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

Requirements & deadlines on this page:

Full-time Master's Programs

Application Deadlines

  Deadline Notification Deposit Due/Confirm Acceptance
Early Action October 27, 2020 Late-November 2020 April 15, 2021
Round One December 1, 2020 Mid-February 2021 April 15, 2021
Round Two January 22, 2021 Late-March 2021 April 15, 2021
Round Three June 15, 2021 TBD TBD

If you are currently enrolled in the College, visit the UChicago College Graduating Class page for more information.

Please note, the above notification dates are subject to change. We typically release both scholarship and admission decisions at the same time. Students who receive a scholarship will see a letter on their account. If you have questions or concerns or would like to discuss your scholarship please email harrisadmissions@uchicago.edu.

While no specific experience is required for our degree programs, 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 incoming full-time students who need a boost in any of 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 (for full-time degree programs), and any 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 are the same for all full-time master's degree programs. Applications are accepted until space is no longer available. Application deadlines may be adjusted. Please visit this page for the most updated deadline and notification information.

Harris hosts a series of orientation programs for entering students – some are optional and some are required. All incoming full-time students are required to attend orientation Welcome Week which takes place the week before classes begin. Nearly all of entering full-time students also opt to participate in Math Camp, which begins one month before the start of classes. To learn more about our orientation programs see the info for admitted students

Application Requirements

The following documents are required for admission to full-time master’s degree programs for Fall 2021.

Online Graduate Application

Fill out the University of Chicago graduate application.

Resume

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

Short Essays

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

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

Transcripts

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

Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

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

We understand  many students were not able to take standardized tests scheduled for Spring  2020 due to testing cancellations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the 2021 admission cycle, Harris is offering a test-optional admission process for all applicants—domestic and international. The policy is open to students who do not wish to share their scores and to students who are unable to take the GRE or GMAT.
Our test-optional policy applies to the four programs listed below.

Although this year is test-optional, we will accept and consider GRE or GMAT scores from students who have previously taken these exams. If you think the scores are reflective of your ability and potential, you may share the scores as part of your application for consideration. If you choose to provide GRE/GMAT scores as part of your application, you may submit self-reported (unofficial) scores for admission review. Please note, official scores must be provided upon accepting an offer of admission. The Harris Public Policy institution code is 1849 or 1832. Either code will be accepted. Please make your reservations with ETS directly: http://www.ets.org/gre

Please do not self-report scores if you do not wish them to be considered as part of your application profile.

(Note: Test scores are not required for the Evening Master's Program.)

English Language Requirement

International applicants whose native language is not English are required to take one of the following: 

Minimum Score

While we do consider TOEFL/IELTS scores below the minimum requirement, including the total and sub-scores, admitted students with below requirement scores may be required to participate in a three week immersive English language course before beginning their degree program.

Minimum score requirements

Exam Retake

If you choose to retake the exam to meet the minimum requirement, please note that we accept the highest total score and sub-score of each valid exam. In the Test Scores section of the application include the dates of your upcoming retake exam. 

Find more information about the English language requirement here.

Waiver

Harris Admissions is not authorized to waive the English language requirement and must be granted by the University of Chicago.

The Harris application system will automatically grant the waiver if you meet the requirements provided, listed here.

Application Fee (Submitted with Online Application)

A $50 nonrefundable application fee is required when you apply for a master's degree (with the exception of the Master of Arts in International Development and Policy program, for which there is no application fee).

Application fee waivers are available upon request. A fee waiver is not required for the Master of Arts in International Development and Policy program. If you have an application fee waiver code, follow the "Fee Waiver Request Form" instructions provided in the online application.

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PhD Program

Application Deadline

PhD Candidates | January 6, 2021

For Fall 2021, all application materials for admission must be submitted by January 6, 2021. Admissions decisions will be released in late February. Admitted PhD students will be invited to an Admitted Student Day in early March.

Application Requirements

The following documents are required for admission to the PhD program for Fall 2021.

Online Graduate Application

Fill out the University of Chicago graduate application.

Resume

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

Research Statement

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).

Writing Sample

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

Short Essays (Optional)

PhD applicants are not required to submit the short essays. However, PhD applicants that wish to be considered for a master's degree if not admitted to the PhD program must complete the essay and motivation statement portions.

Answer one brief essay question of your choice (300 words maximum). We encourage applicants to also submit the optional second essay.

Motivation Statement (Optional)

PhD applicants are not required to complete the motivation statement. However, PhD applicants who wish to be considered for a master's degree if not admitted to the PhD program must submit the essay and motivation statement portions.

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

Transcripts

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

Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

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 or 1832. Either code will be accepted. Please make your reservations with ETS directly: http://www.ets.org/gre. Official scores are required for all applicants, with the exception of applicants to the Master of Arts in International Development and Policy program. 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. Either code will be accepted. Please make your reservations with ETS directly: http://www.ets.org/toefl.Please view the University's English Language Requirements. We encourage all international applicants to submit their scores for consideration.

Application Fee (Submitted with Online Application)

A $125 nonrefundable application fee is required when you apply for a PhD.

Application fee waivers are available upon request. A fee waiver is not required for the Master of Arts in International Development and Policy program. If you have an application fee waiver code, follow the "Fee Waiver Request Form" instructions provided in the online application.

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Evening Master’s Program (EMP)

Application Deadlines

The EMP program launches three times throughout the year. Our Fall Quarter typically begins in early October. If you are interested in joining our Winter or Spring 2021 cohorts, the application will open in early September of 2020. Applications will be reviewed during targeted application deadlines:

Fall 2020

Targeted Application Deadline Notification Date Deposit Due
June 1, 2020 Late June July 20, 2020

Winter 2021

Targeted Application Deadline Notification Date Deposit Due
September 27, 2020 Mid-October 2020 October 25, 2020

Spring 2021

Targeted Application Deadline Notification Date Deposit Due
December 15, 2020 Mid-January January 29, 2021

Application Requirements

The following documents are required for admission to the part-time Evening Master’s Program (EMP).

Online Graduate Application

Fill out the University of Chicago graduate application.

Resume

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

Motivation Statement

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

Transcripts

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

Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

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.

Short Essays (Optional)

Evening Master's Program (EMP) applicants are not required to complete the short essay. However, EMP applicants who wish to be considered for another program if not admitted to their original program choice must submit the required short essay.

Application Fee (Submitted with Online Application)

A $50 nonrefundable application fee is required when you apply for a master's degree.

Application fee waivers are available upon request. A fee waiver is not required for the Master of Arts in International Development and Policy program. If you have an application fee waiver code, follow the "Fee Waiver Request Form" instructions provided in the online application.

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Deferred Applicants

When issuing admission decisions some students may receive a deferred acceptance. Student who receive this decision are admitted to a future year, and their admission letter will provide further information. Additionally, some students who are admitted to the current fall class may choose to defer for personal reasons. In both instances, students may be required to deposit each year in order to hold their seat in the next class. 

If you were offered admission in the previous admission cycle to a future year, or if you elected to defer your enrollment, you will receive instructions from Admissions in late January regarding your application. It is important to respond to these instructions in order to ensure we have available space for incoming students. 

Please note a request for deferral is not automatically approved. Your request to defer may be denied. Students who do not respond by the deadline given by admissions may be asked to reapply rather than defer.

For more information, please refer to the Deferment Requests page or contact us.

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