As you consider a Credential Program to advance your career and education, we've gathered some frequently asked questions to help you navigate our programs: Data Analytics Credential (DAC), Data and Policy Summer Scholar (DPSS) Program, Persuasive Writing Credential (PWC), and the UChicago-PKU International Policy Action Lab (IPAL).

credential programs synchronous vs asyncronous

Which programs are synchronous, and which are asynchronous?

As Credential students often work full-time, part-time, or take other coursework, our programs are designed to be flexible.

  • All programs offer synchronous, interactive office hours with the teaching team
  • DAC and DPSS lectures are asynchronous
  • PWC lectures are synchronous
  • IPAL has a combination of synchronous and asynchronous lectures

I have no experience in coding. Which program is the best fit for me?

DAC, DPSS, and IPAL provide introductory training in coding, and no previous coding experience is required. DAC and DPSS teach R Programming in R Studio, a free open-source platform. IPAL teaches Stata and will provide students with a Stata license for the duration of the program. 

How can PWC translate to my career? 

Whether your career is writing-focused, policy-focused, or in another discipline, PWC offers a robust toolkit to write, revise, and polish persuasive stories tailored to meet the unique needs of your audience. PWC students complete a variety of policy communication products (policy decision memo, Op-ed and email pitch to an editor, briefing slides with a data visualization, and a personal policy writing style guide), excellent additions to your writing portfolio. With no prior experience in professional writing or policy required, your storytelling and persuasive writing potential awaits. 

What can I present to my employer or university after completing a Credential Program? 

Each Credential Program awards students a shareable certificate upon completion. This certificate is an excellent addition to applications for jobs, internships, graduate schools, scholarship programs, and more. DPSS alumni will also earn an official UChicago transcript with pass/fail marks.

Our programs also include a final project wherein students apply their new understanding of the coursework to a comprehensive project. Not only will this final project cement your new skills, it also serves as a deliverable for professional use, demonstrating your hard work and dedication to furthering your professional development. 

How diverse are the program participants?

Our virtual programs welcome students from around the world. Any program will introduce you to global peers at different stages in their academic and professional journeys with a shared interest in the curriculum.

DPSS, as the most holistic program, provides intentional and ample opportunities to network within your cohort and the broader UChicago community. Visit the DPSS Community Resources webpage for details. IPAL, in partnership with Peking University in Beijing, China, provides a global lens with instruction from both top-ranking universities. 

DPSS and IPAL sound similar. Should I enroll in DPSS or IPAL?

While both programs allow students to use a scientific approach to address today's social issues through a curriculum of quantitative analysis, coding/programming, and a UChicago faculty-led capstone research project, there are some demonstrable differences. 

DPSS is a holistic seven-week program with robust academics, ample community resources, and co-curricular activities. DPSS provides daily office hours with the teaching team and twice-weekly workshops, seminars, and networking opportunities in the mornings and evenings in Central Daylight Time (UTC-5). DPSS welcomes a diverse global cohort of students and offers an optional in-person weekend in Chicago. 

IPAL is an intensive five-week program with deep-dive academics. IPAL has synchronous lectures and office hours based in China Standard Time (UTC+8). IPAL welcomes a cohort majority from East Asia and offers optional in-person field trips in Beijing. 

Other questions?

Connect with a member of the Credential Team for a one-on-one conversation: email to schedule an appointment today!