Apply big data to big problems, and prepare yourself for a career at the intersection of public policy and data science.

We live in a data-driven world, and public policy is no exception. Data science and technology have become increasingly important in government decision-making, creating a need for individuals trained in the ethical application of computer science for public policy.

For more information, see the MSCAPP website, read this blog (which contains a link to a program overview webinar), or read the MSCAPP Brochure (PDF, 1.5 MB).

The University of Chicago’s rigorous two-year Master of Science in Computational Analysis and Public Policy (MSCAPP) program, among the first in the nation, is jointly offered by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the Department of Computer Science. MSCAPP gives you the skills and analytical savvy to bring modern technology to bear on the societal problems that matter most.

The core set of UChicago MSCAPP courses builds foundational knowledge in computer science, statistics, and public policy analysis. Students then go on to complete advanced coursework in econometrics, machine learning, big data methods, data visualization, and application development—all while learning how to apply these skills in the policy realm.

MSCAPP graduates go on to successful careers as civic technologists, data scientists, policy researchers, and everything in between.

Consistent with the highly quantitative and analytic nature of the Harris School's MSCAPP degree, Harris has categorized the MSCAPP 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 Policies

Policies related to student conduct, academics, and the the results of not meeting academuc requirements can be found on the Harris policies page.

Program Contacts

Students with questions about program requirements may contact MSCAPP Program Director Kim Kieras (, their assigned academic advisor, or the Harris Dean of Students, Kate Shannon Biddle (  Your contact at UChicagoGRAD is Amanda Young, Associate Director, Graduate Student Affairs (


Student Testimonials

“The MSCAPP program was just launching and offered a whole new dimension of computer programming, which felt like the natural extension of a quantitative program. And it built upon my pre-existing interest in coding. It was an amazing opportunity to have everything I wanted: the quantitative piece, public policy, and a whole new mastery of computer programming." More from Natnaell

- Natnaell Mammo (MSCAPP '16), Applied Data Scientist at Civis Analytics

“The world of data analytics in the public sector is still defining itself. It’s a developing field with a lot of real opportunities for people at the intersection of public policy and computational analysis to make an impact,” Iwata says. “That makes it an exciting field to be a part of.” More from Mitsue

- Mitsue Iwata (MSCAPP '16), Technical Project Manager in the NYC Mayor's Office of Data Analytics

“What I found compelling about CAPP was that it was taking all of the things that I was interested in and then applying them to things that actually matter, that are really important for people’s everyday lives, in a way that would prepare me for a career of making decisions and helping make things happen. This program can’t be found anywhere else.” More from Alden

-Alden Golab (MSCAPP '17), Data Engineer at Engima Technologies

"I decided to learn how to code so that I could help build systems that would act as intermediaries between public officials and the citizens they serve, both asking and answering questions relevant to making choices that have a lot of impact on peoples’ lives. And so I came to the CAPP program." More from Emily

-Emily Webber (MSCAPP '17) is a Solution Architect at SimMachines

"To me, Harris distinguishes itself from other public policy programs by treating public policy analysis as an evidence-driven and scientific discipline. I strongly believe that in order for us to collectively solve the most pressing issues of our time, we need to devise solutions driven by rigorous scientific analysis and aided by modern advances in computation. No other program I looked at was as intentionally committed to this approach as Harris." More from Saptarshi
-Saptarhshi Ghose (MSCAPP '19)

Headshot of Caroline Kinnen
Student profile

Student Profile: Caroline Kinnen, MSCAPP Class of 2022

“I’m still just skimming the surface of what’s possible in terms of machine learning, Python, and big data, and I’m excited to be part of a program where I can apply what I’m learning right away.”