Data Analytics for Policy Professionals

Bridging Data Science with International Affairs and Public Policy


Professors Emmanuel Teitelbaum and Laila Sorurbakhsh discuss data visualizations with Elliott School graduate students and International Affairs practitioners (left to right) Chris Markiewicz, Chiara Evelti, Uugangerel Bold, and Briana Doyle.

Data Analytics for Policy Professionals (DAPP) is an executive education program that aims to bridge the gap between data science and traditional analysis in international affairs and public policy. Broadly speaking, our goal is to take the lead in providing our current and future policymakers with the modern analytic tools they need to revolutionize policy in information-rich environments. By empowering policy professionals to harness their organization’s data, we can help them to improve the flow of their daily operations, deepen their understanding of policy, and provide evidence-based recommendations for best policy practices. 

book open reader icon

Data Literacy

laptop code icon

Data Proficiency

Confluence icon image

Data Fluency

graduation cap icon

Data Mastery

landmark flag icon

Policy Excellence


We offer a range of upskilling courses designed to complement rather than supplant traditional policy analysis. We aim to empower policy professionals in their current roles and promote policy excellence through mastery of basic data science skills. But we also understand that the definition of “mastery” is relative. For some, mastery may entail simply understanding the basic intuition behind a given technique or skill, whereas for others it will involve developing a fully functional model or application. We therefore strive to be inclusive by offering courses targeted at learners with different skill sets while ensuring that every student in every course learns something new.





Our Mission

To bridge data science with international affairs and public policy

To upskill domestic and foreign policy practitioners from data literacy to proficiency, fluency, and mastery to achieve policy excellence

To revolutionize policy through evidence-based approaches that combine content expertise with analytic skills






The curriculum was developed in consultation with federal agencies including The U.S. Department of State, The Department of Labor, The Foreign Service Institute, and The National Security Council, as well as think tanks and industry leaders such as fp21 and GDIT.


How it works: 

All workshops feature:

  • Elliott School-affiliated faculty
  • Live, synchronous sessions and hands-on projects
  • Feedback on assignments and discussions
  • Credit-bearing options for lifelong learners
  • Guest speakers and collaborative opportunities
  • A culminating keynote and networking event

*Please note that the 1.5 credit DAPP courses are for non-degree students only. Current ESIA students are not eligible to take the 1.5 credit DAPP courses (listed as IAFF 6505). Several of these courses will be offered simultaneously as one-credit ESIA skills courses under IAFF 6502 or IAFF 6503. Current ESIA students must enroll in the one-credit versions of these courses (IAFF 6502 or IAFF 6503). Please contact [email protected] for more information about data analytics course offerings for current ESIA students.


How to Apply

Online Application

To apply, go to the application portal and select 'I am a graduate or non-degree student.' You will be prompted to create a username, confirm your email address, and then create a password. Once these steps are completed, you will be able to log in and start a new application.

On the first page of the application, choose the following options (each field must be selected before the following field options will populate):

  • What type of program are you applying to? Non-Degree
  • School: Summer & Non-Degree Programs
  • Field of Study: Data Analytics for Policy Professionals
  • Degree: Non-Degree
  • Concentration: Not Applicable
  • Term: [Whichever term the course you wish to take is in; currently accepting applications for Fall 2023]

Required Information

In addition to completing the application (no application fee required), please make sure to attach

  • Statement of interest identifying which course(s) you wish to participate in and what skills you hope to develop. (upload as PDF)
  • Resume (upload as PDF)
  • Unofficial transcript from your undergraduate or graduate institution where a degree was obtained (If you do not have a transcript to upload in the application, you may email the transcript to [email protected], once obtained).


All application materials are due by the deadline listed below the first course you wish to enroll in.

Courses Starting Fall 2023

The Elliott School will potentially start offering credentials based on these workshops. More information coming soon!

Start your application

IAFF 6505 Visualizing and Modeling International Politics

Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Dates/Times: Friday, October 27, 5 - 9 PM; Saturday, October 28, 8 AM - 4 PM; Sunday, October 29, 9 AM - 12 PM; Networking event Friday, December 1, 5:30 - 8:30 PM

Credits: 1.5 credit

Professor: Emmanuel Teitelbaum, ESIA 

Skills learned: R, Tidyverse


Description: The ability to visualize your data is a fundamental skill increasingly required in virtually every professional or academic context. Data visualization is a key first step of any compelling statistical analysis, but frequently a good visualization can be in and of itself enough to persuade your audience of your main point. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how many regression tables is a well-crafted plot worth? In this class, we will learn to create a variety of visualizations including line charts, bar charts, scatter plots and maps with the Tidyverse group of packages in the R programming language. We will use ggplot2 to create bar charts, line charts, scatter plots, and choropleth maps. The class will explore how to make interactive maps with popups and markers using the leaflet package. Along the way, we will learn to utilize a number of Tidyverse packages including dplyr and tidyr to wrangle data into the correct form for visualization. Examples will be pertinent to the field of International Affairs and we will learn to use packages that enable us to download data from social science APIs like the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) dataset and the World Bank.  We will also host a guest lecture connecting the work you do in this class to the work you do as an international affairs or public policy practitioner.


IAFF 6505 Expert Policy Decision Making Using Data

Level: Beginner

Asynchronous Coursework Begins: Monday, November 6

Synchronous Meeting Dates/Times: Thursday, November 9, 5 - 9 PM; Friday, November 10, 5 - 9 PM; Saturday, November 11,  8 AM - 4 PM; Networking event Friday, December 1 from 5:30 - 8:30pm

Professor: Leonardo Antenangeli, ESIA;  Dan Spokojny, CEO of fp21

Skills learned: R/Posit

Description: This course blends the “how” with the “why”: Why do we need to learn data analysis for the practice of foreign and domestic policymaking, and how do these skills add value to the quality of policy we produce and implement?  This course will not only help you familiarize yourself with the R programming language and R Studio integrated development environment (IDE), but it will also discuss how these skills can be used to benefit strategic policy thinking and expert-level decision making.  Statistical analysis is critical for effective, evidence-based policy making, and R counts itself among the highly sought after skills in the policy realm. R is an open source, analytic tool that benefits from several contributions (“packages'' or “libraries”) made by independent researchers. In this class you will learn the fundamentals needed to create effective R scripts, run basic analyses, and troubleshoot (or debug) your code.

Application Deadline: Wednesday, November 1, 11:59 PM EST


Future Courses in the Series, Starting Spring 2024:

Creating and Automating Data-Rich Reports

Learn to use Quarto for integration of narrative text with code to create compelling reports, articles, books, presentations, blogs, websites, and knowledge repositories.

Professor: Emmanuel Teitelbaum, ESIA 

Communicating Your Data with Interactive Apps and Dashboards

An introduction to interactive web apps with Shiny, an open-source web application framework that enables you to create interactive web-based visualizations and dashboards directly from your code.

Professor: Emmanuel Teitelbaum, ESIA 

Monitoring and Evaluation for Public Policy and International Affairs

Learn to evaluate the effects of a policy intervention with modern social scientific tools.

Professor: Eric Kramon, ESIA & CCAS

Ethics, AI & Machine Learning

Learn to mitigate bias and maximize ethical approaches to predictive modeling while learning the fundamentals of ML and AI using Python.

Professor: Laila Sorurbakhsh, ESIA

Forecasting with Time Series

Learn to predict trends and the likelihood of future events using intervention analysis and forecasting models like exponential smoothing and ARIMA.

Professor: Laila Sorurbakhsh, ESIA

Survey and Experimental Design for Public Policy and International Affairs

Learn to develop surveys and run experiments the right way to maximize the accuracy of your research.

Professor: Eric Kramon, ESIA & CCAS

Mapping Data: GIS for Presentations

An introduction to the processes of geospatial analysis and map making.

Professor: Adam Wunische, ESIA & CCAS

Storytelling with Your Organization’s Data

Learn to create Tableau dashboards to display and analyze your data.

Professor: Paul Albert, ESIA

Faculty Biographies

Laila Sorurbakhsh

Laila Sorurbakhsh

Assistant Dean of Academic Programs; Assistant Professor of International Affairs; Director of Online Education; Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Data Literacy Initiative, ESIA

Headshot of Emmanuel Teitelbaum

Emmanuel Teitelbaum

John O. Rankin Professor of International Affairs; Director of the Masters of International Affairs (MAIA) program; Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Data Literacy Initiative, ESIA

Alt Text

Eric Kramon

Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, ESIA & CCAS


Dan Spokojny headshot

Dan Spokojny

CEO and Founder of Fp21; Professional Lecturer, ESIA





Submit your application by November 1st to qualify for a special introductory scholarship for the fall 2023 class: $1,500 per 1.5 credit workshop*

*Reduced from $2,080 standard 1-credit non-degree rate


There is no application fee for this program.


Contact Us

Call: (202)-994-9315

Location: 1957 E St. NW, 501-J, Washington, D.C., 20052