A two-year program for students interested in developing the analytical skills needed to take on today's pressing policy challenges.

Across the public and private sectors, a new generation of data-minded leaders is needed to bring fresh thinking and different approaches to the world's most pressing policy challenges.

The two-year MPP is a professional degree program designed to develop leaders who put evidence first.  In course work, you'll build critical thinking and analytical skills in the core curriculum that teach you to make data-driven decisions now and throughout your career. Through applied experiences in Chicago and beyond, you’ll meet face-to-face with professionals in the field to analyze urgent policy problems and design solutions that work, using the latest science and technology.

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, an ideal fit for students seeking a multidisciplinary approach to the study of public policy.

Program Details

Curriculum
  • 18 graduate-level courses (1800 units of credit) with at least 12 Public Policy (PPHA) courses

  • 7 core courses that provides a foundation in critical analysis, reflecting Harris's belief that mastering quantitative and analytical skills prepares students to be effective public policy leaders

    • PPHA 30800 Analytical Politics I: Strategic Foundations

    • PPHA 31000 or PPHA 31200 Statistics for Data Analysis I

    • PPHA 31100 or PPHA 31300 Statistics for Data Analysis II:  Regressions

    • PPHA 31600 Analytical Politics II: The Policymaking Process

    • PPHA 31920 Decisions and Organizations

    • PPHA 32300, 32310, or 44100 Principles of Microeconomics and Public Policy I

    • PPHA 32400, 32410, or 44200; Principles of Microeconomics and Public Policy II

  • Elective Options

    • MPP students can explore special academic interests and fields, as well as participate in internships and independent research complementing required course work.

    • Students may choose to focus on an area of public policy, register for courses in departments and schools across the University, and take advantage of experiential opportunities to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world problems.

Other Requirements
  • A cumulative GPA of 2.7 for all courses, based on a 4.0 scale

  • A grade of C- or better for the 7 core courses

  • Completion of the math requirement (support available)

    • Pass algebra exam

    • Pass calculus exam

  • No more than 2 reading/research, independent study, or internship courses

  • No more than 2 courses taken Pass/Fail

  • Courses with grades of F, I, W, or with no reported grade do not apply toward the 18-course requirement for the program.

Sample Schedule
MPP First Year Schedule

 

MPP Second Year Schedule
Testimonials

“Having attained a master’s of public policy, I have frameworks and tools that I use to formulate responses to complex issues in a deeper and more thoughtful way. The graduate degree in public policy offers an opportunity to step outside of narrow disciplines and learn from and amongst a diverse group of incredibly bright and talented people. I grew significantly as an individual through the friendships I developed and perspectives I gained from my peers. I now have a network across geographies of colleagues in a variety of professional disciplines that I utilize to stay connected to global issues and apply to my personal and professional pursuits.”

—Eric Tawney (MPP'14), Investment Analyst at BlackRock

“My Harris education helps me connect the dots and construct a more comprehensive view of how the Central Bank should produce its policy, including how to maintain low inflation and a stable exchange rate on a national scale. I am, ultimately, impacting my country’s economic policy by bridging the gap between academic research and policy practice.”

—Andi Widianto (MPP'11), Economic Analyst at the Central Bank of Indonesia

“I think the biggest difference between an economics degree and one in public policy is that those of us with public policy backgrounds better understand the political aspect, the incentives of various stakeholders, and how that impacts policy design and implementation. A lot of policies fail because of competing interests. The advantage that Harris graduates have is that we understand those incentives and interests. We know that it’s about more than just the economic and financial pieces. That informs our work and ultimately matters a lot.”

—Oliver Azuara Herrera (MPP'02, PhD'11), Economics Officer at the Inter-American Development Bank 

“One thing Harris does is give you a really flexible toolkit that can be used in a lot of different ways in the policy arena.”

—Elizabeth Kneebone (MPP'03 and recipient of the 2016 Harris Alumni Rising Star Award), Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program Fellow

“On a day-to-day basis—in Chicago, in my district, in committee, on the floor, analyzing policy—the skill set I got at Harris is what I use the most.”

Mike Quigley (AM'85), US Representative for the 5th District of Illinois

Hilarie Koplow-McAdams, AM'87
Alumni profile

Questions for Hilarie Koplow-McAdams, AM'87

The New Relic executive reflects on disruptive innovation and the need for more women leaders in Silicon Valley.

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.

I do not have a quantitative background. Can I handle the demanding course work at Harris?

I do not have a quantitative background. Can I handle the demanding course work at Harris?

Roughly one-third of our full-time students consider themselves as not having a strong quantitative background prior to applying to and enrolling at Harris. Many demonstrated their capability by scoring well on the GRE or taking supplemental quantitative courses prior to coming to Harris. We have all the resources necessary to ensure that enrolling students will excel in our core curriculum.

Do you accept GMAT or LSAT in lieu of the GRE?

Do you accept GMAT or LSAT in lieu of the GRE?

For admissions to full-time programs, we will accept the GRE or the GMAT score. For those applicants who are currently enrolled in a joint-degree program with the Law School, we will consider your LSAT scores. (Note: Test scores are not required for the Evening Master's Program.)