term and long-term opportunities including internships

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 Programme

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.

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