Program: Education Policy and Analysis
Our Education Policy and Analysis (EPA) Program will prepare you to lead and engage in education policy development, analysis, and change in organizations and settings throughout the U.S. and around the world. You also will learn how to scale effective education practices and how to leverage policy in order to expand their reach. EPA will also provide you with the theoretical frameworks and analytic methods that will enable you to design, implement, and evaluate policies at the national, state, institutional, program, and project levels. Our program prepares you to work in the governmental sector, research and consulting firms, think tanks, institutions of higher education, and policy advocacy organizations.
"Crafting and evaluating education policy remains a critical part of ensuring better outcomes for all students, and our program leads the way in cultivating the next generation of education policy professionals. From integrating research and practice to improve public policy to identifying the best method of communicating research finding to policymakers, our program will provide you with the real-world tools you need to make a difference."
Carrie Conaway, Faculty Co-Chair
After completing the Education Policy and Analysis Program, you will have a deeper understanding of the following competencies that explore how to:
- Integrate values and goals - Integrate the values and goals of your organization or community throughout the policy process, with special attention to equity as a central value in education.
- Understand the issue and context - Define the educational problem or opportunity with an understanding of the relevant historical, social, economic, and political context, including the differing interests and incentives of stakeholders.
- Evaluate evidence and tradeoffs - Define policy options and the criteria for evaluating them. Evaluate the quality of the available evidence and use it to compare alternatives, considering fiscal, political, social, individual, and collective consequences and tradeoffs.
- Communicate and collaborate - Communicate, collaborate, advocate, and negotiate with allies, opponents, and other stakeholders. Convey evidence and reasoning clearly and appropriately for the audience.
- Engage in the policy process - Make recommendations and implement policy under conditions of uncertainty, revising decisions as new evidence and understandings come to light. Build and share new evidence on policy implementation and impact.
The EPA Program Core Experience provides an action-oriented introduction to the development of public policy. This four-unit course introduces both practical competencies and theoretical frameworks about the policymaking process. You will survey policies across the sector and advance your learning through cases, problems of practice, and current policy debates. The experience offers exposure to a variety of education levels — early childhood, K–12, higher education, and adult learners — and settings in the U.S. and around the world.
In addition to the Core Experience, you will choose and complete a research methods course and a policy analysis exercise, where you can practice, demonstrate, and reflect on program competencies.
HGSE consists of a faculty of the whole, and students can work with and take courses with faculty throughout HGSE and Harvard. View our faculty directory for a full list of HGSE faculty.
The EPA Program prepares you for a variety of career pathways, including:
- Policy analyst
- Policy associate
- Local, state, or federal government professional
- Research associate or director of research
- Senior research portfolio manager
- Institutional research analyst
- Data analyst
- Policy consultant
An emphasis on policy as a driver of education transformation is a key component of our Education Policy and Analysis Program. Through coursework, core experiences, and events such as panel discussions and policy debates, the program offers you the opportunity to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to develop, implement, and analyze education policy. Alumni who have specialized in this area go on to work at the local, state, and federal levels – as researchers, analysts, lobbyists, or consultants. You can read their stories here:
The UndocuAllies Initiative and master’s candidate Ariana Aparicio Aguilar bring new urgency to supporting undocumented students at colleges and beyond.
Cohort and Community
As an EPA student, you will be joining a community bound by a shared passion for improving education outcomes, opportunities, and systems through policy. The EPA cohort is comprised of learners from diverse professional backgrounds and levels of experience; from K–12 educators and district administrators to policymakers and business executives; from the U.S. and diverse countries abroad; and from early childhood through postsecondary and adult education. Our community engages in shared learning inside and outside the classroom, including informal policy debates with faculty during brown bag lunches, panels with senior policy analysts who share advice on career pathways, and cohort-wide opportunities to learn about and from your peers.
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