The 577 incoming students are enrolled in Harris full-time or part-time degree programs.
Irving Harris
Katherine Baicker, dean and Emmett Dedmon Professor at Harris

Thirty years after being named in honor of Irving B. Harris, a man who dedicated his life to social justice and helping the most vulnerable among us, the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy has officially welcomed the Class of 2022, its newest class of committed, passionate future policy leaders.

The students, who are participating both at our Hyde Park campus and remotely from near and far, will gain analytical tools and real-world experiences that will equip them to make an impact on policy challenges like climate change, poverty and inequality, threats to democracy, and many others that face societies across the globe. 

“The intertwined global public health and economic crises we now face, along with a burgeoning modern day civil rights movement, make Harris’ distinctive, data-driven approach to policy even more crucial,” said Katherine Baicker, dean and Emmett Dedmon Professor at Harris. “As this remarkably talented and determined generation of leaders joins the Harris community, they will find the training and opportunities that they need to make their mark on vital policy issues.”

The 577 incoming graduate students join Harris Public Policy’s diverse community of scholars at a unique time, beginning the academic year in a hybrid model featuring primarily virtual classes, along with some in-person offerings. The model was carefully designed to protect the health and safety of the Harris community, while maintaining its vibrant, intellectually distinctive character and offering the rigor, experiences, and traditions that have come to define the Harris student experience.

“As the year gets underway, incoming students are finding enriching opportunities to engage across the Harris community, with each other, with real-world practitioners and alumni, and with the school’s world-class faculty and dedicated staff,” explained Kate Shannon Biddle, dean of students at Harris. “In my interactions with students, it’s very clear that the strength and vitality of the Harris community endures, and that the Class of 2022 is especially determined to make an impact.”

Harris at a glance 2020 brochure


The 577 incoming students are enrolled in Harris full-time or part-time degree programs, including the Evening Master’s Program, pursuing degrees such as the master’s in public policy (MPP), the master’s in computational analysis and public policy (MSCAPP), the master’s in public policy with certificate in research methods (MACRM), and the Ph.D. The incoming class brings the total number of current Harris students to 1,147.   

The new cohort is 49.5 percent international, with students representing 39 countries and speaking 38 languages. The domestic population of incoming students hail from 36 US states, and 22 percent are domestic underrepresented minorities. Fourteen percent of all incoming students already hold an advanced degree.


Some among the incoming class participated in Harris’ growing Data and Policy Summer Scholar program (DPSS), a 7-week learning experience that can act as a preparatory course before pursuing a graduate degree in policy or help participants to pivot or advance in their careers. Others matriculated directly from University of Chicago undergraduate programs and were able to take advantage of the Susanne H. Rudolph Scholarship, which helps to cover tuition at select UChicago master’s or professional programs.

The Class of 2022’s official Harris journey began with Orientation programming, conducted virtually and consistent with Harris and University health protocols. The students heard a powerful call-to-action from Jahmal Cole (CLA’20), the founder and CEO of My Block My Hood My City, who exhorted them to consider his personal philosophy as they start their policy studies: “What’s something simple I can do that will have a positive impact on my block?”

Jahmal Cole (CLA'20)

Later in the week, Professor Scott Ashworth delivered the Aims of Public Policy Address, an annual tradition. His goal was to help the incoming class create “the right appreciation for the technical tools … we teach in the Core curriculum” at Harris, and included an explanation of how trade-offs are central to effective policy, whether the issue is war, public health, or the environment.

Ashworth is among the more than 50 full-time Harris faculty, which includes three Nobel laureates, and whose recent research projects run the gamut on the most important issues of the day. Faculty members have been researching, for instance, how to safely reopen the global economy, the effects of 2020’s expanded unemployment benefits, more effective approaches to criminal justice reform, and the impact of the racial wealth gap on Black and Hispanic households.

“In my role, I’ve gotten to know so many among the talented incoming class, and I am astounded by their breadth and depth of experience and interests, and their commitment to making an impact on the issues they care about in countries and communities all across the globe,” said Ranjan Daniels, senior associate dean of student recruitment and global outreach. “Harris will prepare them, regardless of career stage, with an invaluable set of skills that will serve them well as they pursue the next stage of their journey, whether that’s in a public, private, or non-profit endeavor.”

Versatility remains a hallmark of a Harris degree. According to the 2020 Career Outcomes report, which surveyed 2019 graduates’ success at finding employment, 96 percent of recent graduates received job offers, 94 percent accepted offers, and 90 percent accepted offers within three months of graduating from Harris. Forty-two percent accepted positions in the private sector, 30 percent accepted public sector roles, and 28 percent went into the nonprofit space. Meanwhile, a recent survey of Harris alumni showed that graduates are able to leverage the skills they gain from their Harris degree to find jobs in a wide variety of industries, as well as to shift and pivot between sectors throughout their careers.

Harris is the second largest professional degree program at the University of Chicago, and has 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 (now part of the Center for Effective Government at Harris) 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. 

Want to learn more?

Applications for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle are now open, and prospective students can learn more about degree and non-degree programs, including information on upcoming deadlines, by visiting