Obama Scholars - experience

Who is eligible to apply?

The Master of Arts in International Development and Policy and the Obama Foundation Scholars Program are designed for individuals with a history of and future commitment to living in and making significant contributions to communities, countries, or regions outside of the United States.

Obama Scholars - Requirements

What are the requirements for the MAIDP and the Obama Foundation Scholars Program?

The Master of Arts in International Development and Policy and the Obama Foundation Scholars Program are for rising leaders from around the world who are focused on an issue of global importance, have a track record and commitment to advancing the public good, and want to accelerate their impact.

We seek a diverse group of individuals representing a cross-section of backgrounds, including those working in government, the private sector, and NGOs, and civil society organizations.

Specific requirements are available on the How to Apply page.

Obama Scholars - Can I be granted a wavier for the TOEFL or IELTS?

Am I required to take the TOEFL or IELTS? Can I be granted a waiver?

The Office of Admissions is not authorized to grant waivers for the TOEFL or IELTS. If your academic background meets University requirements, the online application system will automatically waive the TOEFL/IELTS requirement for you.

You might be prompted to upload a video if the information you entered (TOEFL/IELTS/College Attended) does not meet language proficiency requirements. The application provides a limited number of times to successfully upload the video, so we encourage students to practice beforehand.

For full information on TOEFL and IELTS requirements and circumstances under which the language proficiency requirement can be met without the exams, please visit the 
Office of International Affairs (OIA) website. Outside of the TOEFL and IELTS areas of the OIA website, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the information for F-1 and J-1 students.

Please note we can accept unofficial transcripts or self-reported GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS scores as part of the application process. Upon admission, students must submit official transcripts and scores.

MAIDP out-of-classroom programming

What kind of out-of-classroom programming can I expect from Harris as an MAIDP student?

As a student in the MAIDP program, you have access to exclusive out-of-classroom experiences, including specialized seminars and workshops, mentorship, professional development, opportunities to attend exclusive conferences, access to experts, and opportunities to scale your development initiatives. Harris also offers additional resources for career development and partners with student organizations to augment access and development of your individual areas of concentration and community service.

Obama Foundation Scholars have access to additional programming through the Obama Foundation, including intensive professional development instruction, leadership coaching, access to strategists and speakers, opportunities to attend conferences, and in-person convenings in Chicago, New York, and Washington, and more.

What is the MAIDP

What are the details of the MAIDP program?

The Master of Arts in International Development and Policy (MAIDP) is a one-year degree program that provides a solid foundation in policy design and analysis, with particular emphasis on international development and policy.

Tailored to the needs of rising international leaders, it draws on the expertise of faculty from Harris and UChicago in international development, economics, global conflict, and analytical methods. It applies the evidence-based analytical approaches for which Harris is known to the world’s most pressing problems, combining cutting-edge tools with on-the-ground practical policy innovation.

The nine courses in the Harris MAIDP curriculum cover three categories: foundational skills for policy analysis, international development and policy, and electives. Students have options to study topics related to their interests across a wide range of electives and Policy Labs at Harris and across campus.

Obama Scholars - Class Size

How many Obama Foundation Scholars will there be?

There will be 20 Obama Foundation Scholarships available in Fall 2019.

We will also be providing funding in the form of merit-based scholarships for an additional 25 students in the MAIDP program.

MAIDP comparison to Joint Degrees

How does the MAIDP compare to the joint degree in Public Policy and International Relations or the joint degree in Public Policy and Middle Eastern Studies?

The Master of Arts in International Development and Policy is a one-year Master of Arts degree that is tailored for the needs and goals of promising international leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to making a difference in their community and want to accelerate their impact in the world.

Drawing on the core strengths of a Harris education, the MAIDP provides a solid foundation in policy design and analysis, with particular emphasis on international development and policy, combined with the opportunity to study topics based on your background and interests. In addition, if you are accepted as an Obama Foundation Scholar, you will receive a full scholarship and participate in one-of-a-kind programming outside the classroom with the Obama Foundation.

In contrast, the joint degree in Public Policy and International Relations is for those students looking to specialize in international relations and policy in order to go on to careers in government or an international policy organization. The two-year program combines training in public policy analytical tools with a substantive emphasis on international affairs. It culminates in two Master of Arts degrees—one in public policy and one in international relations.

The joint degree in Public Policy and Middle Eastern Studies addresses the needs of students wishing to acquire a background focused on modern Middle Eastern languages, history, and civilization while developing their abilities in policy analysis in preparation for professional careers in scholarly, educational, governmental, non-governmental, and business environments in the United States and abroad. Students graduate with both a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from Harris and a Master of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago.

Admitted Scholars - Denials

I was previously denied for the Obama Foundation Scholars Program. What are my options? Can I reapply?

Yes, you are welcome to apply for admission as part of the next round of Obama Foundation Scholars or for one of our other programs or degrees. Unfortunately, due to the large number of applicants, we cannot provide feedback on your prior application.