The policies on this page are specific to Harris Public Policy. All Harris students are also subject to the policies and regulations of the University, as outlined in the University of Chicago Student Manual.

On this page:


Harris Academic Policies and Standards

Academic Honesty and Plagiarism

The University of Chicago and the Harris Public Policy take great pride in upholding the highest academic standards. All students are expected to abide by the following academic expectations:

  • All work submitted by a student must be the student's own original work.
  • Students may not submit previously submitted work from one course (final paper, etc) to fulfill the academic obligations in another course, unless the student has received permission to do so by the course instructor.
  • Any works that are cited by the student as part of a greater work must utilize proper text and summary citations to properly identify the proper source(s).
  • In the case of group work, students must be prepared to identify their individual contribution (including proper citations of original work cited) when requested by the course instructor.
  • Students must not gain unfair advantage on any test, exam, project, or other assessment. Course instructors have the authority to set rules for their any exams, assignments, or other assessments for their courses related to what materials or behaviors are and are not allowed. Students who violate these rules have committed academic dishonesty.

Students are also subject to the University Academic Honesty Policy.

Harris Integrity Policy for Problem Sets Involving Code

Note: This policy is meant as a guideline. Individual instructors may make modifications to this policy in the context of their own class. Please see the course syllabus for rules relating to a particular course.

1. Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated.

If you commit plagiarism, you may receive an F and be referred to the Dean of Students for disciplinary action.

2. All work must be your own.

Do NOT:

  • show other students your code
  • ask for another student's code
  • use online solutions to textbook questions
  • copy large portions of code from online repositories (e.g. replication code)

3. Identify that the work is your own

Every submission begins with "this submission is my work alone and complies with the 30531 integrity policy. Add your initials to indicate your agreement: **___**"

So how can I collaborate?

  • In-person collaboration
    • I. clarify ambiguities in problem set questions
    • II. discuss conceptual aspects of problem sets (e.g. at the whiteboard)
    • III. show output on screen (e.g. a graph or table)
    • IV. show helpful documentation files
  • Electronic collaboration
    • Piazza message board
      • Ask questions
      • Share error messages (but not code)
    • Code from an online forum or resource (other than documentation files)
      • Cite all code you use, even a one-line snippet

How do these rules change for problem sets working in groups?

  • You and your group members will submit a single problem set
  • If you work collaboratively with other students, but turn in your own problem set
    • You can talk to your group members as needed and look at other members' work to facilitate that discussion
    • Your problem set should be solely your authorship (written up by yourself, in your own language, including your own code.)
    • Your code should have a comment at the top listing the members of your group.
    • Any part of your code that was substantially altered because of your group discussion should cite others' contributions with names and descriptions in a comment at the place where it is applicable.

Unsure about some aspect of this policy? Please ask your instructor.

Source: This policy draws heavily on the CS 12100 academic honesty policy

Harris Procedures for Allegations of Plagiarism, Cheating, and Academic Dishonesty

First Violation

If a student is accused by an instructor or teaching assistant of plagiarism, cheating, or any other form of academic dishonesty, the student will be summoned to meet with the Dean of Students and the instructor. In the meeting, the student and instructor both present information about the situation. If it is determined by the instructor and the Dean of Students that the student has, in fact, plagiarized or cheated, the following sanctions will be imposed for the first violation:

  • The student will generally receive a grade of 0 on the assignment or exam in question. Please note that grading decisions are fully at the discretion of the instructor, who may decide to impose harsher grade penalties.
  • The student may be asked to re-do the assignment or retake the exam (without credit) to ensure that the student has learned how to properly cite sources or demonstrate that the student has command of material covered.
  • A formal letter of finding is sent to the student stating that the student has been found in violation of the code of academic honesty and what the sanctions were. The letter, along with any evidence presented, is archived in Harris Student Affairs records until the student graduates if the student has no other violations.
  • Students found in violation of the academic honesty policy are not permitted to withdraw from the course to avoid grade penalties from the instructor.
  • In cases where plagiarism or academic dishonesty is egregious, the case may be referred to the Area Disciplinary Committee even on a first offense. The Dean makes all decisions about which cases will go before the Area Disciplinary Committee.

Second Violation

If a student who has already been found in violation academic dishonesty is again accused of academic dishonesty, the case will be sent to the Harris Area Disciplinary Committee. Details about the Area Disciplinary Committee procedures can be found in the University Student Manual. Information about the first violation, including the formal letter of finding any evidence, will be presented to the Area Disciplinary Committee, along with evidence of the current allegation. If the student is found in violation of academic honesty a second time, the Area Disciplinary Committee can assign sanctions including transcript notes, disciplinary probation, suspension or expulsion from the University.

Academic Dishonesty Appeals

If a student has been found in violation of academic honesty and does not believe that either the finding or the sanction is fair or correct, the student has the right to appeal the finding by requesting a hearing from the Area Disciplinary Committee. Learn more about the Area Disciplinary Committee.

Academic Progress and Academic Probation

Harris students are expected to stay in good academic standing and to make progress toward the degree. Good academic standing is defined as a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or above and completion of at least 66 percent of the courses for which the student registered. A student who fails to meet these requirements will be placed on academic probation. Students on academic probation have two quarters to return to good academic standing.

Academic probation is an informal sanction without a notation on the transcript. A student on academic probation must meet with their academic advisor to create a plan to return to good academic standing.

If a student fails to return to good academic standing by the end of the two-quarter period they may be removed from the University.

Students receiving federal student loans should also be aware of the impact of their academic performance on loan eligibility. For Harris students, the loan eligibility GPA threshold is 2.7. Students should also be aware of Harris scholarship eligibility, which is noted in the terms and conditions of your scholarship award letter.

Courses: Course Waivers and Substitutions

A student who has already taken course work equivalent to a required core course and wishes to waive the required core course, may take the core course waiver exam prior to Autumn and Winter Quarters. It is important to note that students may only waive the advanced version of the course. Students who have covered the material in the standard version of the course should take the advanced core placement exam to be approved to enroll in the advanced version.

Students who are approved to waive a required core course based on the results of the waiver exam may take an elective course of their choosing during that quarter.

Courses: Course Waivers for MA Students

Students in the one-year Master of Arts (MA) program are required to take any 5 of the 6 Core courses, meaning that they can opt out of any 1 Core course if they choose without having to submit a waiver request or demonstrate that they have mastered the concepts in that course through prior coursework. MA students may not use this automatic waiver to waive out of the first course in any the sequence, since the second courses in the Microeconomics, Statistics, and Analytical Politics Core sequences are strongly dependent on material covered in the first course.  MA students can only use their automatic opt out in the Winter quarter.

MA students, like other students, can take the core course waiver exam to waive any core course if they have previously covered that material in other degree programs. If the waiver for the first course in the sequence is approved based on the results of the exam, the student can opt to either go on to take the second course in the sequence OR use their one free waiver to opt out of the second course in the sequence.

Courses: Dropping or Withdrawing from a Course

Courses dropped before the quarter’s add/drop deadline will not appear on a student's transcript and no tuition will be charged for the course. See the Harris academic calendar. for the add/drop deadline.

Occasionally, a student may need to drop a course after the add/drop deadline, either because of a health or personal emergency or because the student is struggling in the course and is unlikely to be able to pass. If you need to drop a course for any reason after the add/drop deadline, you must consult your academic advisor. The percentage of tuition you are charged for a dropped course depends upon when in the quarter the course was dropped. See the University tuition refund schedule. In the case of an illness or other serious emergency, the student's advisor can assist with backdating the drop so that the student will not be charged tuition.

Courses: Not Counting Courses toward Degree

In cases where a student takes more courses than are required to complete the degree, the student may wish not to count some of the extra courses toward degree requirements, either because the student may want to count the courses toward another degree program at the University of Chicago or because the student do not wish to have the grade for the course(s) count into their GPA. Harris courses, courses taken as substitutes for core courses, and any course in which a student earned an “F” must be counted toward the degree and into a student’s GPA. Requests to not count a course toward the degree should be submitted in writing to the student’s assigned academic advisor.

Courses: Pass/Fail Grade Policy

To take a Harris course Pass/Fail, you’ll need to submit a request online before the beginning of the 6th week of the quarter. (See the webform for current quarter time-specific deadline.) Faculty will be notified of the request and may contact students regarding their request. The webform provides additional details on Pass/Fail policies and procedures.

The pass/fail option is intended to allow students to stretch themselves to take a course that they find really challenging. The pass/fail option doesn't mean that you'll need to do less work for the class, but it can relieve some of the pressure of worrying about what grade you'll get.

Each degree program has a maximum number of pass/fail options you can take each term. Please see your degree requirements. In general, the limit for most two-year programs is two pass/fail courses. Students in the Evening Master's Program cannot take their courses Pass/Fail, with the exception of Current Topics.

Taking a Non-Harris Class Pass/Fail

Note that other divisions have different pass/fail deadlines and procedures. If you’re taking a course outside of Harris, check in with your instructor early in the quarter. Here are a few procedures we’re aware of (but things change, so still talk to your instructor):

  • Chicago Booth: Deadline is Friday of week four. Some Booth faculty members do not allow Pass/Fail grading; check the Booth course description (or the syllabus for Business Econ courses). No exceptions are granted. To request Pass/Fail grading, students must complete the online pass/fail request form by Friday, Week 4. After this deadline, no changes to the Pass/Fail grading request may be made. Email boothregistrar@lists.chicagobooth.edu with questions.
  • Law School: Request Pass/Fail when submitting registration petition, or email James Courtney (jcourtney@uchicago.edu) before the end of week five.
  • Social Sciences Division: Pass/Fail requests must be directed to the instructor prior to the final exam or deadline for the final project/paper. Try to get email confirmation, just in case there are grade entry errors after the quarter ends.

Taking Cross-Listed Courses Pass/Fail

If you are taking a course that is offered by another college or division within UChicago but is cross-listed with Harris, you should follow the policy of the parent department. Inquire with your academic advisor if you are unsure.

Courses: Reading/Research and Internship Courses

Students are able to get course credit for non-traditional courses by taking a Harris Reading/Research course (PPHA 52000), an Internship course (PPHA 50000), or, less commonly, an independent study course from another division at the University of Chicago. There is a limit to how many of these non-traditional courses can be counted toward the degree. See the degree requirements for your program. Details about each appear below.

PPHA 52000 Reading/Research Courses

Reading/research courses allow students to pursue individual research or learn about a topic not covered by regular course work. Students interested in pursuing a reading/research course should ask a full-time Harris faculty member to be the instructor for the course. Instructors are under no obligation to accept a student’s request to take a reading/research course with them. Often instructors choose to lead a reading/research course because the topic of the student’s research aligns with their own research interests.

Requirements of the reading/research course include an initial meeting with the instructor to discuss the paper topic; regular contact with the instructor throughout the quarter; and an agreed-upon deadline for paper submission. Reading/Research courses must be taken for a grade and cannot be taken Pass/Fail.

Students interested in enrolling in a reading/research course must do the following:

  • With the faculty member, complete the Internship and Reading/Research Form, indicating the topic to be covered and the expectations for successfully completing the course requirements.
  • Return the signed form to your academic advisor, who will register you for the course.

PPHA 50000 Internship

Taking an internship for credit is a lot like taking a reading/research course (see above). When a student takes an internship credit, a faculty member structures the course work around the topic of the internship. The instructor for the internship course must be a full-time Harris faculty member. The student should identify a faculty member whose research interests and expertise align with the internship. Internship courses must be taken for a grade and cannot be taken Pass/Fail. To enroll in the internship course, do the following:

  • Submit a letter from your employer, on their company letterhead, which states the following:
    • Beginning and end dates of employment
    • Number of expected hours of work per week
    • Job responsibilities
  • With the faculty member, complete the Internship and Reading/Research Form, indicating the topic to be covered and the expectations for successfully completing the course requirements. The final project or paper must be related to the internship.
  • Return the Internship and Reading/Research Form and the employer letter to your academic advisor, who will enroll you in the course.

Courses: Retaking Courses

Students cannot count the same course multiple times toward their degree. In some cases, a student may need to retake a course in order to complete degree requirements. Students can retake non-core courses in which they earned a passing grade, but can only count the credits of one instance of the course toward degree requirements.

Students also cannot take a course for credit that they have previously informally audited.

If a student earns below a C- in a core course, the student must retake the course. In these cases, the credits from the first attempt of the course will not count toward the total credits required for the degree. The grades from all instances of the course will count toward the student's GPA.

If a student receives an F in a non-core course, the student has the option to retake the same course. Credits in courses in which the student received an F can never be counted toward degree requirements. The grades from all instances of the course will count toward the student's GPA.

Courses: Transfer Credit for Previous Course Work

Students who have previously taken graduate courses at the University of Chicago that were not counted toward any other completed degree may request to transfer up to three courses (300 units of credit) for credit to a Harris degree program. Students must make the request to count previous course work in writing to their academic advisor. Courses taken outside of the University of Chicago cannot be used as transfer credits.

Students who have taken Harris core courses required for their degree prior to enrolling as a Harris student (for example, a student who was enrolled in a different University of Chicago degree program but then transferred to Harris) will not be required to repeat that core course but will have to replace the course with an elective in order to fulfill the minimum number of credits required for the degree. This policy also pertains to courses counted toward Harris certificates.

Courses: Undergraduate Courses

In general, Harris students are not allowed to count undergraduate courses (course numbers starting with 1 or 2) toward their graduate degree. There are some exceptions to this policy, including:

  • Any course from the math department (Prefix MATH)
  • Any course from the statistics department (Prefix STAT)
  • Courses that are approved to be counted toward any Harris certificate, regardless of whether the student is pursuing that certificate
  • Courses that have been explicitly approved by faculty leadership to be counted toward the graduate degree. These courses are:
    • PBPL 28820 Machine Learning (register graduate-level cross-list if possible)
    • GEOG 28201 Intro to Geographic Information Systems (register graduate-level cross-list if possible)
    • ECON 28620 Crony Capitalism

If a student wants to have a new undergraduate course considered for graduate credit they must get the permission of the Deputy Dean in charge of curriculum (Ryan Kellogg). The criteria for approving an undergraduate course to be counted toward the graduate degree are:

  1. No equivalent course is available at the graduate level
  2. Both the course instructor and the Harris Deputy Dean find that the content of the course is as rigorous as a graduate-level course
  3. The instructor of the course and/or the home department of the course are willing to let the student into the course
  4. The Deputy Dean approves the course to be counted toward the graduate degree, in which case it will be added to the list of approved undergraduate courses above.

To start the approval process for an undergraduate course you should reach out to your academic advisor, who will check to see if any past student has made inquiries about the same course. If not, you or your advisor should reach out to the course instructor to request a syllabus, explain that you are attempting to get the course counted for graduate credit, and ask the course instructor whether they believe the course is rigorous enough to warrant graduate credit. You should then fill out the Request to Count an Undergraduate Course Toward the Graduate Degree form, which will be forwarded to the Deputy Dean for review.

Even if an undergraduate course is not approved for graduate credit you can still take the course, it just will not count as one of the courses toward your degree. Please note that the regular Harris tuition rates will apply whether or not the course is being counted toward the degree. You must follow the undergraduate registration procedures, which means that you’ll need to wait to register until after College bidding has resolved and you will generally also need instructor permission. You can also ask the instructor for permission to sit in on the course (informally audit), which would give you the benefit of the content of the course without being charged tuition or earning a grade.

Taking Undergraduate Language Classes

Generally, undergraduate language classes cannot be taken toward the graduate degree. As with other undergraduate courses, you can request approval through the process detailed below.

In some cases, if a language course would be directly related to the work a student plans to do post-graduation that course may be approved to be counted for credit for that individual student, but not for all Harris students. To have a language class considered to be counted toward your graduate degree, please fill out the Request to Count an Undergraduate Course Toward the Graduate Degree form and choose “undergraduate language course.” You’ll need to provide a syllabus and an explanation of how the course relates to your career plans. The request will be forwarded to the Dean of Students for review.

Some language departments on campus will allow Harris students to sit in on language classes (informally audit), which allows you to get the benefit of the content of the course without being charged tuition for the course. Below are some details about the policies of language departments that Harris students have sought out in the past:

  • Arabic Department: may allow Harris students to informally audit classes with instructor permission
  • Chinese Department: strict no-audit policy
  • Italian Department: Although their undergrad classes say "no auditors" their Language Coordinator confirmed to Harris academic advising they would let Harris students sit in on classes as long as the student maintains an unofficial B average to retain the unofficial auditing privilege
  • Spanish Department: have allowed Harris students to informally audit courses in the past

GPA, Grades, and Class Rank

Cumulative GPAs are not posted to students’ transcripts. Transcripts do contain a key on the back to allow for the cumulative GPA to be calculated. A student can also ask their academic advisor for the student's cumulative GPA. Information about the GPA weight for each grade can be found on the Registrar’s website. University of Chicago policy prohibits any University employee from releasing class ranking information.

Incompletes and Missing Grades (I and NGR)

Students must make arrangements with their instructors if they cannot complete their course work within the deadlines for the quarter. Instructors are allowed to deny a student’s request to take an incomplete. Generally, instructors will accept requests to take an incomplete only in cases where a student is seriously ill or has a family emergency. We strongly recommend that students and instructor agree upon the deadline for the student to complete the course work when the request for the incomplete is made. Generally, resolving the incomplete before the beginning of the next academic term is advisable.

Once the student turns in all necessary work and the instructor enters a final grade, the letter “I” will continue to appear beside the final grade on the student's transcript permanently. So, for example, if a student requests an incomplete and later receives a grade of “B,” the student’s transcript will show the grade as “IB.”

Honors

Any master's student who has a 3.75 or better final cumulative GPA will earn honors.

  • Honors will be posted on the diploma.
  • Students will wear a cord to graduation to denote that they earned honors.
  • Rounding up is allowed. So if a student earned a 3.746 they would earn honors.
  • Students in joint degree programs will not use their cumulative GPA to determine honors. Rather, a modified GPA will be calculated, including all courses in a year in which the student was partially or fully in residence with Harris.
  • Students will be notified by their advisor or by the Dean of Students that they earned honors after final grades are in in the quarter of graduation.

Leave of Absence

Harris students are expected to be continuously enrolled from the time they begin taking courses at Harris until they graduate. However, it is sometimes necessary for a student to disrupt enrollment because of a health, family, or other issue.

  • A leave of absence preserves the student’s status and the student's Harris scholarship, if applicable.
  • Leaves of absence cannot exceed one academic year (four consecutive quarters, including summer)

If a student fails to enroll in a quarter and has not been granted a leave of absence, the student's status may be terminated and the student will need to re-apply for admission to resume studies at Harris.

Students must contact their academic advisor to request a leave of absence. The student must submit the following information in writing to the advisor when requesting the leave:

  • Student full name and ID number
  • The reason the leave is being requested
  • The quarter in which the student plans to resume taking courses at Harris
  • The new anticipated graduation quarter

The student’s advisor will submit the formal leave of absence request to the University. If the student is taking a medical leave of absence, the student needs to complete the Medical Leave of Absence form. The leave also serves as a safeguard to ensure that the student’s enrollment status remains active during the leave period.

In addition to the Harris policies outlined here, students must also comply with University polices related to leaves of absence.

Leave of Absence for International Students

International students need to be enrolled full time in every quarter in order to maintain the student's visa. If an international student needs to take a leave of absence, the student must follow both the process to request the leave from Harris (outlined above) and the process to request the leave from the Office of International Affairs. (OIA).

Please review the information on this site carefully while considering whether you want to try to take a leave of absence. Depending on the length of your leave, you may have to pay the $200 SEVIS fee again, you may lose eligibility for CPT/OPT, and you may need to submit a new financial review form.

Please also note that if your leave of absence is approved you will need to contact OIA at least one month before you return (three months before if your leave was five months or more). Harris will not remind you of this deadline, and we have had students miss the deadline and be unable to return to the United States to resume courses in that quarter, which delayed their graduation date.

During Leave of Absence

Please note that while on a personal leave of absence you will not have access to many university resources like, University buildings, Library online services, University health insurance, UChicago Student Wellness, and other services covered by the graduate student services fee.

Students are also not eligible to audit classes and are not eligible to serve as a TA or hold other student employment positions at the University during a leave of absence.

Students on a medical leave of absence will also not have access to many university resources but can have University health insurance (UShip) if they are otherwise eligible.

Students receiving federal student loans should contact Graduate Financial Aid to adjust their aid for the duration of their leave.

Return from Leave of Absence

When a student is ready to return to studies, that student must contact their advisor to declare the intention to return.

Depending on the reason for the leave, the Dean of Students may request additional documentation to help assess whether the student is ready to resume their studies and successfully continue in the degree program. Students who have taken a medical leave of absence will need a letter from their doctor indicating that they are cleared to return to their academic work and are following recommended ongoing treatment.

Requests to return from a leave of absence should be made at least 30 days before the beginning of the quarter in which the student wishes to resume studies. Please also see the University policy on returning from a leave of absence.

Administrative Leave of Absence

An administrative leave of absence will be applied to students who do not register for classes during a quarter or who are restricted from registering and who do not clear their restrictions by the end of the third week of the quarter. Please see the University policy on administrative leaves of absence.

Math Requirement and Exam

All Harris master’s students must pass a math exam in order to fulfill the mathematics requirements for the degree. All entering students take the exam at the beginning of new student orientation.

If a student does not pass the exam, the student is required to enroll in the non-credit course PPHA 30101 Math Methods for Public Policy during their first Autumn Quarter. At the conclusion of PPHA 30101, students will again take the math exam.

If the student still has not passed the exam at the conclusion of the Math Methods course, the student must take the exam again when they are administered during new student orientation the next year. The student has the option to repeat Math Camp if desired. If the student still does not pass the exam, the student must repeat the Math Methods course and re-take the exam in the Autumn Quarter of their second year. Students cannot graduate with a Harris degree without having passed the exam.

*Students who entered in Autumn 2019 have satisfied their degree requirement and do not have to sit for the new math exam

Missing Exams Due to Illness or Other Reasons

If you need to miss an exam due to an illness or other reason you need to get permission.

  • If you are requesting an exam exception more than 2 business days in advance of the exam, you should reach out to the Dean of Students at Harrisdeanofstudents@uchicago.edu who will issue a determination of whether the request should be granted. The Dean of Students will then contact you and the instructor to find another day/time/method for the exam.
  • If you are requesting an exam exception at the last minute (within two business days of the exam) you should reach out to the course instructor directly. Such requests should not arise from situations that you could have reasonably foreseen in advance.

To ensure fairness and consistency, there is a list of reasons that are/are not acceptable reasons for an exam to be rescheduled or otherwise missed. Please note that these accommodations are only for emergency or unavoidable circumstances. 

Withdrawal or Leaving the University

A student who does not file a leave of absence (as described above) may be withdrawn from their academic program on a voluntary or involuntary basis.

  • Voluntary Withdrawal: If a student has made the personal decision not to continue in the student's academic program, they can declare a voluntary withdrawal. The student should contact their academic advisor to declare the intention to withdraw from the University.
  • Involuntary Withdrawal: In certain situations, the Office of Student Affairs may also involuntarily withdraw a student from the University. Situations in which students may be involuntarily withdrawn include:
    • Implementation of Student Conduct Review Board sanctions
    • Safeguarding the Harris community from threatening behavior
    • Failure to enroll without submitting a leave of absence request
    • Student has been on leave of absence or has otherwise not been enrolled for more than one year

Once a student is withdrawn from the University, they are no longer considered an active student. Access to all University systems and facilities, including University email accounts, will be revoked. If the student wishes to resume studies at any point in the future, the student must re-apply for admission to Harris. If admitted, the student is subject to the degree requirements as they stand at the time of their re-entry, not the degree requirements that were in place when the student originally began their studies. Courses taken before withdrawing can be counted toward the degree so long as they are in line with the current degree requirements.

Withdrawal: Administrative

The Harris Dean of Students can administratively withdraw students for a number of reasons. The most common appear below. Students who are administratively withdrawn from Harris may be required to apply for readmission.

If an administratively withdrawn student does re-enter they will be subject to the degree requirements in place at the point of re-entry, not those in place when they originally enrolled. Courses taken prior to administrative withdrawal will count toward the degree. Harris is not required to honor a student’s initial scholarship award if they withdraw from the University and later re-enter.

Please also see the University policy on administrative withdrawals.

Failure to Register

Students who are not registered for courses by 5:00 p.m. on Friday of the 2nd week of the quarter and who have not applied for a leave of absence may be subject to administrative withdrawal and should immediately consult with the Dean of Students office.

Leave of Absence in Excess of One Year

Students who are on a leave of absence or otherwise not enrolled for 4 consecutive quarters will be subject to administrative withdrawal. There are cases in which a leave of absence of longer than one year may be permitted, including medical leaves of absence.

Transferring between Degree Programs at Harris

Occasionally, a student’s academic interests may change during the time that they are at Harris. In these cases, students can request to transfer to a degree program, but the policies and procedures differ depending on which degree programs the student is transferring to (information below.) Regardless of which degree program students wish to transfer from or to, they should fill out this Degree Transfer Request Form.

  • Students can transfer into the MPP program from the MA, MACRM, MSESP or MSCAPP program with the approval of their advisor and the Dean of Students
  • Transfers into the MSCAPP program from other master's degree programs are not permitted after the beginning of the first autumn quarter of a students' enrollment. Transfer requests before classes have started in a students' first autumn must be approved by the MSCAPP program director and admissions committee.
  • Transfers into the MACRM program must be approved by the MACRM admissions committee and the Dean of Students.
  • Transfers into the MA program from programs of longer duration are prohibited except in extreme circumstances. Even in extreme circumstances transfers into the MA program will only be approved if 1) the student has significant work experience, an advanced degree, or both and likely would have been accepted into the MA program had they initially applied and 2) the student can demonstrate that their situation (financial, etc.) has changed significantly since they enrolled. Transfers into the MA program must also be approved by the Dean of Students. Students wishing to transfer will need to fill out the Degree Transfer Request Form.
  • Transfers into or out of the MAIDP program are not permitted.
  • Transfers into or out of the Evening Master's program are not permitted.

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Disciplinary Process

Conduct involving possible violation of University policies and regulations and other breaches of standards of behavior expected of University students should be brought promptly to the attention of the Dean of Students of the academic area of the respondent. Conduct involving violation of the Policy on Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct should be brought promptly to the attention of the Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity Programs and/or the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs in Campus and Student Life.

Harris follows processes outlined in the University Area Disciplinary Systems.

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Student Life Policies and Standards

Representing Harris Public Policy and Brand Guidelines

Student use of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy name, logo, or other graphic elements (including colors and fonts) must be in accordance with Harris Public Policy’s brand identity as prescribed in the Harris graphic identity guidelines manual. This document is available for consultation and reference through the Marketing office.

These guidelines apply to all materials, whether print (including but not limited to letterhead, stationery, invitations, and brochures), electronic (websites and email), or three-dimensional/promotional (such as t-shirts, pens, etc.).

Harris Grievance Procedures

1. HARRIS STATEMENT OF STANDARDS

All University faculty, instructors, academic appointees, and student support staff are responsible for creating a learning environment in which every student has the opportunity to learn and to maximize their potential. Abuse of authority is unacceptable at the University. Respect, civility, and professionalism are essential to the University’s mission and are crucial to ensuring that the University’s commitment to free expression principles and academic freedom can be realized by all.

Self-advocacy is crucial to preventing abuse of authority. Harris strives to create a learning environment where handling difficult situations is seen as important training and professionalization for faculty, other academic appointees, postdocs, and students. Everyone is responsible for building this environment.

Formal and informal processes are both important for resolving grievances. The formal grievance processes will be available for more serious cases or cases in which the informal process has been ineffective, but because abuse of authority is a complicated concept to define and there is potential for misunderstanding, informal processes should be the starting point. Most issues can and should be addressed informally through collaborative dialogue and problem solving. This is essential to capturing the pedagogical value of self-advocacy while maintaining a vibrant and collegial learning environment that both students and faculty are responsible to create and maintain.

Students can trust that Harris’s grievance policies and procedures provide them protection, that they will not be retaliated against for bringing forward conflicts, concerns, and possible grievances, and that Harris staff and leadership will listen to and advocate for them. Faculty and others in positions of authority can trust that those who are in charge of investigating student grievances will treat them fairly and conduct their investigation with integrity.

This policy establishes a process by which currently enrolled graduate students in the Harris School of Public Policy and those on an approved leave of absence can file a formal grievance alleging abuse of authority by faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, or staff.

In the case where a Harris student has a potential grievance alleging abuse of authority by someone outside of Harris, students should follow the Harris grievance policy.

In extraordinary circumstances, students may request that a grievance case be handled by the Office of the Provost. If a student wishes to submit a grievance case to be handled by the Provost’s Office, they must provide supporting rationale for why their case cannot be fairly heard within the Harris School. Please consult the University Grievance Policy for Graduate Students for more information.

2. Related University Policies

Allegation of sexual harassment, misconduct and unlawful discrimination are addressed exclusively under the University's Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct and Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment. More information about these policies and options for reporting and support are available through the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs.

Complaints about student conduct involving possible violation of University policies and regulations and other breaches of standards of behavior should always be brought to the attention of the Dean of Students. For more information, please see University Disciplinary Systems and Disciplinary System for Disruptive Conduct.

Allegations of academic fraud (e.g. plagiarism; fabrication or falsification of evidence, data, or results; the suppression of relevant evidence or data; the conscious misrepresentation of sources; the theft of ideas; or the intentional misappropriation of the research work or data of others) should also be brought forward in accordance with procedures established in the University’s Policy on Academic Fraud.

Issues related to the conduct of members of the University of Chicago Police Department should always be directed to the University’s Safety & Security Complaint Process.

2.1 Complaints or Disputes about Grades and Academic Evaluations

Faculty have the authority and the responsibility to assess the academic performance of their students. Only the instructor who gave the course, examination, or evaluation has the authority to change the assessment of the students' performance. Similarly, the evaluation of students' academic progress and standing in the program is the prerogative of the department faculty.

Learning how to communicate with instructors and other faculty about confusion or concern around fairness in grading and evaluation is an important skill, and students may respectfully request explanations of grading decisions and feedback about how performance can be improved. If a student feels that a grade has been assigned unfairly or improperly, they should discuss their concerns with the instructor directly, consult with their academic advisor, or bring concerns to and seek advice from the Harris Dean of Students. The Dean of Students does not have the authority to require an instructor to change a grade but can discuss the issue with the instructor and/or faculty leadership.

A grade dispute or complaints about other academic evaluations may be evidence in support of a formal grievance but these complaints cannot constitute a formal grievance on their own.

3. Abuse of Authority

Abuse of authority is the arbitrary or capricious exercise of authority for purposes inconsistent with the University’s educational and research mission. Expression occurring in an academic, educational or research context is considered a special case and is broadly protected by academic freedom. Such expression will not constitute abuse of authority unless (in addition to satisfying the above definition) it is targeted at a specific person or persons and serves no bona fide academic purpose.

Identifying abuse of authority can be challenging. The examples below are intended to provide a general guide to understand and identify this behavior. The examples are by no means exhaustive or able to encompass the nuance and complexity of challenging interpersonal situations. Student can seek out the help of individuals noted in the Informal Resolution section to discuss their individual situation and options for resolution.

Not Abuse of Authority

Potential Abuse of Authority

A student receives a lower-than-expected score on an exam. A student has been assisting one of their instructors with technology during class. During this time, they have received high grades and positive feedback on coursework. After informing the instructor that they can no longer assist with the tech because they need to focus on their own learning in the class, the student receives an atypically low score on an exam.
An instructor disagrees with a claim made by a student during class and corrects the student in front of the entire class. An instructor responds to a student’s comment in class by calling the student stupid and commenting that they should not have been admitted to the PhD program.
A student emails a faculty advisor requesting feedback on a dissertation draft and doesn’t receive an immediate response. Over the course of several months, a faculty advisor does not respond to continued attempts by a student to get feedback on dissertation work. The student’s academic advisor then reaches out to the faculty advisor about the issue, but the student still does not get feedback on their dissertation. The chronic lack of communication and feedback causes the student to fall behind on progress towards degree.
A member of a PhD student’s dissertation committee asks her to work as a research assistant on a study that the faculty member is conducting but is not related to the student’s dissertation. The student has the ability to accept or reject the research assistant position and will receive compensation if they take the position. A PhD student is asked to do research work for a member of her dissertation committee which is not related to her dissertation. The faculty member indicates that they will not give feedback on the next section of the dissertation until the research work is completed.

4. Time Limits

There is no time limit on filing a grievance, though a grievance may only be filed by a current student or a student on an approved leave of absence. Students are encouraged to file a grievance as soon as is practicable as it maximizes the University’s ability to respond promptly and effectively. Delayed reporting often results in the loss of relevant information or documentation, and/or in faded and unreliable memories; it also impairs the University’s ability to interview individuals with knowledge of the case, assess information, and, if appropriate, review and resolve complaints.

5. Statement of Non-Retaliation

All members of the community should be able to bring forward conflicts, concerns, and possible grievances in a respectful environment and are expected to do so in good faith. The University prohibits retaliation against any person who exercises any rights or responsibilities under this policy. Any act of retaliation may be a separate violation of this policy.

6. Informal Resolution

Recognizing that all situations are unique, the Harris School seeks to present students with a number of options and approaches towards addressing conflict and reporting concerns. While formal grievance resolution is only applicable to cases involving an allegation of abuse of authority, the options presented in this section are available to all students regardless of the specific nature of their complaint or concern.

6.1 Seek Advice

The individuals and offices listed below are available to assist students and discuss options for approaching informal resolution. Students should be supported when confronting challenges, and we seek to create an environment that encourages asking for help and providing support. Seeking advice for resolving concerns or complaints is the first step towards constructively addressing an issue of concern.

Harris Resources:

  • The Dean of Students can meet with students to discuss their individual situation, provide an overview of grievance procedures, and offer guidance on options for informal resolution.
  • Students can also bring concerns to the Harris Student Government co-presidents or to the Harris Student Government Academic Committee chair. These positions are not responsible for resolving student grievances but can be a useful sounding board.

Campus-Wide Resources:

  • Student Ombuds Office serves as a peer resource to assist in the resolution of conflicts, concerns, and other problems that they may encounter through the course of University life. They provide individual consultation and write reports to the campus community identifying recurring student concerns.
  • The Associate Director for Graduate Student Affairs in UChicagoGRAD is an administrator who serves as a campus-wide resource for students on issues around grievance policy and procedures. The Associate Director can meet with students to discuss their individual situation and provide information about options for resolution. The Associate Director also works to provide trainings and workshops to improve mentorship and advising relationships and support constructive conversations around student concerns. Email gradgrievance@uchicago.edu for assistance.

6.2 Finding Support in Challenging Situations

Any conflict or difficulty in a student’s academic life can have an adverse effect on mental health and wellbeing. In addition to seeking advice and assistance from the offices and individuals above, the Harris School strongly encourages students to seek support from the following university resources:

  • Counselors at Student Wellness are available to provide critical support services to students navigating all manner of challenges.
  • Sounding Board is a resource for helping graduate students negotiate work/life balance issues, navigate relationships, and create strategies for having difficult conversations with peers, faculty, and others.
  • Students may also find support in the advisors and programs available through the Office of Spiritual Life.
  • Student Wellness’s Health Promotion office provides a range of services and programming to support students in managing stress and leading balanced and healthy lives.

6.3 Methods for Approaching Resolution

As students seek out advice and support for approaching conflict and concerns, they should consider the following methods for addressing their situation. This is not a complete list of strategies, rather it can be a starting point in thinking through ways to approach resolution depending on the individual situation and needs of the student.

Shuttle Diplomacy

Faculty and administrators can assist in resolution by speaking with the individual or individuals with whom there is conflict. They can convey concerns on the student’s behalf and report back about the conversation to the student.

Facilitated Conversation

Students experiencing conflict or any challenging interpersonal situation may benefit from requesting a facilitated conversation. An administrator or faculty member can arrange a meeting to be attended by both the student and the individual or individuals with whom there is conflict in order to discuss the source of the conflict and collectively address possible solutions.

Reporting Options

A student may find themselves in a situation where they want to report a complaint or concern but do not wish to have their individual case acted upon. Reports of this kind can be made either directly to the  Harris School or to the Office of the Provost. These reports can be used to identify potential instances of abuse or recurrent concerns.

Students wishing to make an informational report to the Harris School should reach out to the Harris Dean of Students to discuss the concern or complaint. Students should be aware that information about these reports may be shared with the student’s department and other university officials without prior consent in the following situations:

  • There is a concern about abuse or other possible misconduct that rises to the level of requiring immediate action.
  • There is a concern about the student’s or another person’s health and safety.

Anonymous reports may be made directly to the Office of the Provost through this form. Anonymous reports will be reviewed by the Office of the Provost and shared with academic units and other university officials as appropriate.

7. Formal Grievance Process

While informal resolution is available for students to address many conflicts and complaints, the formal resolution process is applicable to instances where there is an allegation of abuse of authority and where attempts at informal resolution have been ineffective.

Timelines are specified for all stages in the formal grievance process. If necessary, specific deadlines may be extended with notice to the student and respondent[s].

7.1 Role of Support Person

Both the student and respondent(s) may bring a support person of their choice to any meeting conducted as part of the formal grievance process. However, they must notify the individual or individuals with whom they are meeting of the identity of their support person in advance. If the support person is a lawyer, a representative of the University’s Office of Legal Counsel may also attend the meeting. The support person does not function as an advocate or participate directly in any way during the meeting. Both the student and respondent(s) are expected to speak for themselves and submit their own written statements.

7.2 Submitting a Formal Grievance

Students wishing to file a formal grievance are required to submit a complaint using this online form.

7.3 Initial Review

The form and any provided written documentation will be reviewed by the Dean or an individual designated by the Dean to determine if:

  • The case is appropriate for formal resolution pursuant to the grievance policy (i.e., it alleges an abuse of authority as defined above and is not covered by another policy); and
  • The case cannot be resolved by informal means.

The Dean or designee will receive and review the complaint to determine if it meets the above stated criteria for formal resolution. As part of this initial review, the Dean or designee may request a meeting with the student to discuss the complaint. At this meeting there will discussion of any supportive resources that the student may find helpful.

The student will receive written notification of whether the case meets the criteria for formal resolution within 30 calendar days of submitting the formal grievance complaint.

If the Dean or designee decides the complaint is appropriate for resolution, the respondent(s) will be provided with written notice and a copy of the complaint within seven calendar days of the notice to the student.

7.4 Harris Grievance Committee

The Dean will convene a Grievance Committee to consider the case. The Committee is charged with reviewing all information about the case and making a recommendation to the Dean.

The Committee will generally be composed of three faculty members, one student, and the Dean of Students.

All members of the Committee are expected to maintain independent judgment and open-mindedness about the alleged grievance, free from material bias and conflicts of interest, or they should recuse themselves.

The student and respondent(s) will be notified of the composition of the Committee as soon as practicable before the Committee begins their review. Either party may request a substitution if the participation of any individual on the Committee poses a conflict of interest. Such requests must be made to the Dean within two business days of receiving notice of the members of the Committee. Requests must identify with specificity the alleged nature of the conflict of interest. Using reasoned judgment, the Dean will decide whether the alleged conflict is genuine and material and, if so, whether it compels the Committee member’s replacement.

7.5 Harris Grievance Committee Process

The Committee will designate a member or members to:

  • Interview, as necessary, individuals who may have relevant knowledge;
  • Collect materials, as necessary, including relevant documents.

The complainant and respondent(s) will be given the opportunity to provide relevant documentation, provide names of relevant individuals, and meet with the committee or a designated representative of the committee.

The Committee will apply a preponderance of evidence standard in making its recommendation to the Dean. Namely, the Committee will decide whether, in consideration of all the information before it, it is more likely than not that an abuse of authority occurred.

7.6 Potential Outcomes

Grievance processes and outcomes are intended to create a more respectful and inclusive university environment in which every student has the opportunity to maximize their potential, to provide remedies for students in need of support, and to facilitate productive conversations about challenging issues. In considering appropriate resolutions to grievance cases, the Harris School Grievance Committee will be guided by the principle that outcomes should focus on addressing harm to the student and preventing its recurrence.

The range of possible outcomes will vary according to the role of the individual found responsible for violating the policy and the severity of the violation. If any individual is found to have abused their authority as defined in this policy, at minimum the Dean and/or other supervisor will meet with the respondent to discuss the finding and expectations regarding future conduct, and a notation regarding the finding and expectations may be made in the personnel record. Other possible outcomes include, but are not limited to, required trainings, amendments to teaching and advising assignments, removal from leadership positions or committee assignments, ineligibility for annual pay increases, and referral to applicable processes if further action is recommended. Outcomes will be based on the specific nature of the conduct, the particulars of the situation, and a pattern of violations if such exists.

7.7 Notification of Outcome

The student and the respondent(s) shall be notified formally, in writing, of the Dean’s decision no more than 90 calendar days after the case was initially submitted.

Notifications will also provide both parties with information about how to request a review of the outcome by the Office of the Provost under the Graduate Student Grievance Review Process.

Keller Center Policies

Harris Public Policy has a new home in the Keller Center. This Welcome Guide provides a breadth of information including available amenities, detailed maps, and tips for working in an open building environment.

Keller Center Posting Policy

Fliers are only allowed on the designated bulletin boards above the student mail folders in the Keller Center.

Room Reservation Policy

First priority for all Harris classrooms and meeting spaces is given to academic courses and administration sponsored programs and events. Individual students are not allowed to reserve classrooms and meeting spaces unless approved in advance by Student Affairs. Harris student organizations (HSOs) have the ability to request classroom and meeting spaces and must follow the guidelines outlined in the Harris Student Organization Room Reservation Policy.

Professional Expectations of Harris Students

As a professional student who is part of the Harris community, every student must meet the following expectations, established by Harris’s faculty and staff:

  • All Harris students are expected to uphold the dignity and respect of every person in the Harris community (faculty, staff, and students).
  • Students are expected to regularly monitor emails sent to their University of Chicago email address and to the Harris student listservs. Many offices on campus, including the Registrar, Bursar, and Harris Academic and Student Affairs will use only a student's University email address to contact them. Students are expected to respond to emails that necessitate a response within a reasonable time frame — usually 24 to 48 hours.
  • In order to best assess and improve the student experience, students are expected to complete course evaluations and surveys sent by the Harris administration (e.g., graduation survey, CDO survey, etc.).
  • All Harris students are expected to attend their class meetings. They are also expected to actively participate in their courses according to the expectations described in the course syllabus. If a student cannot attend a class due to an illness or personal emergency, that student is expected to notify the instructor(s) prior to the scheduled class time.
  • Events rely on the confirmed attendance of student participants. Therefore, students are expected to attend all events for which they have RSVP’d or otherwise committed to attend. If a student cannot attend an event due to an unforeseen emergency, the student should notify the event organizer as soon as possible.

Student Alcohol Policy

All Harris students should be aware of and abide by the University of Chicago Alcohol Policy outlined in the Student Manual of University Policies and Regulations. All members of the Harris community are responsible for full awareness of federal, state, and city laws and policies and requirements concerning the consumption, possession, and sale of alcohol. Harris expects each member of the community to be responsible for their own conduct and the consequences of that conduct. Illinois law prohibits the consumption or possession of alcohol by persons under the age of 21 and the supplying of alcohol to any person under the age of 21.

Alcoholic beverages may only be served at events that are sponsored by a Harris student organization (HSO), Harris staff, or faculty. Harris student organizations (HSOs) must follow the guidelines outlined in the Harris Student Organization Alcohol Policy. Harris staff and faculty, and University officials or agents of the University have the authority to prohibit individuals from bringing alcoholic beverages to a function or into a building, including events held in outdoor areas such as the courtyard or backyard. Any outside alcoholic beverages may be confiscated by Harris staff or faculty.

Student Parent Policy

Harris is strongly committed to supporting pregnant students and students who become parents or add to their families while they are students. The University of Chicago Graduate Student Parent Policy outlines the rights guaranteed to students who are parents. This policy represents the minimum rights and protections afforded to students. Depending on a student's individual needs and situation the Harris Student Affairs team can also offer other supports. We encourage students to contact their academic advisor for assistance and support. See the University of Chicago Graduate Student Parent Policy.

University Communication, UChicago Email Address

The University, including the Harris School, send all official communications to students' UChicago email addresses. You are expected to check your UChicago email account daily and are responsible for information sent to that account. Students can choose whether their UChicago email runs through Gmail or Microsoft Exchange.

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University of Chicago Student Manual

The Student Manual is the official statement of University policies and regulations, and expected standards of conduct that are applicable to all students. Students are expected to be familiar with these policies. Students should familiarize themselves with the University Student Manual. Policies of particular importance include:

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