Earn an MA in Public Policy in just four quarters while taking classes part time.

The Harris Public Policy Evening Master’s Program 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, nonprofit, law, education, consulting, or government, who need to gain a broader perspective on public policy as they take on more leadership responsibility. It also suits those in the social sphere who seek the fundamental understanding of public policy and analytics to complement their experience.

You can request information for our next session. Please note, the GRE is not required. The application for Fall 2020 is now closed. The application for the Winter and Spring of 2021 is now open. We encourage you to begin your application today. Our Winter cohort will begin in January of 2021, our Spring cohort will begin in March of 2021. You can view our requirements and deadlines. Applications received after the targeted application deadline will be reviewed as space is available and may be reviewed for a future quarter.  

“Harris Public Policy is dedicated to training leaders who can draw on evidence and think through difficult problems.”

Katherine Baicker, Dean and Emmett Dedmon 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 day 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.

Classes leverage Harris' policy expertise and focus on the full spectrum of policy areas for which Harris is known. All classes are taught by Harris faculty — including John Burrows and Jeff Grogger — as well as other select University of Chicago faculty and leverage the exacting research and evidence-based approaches that help produce positive social impact. 

Program Details

Application Process

See the application requirements and deadlines page for details about the process.

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. 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.

While GRE test scores are not required, finalist candidates are interviewed.

Our Admissions team can provide more information about applying to the Evening Master's Program as well as requirements and deadlines. Information sessions, where prospects can learn more about the Evening Master's Program, 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 of mid-career professionals while leveraging the strengths of Harris Public Policy.

Students take 2 full-credit courses and a 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.

Degree 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.
  • Each required course must be passed with a C- or better.
  • Only the .25 credit Current Topics courses are eligible for pass/fail grading.
  • 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

Expected Academic Plan

Quarter 1

  • Data Analytics I: Quantitative Analysis (100 credits)
  • Leadership & Negotiations (100 credits)
  • Current Topics in Public Policy I (25 credits)

Total credits in Quarter 1: 225 credits

Quarter 2

  • Data Analytics II: Introduction to Program Evaluation (100 credits)
  • Economic Analysis I: Microeconomics (100 credits)
  • Current Topics in Public Policy II (25 credits)

Total credits in Quarter 2: 225 credits

Quarter 3

  • Analytical Politics I: Foundations (100 credits)
  • Economic Analysis II: Introduction to Cost Benefit Analysis (100 credits)
  • Current Topics in Public Policy III (25 credits)

Total credits in Quarter 3: 225 credits

Quarter 4

  • Analytical Politics II: Politics and Policy Making (100 credits)
  • Economic Analysis III: Public Finance and Budgeting (100 credits)
  • Current Topics in Public Policy IV (25 credits)

Total credits in Quarter 4: 225 credits

Liz Corrigan
Student profile

Student Profile: Liz Corrigan, Evening Master’s Program, Class of 2020

Corrigan sees many applications of a public policy degree to the emergency management field, especially the intersection of natural disasters and climate change.

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 should I get 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 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.

Part-Time: EMP vs. MPP

What is the difference between the Evening Master's Program and the full-time Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree?

The Evening Master's Program (EMP) is designed for working professionals to complement existing work experience. Our curriculum emphasizes core public policy and policy analysis skills, as EMP students often seek to understand the impact of policy on their organization or to grow as policymakers themselves.

EMP students typically include emerging leaders in business, law, consulting, nonprofit, and  government who want to either gain a broader perspective as they take on more leadership responsibility or want a fundamental understanding of how to use advocacy and data analytics to demonstrate the impact of their programs and influence policy or legislation.

In contrast, our Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree provides a deeper-dive over the course of two years, with a greater emphasis on rigorous modeling and analysis.

Our Degree Comparison page offers more detailed information.

Part-Time: EMP vs FT MA

What is the difference between the Evening Master's Program and the one year Master of Arts in Public Policy?

The requirements of the part-time Evening Master's Program (EMP) are based on the full-time Master of Arts in Public Policy, but the program has been designed to be accessible and flexible for working professionals.

In contrast, the courses in the full-time MA are offered strictly during the day, and many of the students are enrolled in other degree programs at UChicago.

Our Degree Comparison page offers more detailed information.

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.