Social Policy Evaluation

Social Policy Evaluation
https://socialpolicy.rice.edu
713-328-2367

Margaret E. Beier
Faculty Director
beier@rice.edu

Rice University’s Master of Social Policy Evaluation (MSPE) degree is a one-year, full-time, 30-credit hour program administered by the School of Social Sciences in coordination with the Texas Policy Lab and other research centers at Rice. The MSPE provides the quantitative skills and hands-on application for real-world policy evaluations and explores specific policy areas in depth, currently criminal and juvenile justice, public health, early childhood development and education, and labor markets. MSPE graduates will have acquired the skills necessary to address the challenges faced by entities in the development, implementation, and evaluation of social policies.

Social Policy Evaluation does not currently offer an academic program at the undergraduate level. 

Professors

Margaret E. Beier
Flávio Cunha
Robert M. Stein
Ruth N. Lopez Turley

Research Professor

Kenneth Wolpin

Lecturers

Diego Amador
E. Susan Amirian
Erin Baumgartner
James P. Denicco
Ekim Muyan
Paul Treacy

For Rice University degree-granting programs:
To view the list of official course offerings, please see Rice’s Course Catalog
To view the most recent semester’s course schedule, please see Rice's Course Schedule

Social Policy Evaluation (SOPE)

SOPE 501 - INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC POLICY

Short Title: INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC POLICY

Department: Social Policy Evaluation

Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Course Type: Seminar

Credit Hours: 3

Restrictions: Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students. Enrollment limited to students in a Master of Social Policy Eval degree.

Course Level: Graduate

Description: This course provides an introduction to the study and evaluation of public policy as practiced across and within different levels and types of governments. Policy making in United States is the principal, but not the exclusive focus of the course. Different models and theories of policy making serve as the focus of the first half of the course. The course will explore how different academic disciplines including, anthropology, economics, political science, psychology sociology and philosophy approach the study and evaluation of public policies.

SOPE 502 - APPLICATIONS OF PROGRAM EVALUATION – CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Short Title: APPS IN PROG EVAL- CRIM JUSTIC

Department: Social Policy Evaluation

Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Course Type: Seminar

Credit Hours: 3

Restrictions: Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students. Enrollment limited to students in a Master of Social Policy Eval degree.

Course Level: Graduate

Description: This course introduces students to the program evaluation literature in the area of criminal justice. There are reform projects underway at every stage of the American criminal justice system. Understanding the impact of these reforms is crucial for the future of criminal justice in the United States. We will study policies and interventions at various stages of criminal justice, from policing to reintegration.

SOPE 503 - QUANTITATIVE METHODS FOR PROGRAM EVALUATION

Short Title: QUANT METHODS FOR PROG EVAL

Department: Social Policy Evaluation

Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Course Type: Lecture/Laboratory

Credit Hours: 5

Restrictions: Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students. Enrollment limited to students in a Master of Social Policy Eval degree.

Course Level: Graduate

Description: This course provides an in-depth introduction to the methods of program evaluation. The associated lab provides concrete examples for the students to gain practical experience in applying these methods. The methods presented will include: Randomized Controlled Trials, Instrumental Variables, Difference in Difference, Propensity Score Matching, and Regression Discontinuity Design. At the end of this course, students should be able to use these methods to conduct impact evaluations of social programs and to do a critical assessment of evaluations performed by others.

SOPE 504 - APPLICATIONS OF PROGRAM EVALUATION – LABOR MARKETS

Short Title: APPS IN PROG EVAL-LABOR

Department: Social Policy Evaluation

Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Course Type: Seminar

Credit Hours: 3

Restrictions: Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students. Enrollment limited to students in a Master of Social Policy Eval degree.

Course Level: Graduate

Description: This course introduces students to the program evaluation literature in the area of labor markets. Students will critically read existing evaluations of labor market policies and evaluate for various types of validity and for generalization, draw on methodological best practices and apply empirical tools to their own evaluations of labor market policies, identify and access important datasets commonly used in influential employment-related research, and discuss with policy professionals the salience, outcomes, workings, and broader context of a variety of public programs designed to improve labor markets.

SOPE 505 - MICROECONOMICS FOR POLICY EVALUATION

Short Title: MICROECONOMICS FOR POLICY EVAL

Department: Social Policy Evaluation

Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Course Type: Seminar

Credit Hours: 3

Restrictions: Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students. Enrollment limited to students in a Master of Social Policy Eval degree.

Course Level: Graduate

Description: This course will introduce students to economic principles and tools relevant for policy analysis. The course covers topics such as household decision-making, the economics of information, risk and uncertainty, markets and market structure, externalities and other types of market failure, behavioral economics, game theory, and welfare economics. Students will see how the application of economic theory to policy questions informs and guides social policy analysis.

SOPE 506 - APPLICATIONS OF PROGRAM EVALUATION – HEALTH

Short Title: APPS IN PROG EVAL- HEALTH

Department: Social Policy Evaluation

Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Course Type: Seminar

Credit Hours: 3

Restrictions: Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students. Enrollment limited to students in a Master of Social Policy Eval degree.

Course Level: Graduate

Description: Public health and healthcare service delivery play a crucial role in shaping population health and in influencing health systems at the federal, state, regional, and local levels. The ability to systematically and critically assess the health program evaluation literature is requisite for understanding how to identify and implement effective, evidence-based legislation, policies, and reforms. This course will provide a framework for analyzing the evidence base for public health programs and interventions, and will help students understand how such programs and interventions can impact health policy and affect the health of populations and individuals.

SOPE 508 - APPLICATIONS OF PROGRAM EVALUATION – EARLY CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Short Title: APPS IN PROG EVAL- CHILD DEV

Department: Social Policy Evaluation

Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Course Type: Seminar

Credit Hours: 3

Restrictions: Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students. Enrollment limited to students in a Master of Social Policy Eval degree.

Course Level: Graduate

Description: This course introduces students to the program evaluation literature in the area of early childhood education. In recent years, significant investments have been made in increasing and improving early learning opportunities for children. The course will provide students with an understanding of the evidence on the extent to which early childhood education program offerings have long term impacts on later success. It will examine the policy contexts of early childhood education and discuss the importance of using evidence in driving decision making at all policy levels, from school districts to the U.S. Department of Education. It will also examine the role of family in children's educational experiences.

SOPE 512 - POLICY EVALUATION CODING AND SOFTWARE LAB

Short Title: CODING AND SOFTWARE LAB

Department: Social Policy Evaluation

Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Course Type: Laboratory

Credit Hour: 1

Restrictions: Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students. Enrollment limited to students in a Master of Social Policy Eval degree.

Course Level: Graduate

Description: This lab course introduces students to relevant programming languages and enhances their knowledge of statistical software packages.

SOPE 513 - SOCIAL POLICY EVALUATION PRACTICUM I

Short Title: MSPE EVALUATION PRACTICUM I

Department: Social Policy Evaluation

Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Course Type: Internship/Practicum

Credit Hours: 3

Restrictions: Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students. Enrollment limited to students in a Master of Social Policy Eval degree.

Course Level: Graduate

Description: The practicum project asks students to integrate and synthesize many components of the curriculum by undertaking a major policy evaluation project of value to an external client from the Texas Policy Lab, HERC or other university research center. During the project, students engage in the entire process of solving a real-world evaluation project. Students will produce IRB documents, write a literature review, clean data and propose an analysis.

SOPE 514 - SOCIAL POLICY EVALUATION PRACTICUM II

Short Title: MSPE PRACTICUM II

Department: Social Policy Evaluation

Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Course Type: Internship/Practicum

Credit Hours: 3

Restrictions: Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students. Enrollment limited to students in a Master of Social Policy Eval degree.

Course Level: Graduate

Description: A continuation of SOPE 513, the student will perform their proposed analysis and write a final report. The report must address both the strengths and weaknesses of the analysis and clearly state the conclusions that can be drawn.

Description and Code Legend

Note: Internally, the university uses the following descriptions, codes, and abbreviations for this academic program. The following is a quick reference: 

Course Catalog/Schedule

  • Course offerings/subject code: SOPE

Program Description and Code

  • Social Policy Evaluation: SOPE

Graduate Degree Description and Code

  • Master of Social Policy Evaluation degree: MSPE

Graduate Degree Program Description and Code

  • Degree Program in Social Policy Evaluation: SOPE

CIP Code and Description1

  • SOPE Major/Program: CIP Code/Title: 30.0601 - Systems Science and Theory