Why Policy Studies?


We develop the next generation of policy leaders: ethical thinkers and practical doers with the critical understanding and professional skills needed to address contemporary policy challenges.

Commitments to equity, diversity, sustainability and the public good guide our program learning goals.

Students become agents of change across public, non-profit, and private sectors, choosing careers that include policy analysis, research, management, community development, and public service, administration, and leadership.

Program Highlights

  • Small classes and cohort
  • Evening classes
  • Structured opportunities for applied research, community engagement, and professional development
  • Dedicated faculty mentors, experts in environment, labor, education, social welfare, human rights, and urban planning

Research Opportunities

The Master of Arts in Policy Studies program places strong emphasis on research and analysis. Students engage in multiple forms of research utilizing various methodologies. Through coursework, internships, directed research, and independent study, students develop a solid theoretical base while honing their skills in research and analysis.

Capstone Research Project

The Capstone research project represents one of the most significant portions of the Policy Studies curriculum. The project is the integration of all facets of the learning experience, allowing each student to utilize the tools of policy research by examining a selected contemporary policy issue. Learn what Capstone research projects have been completed by our students.

Community-based Learning and Research

The Policy Studies program is committed to mutually-beneficial relationships with local organizations for the purposes of education and growth. Collaboration is a regular practice within the program and takes various forms, including targeted research, program evaluation, and policy analysis. Learn about collaborative projects that have enriched the lives of our students and community.
Applied Course Projects

Policy Studies students are trained in analytical methods and given opportunities to examine real-world public policy issues through applied course projects. These experiences refine students’ abilities to define policy problems, identify stakeholders, and propose viable solutions. Read about past applied course projects covering the topics of climate change and traffic congestion.

Conferences and Publications

Graduate students in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences are encouraged to pursue academic opportunities such as conferences and journal publications. Students often present at local, regional, and international conferences to gain professional experience and enhance their portfolios. Additionally, conferences are an excellent way to connect with other scholars who may become future colleagues and collaborators.


There are several ways for graduate students to apply for conference/research funding and community engagement funds to attend conferences.

Conference Databases

  • Call for Papers – This website is provided by the Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania as a courtesy to the academic community. CFP’s are posted by category.
  • H-Net Academic Announcements – Search for academic conferences, calls for papers, and programs that may be of interest.

Application/Presentation Guides

Recommended Conferences