Policy Research Lab

What is the Policy Research Lab?

The Policy Research Laboratory (PRL) is a two-part program in which Dr. David Puelz trains undergraduate students in the programming, data science, and economics tools needed to participate in cutting edge policy research.  Students will also learn how to engage with civics using data and evidence.  At the end of the course, a select group of students are matched to research projects to apply the skills learned in class as a paid research assistant.  The course is offered in both the fall and spring semesters in the School of Civic Leadership and is open to all students and grade levels at UT Austin.

The PRL began with six students in the spring of 2020 and is now lucky to have several dozen students as of fall 2024.  There is also an ongoing opportunity for graduate students (masters and doctoral) to help manage PRL research portfolios as part of the Graduate Research Program. Our projects usually fall under one of the following portfolio topics:

  • Health Economics
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Causal Machine Learning
  • Political Economy

Course Details: Fall 2024

CIV 337: Policy Research Lab
MW 9:30-11 a.m.
David Puelz
Unique Number: 03579

The Policy Research Laboratory (PRL) is a semester-long course in statistics, econometrics, and data science to learn the tools necessary for policy and social science research. In parallel, the students will apply these tools to real-world data and answer crucial policy questions. Policy research is important, and appropriately using data, cutting-edge statistical tools and remaining skeptical are equally important.

Students can expect to leave this class with a deep understanding of policy questions and a toolbox for evaluating them.


David Puelz

Assistant Professor of Instruction
School of Civic Leadership

Ready to thrive in life and in service? Fall 2025 admissions open August 1, 2024