ATLANTA — The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS) at Georgia State University is offering a new policy analytics concentration in its Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program. Designed to prepare students to work as analysts and managers in the public and nonprofit sectors, it launches in the fall semester.
With the initiative, the AYSPS joins just a handful of public affairs colleges across the country that offer data analytics concentrations in their MPP and Master of Public Administration programs. Students who choose this concentration will be prepared for positions as data analysts and managers, and other data-intensive roles in private, public and nonprofit organizations that need rapid-cycle analysis for policymaking and innovative service delivery.
“Policy analytics prepares students to apply the knowledge and skills of data analytics, a subject traditionally siloed in computer science or business programs, to inform policy choices in the public and nonprofit sectors,” said Cynthia Searcy, associate dean for academic innovation and strategy at the AYSPS. “Around the world, however, we’re seeing impressive growth opportunities for graduates with this knowledge and skillset.”
Labor market demand for graduates with a policy analytics concentration will be high. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook indicates the fastest-growing occupations over the next 10 years in data science will be statisticians (35 percent), information security analysts (33 percent) and operations research analysts (25 percent), with many of those positions being in the public and nonprofit sectors, which account for 25 percent of all jobs in the U.S.
“This program aligns beautifully with one of three goals set forth in our Digital Landscape Initiative,” said Dean Sally Wallace. “Early on, we recognized demand for employees in policy analytics will be difficult to fill from computational science and analytics degree programs alone. Cynthia and her colleagues created a program to uniquely serve graduates who seek proficiency in data science techniques to better serve the public good.”
Georgia State students who earn an MPP with a concentration in policy analytics will learn to:
- Describe how emerging data sources and analytical techniques can be harnessed for the public sector.
- Collect, organize and analyze data using tools and techniques best applied for developing insights, predictive models and/or causal inference.
- Visualize and communicate the results of their analyses.
- Describe the social, political and ethical considerations of using data for political and economic benefit.
- Describe the value of transparency, data privacy and data security for the public sector.
“There exists a rich data science ecosystem that can be leveraged for things like open-source solutions to public problems or for accessing talent through contracts and partnerships,” Searcy said. “Our policy analytics grads will be trained to lead in this exciting area as technical experts and in managing this talent.”