Harris Policy Labs

Don’t wait until graduation to apply your Harris education and drive real policy change.

Join the Harris Policy Labs!


Harris Policy Labs is a unique course in which teams of Harris MPP students apply their rigorous core education to real-time public policy challenges facing client organizations. Students completing the program will be better-prepared policy professionals with a competitive advantage in the job market.


Harris Policy Labs strengthens students’ professional experience and skills. Through the program, students gain hands-on experience with analyzing, developing, advocating for and executing effective policy in “real world” contexts. In addition, Policy Labs students receive professional training while expanding their network of experts in the public policy arena.

Program Structure

For the 2016-2017 academic year, Policy Labs will run in Fall and Winter Quarters. This year's three Labs will be organized thematically, each with a distinct mix of clients. In Fall Quarter, all Labs will meet on Tuesdays at 3:00-5:50 p.m.

Each Lab engages external clients which may include government agencies, non-profit organizations or a division within the University of Chicago. Students work in teams to tackle issues directly related to the client organization’s mission and policy area, and develop a set of solution-oriented deliverables designed to effectively address the assigned policy challenge.

Guided by a Harris faculty member and a professional advisor, each Lab includes a weekly class session, client meetings, and professional development.

Client Projects

The 2016-2017 list of clients and projects is now available to students. Click on the box above left to see instructions for signing up and viewing project descriptions. 


While each Lab focuses on different policy areas, students will benefit significantly from participating in any one of the Policy Labs opportunities:

  • Drive policy change in challenging, real-world environments
  • Analyze and execute all dimensions of a policy challenge
  • Understand policy institutions from the inside
  • Link into network of policymakers and policy “influencers”
  • Enhance communications, project management and collaboration skills.
  • Engage in cross-Labs professional development workshops

Interested in learning more? Check out this Harris podcast featuring three recent Harris graduates discussing their projects, client relationships, and what they gained from their experiences.

Eligibility and Requirements

All second-year Harris MPP students are strongly encouraged to participate in one or both quarters. Second- and third-year students from other professional schools will also be permitted to enroll, subject to faculty consent.

Students will receive one letter grade and 100 units of course credit (one full course) upon completion of each quarter.