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Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences

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Learn to apply economics, psychology, and other social sciences to understand how decisions are made, influence behavior, and create change

Penn’s Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences (MBDS) is informed by contemporary theories and research methods from diverse fields, including behavioral economics, decision sciences, network analysis, and public policy. Our program equips students with theoretical and practical tools to address a variety of real-life problems, putting you ahead of the curve in a growing field of study.

Our interdisciplinary degree prepares you to understand how individuals and groups make decisions, and how to affect those decisions. Our world-renowned faculty and researchers are also leading practitioners in their fields. With their expertise, you are guided to apply what you learn to real-life problems in areas such as social and public policy, law, education, business, economics, and medicine.

Housed in the School of Arts and Sciences, the MBDS program is rooted in the social sciences—the skills we teach help you make a positive, sustainable impact in your area of interest.

For international students, the MBDS program is coded as 30.1701 - Behavioral Sciences, which is STEM eligible. International students should consult with International Student and Scholar Services regarding any implications of completing a STEM eligible master's program.

Impact decisions and behaviors in a variety of fields

Hear from the MDBS Founding Director, Cristina Bicchieri, about how this unique theoretical and applied master’s degree provides the understanding and tools students need to enact behavioral change in individuals and in organizations.

If you are having trouble viewing this video, you can watch it on YouTube.

Fast facts

Representing students in the 2017-2019 cohorts

Percentage of international students, representing 22 countries
Percentage of students matriculating directly from the workforce
Number of undergraduate majors represented
Percentage of women enrolled in this STEM graduate program

Internship and research opportunities for Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences students

Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences students are part of a vibrant intellectual community, with access to a wide range of academic resources, research collaborations across the University, and relationships with leading practitioners.

Learn about program resources and partners >

Meet the faculty

Learn from the University of Pennsylvania's most celebrated scholars, such as Cristina Bicchieri and other leading minds from the fields of psychology and behavioral economics. Cristina is the Founding Director of the MBDS program and the S. J. Patterson Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics. She is also the Director of the Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics, a newly formed research center at Penn that aims to support positive behaviors on a global scale.

See faculty bios >

Courses and curriculum

MBDS students take a set of core classes to get grounding in behavioral science, social norms and informal institutions, behavioral public policy, judgments and decisions, and quantitative analysis. Elective concentrations include: public health, psychology/neuroscience, education policy, social and public policy, economics/neuroeconomics, sociology/networks, and computational systems. The final capstone research project for the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences is an independent study experience.

See courses and electives >

Student & alumni stories

“This program manages to tackle down the basic foundations of behavioral science, and provides the toolkit you need to apply them in a responsible, rigorous way.” - Andrés Casas, MBDS ‘18

Read about Andrés >

Cristina Bicchieri, Founding Director, Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences

Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics

Led by MDBS Founding Director Cristina Bicchieri, this newly formed research center aims to support positive behaviors on a global scale.

Learn About the Center >

Program contacts

Our Associate Director can help you plan your path through the Master of Behavior and Decision Sciences degree.

See Program Contacts >

Contact us

Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences
McNeil Building
Rm 438
3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Tel: (215) 746-3618
Fax: (215) 573-2231
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