Specialization in Survey Research

The collection of data directly from individuals or other entities provides the foundation for modern public policy in the fields of official government statistics and social research. The Specialization in Survey Research is designed to cover a range of methodologies and applications to prepare students either to work directly in the area of data collection or to become informed users and evaluators of data collected by others.

Students who complete this specialization will be able to:

  • Understand the provenance of data
  • Appreciate the implications of survey design for the analysis of data
  • Understand the importance of blending survey data collected for research purposes with real-world administrative data

Harris specializations function as areas of specialization 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 any University of Chicago graduate student. Harris students please indicate your intent to pursue this specialization using the Harris Specialization Declaration Form. If you are a non-Harris student and intend to complete the requirements for the Survey Research specialization please submit the Harris Specialization Application for Non-Harris Students to indicate you are pursuing this specialization.

For specialization registration questions, please reach out to harrisregistration@uchicago.edu.

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(s) offered has been indicated.

Specialization Requirements

The specialization requires completion of one required course, along with two additional courses. Students must achieve at least a B- grade in each course. No specialization course may be taken on a pass/fail grading basis. The courses do not need to be taken in a particular order. Students should complete the formal signup process to indicate their intention to pursue the specialization.

Required course

Elective courses

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

Consider a Policy Lab

Harris Policy Labs can be an excellent complement to specializations. Specialization programs allow students to specialize in particular areas of inquiry, while Policy Labs allow students to apply their knowledge to real world policy challenges for actual client organizations.

Descriptions of Policy Labs projects for the current academic year are available in the Current Student portal. Please consult with Policy Labs staff, or the specialization program director, to see which one is right for you.

Specialization Contact

Colm O'Muircheartaigh, Specialization Director

Marc Farinella, Administrative Director



Colm O'Muircheartaigh

Colm A. O'Muircheartaigh served as dean of Harris from 2009 to 2014. His research covers survey sample design, measurement errors, and cognitive aspects of question wording, among others. He is a senior fellow in NORC, where he oversees the development of methodological innovations in sample design.