Jenny Erickson, Director of Enrollment Management and Marketing Strategy at UChicago Harris Public Policy, answers questions about the academic and professional values of short-term Credential Programs using the example of the seven-week Data and Policy Summer Scholar Program (DPSS).

What is a credential program?

  • Credential programs are short-term, non-degree programs ranging from five-seven weeks in length. Our 2021 programs are 100% virtual and part-time.
  • Credential programs differ from other online courses or certificate programs by the level of engagement with faculty, peers and applied learning opportunities.

Explore all of our short-term Credential Programs.

How would you summarize the key benefits of credential programs?

Credential programs give you the opportunity to:

  • Explore the field of public policy and see if it is an area you would like to pursue
  • Strengthen your resume for a new job or graduate school application
  • Connect with a global cohort of peers and the UChicago community

How do credential programs help me to explore the field of public policy?

  • Credential programs allow you to sample a skill set or topic area in policy.
  • DPSS, as the most holistic program, offers tangible tools, applied experience and exposure to diverse paths policy can take you.

Read more about the ways credential programs let you explore and prepare for graduate studies.

How can I leverage the credential program in my professional path?

  • Include credential programs on your resume. Don’t shy away from having a robust resume that shows the interesting and diverse things that you have done. It shows commitment and leadership to work towards your goals and interests.
  • The DPSS classroom is a diverse, international cohort. Your collaboration across academic disciplines and cultures is a great asset for your next workplace.
  • Showcase your transferable toolkit – hard and soft skills. DPSS strengths your ability to ask critical questions, analyze data, and communicate impact in any field.
  • Alumni advanced to the next step in their professional trajectory in private, public and non-profit organizations addressing topics such as immigration, environment, finance and more.

Hear from our DPSS Alumni and read their stories.

Kevin Silverman, DPSS'19
Kevin Silverman, DPSS'19

"My current role in venture capital builds upon the coding skills I learned at Harris, while the policy foundations and debates we grappled with have proven invaluable as I immerse myself in the tech world. Professor Wright demonstrated that working for the public good is not accomplished only by government officials, but the responsibility of a diverse group of actors working together.”

—Kevin Silverman, DPSS’19 

How are community and networking facilitated in the virtual format?

  • Community experience is a rich element of DPSS. We are intentional to provide ample opportunities and tools to facilitate connection. 
  • Maria Eugenia Cirillo, DPSS’20, shares “DPSS was an amazing virtual experience. I was able to get to know my peers, especially the study groups and become friends with some of them. I continue chatting with most of them after the program ended."

Learn more about how you can build your network in a virtual environment through our credential programs.