Leverage data for policy development. Gain foundational knowledge for data-based decision making using the latest tools and techniques.

Program length Format Program fees
Three eight-week courses Online learning with live Q&A sessions. $895 per course + applicable taxes

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As advances in technology and the widespread availability of data rapidly progress, you can leverage data insights like never before. To help inform decisions, you need effective tools and techniques to analyze data, answer important questions about your communities, and inform policy development and decision-making.

This three-course certificate program extends beyond basic methods of coding and analysis, enabling you to interpret data findings from complex statistical analysis and directly apply them to decision-making and policy development. It is specifically designed for individuals who have a limited background in statistics and are interested in acquiring skills that will enable them to analyze data, extract insights, and apply them to decision-making. As part of this program, you will also discover how to understand and interpret data through a comprehensive introduction to statistics, regression analysis, Python, and R, and through unique case studies based on Canadian public data.

Establish the foundational knowledge you need to use complex data to tell stories about your funding, your policies, and your programs, and to deliver results for your organization.


Based on research from the Statista Research Department, respondents from 4,000 organizations have indicated that the following big data analytics use cases were considered important, very important, or critically important. You can see that behavioural insights play a role in many big data analytics use cases.

Importance of big data analytics use cases in organizations worldwide as of 2019

Who should enrol

  • Policymakers: Do you develop policies for any public service sector (e.g., health care or municipalities)? Understand how modern data analytics techniques can better inform your decisions.
  • Public servants, non-profit and community leaders: Are you working in public service or leading a business improvement area, non-profit, or public office? Gain behavioural insights that can be used to inform your work, improve your community, and increase your chances of success when competing for funding.
  • Public service organizations: Do you primarily serve the public sector or the general public? Elevate your understanding about your customers and partners and learn to make more informed decisions that better serve public interest.

What you'll learn

  • Draw behavioural insights to tell effective stories that support decision-making.
  • Draw conclusions that have the power to impact your decision-making and policy development.
  • Analyze data with the statistical methods used by social scientists.
  • Use basic methods of coding to conduct increasingly sophisticated statistical analysis with R and Python.


Review unique case studies, based on publicly available Canadian data, and conduct analysis that can be used to draw behavioural insights. Use your learning to analyze data sets for your own organization and inform decision-making and policy development.

Program lead

Anindya Sen headshotANINDYA SEN

Anindya Sen is the lead author of the Data Analytics for Behavioural Insights Program. Sen is professor of economics, director of the Master of Public Service (MPS) program, and acting associate dean of co-operative education and planning at the University of Waterloo. He is also the director of Computational Data Analytics for the Social Sciences and Humanities (CDASH). Prior to joining the University of Waterloo, Sen was an economist at the Competition Bureau of Canada.

His research focuses on the economics of public policy, with an emphasis on estimating the statistical effects of government intervention and imperfectly competitive market structures. He has published research on the effects of government policies on COVID-19 cases, the relationship between market concentration and gasoline prices, the impacts of higher cigarette taxes on smoking, the effects of higher minimum wages on employment and poverty, and the consequences of incentive programs on electricity usage. These papers have been published in peer reviewed journals such as the Canadian Journal of Economics, Journal of Law and Economics, Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Regulatory Economics, International Review of Law and Economics, Labour Economics, and Canadian Public Policy. His work has been extensively covered by the Globe and Mail, the Financial Post, CBC, and the Toronto Star.


It is recommended that participants complete individual eight-week courses in the following order:

NOTE: Each course is offered individually, or as part of the three-course Data Analytics for Behavioural Insights certificate program. You will receive a certificate for each individual course you successfully complete, and then a certificate upon successful completion of the entire program.

Get a sample of what you'll learn in week two of Python and Public Data!

A world-class learning experience from Waterloo

Illustration of coding and computer programmingNo coding experience? No problem!Gain market-ready skills

Receive a hands-on learning experience that covers everything from software installation to live coding tutorials.

Illustration of a light bulb and gears representing innovationLearn from leaders in STEMReceive instruction from a data expert

Canada's #1 university for innovation and computer science. (Macleans University Rankings 2022)

Illustration of a teacher guiding a studentBuilt for decision-makersLearn to strategize with data

Adopt tools and techniques to analyze data and inform policy development and decision-making.

Receive a certificate from the University of Waterloo

Upon successful completion of this program, you will receive a professional education certificate from the University of Waterloo.

Sample certificate from Waterloo

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Get more details about each course in this program and more information about this certificate.

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