The new class is the most international, most diverse in school's history.

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, amplifying the school’s ability to make a measurable social impact and confront the world’s most important policy challenges.   

600 incoming students are in Harris Public Policy full-time and part-time degree programs, boosting the total number of students enrolled at the school during this academic year to more than one thousand. 

Incoming students participated in Harris Service Day and then kicked off Welcome Week activities with the Aims of Public Policy address on September 23. This class will be the first to spend the entirety of its Harris tenure at the Keller Center, the school’s state-of-the-art new home, which is set to achieve LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge Petal certification for sustainability leadership. In this new facility, more than double the size of Harris’ previous building, students will benefit from expanded opportunities to collaborate and make an evidence-driven impact on policy. 

Katherine Baicker, dean of the Harris School of Public Policy

“This cohort represents an impressive group of rising leaders who will enrich our classroom discussions, academic culture, and intellectual environment,” said Katherine Baicker, dean and Emmett Dedmon Professor at Harris. “Their breadth and diversity of talent combined with the Harris School's innovative programming and advanced analytical tools will be a powerful force for policy change here in Chicago and around the world.”

Harris’ growing international community is the result of an unwavering commitment to global engagement and features incoming students from more than 40 different countries, including China, Colombia, India, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. Altogether, the incoming students speak 45 different languages.  Against a nationwide trend in declining international enrollment, Harris continues to attract a rising leaders from across the globe with international applications rising for the second year in a row.   

The incoming class is majority female, and almost a quarter of incoming domestic students are from minority groups that have been historically underrepresented. With diverse life experiences, including educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, the students will bring new and different perspectives to the Harris community, enlivening debate and broadening the discussion on important matters of public policy. Domestic incoming students represent 32 U.S. states, from every region of the country. 

Jeremy Edwards

“Harris is a special community with each student bringing a different individual perspective and background that helps them—and our faculty and staff—learn from one another and grow,” said Jeremy Edwards, senior associate dean of academic and student affairs. “It’s been thrilling to see this incoming class begin to get to know and embrace each other, discover all the campus and the city have to offer, and put their own unique stamp on the Harris community.”  

The incoming class is pursuing various graduate degrees, including the master’s in public policy (MPP) degree, the master’s in computational analysis and public policy (MSCAPP), the master’s in international development and policy (MAIDP), as well as Ph.D.

This year is the second year of the MAIDP program, a one-year degree program that provides an introduction to policy design and analysis with particular emphasis on international development and policy. It applies evidence-based analytical approaches and practical policy innovation to address issues affecting nations and communities around the globe. Among those seeking an MAIDP degree are the new, second cohort of the Obama Foundation Scholars program.

Ranjan Daniels

“There’s a consistent thread I hear from students as I travel both here in the U.S. and internationally. Each one is seeking out what Harris has to offer because they see the need for clear-eyed policymakers who are passionate about finding solutions to intractable problems from economic inequality to climate change to social justice,” said Ranjan Daniels, senior associate dean of student recruitment and global outreach. “The analytical toolkit they acquire at Harris will prepare them to solve problems regardless of whether they choose to work at a nonprofit, consulting firm, or a government agency.” 

In addition to full-time students, Harris is welcoming more than 40 students into the Harris Public Policy Evening Master’s Program at 1871, now in its third academic year. The program is designed to help mid-career professionals lead their organizations through complex policy challenges and drive social impact in the Chicagoland area. One-third of these students come from minority groups that have been historically underrepresented, as well as a wide array of professional and academic backgrounds. Due to high demand for this part-time program, Harris has begun offering a spring quarter start this academic year, with an approaching application deadline in December.

Harris is the second largest professional degree program at the University of Chicago, and has taken a formal role in shaping the curriculum for undergraduate public policy students. Harris also serves as the academic home for the University’s Civic Leadership Academy and the University of Chicago’s five urban labs, making the school a hub for the next generation of leaders eager to make a direct impact on policy.  

Applications for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle are now open, and prospective students can learn more about all of these programs, including information on upcoming deadlines, by visiting