Requirements & Deadlines


The University of Chicago seeks candidates with the academic preparation, intellectual ability, experience, and motivation to undertake a rigorous program in public policy. While no specific experience is required, students with a strong liberal arts background and sound quantitative and analytical skills will be best prepared for the program. The Committee on Admission and Aid evaluates all official transcripts of academic work, personal essays, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities and community service, performance on standardized tests, and special factors brought to its attention. The Committee considers each application on the basis of all materials submitted and does not automatically eliminate applications based on grade point averages or test scores. The application requirements and admissions process is the same for each Masters program (MPP, MA, MSESP, MSCAPP, MACRM).

Application Requirements

The following documents are required for admission:

  • Online Graduate Application            
  • Resume
    Upload a current resume, reflecting your work experience, education, community service, professional honors, and any other relevant information.
  • Short Essays (Masters Only)
    You will be required to answer one brief essay question (300 words max). 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 another part of your applicant profile.
  • Motivation Statement (Masters Only)
    You will prepare a brief and well-articulated response to a prompted question regarding your motivation to pursue graduate studies in public policy at Harris (300 words).
  • Candidate Statement (PhD Only)
    You will prepare a well-articulated response to a prompted question regarding your motivation to pursue graduate studies in public policy, specifically addressing your research interests. (800 words)
  • Research/Writing Sample (PhD Only)
    PhD candidates will be required to submit a writing sample, or single authored research paper.
  • Transcripts
    You will be allowed to 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.
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation (submitted online)
    We prefer to have at least one reference from a previous professor who can speak to your academic background and preparedness for graduate studies. Recommenders should submit letters through the electronic application - hard copy letters will be accepted but are not preferred.
  • GRE Scores
    The Chicago Harris institution code is 1849. Please make your reservations with ETS directly:
    Official scores are required for all applicants. Please contact the Admissions Office if you have questions regarding other standardized tests.
  • TOEFL Scores (international applicants only)
    The Chicago Harris institution code is 1849 or 1832. Both codes will be accepted. Please make your reservations with ETS directly:
    Official scores are required for all international applicants whose native language is not English and who have not received their undergraduate education in a U.S. college or university. We encourage all international applicants to submit their scores for consideration.
  • Video Statement (international applicants only)
    Required for international applicants with a total TOEFL score of 106 or below or a 107 and higher with a 25 or lower speaking score. You will submit a brief 2-minute video statement (within the online application) further discussing your motivation for applying to Chicago Harris.
  • Application Fee (submitted with online application)
    A $50.00 non-refundable application fee is required when you apply. Application fee waivers are available upon request. If you have an application fee waiver code, please be sure to follow the "Fee Waiver Request Form" instructions provided in the online application.

Application Requirements for Deferred Applicants

If you were offered admission in the previous admission cycle and elected to defer your enrollment, you will receive instructions from Admissions in late January regarding updating your application. You are encouraged to submit any updated materials in support of your application for scholarship consideration; including new GRE scores, updated resume, and any other relevant information.

Application Deadlines

Master's candidates | Deadlines Vary

 DeadlineNotificationDeposit Due
Early ActionNovember 18, 2016December 16, 2016

March 10, 2017 (Open)

April 15, 2017 (Due)

Round OneJanuary 20, 2017February 17, 2017

March 10, 2017 (Open)

April 15, 2017 (Due)

Round TwoMarch 26, 2017April 21, 2017May 19, 2017

All application materials for admission must be submitted by the corresponding round deadline. Applications may be submitted through 11:59 pm Central time. To be considered for merit scholarship assistance, applicants should apply in Early Action or Round One. Applicants in Round Two will be considered for scholarships on a funds-available basis. Applicants will be considered equally in each round.

University of Chicago undergraduates interested in BA-MPP, BA-MSCAPP and the Chicago Harris Scholars program should apply in Round Two only.

Ph.D. candidates | January 6, 2017

All application materials for admission must be submitted by January 6. We will announce admission decisions in February.