Case Study Courses

Along with core curriculum classes and electives, students take a series of 1-credit online case study research courses. During a student's first term, they are introduced to case study methodology and practice through PLCY 514 (Case Study Research I), in which they will also choose a specific case study topic that they will research through case study courses for the entirety of their time in the MS in Public Policy program. Following PLCY 514, students then engage in a literature review in PLCY 511, a document review in PLCY 512, and they complete interviews in PLCY 513. PLCY 514 is a traditional "face-to-face" course, while PLCY 511, 512, and 513 are mixed face-to-face and online formats. In each course, students meet together with the case study instructor at least twice during the term, but their main interaction is through online submission of weekly assignments, and the instructor's feedback on those assignments.

After successfully completing the first four case study courses, students enroll in the Case Study Colloquium (PLCY 515). PLCY 515 is a mid-point review, where students must take a formal presentation of their research, and submit a single comprehensive paper that reflects and includes all of the progress they have made thus far on their case study, and which lays out a plan of study for what they will do in the next three sections of case study research (three repeated sections of PLCY 516: Case Study Research II). The CPP director and other relevant faculty decide whether the PLCY 515 paper and presentation are sufficient to allow the student to proceed to PLCY 516.

After completing three sections of PLCY 516, students enroll in the final case study course, PLCY 517, in which they submit a final draft of their case study. By the end of the program, students have produced a polished, in-depth analysis of a specific case that they can use to demonstrate expertise in a given policy area.

Course Number Course Title Credits
PLCY 514 Case Study Research I
PLCY 511 Case Study Document Review
PLCY 512 Case Study Literature Review
PLCY 513 Case Study Interviews  1.0
PLCY 515 Case Study Colloquium  1.0
PLCY 516 Case Study Research II*  1.0
PLCY 517 Case Study Final Project 1.0
*Must be repeated for credit a maximum of 3 times, for 3.0 credits.

Throughout all nine classes, students are working on a single case study subject. For the purposes of the case study component of the MS in Public Policy, the "case" is typically defined as either a program or an organization.

Case Studies In-depth

Case studies begin with highly detailed descriptions of how a program or organization works. This description provides the material and vantage point to evaluate the program or organization – that is, to provide authoritative commentary on the ways in which the program or organization is either meeting or not meeting its goals (or both), and how it could be changed so that it could better meet its goals.

An organization is defined, for the purposes of the case study program, as a government agency, a subunit of a government agency, or a freestanding nonprofit corporation. A program is defined as a set of interrelated activities performed by an organization toward some specified goal. For instance, for a government agency, a program is usually defined by some law, specifying what the agency is supposed to do, and why it is supposed to do that thing.

Subject Proposal

Part of the goal of the case study program is to allow students the maximum flexibility in choosing what they would like to study. They are thus free to propose a subject for their case study that is different from that described above. For instance, a student could conceivably choose as the subject of his or her case study a specific event, such as the planning and construction of a major capital project by a government agency, which does not exactly fall within the definition of "program" or "organization." Regardless, proposed case study subjects have to be approved by the CPP director.

Student Case Studies

  • Kelly Diaz-Albertini, “United States Sentencing Guidelines,” MS Case Study, 2013.
  • Adriana Álvarez-Cintron, “World Bank Water Sector,” MS Case Study, 2013.
  • Ashley Duffy, “Does an Ex-offender Reentry Program Need Federal Funding in Order to be Successful?” MS Case Study, 2013.
  • Brandon Harris, “Veterans Court: Not a Break but a New Beginning,” MS Case Study, 2013.
  • Abdul Hakeem Imoro, “Public Private Partnership: A Case of Ghana’s Petroleum Deregulation Experience,” MS Case Study, 2013.
  • Bartee C. Togba, “Joint Shared Care Responsibility,” MS Case Study, 2013.
  • Domique Wardell, “The Evolution of Teacher Compensation: From Boarding Around to Pay For Performance,” MS Case Study, 2013.
  • Darryl Watson, "Accounting for the Beliefs, Processes, and Issues that Inform the Citizen-Police Relationship, in the Wake of Philadelphia's Use of Stop and Frisk," MS Case Study, 2013.
  • Charu Vaidya, "The Effectiveness of CERCLA. How Clean Is Clean?" MS Case Study, 2013.
  • Christopher Klimovitz, "Pennsylvania's Health Dilemma: How Health Policies Impact Philadelphia County Young Adults with Mental Health Disabilities," MS Case Study, 2013.
  • Adam Fuhrer, "Comparing the Static and Day Fine Traffic Violation System: A Case Study," MS Case Study, 2013.
  • Deirdre Franklin, "Public Policy: Community Safety Through Breed Bans?" MS Case Study, 2013.
  • Douglas Webb, "Federal Interagency Collaboration and The Clean Water Act," MS Case Study, 2012.
  • Haley VanderMeer, "An Examination of Philadelphia's Food System and the Implementation of a Food Policy Council for Increased Food Access and Local Economic Development," MS Case Study, 2012.
  • Sheridan Shauntee, "U.S. Department of Education: Office of Technology. Technology in Education," MS Case Study, 2012.
  • Tanya Miller, "Secure Communities: An Immigration Enforcement Program," MS Case Study, 2012.
  • Seth Embry, "A Blueprint to End Homelessness? The Philadelphia Experiment," MS Case Study, 2012.
  • Cleasha Brown, "Obama, Discrimination Policies and the EEOC," MS Case Study, 2012.
  • Marisa Albanese, "Philadelphia and AIDS: A Review of the City's Policies, Supported Programs, and Thoughts on How to Improve the System of Care Available to Philadelphia Citizens,"MS Case Study, 2012.
  • Amanda Adams, "Hunterdon County New Jersey General Assistance Program," MS Case Study, 2012.
  • Marquis Williams, "America Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009: Evaluating Federal Investments in Higher Education", MS Case Study, 2011.
  • Michelle McCloskey, "Gitmo Uighurs: An Analysis of the Relationship Between Public Policy and Media in the United States," MS Case Study, 2011.
  • Richard Kisielowski, "The National Counterterrorism Center: Assessing the Agency, its Duties, and Effectiveness in Protecting America," MS Case Study, 2011.
  • Eli Gilman, "Tepid Transparency: The Implementation of Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law," MS Case Study, 2011.
  • Marques Franklin, "The U.S. Policy Response to the Financial Crisis of 2007-2010: A Look at the Federal Reserve Board's response to the Liquidity Crisis. A Review of the TAF and TALF Programs," MS Case Study, 2011.