Earn an MA in public policy in just four quarters while taking classes part time. Classes are held at the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago at 1871, Chicago's technology and entrepreneurship center.

The Harris Public Policy Evening Master’s Program at 1871 is a four quarter, part-time degree designed to help mid-career professionals lead their organizations through complex policy challenges and drive social impact.

Designed for Working Professionals

The program is an ideal fit for emerging leaders in business, law, consulting or government, who need to gain a broader perspective on public policy as they take on more leadership responsibility as well as those in the social sphere who want the fundamental understanding of public policy and analytics to complement their experience. The downtown location and the part-time nature make the program adaptable to work, family, and other responsibilities.

Admission is rolling, and the GRE is not required.

 “Never has there been a more interesting time to be in policy; the challenges may be complex, but our tools to solve them are more powerful than ever. As demand grows for the kind of evidence-based approach for which Harris is known, we’re excited to offer this new degree program to emerging leaders in Chicago who are looking to lead their organizations and make a measureable impact on our city—and the world.”

Kerwin Charles, Deputy Dean and Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor

Program Overview

The Harris Public Policy Evening Master’s Program is a four-quarter program designed for working mid-career professionals. Courses are offered in the evenings with one weekend session per quarter.

Students receive a Master of Arts in public policy and gain a solid foundation in the fundamentals of data analytics, economic analysis, leadership, and the strategic foundations of public policy. Enrollment has ended for the inaugural January 2018 session, but you can request information or apply for our next session that will begin in Fall 2018.

Classes leverage Harris' policy expertise and focus on the full spectrum of policy areas for which Harris is known. All classes are be taught by Harris faculty — including Anthony Fowler and Jeff Grogger — and leverage the exacting research and evidence-based approaches that help produce positive social impact. Classes take place at 1871 in the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago.

Program Details

Application Process

Applications for the Evening Master's Program are accepted on a rolling admissions basis.

Applications can be submitted through the University’s online application. You can save your application and work on it at your convenience. Harris only accepts electronic applications. You can apply now for our next session that will begin in Fall 2018.

As a part-time student, you can qualify for financial aid as well as merit based scholarships. No separate application is required for merit based scholarships; you only need check the appropriate box on the Harris application for admission. However, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)  to apply for federal student loans.

While test scores are not required, an interview is. The interview can be conducted at 1871, in Hyde Park at Harris, or via Skype.

Our Admissions team can provide more information about applying to the Evening Master's as well as requirements and deadlines. Information sessions, where prospects can learn more about the Evening Master's, are held regularly.

Curriculum

The curriculum for the Evening Master's Program consists of 8 courses over 4 quarters combined with 4 seminars on current topics in public policy. Courses are sequential and tailored to the needs mid-career professions while leveraging the strengths of the Harris Public Policy.

Students take 2 full-credit courses and one quarter-credit seminar course every quarter. The full-credit courses meet once per week in the evenings. The quarter-credit seminars meet one Saturday per quarter.

Course work will cover the following areas:

Data Analytics Sequence

  • PPHA 58001 - Data Analytics I: Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy

  • PPHA 58002 - Data Analytics II: Introduction to Program Evaluation

This sequence is meant to give students a foundation in statistical methods of analysis. The first course provides an introduction to quantitative analysis, with a particular focus on the critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate quantitative claims and think about how to generate more credible evidence. The goal of the second course is to introduce students to program evaluation and provide an overview of current issues and methods to evaluate a program's impact.

Leadership and Negotiations

  • PPHA 58050 - Leadership and Negotiations

This course complements the technical skills students build in the rest of their courses. The first set of classes will present various leadership styles and provide candidates with practical recommendations to enhance their own leadership style. Subsequent lectures will discuss negotiation strategies and tactics and provide students with the tools to help them prepare for and succeed in negotiations. Finally, students will study effective approaches for advocacy and lobbying.

Economic Analysis Sequence

  • PPHA 58101 - Economic Analysis I: Microeconomics

  • PPHA 58102 - Economic Analysis II: Introduction to Cost Benefit Analysis

  • PPHA 58103 - Economic Analysis III: Public Finance and Budgeting

The economics component of the curriculum includes three courses, beginning with Microeconomics and an emphasis on understanding markets, market failures, and welfare analysis. The second course, Introduction to Cost-Benefit Analysis, will teach students how to evaluate a cost-benefit analysis and the benefits of incorporating a cost-benefit analysis into their work. The third course will emphasize state and local public financial issues, with a strong focus on budget policies.

Analytical Politics Sequence

  • PPHA 58201 - Analytical Politics I: Foundations

  • PPHA 58202 - Analytical Politics II: Politics and Policy Making

The first course in this sequence will introduce students to political philosophy, basic game theory, strategic sources of social dilemmas, and foundational problems in governance. The second course in the sequence will focus on how U.S. political institutions shape and constrain domestic policymaking. These course together will give students an analytical lens with which they can understand public policy and influence change in policy.

Current Topics Seminars (4)

  • PPHA 59100 - Current Topics in Public Policy I

  • PPHA 59200 - Current Topics in Public Policy II

  • PPHA 59300 - Current Topics in Public Policy III

  • PPHA 59400 - Current Topics in Public Policy IV

These seminar-style classes will focus on a different policy area. Examples include energy policy, health policy, education policy, social policy, child development, conflict and national security, economic and political development, electoral administration, and political reform. Topics will change from year-to-year depending on instructor and current events.

Other Requirements
  • Successful completion of 9 graduate-level courses (900 units of credit).
  • A cumulative grade point average of 2.7 for all courses used toward the degree, based on a 4.0 scale.
  • No more than 1 100-unit course taken pass/fail.
  • Courses with grades of F, I, W, or with no reported grade do not apply toward the 9-course requirement for the program.
Course Sequence

 

EMP@1871 Course Sequence

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FAQs

What can I do with a policy degree?

What can I do with a policy degree?

Since a public policy degree provides a set of research, analytical, communication, and management skills that are transferable across sectors and issue areas, graduates have flexibility in choosing their career paths.

Public policy graduates often move back and forth between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, or between international and US-based work. Harris graduates are highly sought-after specifically for their strategic skills, and many have gone on to be social entrepreneurs. Employers look for graduates to help understand and communicate complex data and information in a way that clearly and concisely supports effective decision-making. In the nonprofit sector, the analytical and program evaluation techniques learned can be useful in demonstrating the impact of an organization's programs, which can be useful for funding, governmental relations, and lobbying efforts.

A public policy degree can also be beneficial in industries such as energy, health care, finance, transportation, telecommunications, education, or other heavily regulated industries that are impacted by laws or policy outcomes or have a dependency on lobbying and political influence. An understanding of policy can help professionals in those industries as they advance in their careers.

Why a public policy degree instead of an MBA?

Why should I get a public policy degree instead of an MBA?

Both public policy and MBA degrees offer advanced analysis courses as part of their core curriculum.

While still flexible enough to apply to the public sector, an MBA provides more emphasis on corporate finance, accounting, and marketing.

If you wish to pursue a career or currently work in consulting, a heavily regulated industry, a government agency, a nonprofit, or other public service institution, a public policy degree provides several advantages:

  • An understanding of public policy can help business and nonprofit leaders influence governmental policies or decisions that can impact their organizations. It can be particularly useful to these leaders as they advance in their careers.
  • A public policy degree can is extremely beneficial in industries such as energy, health care, finance, transportation, telecommunications, education, real estate, or other heavily regulated industries that are impacted by laws or policy outcomes or have a dependency on lobbying and political influence. It is also useful for government contractors.
  • The analytical and program evaluation techniques learned in a public policy degree program can help business and nonprofit leaders demonstrate the impact of their organization's programs, which can be useful for funding, governmental relations, and lobbying efforts.

How do I apply for scholarships or financial aid?

How do I apply for scholarships or financial aid?

No separate application is required for merit based scholarships; you only need check the appropriate box on the Harris application for admission. However, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal student loans.

Prospective full-time students should submit their FAFSA during Early Action or Round One to be considered. Prospective students for our part-time evening program should do so as soon as they know they plan to apply.

Find more information about financial aid in Financing Your Degree, including a complete list of Harris scholarships and fellowships and information about loans and third-party funding. The UChicago Student Loan Administration (SLA) details the application steps and provides other resources about graduate financial aid.

What is 1871?

What is 1871?

1871 is Chicago's center for technology and entrepreneurship.

Founded in 2012, 1871 was created to support Chicago’s digital startup community. Since that time, it has become the hub for the city’s thriving technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Today 1871 is the home of more than 400 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 120,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, industry-specific incubators, tech talent schools, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition — the state’s leading technology advocate, a number of Chicago-based VCs, and the Harris Public Policy Evening Master's Program at 1871.

Harris Pubic Policy and 1871 share a passion for innovative thinking, an entrepreneurial spirit, data, and technology. Students in the Evening Master's will gain access to 1871 as well as the latest technology and social science methods to design policies that work for their organizations and society.