Intro to Programming Pilot

This summer Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) is piloting an introductory Python programming class using a combination of online coursework and a support network of Kennedy School Course Assistants (CAs). This pilot offers current and incoming HKS students the opportunity to learn Python, a programming language, in a supported, virtual format. 

Students who complete this course will be prepared for the programming required in CS 109 Data Science 1: Introduction to Data Science, a class that is commonly taken by and of interest to Harvard Kennedy School students.

This pilot is being lead by David Eaves, Lecturer in Public Policy (bio) and James Waldo, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University (bio). 

This is an asynchronous course. Students will be expected to listen to all lectures and complete assignments on their own schedule. However, Course Assistants will hold review sessions each week that will relate to that week's course materials. Students are expected to keep up with the pacing of the course. 

Pilot signups ended April 30th. Please email Hannah Masuga if you would like to express interest in future sessions.

Please note that spaces are limited. Spaces will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. 


Learning Python takes work and dedication. We anticipate that students will be challenged and expect students to spend on average about 10 to 15 hours a week completing assignments. 

  • The course is currently slated to start on June 4 (but may be subject to change). 
  • Course Assistants will hold weekly virtual office hours and be available to answer questions. 
  • The course can only be taken remotely; reliable internet is required (e.g. voice and video calls).
  • This class is open to all students including current and incoming MPPs, MPAs, and others.


How much does the course cost?
There is no cost. This class is free. 

Will I get credit for this course?
No. This class is not for credit and grades will not be included on your official transcripts.

Why is the pilot being offered in only Python?
We've chosen Python for its versatility. It works for data science as well as puts you on the path to application development.

I'm interested in learning more about technology. Are there for credit classes I can take?
Yes. The Ash Center's Guide to Courses is a great resource as well as David Eave's post about digital-focused curriculum.

How long will the course last?
The course will last 9 weeks.

Still have questions? Please email Hannah Masuga, MPP 19.