2018 Policy and Data Science Program (PODS)

The Centre for Social and Cultural Data Science presents: 

Policy and Data Science (PODS) Summer Program

in partnership with:

Sponsored by: 

McGill Faculty of Science

BCF Avocats



Program Overview

The increasing availability of large data sets in every sector of industry and government have created exciting and urgent opportunities for policy-oriented data analysis. These opportunities, however, are widely unrealized, due in large part to the lack of individuals trained to work at the interface of policy and computational analysis.

The 2018 PODS Summer Program is a cutting-edge program that will select promising arts students and give them the technical skills to tackle Canada’s biggest policy problem, training a new generation of data-driven policy analysts.

Goals of PODS

Close the skills gap in Canada

  • Build a cohort of students with employment-ready, policy-relevant data analysis skills.
  • Through this program, students will then learn invaluable data science techniques and policy theory that they can easily apply to their field of study. 

Solve urgent public policy issues

  • Students will develop and apply core data science techniques to policy questions through a combination of specialized training and internship-style projects with civic and industry partners, delivering meaningful analysis for the mentor organizations.

Build a national movement

  • By integrating the necessary skills for quantitative and qualitative research, students will greatly expand their capabilities and shape their future careers.
  • PODS is a unique and crucial part of a national movement that will build a foundation to cultivate interdisciplinary and well-rounded scholars.


Details about the Program

  • The training part is split into two sections. During the month of June, students will learn data analysis methods in the mornings, including R. In the afternoons, they will integrate this knowledge with policy theory and analysis through independent work, discussions, and group projects.
  • Throughout July and August, students will undertake a relevant policy and data analysis internship at a Montreal-based organization. The summer program will provide support, including weekly recall sessions and virtual office hours, as each student uses their data mining and analysis skills to answer an important, real-world policy question posed by their internship organization.


  • The program runs from June 4th through August 31st, 2018 and is open to all McGill undergraduate students with non-technical backgrounds
  • As the program is a full-time, full summer commitment, each student will receive a stipend of $9000 over the three months of the program.  


Who may apply?

  • All undergraduate students without extensive experience in data analysis, including those in their last semester, may apply

How to apply

Applications will re-open in January 2019.