Public Data University

The Public Data University series develops the skills of a new generation of data users and inform current and future data users about innovations occurring in the federal statistical system.

Because there is no single source of training for all agency data sets, APDU has partnered with statistical agencies to develop recordings and trainings. The Public Data University program began in 2014. The latest resources were added in 2024.

There are three levels of training:

  • 101 – Introduction to Data Sets
  • 201 – Intermediate Application of Data Sets
  • 301 – Special Topics and Emerging Issues in Public Data


Packaged sets of recorded trainings are organized into modules centered around an academic field or career discipline.

Economic and Agricultural Statistics

Social and Demographic Statistics

Health and Safety Statistics


Three Levels of Education 

101 – Introduction to Data Sets

The introductory-level webinars serve a baseline learning experience and systematic overview of data sets. Topics include the following:

  • What data are collected? Who are the primary users?
  • What research questions are most frequently answered with the agency’s data set?
  • How are the data collected? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • How frequently are the data updated? At what level geography are they collected?
  • What is the delay between the reference period and publication?
  • How are the data disseminated? How is the agency’s web delivery system structured?
  • Who can the user contact if they want to know more about the data program?

201 Intermediate Application of Data Sets

Intermediate trainings are geared toward more seasoned users, and are designed to provide the most useful tips to accessing data beyond what might have been shown in the introductory webinar. Topics include questions like the following:

  • What research questions do the statistical agency’s most frequent customers seek to answer?
  • What tips would you provide to frequent data users to access and download data?
  • What partnerships/alliances has the agency created to improve data accessibility or quality?
  • What data are available for more advanced users that may not be readily available on the website?
  • How does the agency handle special customer requests? How can customers provide feedback?
  • What feedback would help improve the agency’s data products or services?
  • What are the most significant priorities of the statistical program and what changes are planned in the coming year or two (assuming resources are available)?

301 – Special Topics and Emerging Issues in Public Data

In addition to the introductory and intermediate trainings, APDU covers “special” or time-sensitive topics about key activities and initiatives that have the potential to change the nature of public data. These are typically offered as APDU webinars. Topic examples include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Interagency Council on Statistical Policy
  • Statistical Community of Practice and Engagement
  • Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology
  • Statistical Confidentiality and Data Sharing
  • Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
  • Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics
  • Measuring Relationships in Federal Household Surveys
  • Improving Data Systems on Health and Health Care
  • Supplemental Poverty Measure
  • 2020 Decennial Census
  • Advanced Use of the American Community Survey
  • Sample Redesign for Demographic Surveys
  • Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP)
  • Annual Current Population Survey Supplement
  • Improving Foreign Trade Statistics
  • Measuring Consumer Spending in the 21st Century
  • Measuring the Service and Construction Sectors
  • Revising the Shelter Component of Consumer Price Index
  • Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Delineations
  • Classification of Data on Race and Ethnicity