The Center for Economic Policy seeks to educate students and wider audiences about economic policy and markets, providing students with training in economic tools to analyze the regulatory and legal framework in which markets operate. Markets and government policies regulating them have always been central to economic growth, social welfare, and civil society, with policy decisions and legal frameworks inextricably tied to economic outcomes.

Whether it is the government debt consolidation undertaken by the South Sea Company (and Bank of England) in the early 1700s or the rise in mortgage debt and the 2008 financial crisis, financial markets and their functioning are inextricably linked with both household behavior and larger economic outcomes and policy decisions. The core Specialization courses teach basic finance tools necessary for understanding financial instruments and markets. Electives provide a broader range of topics related to household finance, international finance, and banking.

Learning Outcomes

Harris students earning the specialization often go into either the government financial sector (state & local government or central banking) or the private financial sector. Both place a high premium on the following skills and attributes:

  • Subject-area or field knowledge: Knowledge and familiarity with financial markets, financial instruments, and finance theory
  • Analytical and quantitative skills: Data analytics, statistics, programming
  • Practical application of the knowledge and skills to real-world situations

This specialization teaches the field knowledge but also builds on the substantive analytic training that all Harris students acquire in their core statistics and economics courses, while trying to focus on the practical applications.

Harris specializations function as areas of focus within the degree. Specializations assume knowledge of the 6-course Harris Core and build upon that foundation with coursework in specific policy areas or technical skills.

Application Process

The specialization is open to Harris Public Policy graduate students only. Please indicate your intent to pursue this specialization using the Harris Specialization Declaration Form.

For specialization registration questions, please reach out to

Planning for the Specialization

For information on which quarter(s) each course will be offered see the Harris Courses page and filter by specialization. For courses offered by other divisions the typical quarter the class will be offered will vary. 

Specialization Requirements

The specialization requires completion of two required courses, along with one additional elective course. Students must achieve at least a B- grade in each course. No specialization course may be taken on a pass/fail grading basis. Students should complete the formal signup process to indicate their intention to pursue the specialization.

Required course

Students must complete one of the following courses to fulfill the requirement:

Required course

Students must complete one of the following courses to fulfill the requirement:

  • PPHA 34410 Corporate Finance 
  • BUSN 35200 Corporate Finance 
  • BUSN 35001 Introductory Finance (may be counted only once toward a requirement) 

Elective courses

Students must complete one of the following courses to fulfill the requirement:

Recommended Co-Curricular Activity

  • Students are recommended to attend two events in the “Harris Speakers on Economic Policy and Markets” or “History of Chicago Economics” speaker series during their second year.

Specialization Contact

Thomas Coleman, Specialization Director

Thomas Coleman

Senior Lecturer

Thomas Coleman

Thomas Coleman is a Lecturer at the Harris School - focused on teaching students about financial markets.