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

#3 Penn GSE Programs in Education Policy have been highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report for over a decade
  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
Rolling admission
Entry term(s)
Course requirements
10 courses (7 required, 3 elective)
Typical course load

Option 1: Summer (before Fall begins): 2 courses; Fall: 4 courses; Spring: 4 courses
Option 2: Fall: 5 courses; Spring: 5 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 have two options to complete the program requirements. Students can take courses prior to the start of the fall, which is a 2/4/4 courseload. Students with this option can take 2 courses in “Summer 2”, 4 courses in the Fall, and 4 courses in the Spring. Alternatively, students can take a 5/5 courseload which would be 5 courses in the Fall and 5 courses in the Spring. Students must complete the Education Policy Research Practicum 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 policymakers and practitioners are increasingly relying on research evidence to inform federal, state, and local decision-making. With the widespread availability of educational data, there is a growing need for the timely generation of research evidence to support the ongoing work of policymakers and practitioners. The Education Policy Research Practicum is designed to develop an understanding of how educational researchers partner with educational leaders to impact policy.

Through the Practicum, you will develop skillsets that are extremely valuable to partners in policy and practice, which include, but are not limited to, empirical analyses, policy reports, and presentations. Through the development of these skills, you will be positioned to complete the Practicum with immediate and actionable guidance around how research can inform program implementation, schooling practice, and/or other questions of educational significance.

The Practicum takes on two different formats, and you will have the opportunity to choose the one that fits your academic preferences and career goals. In one option, you will focus on case study style learning, engaging in the classroom through a large swath of real-world examples and analysis (EDUC 711). In another option, you will work in teams and partner with a local school district (EDUC 722). In both options, you will learn similar skills, and the purpose of offering two different formats is so that you can choose the style that best suits your needs and interests.

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, and Teaching, Learning, and Leadership divisions. 

Penn GSE Faculty Sade Bonilla
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University
Penn GSE Faculty A. Brooks Bowden
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Columbia University
Penn GSE Faculty Michael A. Gottfried
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Rand Quinn
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University
Penn GSE Faculty Jonathan A. Supovitz
Ed.D., Harvard University
Penn GSE Faculty Ericka S. Weathers
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University

Affiliated Faculty

Sigal Ben-Porath
MRMJJ Presidential Professor
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

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

Daniel A. Wagner
UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy
Ph.D., University of Michigan

Sharon Wolf
Associate 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

Nakia Gard
Program Manager
(215) 573-8075

Noel Lipki
Program Coordinator
(215) 746-2923

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.