Student Focused Opportunities and Programming

Students across Washington University in St. Louis access robust learning and professional development opportunities with the Social Policy Institute beyond their formal curricula. These wide-ranging activities are designed to help future researchers, practitioners, and leaders build skills and make connections that will set them up for successful careers in their chosen fields after graduation.

If you are a graduate student interested in policy, community organizing, advocacy and more, apply for the Graduate Policy Scholar ProgramClick here to apply – the deadline is Friday, October 1, by 5 PM CST. Learn more.

Current Activities

  • The Graduate Policy Scholar program provides a unique opportunity for students to build skills in advocacy, analysis, and activism and engage with policymakers, civic leaders, and change agents, to prepare them for policy practice.
  • Data and Statistics for Policy Practice is an extra-curricular online learning opportunity for students who wish to increase their knowledge and experience working with data in the context of policy research and practice.
  • As a partner of the Master of Social Policy Program, SPI assists in connecting students and faculty to resources and policy opportunities, hosts numerous MSP students for graduate research and project assistant positions, and offers expertise and support across a wide range of planning and programming efforts.
  • Facilitate course development grants, for example in partnership with the Sam Fox School and CityStudioSTL.
  • Social Policy Seminars, hosted in partnership with the Master of Social Policy program and Clark-Fox Policy Institute, offer students the opportunity to engage with researchers, experts, practitioners, and leaders tackling pressing social issues in St. Louis, nationally, and around the world.


Cristian Vargas, Graduate Policy Scholar 2020
(Brown School – MPH)

“I hope to use my policy education to strengthen welfare connections, and civic engagement opportunities, for people with disabilities in underserved populations – such as rural Americans, migrant communities, and incarcerated individuals.”



Kristina Ericson, Graduate Policy Scholar 2020
(Brown School – MSW)

“I hope to use my policy education to strengthen welfare connections, and civic engagement opportunities, for people with disabilities in underserved populations – such as rural Americans, migrant communities, and incarcerated individuals.”