A master's program that prepares you for a career in education policy research, evaluation, and analysis.

The one-year Education Policy master's program equips students with the knowledge and methodological tools to understand, evaluate, and implement programs and policies that impact students and communities across the country and around the world, from early childhood to K-12 and beyond. 

What Sets Us Apart

#5 Education Policy has been ranked in the top 10 since the mid 1990s by US News & World Report
  Education Policy Research Practicum provides students with real-world, applied research experience
  Unmatched access: Locally, nationally, and globally, we're connected to the organizations that matter

About the Program

The one-year master's degree in Education Policy includes coursework in the foundations of education, research, evaluation, data analysis, and education policy. 

Application Deadline
Priority Deadline - February 1, 2022; rolling admissions thereafter as space permits
Entry term(s)
Course requirements
10 courses (7 required, 3 elective)
Typical course load

Fall: 4 courses; Spring: 4 Courses; Summer: 2 courses

Culminating experienceEducation Policy Research Practicum

  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time

The Education Policy M.S.Ed. program consists of 10 course units along with the successful completion of the Education Policy Research Practicum. As part of these 10 courses, you select three electives that allow you to tailor the program of study towards your own specific interests and goals. 

Students in the program usually complete courses in a 4/4/2 pattern; i.e., four courses in each of the Fall and Spring semesters and two during the Summer term. You must complete the Education Policy Research Practicum (EDUC 711) during the Spring semester in order to complete the degree.  


For information about courses and requirements, visit the Education Policy M.S.Ed. program in the University Catalog.

Education Policy Research Practicum

Education policy and practice increasingly rely on empirical evidence to inform state and local decision-making. With the widespread availability of educational data, there is an increasing need for the timely generation of empirical evidence to support the work of policymakers and practitioners. The Education Policy Research Practicum is designed to address this information gap. Students partner with educational leaders to conduct client-based, applied education research projects.

You will will engage in original empirical analysis, complete written policy reports, and present your findings to clients in end-of-semester formal client briefings. This course will provide direct benefits to the client as well as to the student research teams. On the client side, the findings will provide immediate, actionable guidance around an issue related to program implementation, educational practice, or other questions of educational significance. For the student researchers, this course will enhance both your human capital through real-world training in applied education research as well your social capital through partnership with high-level education policymakers and practitioners. Moreover, the key findings from these studies will be circulated throughout the Mid-Career, Penn GSE, and Penn community to enhance knowledge about important educational issues.

Former clients include district and state education agencies, private and independent schools, and non-profit educational organizations. Examples of previous projects include:

  • Assessing Measures of Teaching Practice in an Urban Teacher Preparation Program
  • Examining the Role of a Summer Enrichment Program in Improving Student Achievement
  • A Longitudinal Analysis of School Budget Allotments and Expenditures
  • Understanding the Impact of Teacher Hiring Policies on Teacher Retention and the Distribution of Teacher Performance
  • Do Students with Autism Benefit from Inclusion in General Education Classes?
  • The Long-Term Impact of Head Start on Student Achievement and Grade Promotion

Internship and Research Opportunities

In addition to the Education Policy Research Practicum and the other program coursework, many master’s students seek other opportunities to develop applied research and policy analysis skills. Each year, a number of students work with faculty and/or research centers here at Penn GSE. Examples of projects and centers that students have worked with include the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, the Center for Standards, Alignment, Instruction and Learning, and the Institute for Research on Higher Education.

Other students find off-campus internship and research opportunities. In the past few years, students have found rewarding off-campus employment opportunities with organizations such as the School District of Philadelphia, the Mayor's Office for Education, the Philadelphia Education Fund, Research for Action, and KIPP.

Dual and Joint Degrees

We offer joint and dual degrees with Penn Law, the Fels Institute of Government, and Wharton. Learn more about Dual and Joint Degrees at Penn GSE.

Our Faculty

The Education Policy faculty study everything from big data in early childhood education to assessment and evaluation to the teacher workforce. In addition to the standing faculty in Education Policy, our program is enriched by the scholarship of faculty members from the Literacy, Culture, and International Education, Human Development and Quantitative Methods, Higher Education, and Teaching, Learning, and Leadership divisions. 

Penn GSE Faculty Jonathan A. Supovitz
Ed.D., Harvard University
Penn GSE Faculty Walter G. Ecton
Visiting Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Penn GSE Faculty Rand Quinn
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University
Penn GSE Faculty Richard M. Ingersoll
Professor of Education and Sociology
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty A. Brooks Bowden
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Columbia University
Penn GSE Faculty Manuel S. González Canché
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Arizona
Penn GSE Faculty John W. Fantuzzo
Albert M. Greenfield Emeritus Professor of Human Relations
Ph.D., Fuller Graduate School of Psychology
Penn GSE Faculty Michael A. Gottfried
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Rebecca A. Maynard
Professor Emeritus of Education and Social Policy
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison

Affiliated Faculty

Sigal Ben-Porath
Ph.D., Tel Aviv University

Wendy Chan
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Northwestern University

Dennis P. Culhane
Professor, Penn Social Policy & Practice
Ph.D., Boston College

Joni Finney
Professor of Practice
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Stephanie Levin
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

John MacDonald
Professor of Criminology and Sociology, Penn Arts & Sciences
Ph.D., University of Maryland

Laura W. Perna
Vice Provost for Faculty
Ph.D., University of Michigan

Andy Porter
Professor Emeritus of Education
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

John L. Puckett
Professor Emeritus of Education
Ph.D., University of North Carolina

Daniel A. Wagner
Ph.D., University of Michigan

Sharon Wolf
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., New York University

Jonathan Zimmerman
Judy and Howard Berkowitz Professor in Education
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

"Penn GSE’s Education Policy program armed me with the tools I needed to effectively advocate for change in our educational system."

Tomea A. Sippio-Smith

Education Policy M.S.Ed., 2016

Our Graduates

Our graduates go on to take leading roles in school districts, federal and state education departments, education policy research institutes, and education-related non-profit organizations. Many continue their studies in prestigious doctoral programs. 

Alumni Careers

  • Management and Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Education, Washington DC
  • Education Policy Researcher, Council of the Great City Schools, Washington DC
  • Program Manager for Student Support Services, School District of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
  • Policy Analyst, RAND Corporation
  • Project Manager, First Up
  • Data Analyst, New York City Department of Education, New York, NY
  • Executive Director, Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, Andover, MA
  • Associate Director of Social Justice, College Board
  • Research Analyst, NORC at the University of Chicago
  • Program Manager, New Jersey Department of Education

Admissions & Financial Aid

Please visit our Admissions and Financial Aid pages for specific information on the application requirements, as well as information on tuition, fees, financial aid, scholarships, and fellowships.

Contact Information

Contact us if you have any questions about the program.

Office of Admissions and
Financial Aid

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania
3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-6415

Program Contact

Krista Featherstone
Program Manager
(215) 573-8075

Please view information from our Admissions and Financial Aid Office for specific information on the cost of this program.

Penn GSE is committed to making your graduate education affordable, and we offer generous scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships.

Ornate architecture on Penn's campus.

Joint Degree Program: Penn GSE (M.S.Ed.) and Penn Law (J.D.)

The J.D./M.S.Ed. is a joint program sponsored by Penn GSE and Penn Law. Students earn both degrees in three years and are prepared to assumed positions of leadership in educational law and policymaking in both the public and private sectors.

Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Joint Degree Program: Penn GSE (M.S.Ed.) and Fels Institute of Government (M.P.A.)

The M.S.Ed./M.P.A. is a joint program sponsored by Penn GSE and Penn's Fels Institute of Government. This dual-degree option is ideal for students looking to combine preparation for nonprofit leadership and public administration with the study of education policy.

VAST Life students walking in front of Huntsman Hall

Joint Degree Program: Penn GSE (M.S.Ed.) and Wharton School (M.B.A.)

The M.S.Ed./M.B.A. is a joint program sponsored by Penn GSE and the Wharton School. This dual-degree option is ideal for students who have an interest in education policy, leadership, and management. Admitted students complete both degrees over the course of two academic years.