We are excited you are interested in participating in the Data and Policy Summer Scholar (DPSS) program! The program offers rigorous academics and robust co-curriculars in a virtual format.

There are unique benefits and challenges of virtual learning, and we designed the program so that you will have an immersive academic training and community experience to fully explore the fields of data science and public policy.  

Read more about the program here. 

Here are five ways we’re tapping the advantages of virtual learning:

  1. A Truly Global Program – Our asynchronous, student-centered classroom model enables students to watch lectures at their own pace and join live office hours and discussion groups with peers, faculty, and graduate teaching assistants from anywhere in the world. The virtual format also enables our classroom to include students who otherwise would not have been able to travel for the in-person program.

    "I really enjoyed the different office hours where we could meet our instructors and TAs. I also loved having a homework group to work with: we bonded and helped each other get through the material. Using Slack helped me feel connected even though we are physically distant.” 

    – Bernadette Becker, DPSS Credential 2020
  2. More Faculty Engagement – Austin Wright, Assistant Professor and DPSS Faculty Director, said the virtual format allows students to engage more directly with faculty and teaching assistants, since live discussion groups are no longer limited to the physical size of the faculty’s office or study room availability. Students will be able to hear each other’s questions and engage in deeper discussions, and the ability to organize small student groups will maximize interaction with your peers.   

    “My favorite moments were the one-on-one time and office hours with Professor Wright. This was a great way to fully engage with the material and get the most out of the program.” 

    – Rohan Kumar, DPSS Credential 2020
  3. Deeper Dive – With pre-recorded lectures, you’ll be able to pause, write notes, and re-watch sections—a feature current master’s students at Harris have cited as extremely beneficial with their virtual learning experience. The DPSS lectures also are designed to simulate the classroom experience. For example, once a concept has been explained, you have the option to click to another recording for an example of its applicability.

    "Professor Wright was very practical with the lectures. Econometrics can be a very theoretical subject and he was able to break it down for us who didn't have prior knowledge in econometrics."

    – Lakshimi Swaminathan, DPSS Credential 2020
  4. Flexible Schedule – The seven-week, part-time program is now even more compatible with other summer activities, such as jobs or internships, as you can view the pre-recorded lectures at a time convenient for you. Students can anticipate a commitment of approximately 15 hours per week: a mix of watching asynchronous lectures, working on assignments and research, and joining live office hours with faculty and teaching assistants. See program dates and schedule.  

    “No matter the time zone or work schedule you're operating on there's going to be opportunity for live interaction or personalized support, and that's one of the ways this program is different from other online courses.” 

    – Andie Ingram Eccles, Assistant Director, Credential Programs
  5. Holistic Community Resources – We offer you a robust set of Community Resources. Connecting you with speakers (such as those in our Policy in Action Series) and alumni (such as Networking with UChicago) is no longer limited to those physically in Chicago. You can network with practitioners conducting research in D.C. and alumni working in Shanghai. Only in the part-time, virtual format can we offer an optional mentorship program.

    “By way of the weekly lectures, multitude of office hours, many incredible speakers, and the culminating capstone project, I was able to learn essential new skills in gathering, cleaning, analyzing, visualizing and distributing data within a public policy context. Thanks to the virtual nature of the program, I was also able to connect and network with faculty, speakers, and peers from all over the world on data-driven issues that we all deeply care about.” 

    –Sarah Valek, DPSS Credential 2021