This summer, HKS announced the introduction of a new Data and Research Methods track—a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)-designated pathway—for MPP, MPA, and MC/MPA students. (The MPA/ID Program is already STEM-designated.)  

Students who pursue the Data and Research Methods track will build quantitative analysis and research methodology skills by successfully completing at least 16 credits from a list of qualifying courses. ​ 

As a prospective student, you may have questions about what this new track means for your potential academic future at HKS. Read on for answers to some frequently asked questions about this new offering.  

Do I need to apply for the Data and Research Methods track when applying? 

No, you do not need to take any action at the point of application. You will have an opportunity to declare interest in this track once you have been admitted to and enroll at HKS.  

What are the requirements to pursue the Data and Research Methods track? 

To complete the Data and Research Methods track, you: 

  • Must be an MPP, MPA, or MC/MPA student 
  • Enroll in and fulfill all MPP, MPA, or MC/MPA Program degree requirements  
  • Complete at least 16 course credits from a list of qualifying courses 
  • Must complete at least 4 credits from Group A of the qualifying courses (quantitative analysis) and at least 4 credits from Group B (research methods) 
  • Earn a minimum grade of B- or better in each qualifying course  

What courses qualify for the Data and Research Methods track? 

The qualifying courses are subject to change based on the course catalogue each year, but here are some examples from the 2023-2024 academic year. 

Group A (Quantitative Analysis) 

  • ​​Introduction to Budgeting and Financial Management 
  • Machine Learning & Big Data Analytics 
  • Data and Information Visualization 
  • Politics and Policies: What Can Data Tell Us?​ 
  • Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy 
  • ​City Politics Field Lab: Political Representation and Accountability 

Group B (Research Methods) 

  • ​Thinking Analytically in an Uncertain World 
  • Emerging Tech: Security, Strategy, and Risk 
  • Mixed Methods Analytics for Leaders & Policymakers 
  • ​Confronting Climate Change: A Foundation in Science, Technology and Policy 
  • Technology and Public Interest: From Democracy to Technocracy and Back 
  • ​Science of Behavior Change 
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