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Master of Science in Civic Analytics

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The Master of Science in Civic Analytics is a first of its kind degree that combines study in civic technology and data analytics for those in the government and nonprofit sectors. The curriculum provides a strong foundation in the areas of applied statistics, geospatial applications, and data visualization, but balanced with traditional core subjects in public affairs. The program is designed to develop a substantial capacity for students to solve complex public problems with information technology. Graduates will have skills that will be highly desirable in many employer contexts, including information offices in city, state and federal agencies; large nonprofits; technology consulting firms, and government contractors. The program is also committed to finding ethical solutions to problems and reflect public values.

The MSCA program is suitable for individuals with a diverse array of baccalaureate degrees, including those with backgrounds in public policy, political science, statistics, information technology, geography, mathematics, computer science, and economics. Students can take advantage of the expertise contained within the college’s nationally prominent research centers, including the Urban Data Visualization Laboratory, the Network Governance Laboratory, and the Urban Transportation Center. The program also works to integrate students into the city’s civic tech community, helping to provide a valuable form of service-learning while also acquiring skills from field-leading practitioners in civic technology.

Admissions Heading link

Degree Required: Bachelor’s degree

Baccalaureate Field: Baccalaureate degree holders in any field are eligible for admission to the program.

Grade Point Average: Minimum 2.75 out of 4.00 for the final 60 semester (90 quarter) hours of undergraduate study. Applicants with a master’s degree must have maintained a GPA of at least 2.75 out of 4.00 in previous work. Applicants with GPAs below 2.75 are considered for limited standing admission.

Letters of Recommendation & Writing Sample (OPTIONAL): Applicants may submit a 5–10 page writing sample and up to three letters of recommendation. These letters should be from instructors familiar with the applicant’s academic training or supervisor familiar with the applicant’s professional experiences.

Personal Statement: Required. The personal statement shall address how the MSCA degree will further the student’s educational and career objectives. The student will also discuss relevant prior coursework or professional experience, and willingness to learn information technology and statistics.

Resume Required. Applicants must submit an updated resume with their application.

Other Requirements (Prerequisites): The student must provide documentation that they have completed an undergraduate or graduate-level data analysis or statistics course in the last three years with a grade of B or higher. This course will be more than a research design course and must cover descriptive and inferential statistics, including regression. If the student does not have such a course but meets the other requirements for admission, they will be required to enroll in PA 402 Principles of Data Analysis or equivalent course.

Degree Requirements Heading link

The MSCA program builds largely off existing courses from the department’s Master of Public Administration program. A minimum of 53 credit hours must be earned to complete the degree.

Do note that our courses primarily confer 4 credit hours per course (13.5 course equivalent) rather than 3.

A. Public Service Foundations (10 hours)

  • PA 401. Foundations of Public Service (4)
  • PA 506. Public Policy Development and Process (4)
  • PA 520. Data Science Ethics and Information Security (2)

B. Analytics and Data Science Core (24 hours)

  • PA 431. Civic Technology (4)
  • PA 433. Data Management (4)
  • PA 434. Data Analytics (4)
  • PA 435. Geographic Information Systems for Public Managers (4)
  • PA 446. Coding for Civic Data Applications (4)
  • PA 470. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the Public Sector (4)

C. Research Methods (8 hours)

  • PA 528. Public Program Evaluation (4)
  • PA 541: Advanced Data Analysis I (4)

D. Electives (Choose 8 hours)

Students must choose at least one advanced methods elective (denoted with asterisk*)

  • PA 402. Principles of Data Analysis
  • PA 403. Economics for Management and Policy (4)
  • PA 422. Project Management (4)
  • PA 432. Management of Information Technology (4)
  • PA 521. Strategic Management: Planning and Measurement (4)
  • PA 526. Public Policy Analysis (4)
  • PA 539. Public Procurement and Contracting (2)
  • PA 542. Advanced Data Analysis II (4)*
  • PA 561. Intergovernmental Management (4)
  • PA 573. Development and Fundraising in Nonprofit Organizations (2)
  • PA 582. Survey Data Collection Methods: Theory and Practice (4)
  • PA 588. Applied Survey Sampling and Analysis (4)
  • POLS 553. Urban Public Policy (4)
  • UPP 462. Intermediate GIS for Planning and Policy (4)
  • UPP 463. Complexity-Based Models for Planning and Policy (4)*
  • UPP 464. Advanced Visualization Techniques (4)*
  • UPP 465. Topics in Geospatial Analysis and Visualization (2-4, no more than 4 hours)
  • IDS 400. Programming for Data Science (4)
  • IDS 403. Information Security (4)
  • IDS 470. Multivariate Analysis (4)*
  • IDS 472. Data Mining (4)*
  • IDS 500. Information Systems in Organizations (4)
  • IDS 509. Data and Prescriptive Analytics*
  • IDS 521. Advanced Data Management (4)
  • IDS 575. Statistic and Machine Learning Foundations for Analytics (4)
  • IDS 576. Advanced Predictive Models (4)
  • IDS 560. Analytics Strategy and Practice (4)*
  • IDS 567. Business Data Visualization (4)
  • IDS 575. Statistic and Machine Learning Foundations for Analytics (4)
  • IDS 576. Advanced Predictive Models (4)*

E. Internship or Professional Project (3 hours)

  • PA 595. Internship in Civic Data and Technology (2) OR PA 589. Civic Analytics Capstone (2)
  • PA 592. Professional Portfolio (1)

The internship and capstone courses can be waived for those with professional experience and demonstrated competence, as evaluated by the MSCA Director of Graduate Studies. Students waived of this requirement must replace the course with an equivalent number of elective hours to meet degree requirement. All students are required to complete PA 592.

Failure to Progress Statement

  • For programs (MPA/MPP/MSCA) requiring 41 to 64 semester hours of graduate work, the time limit is six consecutive calendar years. Students pursuing more than one degree at the same time will be given an additional two years. Students who do not graduate by these deadlines will be dismissed from the program for failure to progress. Time spent on a leave of absence approved by the program and the Graduate College is not counted toward the degree time limit.


Megan Daly
Academic Advisor
Public Policy, Management, and Analytics (M/C 278)