The Harris Scholars Program encourages students in the College at the University of Chicago to apply for admission to Harris Public Policy during their fourth year of study and defer enrollment for two years while obtaining quality experience in the labor market. Harris Scholars will complete the application for admission to the MPP or MSCAPP. Those who are selected for participation will be provisionally admitted with a scholarship of 25% of tuition and granted an automatic two-year deferment. During the deferment period, Harris Scholars are expected to seek substantive work experience that will position them to succeed at Harris and beyond.

Candidate Profile

Candidates for the Harris Scholars Program should be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Quality work experience (internships, part-time jobs, and/or entrepreneurial spirit)
  • Competitive GPA
  • Competitive GRE or GMAT score
  • Student leadership role(s) throughout college
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Demonstration of the ability to question the status quo, engage in the process of learning, and thrive in an academically rigorous environment
  • Ability to talk about the need for an MPP or MSCAPP in the near future and articulate a potential career path


Harris Public Policy recognizes and values academic diversity; therefore, all University of Chicago fourth-year students are welcome to apply to the Harris Scholars Program, regardless of major. Applicants must follow all Harris application procedures and submit all required components. Interested students may start the Harris Scholars application anytime by using the online application system for the MPP or MSCAPP programs (the application fee will be waived). Applicants must check the appropriate box to formally apply to the program. No preference will be given to students pursuing particular majors or to those who have taken Harris courses previously. Interviews will be offered by invitation only and will take place in April. Final admission decisions will be released in late April.

Successful candidates will be granted conditional admission and, if they choose to accept, an automatic two-year deferment. The required enrollment deposit is deferred until the candidate enrolls. Each Harris Scholar will be awarded a 25% tuition scholarship per year. Students will be expected to seek and maintain quality and substantive employment during the deferment period. Positions may be in public, private, or nonprofit settings. Harris reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission if quality work experience is not obtained. Scholars will be required to submit an employment update notifying Harris of their title and organization.

All Harris Scholars will be required to enroll in the Autumn Quarter. Scholars must notify the Admissions Office in writing in March of the year in which they wish to enroll and pay the enrollment deposit fee before April 15.

James Heckman

Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Economics and the College; Affiliate Professor at Harris Public Policy; Director, Center for Social Program Evaluation

James Heckman

James Heckman's research has focused on the impact of social programs and the methodologies used to measure a their effect. He has researched areas such as education, job training, minimum wage legislation, women’s earnings, anti-discrimination laws, civil rights, and early childhood interventions.