What is PODS?

The PODS Summer Fellowship is a cutting-edge program that selects promising students and gives them the technical skills to combat complex policy problems. In the past, our fellows have come from diverse academic backgrounds including education, history, political science, gender studies, economics, geography/urban systems, and international development studies.

PODS follows an intensive program. Students are trained in core data science techniques, giving them the programming, hacking, and quantitative skills to complement their substantive expertise in the humanities and social sciences. Students are expected to do independent preparatory work during March, April, and May, focusing on increasing quantitative knowledge and building a familiarity with basic programming concepts.

The program is open to all McGill undergraduate students with non-technical backgrounds. As PODS is a full-time summer commitment, each fellow will receive a stipend of $2000 for each month of the program.


PODS is presented in partnership between McGill’s Centre for Social and Cultural Data Science (CSCDS) and the Max Bell School of Public Policy. 

For 2020, the PODS program will run in June and July, consisting of two elements: 

Data Science Training: An intensive bootcamp, students will learn concrete data analysis methods, such as study design, ethics, and data visualization in R. Students will then integrate this knowledge with policy theory through independent work, discussions, and group projects. Students will also learn specific skills the cohort shows an interest in. In the past, this included mapping, basics of AI, and webscraping. 


The second portion will be: 

Skills in Practice: Students will apply their newly acquired skills to an internship placement with partner organizations. Throughout this portion of the program, the cohort will also have the chance to meet and hear from professionals, scholars, and activists working in the field of data.