Get one-on-one faculty mentoring and experience in research and quantitative methods with this master’s degree designed for people who want to do serious research or a PhD.

Master of Arts in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods (MACRM) is a 15-month master’s degree program that is part public policy degree, part research apprenticeship, and part intensive research methods training. It’s designed to be a stepping stone to either a PhD or serious quantitative research jobs in academia, think tanks, or policy organizations.

You will have the opportunity to take PhD-level course work at Harris Public Policy, conduct research and work with world-class faculty at the University of Chicago, enabling you to build a high-level research portfolio and further strengthen your candidacy for top PhD programs or policy institutes.

Applicants should exhibit strong quantitative backgrounds (including exposure to mathematical probability and statistics, multivariate calculus, and matrix algebra).

Hear more from Professor Chris Blattman on what makes the MACRM program unique on his blog

Program Details


What to expect:

  • During the 15-month program (including the summer quarter), you will enroll in PhD core courses focusing on economic theory, game theory, advanced statistics/econometrics, political economy, and quantitative modeling in addition to the policy courses available in your area of interest. Core courses are as follows:
    • PPHA 41101: Political Economy I: Introduction to Applied Game Theory
    • PPHA 41102: Political Economy II: Intermediate Applied Theory
    • PPHA 41103: Testing the Theories of Political Institutions
    • PPHA 42000: Applied Econometrics I
    • PPHA 42100: Applied Econometrics II
    • PPHA 44100: Principles of Microeconomics for Public Policy I
    • PPHA 44200: Advanced Microeconomics for Policy Analysis II
    • PPHA 52500: MACRM Apprenticeship (2 quarters, 200 units of credit total)
  • You will complete a two quarter research apprenticeship with a faculty member, working 10 hours a week as a research assistant while developing ideas for a research paper to be written in the summer/fall of your second year.
  • Faculty members will serve as "placement directors" to help you in your pursuit of admission to a PhD program.

What you'll gain:

  • Build competency in research methods, economic theory, game theory, advanced econometrics, and quantitative modeling.
  • Participate in hands-on research with faculty from various departments at UChicago.
  • Learn the importance and skills of quality research writing and analysis.
Other Requirements
  • Completion of 12 graduate-level courses, including 7 core courses and 2 apprenticeship courses
  • Completion of a minimum of seven Harris courses (PPHA prefix)
  • Completion of Mathematical Methods for PhD and MACRM Program (prior to first autumn of enrollment)
  • A cumulative grade point average of 2.7 for all courses used toward the degree, based on a 4.0 scale
  • No more than 1 course taken pass/fail (core courses cannot be taken pass/fail)
Sample Schedule
MACRM Schedule
The Pearson Institute

Calculus of Conflict

Rigorous methods of inquiry can improve policy leaders' ability to understand and respond to violent efforts


How is Harris different from other policy schools?

How is Harris different from other policy schools?

Since its inception, Harris has been shifting the conception of public policy from an ideology, reliant on politics and pedigree, to a science rooted in data and impact. Students come to us from all over the world, with different social, political, and academic backgrounds and an extraordinary array of policy interests—child and family policy, social policy, international policy, public finance, health policy, education policy, and more. They are bound by a common passion for problem-solving and commitment to the public good. Our analytical training with relevant application to solve real-world problems gives students the tools to tackle the most pressing policy issues of our day.

How do I apply to Harris Public Policy?

How do I apply to Harris Public Policy?

Applications must be submitted through the University’s online system. You can save your application and work on it at your convenience. Harris only accepts electronic applications.

Requirements and deadlines vary for our full-time and part-time programs as well as for the Obama Foundation Scholars Program.

Our Admissions team is available to provide more information about what you need to do for your specific situation.

How do I apply for scholarships or financial aid?

How do I apply for scholarships or financial aid?

No separate application is required for merit based scholarships; you only need check the appropriate box on the Harris application for admission. However, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal student loans.

Prospective full-time students should submit their FAFSA during Early Action or Round One to be considered. Prospective students for our part-time evening program should do so as soon as they know they plan to apply.

Find more information about financial aid in Financing Your Degree, including a complete list of Harris scholarships and fellowships and information about loans and third-party funding. The UChicago Student Loan Administration (SLA) details the application steps and provides other resources about graduate financial aid.