Harris Public Policy seeks candidates with the academic preparation, intellectual ability, experience, and motivation to undertake a rigorous program in public policy.

While no specific experience is required, students with a strong liberal arts background and sound quantitative and analytical skills will be best prepared to thrive at Harris Public Policy. To help accepted students who need a boost in these areas, we offer several academic support programs, including pre-orientation programs in English (for international students) and math. For current students, additional support is available through the Policy Writing Program.

The Committee on Admission and Aid evaluates all official transcripts of academic work, personal essays, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities and community service, performance on standardized tests, and special factors brought to its attention. The committee considers each application on the basis of all materials submitted and does not automatically eliminate applications based on grade point averages or test scores. The application requirements and admissions process is the same for all master's degree programs.

Application Deadlines

Master's Candidates

  Deadline Notification Deposit Due
 Early Action   November 18, 2016   December 16, 2016   April 15, 2017
 Round One   January 20, 2017   February 17, 2017   April 15, 2017  
 Round Two   March 26, 2017   April 28, 2017   May 15, 2017

All application materials for admission must be submitted by the corresponding deadline by 11:59 p.m. Central Time. To be considered for merit scholarship assistance, applicants should apply in Early Action or Round One.

University of Chicago undergraduates interested in the Professional Option or the Chicago Harris Scholars Program should apply in Round Two only.

PhD Candidates | December 4, 2016

All application materials for admission were required to be submitted by December 4. Admission decisions were announced in February.

Pre-Doctoral Fellowships in Educational Research | December 15, 2016

The University of Chicago is one of only five universities nationwide to receive Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funding. In the University's Pre-Doctoral Interdisciplinary Training Program in the Education Sciences, scholars address a question of great national significance: How can we improve the contribution of schooling to the long-term life success of children growing up in US cities?

Applications are now closed, but to apply for the fellowship, applicants were required to be a US citizen and needed: (1) a completed online IES application; (2) an essay; (3) a writing sample; and (4) a completed application for admission to the Harris PhD program.

Application Requirements

The following documents were required for admission for Fall 2017:

Online Graduate Application

Fill out the University of Chicago online graduate application.


Upload a current resume, reflecting your work experience, education, community service, professional honors, and any other relevant information.

Short Essays (master's degree only)

You will be required to answer one brief essay question of your choice (300 words maximum). We encourage applicants to also submit the optional second essay. There is no right, or even preferred, approach to answering the essays. Each essay is an opportunity for you to showcase your writing, analytic, and critical thinking skills.

Motivation Statement (master's degree only)

Prepare a brief and well-articulated response to a prompted question regarding your motivation to pursue graduate studies in public policy (300 words).

Candidate Statement (PhD only)

Prepare a well-articulated response to a prompted question regarding your motivation to pursue graduate studies in public policy, specifically addressing your research interests. (800 words)

Research/Writing Sample (PhD only)

PhD candidates will be required to submit a writing sample or single-authored research paper.


You may submit unofficial transcripts through the electronic application process; however, official transcripts will be required upon admission for enrolling students. Please submit transcripts for all prior academic work from any institution of higher education.

Three (3) Letters of Recommendation (submitted online)

We prefer to have at least one reference from a previous professor who can speak to your academic background and preparedness for graduate studies. Recommenders should submit letters through the electronic application—hard copy letters will be accepted but are not preferred.

GRE Scores

The Harris Public Policy institution code is 1849. Please make your reservations with ETS directly: http://www.ets.org/gre. Official scores are required for all applicants. Please contact the Harris Admissions Office if you have questions regarding other standardized tests.

TOEFL Scores (international applicants only)

The Harris Public Policy institution code is 1849 or 1832. Both codes will be accepted. Please make your reservations with ETS directly: http://www.ets.org/toefl. Official scores are required for all international applicants whose native language is not English and who have not received their undergraduate education in a US college or university. We encourage all international applicants to submit their scores for consideration.

Video Statement (international applicants only)

A brief video statement is required for international applicants with a total TOEFL score of 106 or below, or with a 25 or lower speaking score. Submit a two-minute video statement within the online application that addresses your motivation for applying to Harris.

Application Fee (submitted with online application)

A $75 nonrefundable application fee is required when you apply. Application fee waivers are available upon request. If you have an application fee waiver code, follow the "Fee Waiver Request Form" instructions provided in the online application.

Application Requirements for Deferred Applicants

If you were offered admission in the previous admission cycle and elected to defer your enrollment, you will receive instructions from Admissions in late January regarding your application. You are encouraged to submit any updated materials in support of your application for scholarship consideration; these may include new GRE scores, updated resume, and any other relevant information.