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Harris School Program Information

Beyond the Classroom

The University of Chicago was founded in the belief that scholarship should be put to work for the social good. Harris continues this practice by providing opportunities for students to apply classroom learning to real-life problems, and to enrich classroom learning through professional relationships with policymakers.

Practical Experience

Several programs at Harris are designed to bridge students’ classroom experience with the policy experience of the real world, and to connect the larger policymaking community with the School’s programs and activities.  Harris believes that practical application of skills and professional development are an essential aspect of public policy training, enabling students to become effective leaders and make a difference in the world around them.

Policy Labs and Practica

Policy Labs and practica provide students with firsthand experience of the institutional, economic, and political forces that shape public policy. Through team projects, students are able to analyze and evaluate programs, develop and administer surveys, conduct needs assessments, and engage in other policy relevant research programs. In addition to practical experience, the projects provide a valuable service for the sponsoring agencies. Policy Labs are faculty-supervised team projects completed for a client organization during the school year. Students are selected through an application process and earn course credit.

Mentor Program

Since it's founding in 1988, the Harris School of Public Policy has featured a unique Mentor Program that matches graduate students with leading policy professionals. The program serves master's students throughout their entire enrollment - first in group mentoring and then in individual mentor matches. All Harris master's students are eligible to sign up for the mentor program.

Research Opportunities

Faculty and student research at Harris is guided not only by theoretical interests, but also by a strong commitment to solving enduring public policy problems. Students are frequently involved in faculty research through research assistantships, coursework, independent studies, and research centers housed at the School and throughout the campus.