Offered in conjunction with Argonne National Laboratory, this two-year program combines science with public policy to address environmental issues.

Through the MSESP program, you'll gain a solid foundation in the science that underlies important environmental policy issues and have access to applied learning opportunities that will deepen your understanding of various subjects in the field.

Our partnership with the Argonne National Laboratory brings senior scientists and engineers to campus as course instructors and provides you with valuable applied research and internship opportunities. The curriculum allows for both students with limited exposure to the sciences, as well as those with established scientific backgrounds. The degree takes a balanced and holistic approach to policy analysis, focusing on the interrelatedness of environmental issues, such as energy, water, and natural resources, and their relationship with economic, social, technology and regulatory drivers.

Program Details

  • 18 graduate-level courses (1800 units of credit) with at least 10 Public Policy (PPHA) courses
  • 7 core courses provide a foundation in critical analysis, reflecting the school's 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 31200 Statistics for Data Analysis I

    • PPHA 31102 or PPHA 31300 Statistics for Data Analysis II:  Regressions

    • 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
  • Three required environmental analysis and science courses at Harris. Through these courses, you will gain an introduction to life cycle and spatial analysis and environmental impact assessment in addition to learning to assess how scientific information, the economics of scientific research, and the politics of science interact with and influence public policy development and implementation.
    • PPHA 39910 Environmental Analysis Methods I
    • PPHA 39911 Environmental Analysis Methods II
    • PPHA 38900 Environmental Science and Policy 
  • Three science courses in the Physical Sciences or Biological Sciences divisions at the University of Chicago (or other relevant coursework)
  • Common electives have included:
    • Environment, Agriculture, and Food
    • Environmental Economics
    • Environmental Controversies
    • Energy and Energy Policy
Other Requirements
  • A cumulative grade point average of 2.7 for all courses used toward the MPP degree, based on a 4.0 scale
  • A C- or better in the required 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 courses taken pass/fail
  • Courses with grades of F, I, W, or courses with no reported grade do not apply towards the 18 course requirement for the program
Sample Schedule

MSESP first year schedule

MSESP second year schedule

Students brainstorming

Inaugural Harris Policy Summit Focuses on Amazon Deforestation

Conference brings together graduate students from across the country to create policy recommendations.


How is Harris different from other policy schools?

How is Harris different from other policy schools?

For more than 25 years, we've 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 are merit scholarships awarded?

How are merit scholarships awarded?

Awards range from 25% of tuition costs to full tuition. Each year, approximately 50% of entering students are awarded some form of merit scholarship or fellowship from Harris.