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 and learn to make data-driven decisions. 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.

Consistent with the highly quantitative and analytic nature of the Harris School's MPP degree, Harris has categorized the MPP under a code which is currently on the DHS STEM list. Students on F-1 visas who have earned a degree that has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a STEM degree may be eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion optional practical training (OPT) so long as they meet all eligibility criteria at the time of application.

Program Contacts

Students with questions about program requirements may contact their assigned academic advisor or the Harris Dean of Students, Kate Shannon Biddle (kbiddle@uchicago.edu).  Your contact at UChicagoGRAD is Amanda Young, Associate Director, Graduate Student Affairs (amanday@uchicago.edu).

Program Details

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

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

    • Analytical Politics I:

      • PPHA 30800 Analytical Politics I: Strategic Foundations, or

      • PPHA 41501 - PhD Game Theory (instructor approval required and subject to seat availability)

    • Analytical Politics II:

      • PPHA 31610 Analytical Politics II: Political Institutions 

    • Statistics Sequence I:

      • PPHA 31002 Statistics for Data Analysis I, or

      • PPHA 31202 Advanced Statistics for Data Analysis I, or

      • Any course in the PhD econometrics sequence (instructor approval required and subject to seat availability): PPHA 42000 or PPHA 42100, or PPHA 42200

    • Statistics Sequence II: 

      • PPHA 31102 Statistics for Data Analysis II: Regressions, or

      • PPHA 31302 Advanced Statistics for Data Analysis II, or

      • Any course in the PhD econometrics sequence (instructor approval required and subject to seat availability): PPHA 42000 or PPHA 42100, or PPHA 42200

    • Microeconomics Sequence I:

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

      • PPHA 44100 PhD Advanced Microeconomics for Policy Analysis I (instructor approval required and subject to seat availability)

    • Microeconomics Sequence II:

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

      • PPHA 44200 PhD Advanced Microeconomics for Policy Analysis II (instructor approval required and subject to seat availability)

  • 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 6 core courses

  • Completion of the math requirement (support available)

  • Completion of a practical experience requirement (more information)
  • No more than 2 reading/research, independent study, or internship courses

  • No more than 2 courses taken Pass/Fail (core courses cannot be 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.

  • Policies on the the results of not meeting these requirements can be found on the Harris policies page.

  • Any questions about these requirements can be sent to the Harris Dean of Students Office at harrisdeanofstudents@uchicago.edu.

Sample Schedule

Year 1


  • Microeconomics I (PPHA 32300)
  • Statistics for Data Analysis I (PPHA 31002)
  • Analytical Politics I: Strategic Foundations (PPHA 30800)


  • Microeconomics II (PPHA 32400)
  • Statistics for Data Analysis II: Regressions (PPHA 31102)
  • Analytical Politics II: Political Institutions (PPHA 31610)


  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Elective

“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.


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

I do not have a quantitative background. Can I handle the demanding coursework 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.

International Development

I am interested in international development. Can I take classes in this area in this program?

If you are interested in international development, we recommend exploring the Pearson Institute International Policy and Development (IPD) Specialization.

The IPD Specialization is designed to prepare students for careers in government, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, or multinational corporations. The specialization's curated list of electives is designed to allow students to explore multiple academic approaches to understanding development, including from economics, political science, statistics, and psychology.
Learn more here.