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.

Please note: This requirement begins with the Autumn 2020 incoming cohort of students.

Practical Experiences

You can fulfill the requirement by completing one of the following practical experiences (or an alternative option):

  • Harris Policy Labs
  • Harris Practicum Courses
  • University of Chicago Practicum Courses
  • Research Assistantship
  • Internships
  • Policy Competitions
  • Apprenticeship Course for MACRM

Find the practical experience that fits your needs:

Harris Policy Labs

In your second year, team up with students in Harris Policy Labs to apply core skills you build in the Core to real-time public policy challenges facing client organizations.

Recently, a Policy Labs team of six Harris students helped uncover opportunities for investment on Chicago's West Side.

Harris Practicum Courses

Take a hands-on approach to the study of policy with a practicum course.

Explore practicum courses using the courses catalog.


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?

University of Chicago Practicum Courses

Take a practicum course outside of Harris within the University of Chicago, including the Social New Venture Challenge course.

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.

Explore research centers and institutes affiliated with Harris.

Interested in how to land a Research Assistantship position? Matt Shomo, MPP'20, shares how he a got a position with the Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab.


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.

Concerned about funding? Visit our Internships & Funding page.

Policy Competitions

Participate in a policy competition under the supervision of Harris. Harris students regularly compete in the Clinton Global Initiative University annual meeting.


Harris Public Policy to Boast Most Students and Teams at Clinton Global Initiative University Annual Meeting 2020

Seven teams and a total of nineteen students from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy – the most from any institution of higher education – have been chosen to attend the prestigious CGI U annual meeting.

Apprenticeship Course for MACRM

Students in the MA in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods (MACRM) program can complete the apprenticeship course (PPHA 52500). 

Alternative Options

Have an idea for a practical experience that is not listed above? Reach out to your advisor to discuss your idea.

Requirement Waiver

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

  • Three years of post-undergraduate work experience
  • Significant experience participating in volunteerism or entrepreneurship

Speak with your advisor to request a waiver.