Harris on track to continue year-over-year trend of application and enrollment increases 

Following a record-setting year of application growth, the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy reported today a 168 percent increase in applications for admission to its graduate degree programs during its Early Action round, which closed November 27, 2017.  This growth reflects a surge in talented applicants who are committed to social impact, and to Harris Public Policy’s mission to prepare the next generation of data-driven leaders to take on tomorrow’s policy challenges in whatever field they pursue.  

“The outpouring of interest in Early Action shows how the groundbreaking work of our faculty in health care, conflict resolution, climate change, and criminal justice is resonating with young people from around the world who desire to make a social impact in their fields,” said Ranjan Daniels, associate dean of Student Recruitment and Global Outreach at Harris.

Last year, Harris broke records with a 42 percent increase in applications across its six graduate degree programs at the master’s and PhD level. Harris now represents the second-largest master’s program at the University of Chicago – second only to the Chicago Booth School of Business in terms of enrolled students. 

The 2017 class of 305 students – the largest in the school’s history – represented a wide range of socially-conscious ambitions, including securing the Arctic sea lanes, ensuring urban planning occurs with community input, and championing equity, and social justice policies domestically and abroad. 

The growth of Harris also goes hand-in-hand with its commitment to diversity as the percentage of under-represented minority students at the school grew dramatically last year.  The 2017 incoming class also represented a strong international reach across 22 countries, with the majority from the US, China, India, Mexico, and Japan.

Jennifer Erickson, director of student recruitment at Harris, said, “Our applicants come from around the globe and have diverse academic backgrounds with varying levels of work experience, but they possess a shared passion and enthusiasm for public policy. Those who are accepted to Harris join a group of influencers and change-makers in the policy sphere, and we can’t wait to grow our community.”

Harris’ unprecedented application numbers are a testament to its success in preparing visionary leaders who create change and an ongoing momentum that includes:

  • the hiring of Harris dean Katherine Baicker, a leading scholar in the economic analysis of health care policy;
  • the engagement of distinguished fellows in the fields of education, politics, and government, such as David Axelrod, Arne Duncan, former mayors Richard Daley and Michael Nutter, and former U.S. treasury secretary Henry Paulson;
  • the ground-breaking on a new, state-of-the-art building, the Keller Center, to open in the 2018-19 academic year; and,
  • the recently launched part-time Evening Master’s Program at 1871, designed for mid-career working professionals interested in gaining analytical training in a policy perspective.

“This is such an exciting time for Harris,” said dean Katherine Baicker. “As we prepare for another record-setting year of application growth, we are making a strong statement about our leadership in policy and the importance of the analytical toolkit for which Harris is so well-known. I look forward to the energy that our next class of talented students will bring to our community of exceptional scholars who are tackling some of the world’s most pressing policy questions.”

The next application deadline for Harris is Round One on January 23, followed by Round Two on March 20.

Daniels added, “We’re looking forward to releasing our Early Action decisions later this month. As I read the applications, I’m inspired by people’s stories, depth of talent, and passion for championing innovation and social justice.”

For the latest news and events, visit Harris Public Policy’s Admissions site or follow us on our blog and on social media @HarrisPolicy.


For more than 25 years, the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy has been driven by the belief that evidence-based research, not ideology or intuition, is the best guide for public policy.  Guided by this exacting perspective, our exceptional community of scholars, students, and more than 3,000 alumni take on the world’s most complex challenges using the latest tools of social science.  As one of the largest graduate professional schools at the University of Chicago, Harris Public Policy offers a full range of degree and executive education programs to empower a new generation of data-driven leaders to create a positive social impact throughout our global society. This is Harris Public Policy: Social Impact, Down to a Science.