Strong, diverse incoming class bolstered by superior career outcomes for Harris graduates.

The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy today officially welcomes the Class of 2024 to the Keller Center, Harris’s award-winning home, for the start of the new academic year.

The new class, more than 500 strong, has the school abuzz with energy, excitement, and their collective commitment to make a difference in the world of policy. They arrive eager to immerse themselves in Harris’s core curriculum, and to dissect and tackle challenges such as climate change, democratic backsliding, and a range of economic, health, and other disparities that create undue burdens for vulnerable populations.   

The incoming Class of 2024 is the school’s most diverse ever, with students from 40 countries and fully one quarter of the class (26.5%) comprised of underrepresented minority students, an increase over last year.

“I am thrilled to officially welcome such a diverse and talented group of aspiring leaders to the Harris community,” said Katherine Baicker, dean and Emmett Dedmon Professor at Harris. “They will enrich our collective experience and will develop the analytical, leadership, communications, and other skills essential for policy influence as they chart their course at Harris and in their careers.”

In her annual welcome message to the Harris community, Baicker noted fresh developments that augur an exciting year ahead, including: the launch of the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center for Research on Wealth Inequality and Mobility, led by Harris faculty members Steven Durlauf and Damon Jones; a new cohort of University of Chicago Obama Foundation Scholars; and the introduction of the new Susan E. Mayer Award for Excellence in Field Research. These represent just a few of the many opportunities that students will have as they pursue their studies this academic year.

“This new cohort joins us after a busy summer at Harris and expectations of a return to a revitalized ‘new normal’ with a full year of in-person gatherings, Harris traditions, and distinctive, thought-provoking programming,” said Kate Shannon Biddle, dean of students. “They are poised to make their mark at Harris, improve lives, and bring about social change.”

Fresh off of Welcome Week, the students now have a stronger sense of the curriculum, the abundant and varied student life opportunities, and the opportunities afforded by a campus situated on the South Side of Chicago. The experience fosters a sense of community, collective sense of mission, and excitement amongst the school’s increasingly diverse student body and community. 

The 2022-2023 academic year is the final year of Harris’ three-year Diversity & Inclusion Roadmap, part of commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive school across every facet of its mission. Throughout the academic year, the school will be analyzing the progress of the previous three years while systematically planning for a successor Roadmap to continue to drive positive change.

“Welcome Week was equally parts challenging and inspiring, which is the combination of what I’m expecting from my two years here,” said Diana Martinez Ramirez, MPP ’24, who comes to Harris after working at the World Bank in Mexico. “The Harris approach to policy education is highly stimulating, and I am looking forward to both contributing and soaking up as much as I can from this unique and amazing environment.”

Professor Konstantin Sonin delivers the 2022 Aims of Public Policy Address.

Some of the excitement from the start of the year kicked in when Professor Konstantin Sonin delivered the annual Aims of Public Policy Address to the new class, an annual tradition that provides students a broad perspective on their studies and the realities of the policy arena. A leading economist who is native Russian and a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the invasion of Ukraine, Sonin discussed “when policy fails,” and expounded on how his own research and efforts to influence policy have not always had the desired impact, especially in his native country. 

Later in the week, Assistant Professor Yana Gallen, who studies and teaches about the gender gap, led the Common Read Lecture, moderating a discussion with other faculty and leaders from Women in Public Policy (WiPP), one of Harris’s oldest and most active student organizations.

Assistant Professor Yana Gallen at the Common Read discussion during Welcome Week.

This year’s Common Read selection is Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez, a landmark, international bestselling examination of how a gender gap in data perpetuates bias and disadvantages women. The Common Read reflects Harris’s shared belief that it is essential for future policymakers to gain an understanding of the lived experiences of people who have been marginalized.

In Welcome Week’s closing keynote, Brea Baker, chief equity officer at Inspire Justice, challenged students to consider how they can make an impact on complex global and social issues and craft a vision for the future of policy leadership and social change.

“Harris’s Class of 2024 is an impressive bunch, full of passion and compassion, as well as the talents to bring about enduring change,” said Ranjan Daniels, senior associate dean for student recruitment and global outreach at Harris. “With each new year, the school’s critical mass grows stronger, creating fresh avenues for students to tackle the policy questions that brought them here, and to build a better future for themselves and accelerate change for others.”

Harris’s incoming class is well positioned for future policy impact and career success. The sixth annual Career Outcomes Report, issued on April 13, revealed that a full 97% of graduates had job offers six months after graduation, despite the stark variances in the job market and employment landscape. And the vast majority – 91% of the class –had secured a job offer within three months of graduation.  Graduates found jobs across sectors, with those seeking policy-related work prioritizing data analysis, research, and consulting/advisory services.

The incoming class of Harris students are beginning both full- and part-time degree programs, including Harris’s flagship degree program, the Master of Public Policy (MPP), as well as the Master of Arts in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods (MACRM), the MS in Computational Analysis & Public Policy (MSCAPP) program, and the PhD program.

Harris, the second-largest professional degree program at the University of Chicago, serves as the academic home for the University’s Civic Leadership Academy (part of the Center for Effective Government at Harris), the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts, 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. Among the 53 Harris faculty members are experts who study child and family policy, development economics, energy policy, urban policy, political science, poverty and economic inequality, and more.

Interested in joining Harris?

The application for Harris programs beginning in the fall of 2023 is now open. Prospective students can learn more about degree and non-degree programs, including information on upcoming deadlines, by visiting