September 21 - 25, 2020

Welcome Week is the culminating Day One experience. The program takes place September 21 - 25, 2020 and is designed to integrate you into a thriving community of aspiring policy leaders.

The week consists of multiple programs intended to help you build community and offer professional development opportunities for incoming students. You’ll also have on boarding meetings with your academic advisor and a career coach during Welcome Week to ensure you start off on the right foot academically and in your career development.

Prepare to be Inspired

You'll have the opportunity to start building your network of aspiring policy leaders and hear from prominent and influential policy leaders.

The Day One Address will welcome you to campus and features a Harris faculty member speaking about the impact of public policy, while encouraging you to reflect on the purpose of your education.  Previous speakers have included honored Harris faculty members Ryan Kellogg, Ph.D., professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and Deputy Dean for Academic Programs, Christopher R. Berry, the William J. and Alicia Townsend Friedman Professor at Harris and author of Imperfect Union: Representation and Taxation in Multilevel Governments, William Howell, PhD., author of Relic: How Our Constitution Undermines Effective Government—and Why We Need a More Powerful Presidency, and James Robinson, PhD., author of Why Nations Fail.

The Common Read and Common Read Luncheon will inspire you to think critically about the crossroads of diversity, inclusion, and social justice. It's a shared experience that will bring you closer as community of policy leaders. Last year's Common Read was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. In this timely and intelligently written memoir, attorney Bryan Stevenson highlights the injustice in the criminal justice system for those individuals seen at the margins of society who are voiceless, low-income, and often people of color. The 2020 Common Read will be announced in spring 2020

The Day One Keynote will challenge you to contemplate your role in complex global and social issues and craft a vision for the future of policy leadership and social change. Last year's Keynote speaker was Samuel Sinyangwe, a data scientist focused on ending racism and police violence in America. Samuel co-founded Mapping Police Violence and the Police Scorecard to support activists across the country to collect and use data to fight police violence and co-founded Campaign Zero to advocate for local, state, and federal policy solutions to end police violence.  Previous keynote speakers have included David Axlerod, former Chief Strategist for former President Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, and Valerie Jarrett, the longest serving senior advisor to President Barack Obama, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, born of an immigrant family and public servant for the 8th District of Illinois.

The week concludes with the annual Academic Year Kick-off on board the Mystic Blue, where you can view the luminous Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan, get to know your peers, and let loose before the Autumn Quarter begins - be sure to bring your dancing shoes!


Welcome Week will take place September 21 – 25, 2020. Schedule will be finalized in summer 2020.

All incoming Harris master's students with the exception of those in the MACRM and MAIDP programs will take the mandatory math exams on the first day of Welcome Week.



Harris Welcomes Class of 2021

Just over one week ago, The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy officially welcomed its largest, most diverse, and most international class of graduate students to its growing community of scholars.