Public policy students who want to create change need to understand political campaigns—but not just campaigns to elect candidates to public office. "Campaigns" also include advocacy and organizational efforts supporting or opposing ballot questions, proposed legislative actions, proposed actions by executive branch leaders or agencies, and grass roots organizing around issues.

Students who complete this certificate will be able to:

  • Understand that major changes in public policy rarely occur without well-organized campaigns to mobilize supports and persuade citizens, opinion leaders, and decision makers
  • Learn essential analytical and practical tools for organizing and running successful electoral and advocacy campaigns

Application Process

The certificate is open to any University of Chicago graduate student. Harris students please indicate your intent to pursue this certificate using the Harris Certificate Application Form. If you are a non-Harris student and intend to complete the requirements for the Political Campaigns certificate please submit the Harris Certificate Application for Non-Harris Students to indicate you are pursuing this certificate.

Planning for the Certificate

For information on which quarter(s) each course will be offered see the Harris Courses page and filter by certificate. For courses offered by other divisions the typical quarter(s) offered has been indicated.

Certificate Requirements

The certificate requires completion of three certificate courses. No certificate course may be taken on a pass/fail basis. Students should complete the formal signup process to indicate their intention to pursue the certificate.

Required course

  • PPHA 31720 The Science of Elections and Campaigns

Elective courses

Students must complete two of the following courses to fulfill the requirement:

  • PPHA 30545 Machine Learning or BUSN 41204 Machine Learning or MACS 33002 Introduction to Machine Learning or CMSC 35300 – Mathematical Foundations of Machine Learning
  • PPHA 31730 The Strategic Uses of Survey Research in Political Campaigns 
  • PPHA 32810 Winning Issue Campaigns (not offered in 2020-2021)
  • PPHA 33910 Digital Media in Policy and Politics: Practices, Problems and Policy Issues

Certificate Contact

Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, Certificate Director

Consider a Policy Lab

Harris Policy Labs can be an excellent complement to certificates. Certificate programs allow students to specialize in particular areas of inquiry, while Policy Labs allow students to apply their knowledge to real world policy challenges for actual client organizations.

Descriptions of Policy Labs projects for the current academic year are available in the Current Student portal. Please consult with Policy Labs staff, or the certificate program director, to see which one is right for you.

Alumni and BallotReady co-founders Aviva Rosman and Alex Niemczewski
Student profile

App the Vote!

Alumni and BallotReady co-founders Aviva Rosman and Alex Niemczewski developed a nonpartisan online voter guide.