Policy Design and Evaluation Lab (PDEL) Certificate

The Policy Design and Evaluation Lab (PDEL) combines advanced social science methodology with the power of information technology to design policies and programs that alleviate poverty, promote health, welfare and security and enhance accountability.

The PDEL Certificate program brings together a set of courses that bring students to the cutting edge of the techniques needed to conduct applied policy research. These courses include:

  • Critical domains such as the econometric analysis of data
  • The sampling and collection of original field surveys
  • The design of randomized experiments
  • The incorporation of geo-spatial information into policy analysis

The combination of these skills represent the nexus of randomized experiments, GIS and big data brought together for state-of-the-art policy analysis. Completion of the PDEL certificate means that students will be ready to engage in cutting edge applied field research upon graduation.

The program certificate is open only to current students enrolled in a master's degree or Ph.D. program at GPS. The certificate will not show as part of a formal transcript, rather it is a document you can provide to potential employers or program advisers. You can list it on your resume, CV and applications, documenting that you have developed state of the art skills in this area.

Program Overview

The course sequence provides close contact with faculty who are active in conducting applied fieldwork, which help students to integrate more closely into the kind of large, high-quality studies that are typically difficult to conduct with limited student funding resources.

Students will prepare empirical projects based on their research interests will help to construct building blocks for successful dissertations. Many students are able to join faculty projects as research assistants and benefit from involvement in research in topics across PDEL's key research sectors.

Ph.D. students who complete the certificate will be given preferential consideration when projects are screened for the PDEL Graduate Research Grants.

Questions? Contact Professor Craig McIntosh, the director of the PDEL certificate program.

Curriculum

Both the M.A. and Ph.D. sequences feature one required course, where students are taught the basics of observational and experimental research. From there, students are required to choose two additional classes from a menu of five other technical, skills-related courses. In order to earn the certificate, students must complete the following courses with a grade of B or better.

The Ph.D. PDEL Certificate would typically be acquired by the end of the third year of a Ph.D. program.


M.A. Sequence: 

(one required course, choose two additional courses)

Fall:

  • GPEC 443 - GIS and Spatial Data Analysis

Winter:

  • GPCO 468 - QM4 (required course)
  • GPEC 244 - Advanced GIS and Remote Sensing

Spring: Choose ONE of the following

  • GPEC 464 - Designing Field Experiments
  • POLI 275 - Interviews, Survey Design & Sampling
  • GPPS 456 - Program Design & Evaluation


Ph.D. Sequence:

(one required course, choose two additional courses)


Fall:

  • ECON 250 - Labor Economics (required course)
  • GPEC 243 - GIS and Spatial Data Analysis

Winter:

  • GPCO 468 - QM4
  • GPEC 244 - Advanced GIS and Remote Sensing

Spring: Choose ONE of the following

  • GPEC 464 - Designing Field Experiments
  • POLI 275 - Interviews, Survey Design & Sampling
  • GPPS 456 - Program Design & Evaluation

Research Projects

The projects listed below are examples of the kind of spatial analysis that GPS faculty are engaged in.

Research Groups

Big Pixel Initiative
The Big Pixel Initiative is developing geospatial capacity to address our world’s greatest challenges at scale. Founded in partnership at UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute (Qi) and the School of Global Policy and Strategy, we have partnered with the DigitalGlobe Foundation to grow a living, learning laboratory related to everything spatial, to investigate and design best practices in geospatial data visualization, user experience interfaces, and design techniques for scientific discovery and decision-making.

Examples of Faculty Research

Robust relationship between air quality and infant mortality in Africa,by Professor Jennifer Burney and co-authors in Nature

Robust relationship between air quality and infant mortality in Africa  

Representative Surveys in Insecure Environments: A Case Study of Mogadishu, Somalia,” by Professor Jesse Driscoll and co-author in Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology

Representative Surveys in Insecure Environments: A Case Study of Mogadishu, Somalia

Can You Hear Me Now? How Communication Technology Affects Protest and Repression,” by Professor Francisco Garfias and co-authors in Quarterly Journal of Political Science

Can You Hear Me Now? How Communication Technology Affects Protest and Repression

"Detecting Urban Markets with Satellite Imagery: An Application to India," by Professor Gordon Hanson and co-authors

Detecting Urban Markets with Satellite Imagery: An Application to India


"Estimating Treatment Effects from Spatial Policy Experiments: An Application to Ugandan Microfinance," by Professor Craig McIntosh in The Review of Economics and Statistics

Estimating Treatment Effects from Spatial Policy Experiments: An Application to Ugandan Microfinance


"Pork & Typhoons: The Influence of Political Connections on Disaster Response," by Professor Nico Ravanilla and co-authors

Pork & Typhoons: The Influence of Political Connections on Disaster Response


Projects by GPS Students and Alumni

Randomization Inference with Rainfall Data: Using Historical Weather Patterns for Variance Estimation,” by Alicia Dailey Cooperman in Political Analysis

Randomization Inference with Rainfall Data: Using Historical Weather Patterns for Variance Estimation


North Korea by night: satellite images shed new light on the secretive state,” by Travis Pope and Professor Stephan Haggard in The Guardian

North Korea by night: satellite images shed new light on the secretive state


High Spatial Resolution Visual Band Imagery Outperforms Medium Resolution Spectral Imagery for Ecosystem Assessment in the Semi-Arid Brazilian Sertão,” by Alexis Rivera Ballesteros and co-authors in Remote Sensing

High Spatial Resolution Visual Band Imagery Outperforms Medium Resolution Spectral Imagery for Ecosystem Assessment in the Semi-Arid Brazilian Sertão

Academic Opportunities