New UIC graduate program to deliver data specialists to the public sector

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs will be home to one of the nation’s few graduate programs dedicated to data science in the public sector, and the first offered at a public institution in the state of Illinois.

The Master of Science in Civic Analytics degree, which was recently approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, combines instruction in civic technology and data analytics to fulfill a rising need for data specialists in government and nonprofit areas. Classes will begin in the fall 2020 semester, and applications are being accepted for the two-year program.

Balanced with traditional core subjects in public affairs, the curriculum offers a strong foundation in the areas of data analytics, applied statistics, geospatial applications and data visualization.

“The program is designed to provide substantive analytical skills to our students, who will be taught how to examine complex public problems and offer a deep understanding of the consequences of policy actions,” said Michael Pagano, dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. “Graduates will have modern analytic and research skills that are desirable to many employers.”

From information offices in city, state and federal agencies and large nonprofit organizations to technology consulting firms and government contractors, a wide range of organizations in the Chicago region need workers proficient in civic-focused data analytics.

“Students in the program will integrate classroom learning through practical experience working on projects with UIC partners in the city’s civic tech community,” Pagano said. “These opportunities provide valuable career experience and can help deliver practical solutions that benefit our partners and the general public.”

The program complements UIC’s existing bachelor’s degree in public policy, which offers students the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in public administration and earn dual degrees in as little as five years. An accelerated program is available for students entering from other programs, which will allow completion of the Master of Science in Civic Analytics program in 15 months. A part-time option is also available.

Fall 2020 semester applications are due April 1 for international applicants and June 15 for domestic applicants. Applicants should apply for the fall 2020 admissions cycle by Feb. 1 to be considered for departmental scholarships.

The new program is based in the department of public administration, which features a top-ranked research faculty and placed in the top 12% of all public affairs programs nationally in the 2020 edition of the U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings. The department also fared strongly in the publication’s specialty rankings, including urban policy (3rd), public finance and budgeting (12th), local government management (15th), nonprofit management (21st), and public management and leadership (35th).

For more information about the program, contact Stephen Kleinschmit, director of Master of Science in Civic Analytics and clinical associate professor of public administration, at (312) 996-3171 or

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