School Spotlight: The University of Chicago Harris Public Policy School

Hello and welcome back to our Schools and Scholarships Spotlight series exploring top-tier graduate schools and fellowship opportunities!

Over the last two weeks we’ve focused on Stanford Graduate School of Business, and we’ve told you all about their signature fellowship program, Knight-Hennessy Scholars. If you aren’t caught up, be sure to check them out!

For this week, we’re moving out of sunny California into the Windy City, and shifting our focus from Business School to Public Policy.

Are you passionate about social change and creating a lasting impact?

If your answer was yes, then read on as we introduce you to:

The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy

Whether you’re looking to develop some hardcore analytical skills, or acquire expertise in data science, public health, international development or environmental policy, Harris has a program for you!

Full Time Academic Programs:

MPP (Master’s in Public Policy) → Harris Public Policy’s flagship program. The MPP is a two-year program for students interested in developing the analytical skills needed to take on today’s pressing policy challenges.

MSCAPP (MS in Computational Analysis and Public Policy) → This two-year program prepares you for a career at the intersection of data science and public policy. If you want to apply big data to big problems, this could be the program for you.

MSESP (MS in Environmental Science and Policy) → Want to create policies that protect the environment and fight climate change? This two-year program, offered in conjunction with Argonne National Laboratory, combines science with public policy to address environmental issues.

MA – IDP (MA in International Development and Policy) → Want to focus your education on economic development within a global context, but don’t want to be away from the workforce for two years? This one year degree is designed for promising international leaders focusing on policy design and analysis in international settings. It is also part of the Obama Foundation Scholars Program (more on this exceptional opportunity next week!)

MACRM (MA in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods) → If you’re looking to prepare yourself for a career in research or a rigorous PhD program, this could be the program for you. This 15-month course is part Public Policy degree, part research apprenticeship, and part intensive training in research methods.

MA in Public Policy → Already have an advanced degree and interested in a full-time program? This one-year program will complement your existing advanced degree by providing a fundamental understanding of the public policy aspects of your field. The program is also available to students enrolling in other master’s degrees in the University.

Joint Degree → Harris also offers a variety of joint degrees that can be completed in conjunction with other schools within the University, including Business, Law, International Development, Social Services and Divinity Studies.

Design Your Path:

Are any of those degrees speaking to you? Harris encourages their students to use their resources in order to acquire the knowledge they need to succeed in the policy arena. By offering a range of degrees, a strong core curriculum, and a focus on career development, Harris has something for everyone.

Harris also has five important guiding principles that they follow in order to develop knowledgeable leaders who put evidence first:

Harris strives to train a new generation of leaders who are driven to change the world. They know that to create social impact, fresh thinking is required in order to develop different innovative approaches.


So what does this mean for you?

Harris Policy Labs:

One thing that sets Harris Public Policy apart from other programs is their Policy Lab.

Harris Policy Labs is a unique initiative in which teams of second year Harris students apply their rigorous core education to real-time public policy challenges facing client organizations. Through the programs students gain hands-on experience with analyzing, developing, advocating for, and implementing policy in “real world” contexts.

Be sure to check out this podcast, which spotlights the experience of three students who all recently participated in the Policy Labs.

Interested in making a difference at the municipal level? The city of Chicago offers students a unique experience for hands-on learning across the city’s 77 distinct neighborhoods. Opportunities exist in a variety of different platforms including private, public, and non-profit sectors.

Just in case you need some time away from the books in order to recharge, there is never a shortage of activities to participate in given the world-class museums, the lake, downtown (Skydeck Chicago anyone?), and sporting events (go Bulls!). We also have to admit, the pizza really is fantastic.

Is Harris sounding like a great fit for you? We thought so.

Now you might be thinking, how do I compare to current students? No worries. We’ve combined their data from the Class of 2017 for you!

Harris by the Numbers:

  • 53% Female
  • 47% Male
  • 298 Master’s Students
  • 7 PhD Students
  • 22 Countries Represented
  • 26 Languages Spoken
  • Years of Work Experience
    • 38% with 0-1 years
    • 33% with 2-4 years
    • 29% with 5+ years
    • Students with advanced degrees 14%
  • 23% Domestic Underrepresented Minority Students
  • 50% International Students


Harris values diversity, and prioritizes an atmosphere of different cultures, ideas, and ideologies that allow for a more holistic educational experience for their students.

Combining this with the metropolis of Chicago, Harris offers a truly unique experience.

Have we successfully convinced you that Harris is the right school for you but now you’re wondering how to get in? We’d love to help you get there. If you’re applying within the next 12-18 months our team would love to speak with you! Book your free 90-minute Breakthrough Call with our team by clicking here.

(Note: We are not affiliated with any of these universities in any way, and make sure you double check the information we have posted. Sometimes things may change, so be sure not use us as your only source!)

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