Begin your professional training in public policy while still in the College.

The Professional Option Program offers undergraduate students at the University of Chicago an opportunity to begin their professional training in public policy while still in the College, leading to the award of a four-year undergraduate degree in their declared major and a two-year Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree after five years of studies at the University of Chicago. It is one of two such programs. The five year Master of Science in Computational Analysis and Public Policy with the Undergrad College (BA/MSCAPP) is the other.

The MPP is a professional degree program designed for students who wish to gain rigorous training in public policy skills and issues. The core curriculum draws on a variety of disciplines and fields, including economics, sociology, political science, statistics, econometrics, political economy, organizational theory, and program evaluation.

The professional option program is open to all students in the College, regardless of undergraduate concentration. Interested students should apply during their junior year. Students are encouraged to consult with their College advisor and the Admissions team at Harris.

Program Details

Curriculum
  • During their final year in the College, undergraduates register for the first year of the master's curriculum. Upon fulfilling the College requirements and satisfactorily completing the nine Harris courses, students are awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Option: Public Policy Studies.

  • Students then register for a second year (an additional nine courses) solely at Harris. Upon successfully completing the second year, students receive a Master of Public Policy degree from Harris Public Policy. 

Other Requirements
  • To be eligible, students must have completed 33 credits (of the 42 required for an undergraduate degree) by the end of their third year in the College. Completed credit must include:
    • all 15 general education courses;

    • one-half of the requirements for a College major;

    • and one-half of the required number of electives.

  • Students selected to participate in the joint degree program must meet all normal BA requirements for their particular field of study, as well as all general education requirements.

  • Students must also complete all requirements of the MPP degree at Harris.

  • The undergrad catalog provides more information about requirements for admission.

Application Process

During your second-year in the College:

  • Before beginning the application process with the Harris Public Policy, students should make appointments during their second year to ensure that all College requirements are met. After reviewing with their College adviser, students should speak with the College joint degree adviser and Harris School of Public Policy Admissions early in their third year.

During your third-year in the College:

  • Interested students should submit their formal application to the program by April 15 of their third year in the College. Please note that BA/MPP applicants are exempt from the application fee. Applicants are also required to submit GRE scores.
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