Find answers to the most commonly asked questions here.

Can I apply for either spring or fall admission?

Can I apply for either spring or fall admission?

No, students at Harris must matriculate in the Autumn Quarter. Your first year of courses consists of seven core courses that are taught sequentially. If you miss the Autumn Quarter classes, you will not be prepared for Winter Quarter.
 

What is the application fee? Is it possible to get an application fee waiver?

What is the application fee? Is it possible to get an application fee waiver?

The application fee is $75 and nonrefundable. You can pay the fee electronically within your application. Application fee waivers are available. Complete the Fee Waiver Request Form, which is linked to from your online application. If approved, you will be notified directly.
 

Is an interview required for Harris?

Is an interview required for Harris?

Interviews are not required. However, international applicants with a total TOEFL score of 106 or below (or IELTS of 7.0 or below) who were unable to submit a video statement may be selected for a brief phone interview. We suggest all applicants visit Harris while school is in session. You can attend a class and meet with current students and admissions staff. Visits can be arranged through the Admissions Office.
 

What is Harris looking for in the short essays?

What is Harris looking for in the short essays?

We are looking for thoughtful and creative responses that best showcase your personality and/or your understanding of a policy issue. The question selection is not important. We are most interested in how you think, write, and articulate yourself. Take the opportunity to show us your personality.
 

I have been working for several years and lost touch with my college professors. Can I get all three letters of recommendation from employers and colleagues?

I have been working for several years and lost touch with my college professors. Can I get all three letters of recommendation from employers and colleagues?

We advise you to get letters of recommendation from individuals who know you best and can speak about your strengths and your preparedness for graduate study. If you lose touch with your college professors, letters of recommendation from employers and colleagues will suffice.
 

How should I approach my recommenders?

How should I approach my recommenders?

Inquire with potential recommenders in late summer or very early fall. If your recommenders know you very well, they should be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you. If you want to ease their burden, you should provide them with as many materials about your application as possible: e.g., resume, reasons why you are interested in graduate schools, etc. Approach as many potential recommenders as possible: interview them, and ask them “What can you say about me?” Select the recommenders who can best vouch for your candidacy.
 

Should transcripts be sent directly to Harris from an institution or can they come by way of the applicant?

Should transcripts be sent directly to Harris from an institution, or can they come by way of the applicant?

Unofficial transcripts can be uploaded via the electronic application. All applicants who are offered admission will be required to submit official transcripts. Most institutions have the ability to send electronic official transcripts. If your institution is unable to do so, please request that they send hard copy versions to our Admissions Office.
 

Will you tell me if you have successfully received my application materials?

Will you tell me if you have successfully received my application materials?

After you submit your materials electronically, you will have the ability to check the status of your application online. Please do not send inquiries to the Admissions Office requesting status of your application. If your application is incomplete, you will be notified directly.
 

Is work experience required for admission to Harris?

Is work experience required for admission to Harris?

No, but it is strongly preferred. Approximately 20% to 25% of enrolling students come directly from undergraduate programs. Our students have diverse backgrounds and many have at least two to four years of work experience, from corporate and nonprofit organizations as well as all levels of government.
 

How long are my GRE scores valid for admission?

How long are my GRE scores valid for admission?

Scores no older than five years as of the application deadline for the round in which you apply will be considered. Please note, this may vary from the ETS range for validity. We strongly encourage all applicants to submit scores taken more recently, preferably within two years of applying.
 

When should I submit GRE by to ensure scores are delivered?

When should I submit GRE by to ensure scores are delivered?

The results of computer-based tests taken no less than four weeks in advance of our deadlines should arrive in time for review within an application round. To ensure release by the deadline, we recommend releasing no later than six weeks in advance of an application deadline.
 

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

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

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.
 

What is the average GPA needed for admission to Harris?

What is the average GPA needed for admission to Harris?

The average GPA for the 2014 enrolling class is 3.6. Similar to our GRE requirements, GPA scores are assessed with all elements of the application. If you feel your GPA does not reflect your skills and abilities, you are welcome to include a personal explanatory statement.
 

What is Harris’s English language requirement?

What is Harris’s English language requirement?

Applicants may submit either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to meet the English language requirement set by the University. Test scores must be sent directly to Harris using code 1849 (a separate department code is not necessary). The minimum score requirements for each exam are as follows:

  • TOEFL: overall score of 104 with a minimum of 26 in each subsection
  • IELTS: overall score of 7 with minimum of 7 in each subsection

Scores are only valid for two calendar years from the test date. For additional information on the English language requirement for the University of Chicago, please visit the Office of International Affairs.
 

How are merit scholarships awarded?

How are merit scholarships awarded?

Awards range from 25% of tuition costs to full tuition. Each year, approximately 50% of entering students are awarded some form of merit scholarship or fellowship from Harris.
 

How do I apply for scholarships or financial aid?

How do I apply for scholarships or financial aid?

No separate application is required; you only need check the appropriate box on the Harris application for admission and submit your application during Early Action or Round One to be considered. Find a complete list of Harris scholarships and fellowships here.
 

What is an MPP degree?

What is an MPP degree?

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree emphasizes rigorous modeling and analysis, evaluating information to solve complex policy problems. As policymakers, managers, analysts, leaders, and more, MPP graduates work with quantitative and qualitative data to develop and assess approaches to current and emerging issues. MPP graduates work in a variety of public service fields, all levels of government (federal, state, and local), nonprofits, international organizations, consulting firms, and in the private sector.
 

What's the difference between an MPA and an MPP degree?

What's the difference between an MPA and an MPP degree?

MPA and MPP programs have blended and converged as complements to one another, with courses and specializations often overlapping. Some schools combine the degrees and name them differently. The training and skill sets differ as well. MPA students typically excel in management and technical implementation of policy, whereas MPP students are trained to analyze and recommend sound institutional policies.

Why an MPP instead of an MBA degree?

Why an MPP instead of an MBA degree?

Both MPP and MBA degrees offer advanced analysis courses as part of their core curriculum. An MBA degree, while still flexible enough to apply to the public sector, is a degree focused for a career in the private sector, specifically in management, entrepreneurship, and organizational leadership. If you wish to pursue a career in a government agency, a nonprofit, or other public service institution, an MPP degree is ideal.

What is the core curriculum?

What is the core curriculum?

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. These areas provide a foundation in critical analysis, reflecting the Harris belief that mastering quantitative and analytical skills prepares students to be effective practitioners.
 

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 student body 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 and taking supplemental quantitative courses prior to coming to Harris. We have all the resources necessary to ensure that enrolling students will excel in the core.

How is Harris different from other policy schools?

How is Harris different from other policy schools?

We take pride in our diverse student body. Students come to us from all over the world, with different social, political, and academic backgrounds and an extraordinary array of policy interests—child and family policy, social policy, international policy, public finance, health policy, education policy, and more. They are bound by a common passion for problem-solving and commitment to the public good. Our rigorous analytical training with relevant application to solve real-world problems gives students the tools to tackle the most pressing policy issues of our day.

How can I distinguish myself in the Harris applicant pool?

How can I distinguish myself in the Harris applicant pool?

You know your strengths and your weaknesses. Tell us how you intend to address your weaknesses at Harris. Demonstrate your passions. In your resume, show us your volunteer experiences, travel, hobbies, etc. If you are funny, serious, or something in between, don’t be afraid to show your personality.
 

What types of jobs do Harris graduates have?

What types of jobs do Harris graduates have?

Harris graduates lead successful careers across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Recent alumni have become policy advisors, program officers, campaign chiefs of staff, financial analysts and consultants, economists and research specialists, government officers, foreign exchange traders, and directors at major organizations across the United States and around the world. Recent full-time career placements for new graduates include McKinsey & Company, BlueCross BlueShield, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Heartland Alliance, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, After School Matters, Iraqi Mutual Aid Society, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Center for China and Globalization, and the US Department of Defense, US Securities and Exchange Commission, and US Food and Drug Administration.
 

Can I defer my admission?

Can I defer my admission?

We strongly encourage applicants to apply for autumn entry in the year in which they intend to enroll. Deferrals are not common and are considered on a case-by-case basis for one academic year only. Typically, deferrals are granted for unforeseen financial, health, or personal circumstances that would make enrollment a hardship.