At Harris Public Policy, classroom study is only half the equation.

Through practical experiences in Chicago and around the globe, you'll round out your educational experience at Harris and gain invaluable professional training.

Drive real-world impact: In a real-world policy context, you’ll apply the analytical tools that you develop in the Core.

Broaden your network: Practical experiences at Harris broaden your professional networks and give you the opportunity to explore new industries and career paths.

Practical Experience Requirement

Harris requires all students in the following full-time programs to complete a practical experience during their program of study:

  • Master of Public Policy (MPP)
  • MS in Computational Analysis and Public Policy (MSCAPP)
  • MA in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods (MACRM)

International students: This requirement ensures that F-1 international students who need to begin the academic year from outside the U.S. remain eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) beginning in the Summer Quarter after their first academic year.

Requirement Waiver

You may request a waiver for the practical experience requirement if you meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • 3 years of post-undergraduate work experience
  • Significant experience participating in volunteerism or entrepreneurship
  • You face barriers to pursuing practical experience

Request a waiver by submitting the practical experience requirement form

Practical Experiences

You can fulfill the requirement by completing one of the following practical experiences:

  • Practical experience course
  • Internship
    • At least 150 total hours
    • Internships can be during the academic year or Summer
  • Research assistantship 
    • At least 150 total hours
  • Policy competition
  • Waiver

Find the practical experience that fits your needs.

Practical Experience Courses

The following courses count toward the practical experience degree requirement:

  • Any Harris Policy Lab (PPHA 60000)
  • Energy Policy Practicum (PPHA 51700)
  • Hacking for Defense (PPHA 33830)
  • Inequality, Household Finance, and Tax Policy (PPHA 39404)
  • Leading with Innovation (PPHA 33620)
  • MACRM Apprenticeship (PPHA 52500)
    • For MACRM students only
  • New Social Ventures (BUSN 34115) 
    • Only for participants in the Social New Venture Challenge
  • Data Science Clinic (CAPP 30300, 30301, PPHA 30581, MACS 30300, MPCS 57300)

You can suggest a practical course be added to this list by filling out the practical experience requirement form.

Note: You do not have to take any action to have these courses count toward fulfilling the practical experience degree requirement. Once a grade is posted for the course the requirement will show as complete on your degree audit. 


Work with professionals in the field and kick-start your career through an internship (paid or unpaid) of no fewer than 150 total hours with employers like Deloitte, the Chicago Community Trust, the World Bank, Brookings, and more.

We strongly encourage you to look for an internship that is relevant to public policy. Though many students complete an internship during the summer between their first and second year, internships can be taken at any point during your enrollment. 

Note: We will gather information about your internships at the end of the first year, upon return from summer break, and at the end of the second year. The information will be added to your degree audit. 

Research Assistantship

Find a Research Assistantship position with individual University faculty or University research centers, such as Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab, Urban Labs, and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago at the University of Chicago.

Explore research centers and institutes affiliated with Harris.

Note: For students that receive a research assistantship, we will gather information at the end of your first year, upon return from summer break, and at the end of your second year. The information will be added to your degree audit.

Policy Competitions

Harris students participate in a variety of policy competitions with the supervision and support of Ron Gibbs, Program Director of Policy Entrepreneurship and Competitions. The competitions include:

  • Booth Social New Venture Challenge
  • Clinton Global Initiative University
  • Oxford Map the System Challenge
  • Hult Million Dollar Prize

Note: If you participate in a policy competition and want to use that to fulfill the practical experience degree requirement complete the practical experience requirement form.


Leading with Innovation: Harris, the City Clerk, and Real Reform

In the City of Chicago, failing to purchase up-to-date city stickers for personal vehicles has contributed to tens of thousands of bankruptcies – and even thousands of transgenerational bankruptcies. How does this happen, and how can it be fixed?