Complement an existing graduate degree with the fundamental skills of policy analysis with this full-time program that allows you to earn an MA in public policy in one academic year.

For those who already have an advanced degree but want to understand the public policy aspects of their field and are interested in attending school full-time, our one-year MA program in public policy  provides the fundamental understanding of public policy and analytics to complement their experience. This program is also available to students enrolling for other master's degree programs at the University.

Program Details


Our curriculum consists of any six of the seven core courses available to MPP candidates and three electives, for a total of nine courses. If you plan to combine this degree with another one-year master’s degree at the University, both degrees must be awarded during the same quarter. Those interested in the public policy studies program should inquire about formal arrangements when they apply to their primary program.

  • 9 graduate-level courses (900 units of credit), including a minimum of 7 Public Policy (PPHA) courses
  • Any 6 courses from the Harris core curriculum that provide a foundation in critical analysis, reflecting our belief that mastering quantitative and analytical skills prepares students to be effective public policy leaders:
    • PPHA 30800 Analytical Politics I: Strategic Foundations
    • PPHA 31002 or PPHA 31102 Statistical Methods for Policy Research I
    • PPHA 31100 or PPHA 31300 Statistical Methods for Policy Research II
    • PPHA 31600 Analytical Politics II: The Policymaking Process
    • PPHA 31920 Decisions and Organizations
    • PPHA 32300, 32310 or 44100 Principles of Microeconomics and Public Policy I
    • PPHA 32400, 32410 or 44200 Principles of Microeconomics and Public Policy II
Other Requirements
  • A cumulative GPA of 2.7 for all courses, based on a 4.0 scale
  • A grade of C- or better in the core courses
  • Completion of the math requirement (support available)
    • Pass algebra exam
    • Pass calculus exam
  • No more than 2 reading/research, independent study, or internship courses
  • No more than 2 course taken Pass/Fail
  • Courses with grades of F, I, W, or with no reported grade do not apply toward the 9-course requirement for the program.
Sample Schedule
MA sample schedule

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What can I do with a policy degree?

What can I do with a policy degree?

Since a public policy degree provides a set of research, analytical, communication, and management skills that are transferable across sectors and issue areas, graduates have flexibility in choosing their career paths.

Public policy graduates often move back and forth between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, or between international and US-based work. Harris graduates are highly sought-after specifically for their strategic skills, and many have gone on to be social entrepreneurs. Employers look for graduates to help understand and communicate complex data and information in a way that clearly and concisely supports effective decision-making. In the nonprofit sector, the analytical and program evaluation techniques learned can be useful in demonstrating the impact of an organization's programs, which can be useful for funding, governmental relations, and lobbying efforts.

A public policy degree can also be beneficial in industries such as energy, health care, finance, transportation, telecommunications, education, or other heavily regulated industries that are impacted by laws or policy outcomes or have a dependency on lobbying and political influence. An understanding of policy can help professionals in those industries as they advance in their careers.

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.