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#2023APPAM Spotlight: University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice


The #2023APPAM Fall Research Conference will feature some fantastic sponsors from across the policy research spectrum. Today we're shining a spotlight on University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice.


What types of programs does your school offer?


The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) offers five top-ranked, highly respected degree programs—Master of Social Work (MSW), Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP) or Master of Science in Social Policy Data Analytics for Social Policy Certificate (MSSP DA), Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL), Doctorate in Clinical Social Work, and PhD in Social Welfare. SP2 also offers a range of certificate programs and dual degrees. 

These programs combine rigorous academics with meaningful field experience and an ongoing commitment to exploring axes of inequality. Led by world-class faculty renowned for their teaching excellence and intellectual contributions, they provide students with a rock-solid theoretical framework.

How has your school changed in the last ten years?


Our school has experienced significant growth in the past ten years. During that time, we have also added the Data Analytics Certificate (MSSP DA), which is a STEM-designated degree program.

Why should students choose your school or program?

For more than 110 years, SP2 has been a powerful force for good in the world, working toward social justice and social change through research and practice. As a student, you will contribute to the advancement of more effective, efficient, and humane services through education, research, and civic engagement. At SP2, we bring together innovative programs, world-class faculty and research, transdisciplinary collaboration, and immersive fieldwork to provide an unparalleled educational experience in pursuit of social justice, innovation, and impact.

If you are hiring, what makes your school a great place to work?

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. As one of Penn’s 12 highly regarded schools, SP2 has long been known for our commitment to social justice and educating students committed to taking an active role in fighting oppression. The social philosophy that shapes the educational programs we offer, the research we undertake, and the leadership we provide is known as the Penn Approach. This philosophy reflects our faculty’s commitment to introduce students to a variety of perspectives related to social work practice, nonprofit leadership, social policy, research, racism, and oppression, and the nature of human behavior in the social environment. If our vision and commitment to social change matches your values, we invite talented faculty and staff to join us at SP2.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

We encourage prospective students to attend an information session or pre-application appointment to learn more about the program and have the opportunity to speak with program staff before submitting their application. More information on applying to SP2 can be found at:

What is something unqiue about your institution or program?

The interdisciplinary MSSP program provides students with rigorous training in policy analysis, statistical analysis, and critical theory. Our program is unique, as our students are trained to examine social policy from a social justice perspective, challenge assumptions and biases, and seek effective solutions to promote social justice. 

In addition to the rigorous academic training, MSSP students gain real-world experience through a policy internship that connects them with policy practitioners and organizations in a wide range of sectors and settings. At SP2, our students are part of a vibrant and diverse community of scholars who share their passion for social change.

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