Using Big Data for Policy Challenges

You are here

Course Number: 
GAFL 590

Course Section



  • MPA

Course Type: 

  • Elective



  • Fall 2021

Course Format


On-campus meetings will be modified for summer and fall 2021 in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.

On-Campus Day(s): 
On-Campus Time: 
5:15 - 8:15 p.m.

On-Campus Location:

Course Description: 

"Big data" has become a ubiquitous buzzword, but what does it actually mean and what can it do in the social and political world? This class will help students understand what big data is and how it can be used to shed light on various policy issues. To do this, the class teaches students a set of computational tools (centered on the R statistical programming language), and shows them how to gather, analyze, and present data in useful ways. It does so by working through a number of important policy issues, including policing, campaign finance, public health, political polling, and many others. No prior statistical or technical knowledge is assumed, though basic statistical literacy is helpful. Fels and other graduate students receive registration preference, though undergraduate students may request registration via email:

Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326