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#1 in Analytics Education

Turn Raw Data Into Solutions for Society’s Most Pressing Problems

MSPPM: Data Analytics

Heinz College’s analytics coursework is unrivaled among policy schools, and the MSPPM: Data Analytics pathway is our most quantitatively rigorous public policy program.

As the modern world generates massive amounts of data, large organizations, government agencies, think tanks, and consulting firms all seek the brightest minds with next-generation data skills. The need continues to grow in public-interest sectors for professionals who can interpret and analyze raw data to improve public programsdata-day-float-right.jpg and policies across areas such as education, transportation, energy and the environment, criminal justice, sustainable development, national security and defense, and health and human services.

You can step up and take on such challenges.

Our MSPPM: Data Analytics pathway will train you to harness the power of data and analytic technologies to transform organizations that serve the public good. MSPPM-DA graduates have a unique skill set in the policy field and are highly sought by employers, including the top firms and agencies in our partner network.

In addition to world-renowned faculty with deep expertise in analytics, Heinz College houses several analytics-driven research institutes, where you can get involved in groundbreaking data projects while in school.

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Duration: 2 years / 4 semesters (Fall, Spring, Summer Internship, Fall, Spring)

life at heinz

From Instagram takeovers to campus visitors, from experiential learning to student clubs to the vibrant city of Pittsburgh we call home, see all that Heinz College has to offer.


Policy makers regularly engage with Heinz College and our expert faculty. This includes U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who visited to discuss the future of transportation and the role AI will play in the field. He also interacted with students during his visit. Learn more about Buttigieg's visit.

Data Science for Social Good & Public Interest Technology

Heinz College is a global leader in applying data science to public policy and using technology for public good. Among policy schools, we have the deepest bench of data scientists and analytics experts to help you convert data into human-centered solutions. Under the direction of our faculty experts, our policy analytics students tackle complex problems such as:

  • Predicting resource shortages at senior care facilities during COVID-19
  • Promoting fairness and reducing bias in criminal sentencing
  • Combatting the opioid crisis by helping social workers identify abuse
  • Improving transparency and data-sharing across public service agencies
  • Mapping public utilities using data and technology
  • Reducing waste and fraud in the Medicare system
  • Using text analytics and machine learning to fight poaching and illicit trade
  • Testing feasibility of large-scale projects in renewable energy, like solar farms and biogas
  • Preventing homelessness with predictive analytics

At Heinz College, students learn by engaging with the real worldwhile under the tutelage of our trail-blazing faculty. Heinz's Policy Innovation Lab provides students with an avenue to gain real-world experience as they earn their master's degree. 

The Policy Innovation Lab is an intensive, applied course that prepares students to become public-interest technologists who are creative, ethical, inclusive, and responsive. Our faculty teach students how to design and build public-interest technology services with human-centered design. Working directly with a client from a government office or public-service nonprofit, students aim to develop and deliver a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with high-impact results.

Game-Changing Research

MSPPM-DA students gain data skills and techniques that open new possibilities for public policy research and social impact. Heinz College and CMU provide many opportunities to apply those skills on innovative projects directed by our faculty and sponsored by our renowned research centers. This experiential learning takes place at the intersection of policy and technology, allowing students to bring the full weight of data analytics to bear on the public policy issues of today and tomorrow.

My Story: Curt

Curt Williams chose the MSPPM-DA program to augment his statistics background, as well as add Python and R to his repertoire.

My Story: Ricardo

Ricardo Gil became interested in public policy through the lens of issues he saw in Mexico, such as poverty and income inequality.

My Story: Nikita

Nikita Setia loved working with data at a nonprofit in India providing safe spaces for young women. The MSPPM: Data Analytics program helps her make a bigger impact.


For detailed curriculum information, please visit the MSPPM: Data Analytics Student Handbook.


Below is one possible schedule for MSPPM: Data Analytics. Actual schedules will vary depending on pathway and electives.

Class titles in bold are core courses. Heinz College offers a mix of full-semester (14 weeks) and half-semester courses (7 weeks) for core and elective courses.

  • Applied Economic Analysis
  • Intermediate Statistics*
  • Database Management for Policy Analytics
  • Python Programming II* OR Data Focused Python*
  • Exploratory Data Analytics and Visualization in Python*

  • Optimization*  
  • Decision and Risk Modeling*
  • Machine Learning Foundations with Python
  • Applied Econometrics I* and II*


  • Decision Analytics for Business and Policy
  • Organizational Design and Implementation*
  • Strategic Presentation Skills*
  • Accounting and Finance Analytics*
  • Machine Learning for Public Policy Lab
  • Data Science and Big Data*

  • Data Analytics Capstone Project
  • Practical Unstructured Data Analytics*
  • Big Data and Large-Scale Computing*
  • Smart Cities: Growth and Intelligent Transportation Systems*
  • Critical AI Studies for Public Policy*
  • Geographic Information Systems

*Half-semester courses


*Career data shown below reflects the last three years.


yearly reports

Job titles and salary information for the MSPPM-DA program.

MSPPM Pathways

Compare all four MSPPM options at a glance

The MSPPM program is offered in four distinct modalities—Pittsburgh (Two-Year), Data Analytics, Washington D.C., and Fast Track (Three-Semester). Compare all four and choose the path that best suits your mission.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Didn't find what you were looking for on this page? Check out our Admissions Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information on any of the topics or processes outlined above.