Public Policy Practicum

Master of Public Policy students apply the skills and knowledge gained in this two-year program to a real-world policy problem. The Master of Public Policy Practicum gives students practical consulting experience in policy analysis for a variety of real-world clients.


Colombia Lab

Price Center Director Gary Painter led a Masters of Public Policy practicum in Bogota, Colombia, which focused on new sustainable agricultural models.


Wicked Problems

The Wicked Problems Practicum is a year-long project in which USC students from multiple schools across campus work to address an urgent public policy issue that is both multifaceted and intractable. A USC faculty team from the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, Sol Price School of Public Policy, Keck School of Medicine, and Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute joined forces in a groundbreaking graduate practicum to address one of the USC Provost’s “Wicked Problems” facing the world’s megacities: how to achieve an optimum urban environment for lifespan health and population aging. Creative interdisciplinary teaching strategies enabled by Esri technologies engaged 21 students from four different disciplines to collaborate in devising their own investigations and resultant visualizations of Los Angeles’s urban lifespan aging problems and potential solutions. Read more here.


Changes in Retirement Wealth Among U.S. Households

A team of MPP students found that 52 percent of U.S. households over age 55 have no retirement wealth in either IRAs or defined contribution plans such as a 401(k). Working with Congressional Research Service, students also found that race, income, and education played a major role in retirement wealth and those most likely to possess retirement wealth are white, married, college-educated and high-income earners. To address these disparities, students proposed automatic enrollment in IRAs, automatic escalation of employee contributions, and reforms to tax policy.


Data and evaluation for transformation

The L.A. Compact brings together the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, UNITE-LA, the Mayor of Los Angeles, LAUSD, and more to improve youth education and workforce outcomes in Los Angeles County. The team of MPP students analyzed more than 70 different collective impact organizations to identify what works best such as cradle-to-career data tracking and successful methods of evaluation to better measure impact.


A Baseline Assessment of Community Representation and Health Indicators of the Copley-Price Family YMCA

The new Copley-Price Family YMCA promotes healthy living and equitable access to resources in three in San Diego County communities. Students measured the impact this new facility will have on the community since replacing the older, more-centrally located Copley Family YMCA. By analyzing data on membership rates, surveys, eating habits and activity levels, students measured positive improvements in each of the three communities.


Price Charities Impact Study: Assessing the Impact of Affordable Rental Housing on Neighboring Apartment Buildings

The San Diego neighborhood of City Heights has experienced dramatic changes over the last fifty years including population growth, demographic changes, rising crime rates, and low economic investment. A team of students measured the impact of the Price Charities “City Heights Initiative,” which focused resources on improving the quality of life for City Heights residents through the construction of affordable housing.


Creating New Park Space in City Heights

More than 75,000 residents live in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego and most do not have adequate access to park space. Students leveraged GIS mapping technology to identify suitable areas for new parks and researched regional land use policy to identify vacant lots suitable for conversion to community parks. Students also proposed methods to increase community engagement in the design of new parks.

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