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 4, 2022 Late November 2022 April 15, 2023
Round One December 1, 2022 Mid-February 2023 April 15, 2023
Round Two January 18, 2023 Early March 2023 April 15, 2023
Round Three* June 15, 2023 TBD TBD

The application for programs beginning in the fall of 2023 is now open. You can begin your application today. To receive a short video overview of our academic programs, please complete this form.

Below you can find complete details on our GRE waiver criteria. Complete this short form to receive an email providing an overview of the GRE waiver criteria, a blog post with additional details, and a video that will show you how to navigate this in the application.

*Please note that applications in Round 3 may close earlier if space is no longer available and space will vary by degree program. 

All students applying after January 18, 2023 should select "Round Three" as the round for which they are applying, even if they plan to submit before June 15, 2023. 

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

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.

Note: Applications are accepted until space is no longer available. Decisions may be released periodically as space becomes available or completed documents are received. Application deadlines may be adjusted. Please visit this page for the most updated deadline and notification information.

Academic Support Programs

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.

Orientation Programs

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 and Coding 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 2023.

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 are the same for all full-time master's degree programs.

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 (Required)

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

Short Essay (Optional)

Although the Motivation Statement is required, the essay question is optional. Prospective MPP Students who would like to be considered for The Pearson Fellowship must complete the Pearson essay at the time their application is submitted. Please note, only MPP applicants may apply to The Pearson Fellowship.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.

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.

Two (2) Letters of Recommendation

For students applying directly from their undergraduate program, 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 GRE waiver attestation is completed as part of your application for admission. Your transcript and resume documents, as well as your work experience section, education information, and additional information provided in your application are the support for your GRE waiver attestation. These elements will be used for verification during the admission review process. You do not need to send GRE waiver documentation separately from your application. Complete this short form for a video overview of how to navigate this part of the application.

Applicants to the full-time master’s programs that begin in fall of 2023— Master of Public Policy (MPP), MA in Public Policy (MA), MS in Computational Analysis and Public Policy (MSCAPP), and MA in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods (MACRM)—must either meet one of the four waiver criteria below or submit a GRE test. Applicants will submit this information as part of their application. Students will attest to the criteria and provide supporting documentation in the application. Please note, this information should not be sent via email, and must be uploaded and submitted as part of your application in order to be considered by the admissions committee.
 

Waiver Criteria

1. Qualifying Professional Experience. At the time of application submission, applicants must indicate in their work history and on their resume that they have completed five or more years of full-time relevant professional work.  

  • Relevant may be defined as related to policy, government, business, economics, education, or social services.   
  • Applicants in other fields may attest that their work experience is relevant to public policy study.  
  • Five or more years are calculated as the time between  completion of bachelor's degree and the date of application submission.

2. Military Service - Completed five years of active duty national military service (in any country).

3. Documented coursework. Completed the equivalent of college-level, credit-bearing, Calculus I and/or beyond with a grade of B or better.   

4. Qualifying Education – Applicants who are graduates of an undergraduate program at the University of Chicago. 

Approved GRE Test Substitutions  

  • Applicants to the JD/MPP may submit the LSAT  
  • Applicants to the full-time master’s programs—MPP, MA (full-time), MSCAPP, and MACRM— may submit the GMAT 
  • Applicants to the University of Chicago Medicine partner programs for physicians may submit the MCAT 

The GRE is not required for the Evening Master’s Program (EMP), the Five Year Master in Public Policy with the College (BA/MPP),and Five Year MS in Computational Analysis and Public Policy with the College (BA/MSCAPP) programs.*  

*Please note: only currently enrolled undergraduate students at the University of Chicago are eligible to apply to the BA/MPP and BA/MSCAPP programs. 

You may submit self-reported (unofficial) GRE or GMAT scores for admission review. 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. Make your reservations with ETS directly: http://www.ets.org/gre.

Hardship Requests 

Applicants for whom a recent natural disaster or other major, widespread disruption has affected their ability to complete an application may submit a Hardship Request. For more information and questions about the Hardship Request, please contact gradadmissions@uchicago.edu.   

English Language Requirement

Applicants to the Harris School of Public Policy who do not meet the English proficiency waiver criteria must submit proof of English language proficiency, in the form of either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Read about test score requirements.

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 will receive conditional admissions until they achieve the required score(s).

Exam Retake

If you choose to retake the exam to meet the minimum requirement, 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.

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 University of Chicago's English language requirements.

Application Fee (Submitted with Online Application)

A $100 nonrefundable application fee is required when you apply for a master's degree.

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.

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PhD Program

Application Deadline

PhD Candidates | December 15, 2022

For Fall 2023, all application materials for admission must be submitted by December 15, 2022. Admissions decisions will be released in late February. Admitted PhD students will be invited to an Admitted Student Day in March.

Application Requirements

The following documents are required for admission to the PhD program for Fall 2023.

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.

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 are looking letters of recommendation that speak to your professional or academic ability. Recommenders should submit letters through the electronic application.

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. If you choose to submit your scores, official scores are required for all applicants. Please contact the Harris Admissions Office if you have questions regarding other standardized tests. PhD applicants must submit the GRE and cannot request a waiver.

Language Requirements

While we do consider TOEFL/IELTS scores below the minimum requirement, including the total and sub-scores, admitted students with below requirement scores will receive conditional admissions until they achieve the required score(s).

Application Fee (Submitted with Online Application)

A $200 nonrefundable application fee is required when you apply for a PhD.

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.

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Evening Master’s Program (EMP)

Application Deadlines

The Evening Master's Program (EMP) launches three times throughout the year. Applications will be reviewed during application deadline periods. Applications received after the application deadline will be reviewed as space is available and may be reviewed for a future quarter. 


Spring 2023

Interim Target Application
Deadline
Notification Date Deposit Due
November 1, 2022 Late December 2022 January 27, 2023
Application Deadline Notification Date Deposit Due
January 18, 2023 February 10, 2023 February 24, 2023

Fall 2023

Interim Target Application
Deadline
Notification Date Deposit Due
March 31, 2023 Late April 2023 June 1, 2023
Application Deadline Notification Date Deposit Due
June 15, 2023 Early July 2023 Late July

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.

English Language Requirement

Applicants to the Harris School of Public Policy who do not meet the English proficiency waiver criteria must submit proof of English language proficiency, in the form of either Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Read about required minimum scores for each test.

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 $100 nonrefundable application fee is required when you apply for a master's degree.

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.

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Non-Degree Programs

Requirements and deadlines for non-degree programs vary by program. Find the details for each program:

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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 Hardship and Deferral Requests page or contact us.

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