Ready to change the world?

We’re looking for people from around the world who are already making a difference – in civil society, in government, in the private sector, or as entrepreneurs. We want people who are ready to take the next step forward in expanding their horizons and advancing their work, and who have a commitment to giving back to their community.

Qualifications

We’re seeking emerging leaders from around the world who meet the following criteria:

  • Significant work experience (typically 3-5 years or more) and professional accomplishments with a clear trajectory of increasing impact.

  • Demonstrated record of community service or working for the public good, either through a full-time professional role or significant engagement outside of primary employment.

  • Possess a clear focus on a global challenge or policy issue.

  • A clear commitment to return to and reinvest your new skills in your community after the program concludes.

If that sounds like you, then you have the opportunity to participate in the Obama Foundation Scholars Program. You'll earn a Master of Arts in International Development and Policy (MAIDP) at Harris Public Policy, and you may be eligible to receive external funding. In the past, this funding has included full tuition, living expenses, and textbooks, as well as access to programming offered by the Obama Foundation.

Application Process

The Obama Foundation Scholars Program is not currently accepting applications. Students interested in this program may begin a Harris application and will be notified as funding becomes available.

Deadlines

Program deadlines are listed here.

Requirements

All applicants must complete the online application and include the following, which are required to apply for the Harris MAIDP and participation in the Obama Foundation Scholars Program:

  • Transcripts

    • You may submit unofficial transcripts through the electronic application process; however, official transcripts will be required upon admission for enrolling students. Please submit transcripts for all prior academic work from any institution of higher education.

  • Test Scores

    • The GRE is not required, but you have the option of submitting a GRE or other test scores (e.g., GMAT or LSAT) as supplemental material.

    • Scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are required for international students.

      • The Harris institution codes for the TOEFL are 1849 or 1832. (Both codes will be accepted.)

      • You should make your reservations to take the TOEFL or IELTS directly.

  • Work Experience

    • Please include current and prior positions, preferably demonstrating 3–5 years or more of work experience, the nature of your job, and responsibilities. You may upload a current resume reflecting this information along with your education, community service, professional honors, and any other relevant information.

  • 3 ­ Letters of Recommendation

    • We prefer to have at least one reference from a previous professor who can speak to your academic background and preparedness for graduate studies.

    • Those making a recommendation should submit letters through the electronic application—hard copy letters will be accepted but are not preferred. (Your references will receive an email requesting a recommendation.)

  • Motivation Statement

    • Prepare a brief and well-articulated response to a prompted question regarding your motivation to pursue graduate studies in public policy (300 words).

  • Short Essays

    • You will be required to answer one brief essay question of your choice (300 words maximum). We encourage applicants to also submit the optional second essay. There is no right, or even preferred, approach to answering the essays. Each essay is an opportunity for you to showcase your writing, analytic, and critical thinking skills.
  • Optional Essays (For those seeking external funding)

    • Tell us about your current work (which may be your paid employment or your significant volunteer activity). In answering, please describe the concrete impact – however you define impact – your current work is having. Why have you chosen this work? What are the challenges you have faced in this work and how have you sought to overcome them? (400 words or fewer)

    • What impact do you want to have on the world? How would the Master of Arts in International Development and Policy degree help you achieve this? What do you plan to do after the program? (300 words or fewer)