Gain the ability to understand and address global issues from multiple perspectives using data-analytical tools. There are three academic components to this program: Data Analytics, Introduction to R Programming, and a Capstone Research Project. Access a sample program syllabus.
This course provides an introduction to the statistical foundations, tools, and methods employed by public policy researchers. Explore the fundamental problem of causal inference and learn how to use data, research design, and statistical modeling to navigate around this problem.
This is an introductory course in programming and data analysis for students with no prior coding experience. The course has three learning outcomes: introduce students to the tools required to write and share code; translate self-contained questions into R programs; and learn how to retrieve, clean, visualize, and analyze data.
In the capstone research project, you will collaborate with Austin Wright, Assistant Professor and DPSS Faculty Director, and a group of peers on a real-world problem and design a policy recommendation.
You will harness the skills of research design, policy analysis, and team collaboration to conduct a research project using open-source or faculty-provided datasets. There are elements of data collection, analysis, and visualization, and result in a policy memo.
Learning outcomes and the policy memo become a portfolio piece that highlights your academic readiness for graduate program admissions or for applications for internships or jobs. The skills gained in the project are transferable for further research in your area of interest.
The program offers two-four capstone project topics. Topics are determined during the program. Faculty prepare a list of project topics, based on student input in the admissions process, and students vote to select their preferred topics during the program.
Before the program begins, we invite admitted students to share their suggested policy topics - a benefit of applying early! This will help shape which projects the faculty choose for the program.
View some example data visualizations from previous students:
Austin Wright is the Faculty Director for the Data and Policy Summer Scholar Program, ensuring the holistic curriculum is designed and taught to meet student needs in the UChicago way. Wright is an Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy, and faculty affiliate of The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts at the University of Chicago.
Watch the following video with Austin Wright to hear details about the curriculum, capstone research project, virtual format, and academic support resources.
Participants will receive two documents, issued electronically, upon successful completion of the credential program:
You are welcome to share your certificate and transcript in job or graduate school applications, professional networks such as LinkedIn, etc.
Session 1: June 12 - July 28, 2023
Session 2: July 24 - September 8, 2023
The Data and Policy Summer Scholar Program occurs twice during the summer. The two virtual sessions are identical. Participants can apply to the session that best fits their schedule.
The virtual format allows students to engage with asynchronous (pre-recorded) lectures for Data Analytics and R Programming delivered via weekly video modules. Students can watch and re-watch on their own time from anywhere in the world.
Students receive daily support by joining synchronous office hours with faculty and graduate teaching assistants or chatting in the virtual discussion board. Live office hours are offered approximately 15 hours per week at various times to accommodate our global and working students.
The Capstone Research Project, in the last two weeks of the program, includes live lectures with faculty, office hours with teaching assistance, and collaboration with a group of peers.
Community Resources occur though live, synchronous sessions. These are approximately two-three hours of live lectures or workshops per week.
Anticipate a commitment of approximately 15 hours per week. This weekly estimate is based on:
The weekly time commitment varies per student based on their own learning pace. This part-time format makes the program a compatible supplement your part-time or full-time academic study or internship/employment.
Live office hours accommodate various time zones and occur multiple times throughout the week. Live office hours are held in the mornings and evenings of Central Daylight Time (Chicago Time, UTC-5).
This program is open to the public and UChicago community. This program is available for undergraduate and graduate students, recent graduates and working professionals. We welcome domestic and international applicants from all around the world.
To enroll in the program, you must be at least 18 years old and have finished at least one year full-time study in an undergraduate institution one month prior to the start of the program. There are no prerequisites as this program is available for all academic backgrounds. All applicants are required to complete an online application.
Students are expected to have a stable internet connection and computer access to complete the virtual program.
Start your online application today. You can start, save, close, and return to the application prior to submission.
|Early Action||January 24, 2023||early February||February 28, 2023|
|Priority Deadline||February 28, 2023||early March||April 4, 2023|
|Round 3||March 28, 2023||early April||April 18, 2023|
|Round 4*||April 18, 2023||late April||May 9, 2023|
|Round 5**||May 23, 2023||early June||early June|
We encourage you to apply early and take advantage of the priority deadline's scholarship priority, longer timeline to confirm acceptance, and join events exclusive for submitted applicants and admitted students.
Admissions notifications are issued approximately two weeks after the deadline. Notifications are issued by email.
Reply deadline is the date for admitted students to confirm their intent to enroll by submitting the Admission Reply Form and non-refundable Enrollment Deposit. Details are noted in the letter of admission and in the Admitted Student webpage.
*Round 4 is the final application deadline for Session One.
** Round 5 accepts applications only for Session Two. The application may close earlier if space is no longer available.
There are several benefits to applying before the Priority Deadline. For example, you can:
The program fee for the 2023 program is $4,500.
UChicago Harris offers a modest, partial scholarship to top applicants based on qualifications presented in application. Priority consideration is given to applicants who apply before the Priority Deadline.
As you proceed in the application, you will find the place in the Finance Section to indicate you would like your application to be considered for a partial, merit-based scholarship. There are no additional steps, prerequisites, or documents to submit in order to be considered for the UChicago Harris merit-based scholarship.
Scholarships are limited, and not guaranteed for all applicants. The scholarship average is $500. There are no full-funding scholarships. Priority consideration for scholarship is given to those who submit by the Priority Deadline. There are no other forms of discounts or financial aid provided by UChicago Harris.
Admitted students awarded a UChicago Harris scholarship will be notified at the time of their admission into the program.
We encourage you to expand and diversify your funding resources. For example, past students received support from their current academic institution or employer. Other students found external scholarships based on their academic study, career goal, citizenship or other affiliations.
To start your search for third-party funding, consider reviewing our Opportunity Guide for Credential Programs and Opportunity Guide for Prospective Degree Students. Please note, this is not an exhaustive resource of all the available third party funding options, and the details subject to change. Please click through to the specific opportunity for up to date information.
After being admitted and accepting the electronic offer letter from the admissions team, you are required to submit a $1000 USD enrollment deposit to confirm your attendance. The deposit is non-refundable. The deposit will apply to your total program cost and be reflected in the bill.
Students who fail to submit the deposit by the deadline listed in their admission letter will be viewed as voluntarily giving up the seat to attend the program.
Payment for the enrollment deposit is accepted by credit-card in your application portal. If you have a third-party sponsor paying the enrollment deposit, then contact our office before your deadline (firstname.lastname@example.org) for additional instructions.
The program fee remaining balance is due early July for both sessions. This deadline is set by the University Bursar Office. Paying the remaining balance of the program fee is done in one transaction through your UChicago Student Portal, which is accessible during the summer term. Admitted students will receive detailed information about payment process and options.
We intentionally create interactive spaces for students to connect with each other and the wider UChicago Community, fostering a sense of belonging and preparing themselves for academic or professional advancement. We host approximately one-three hours of community events each week of the program. These activities are hosted virtually.
Hear from UChicago faculty and policy practitioners on how they use data to make policy impacts in their professional and academic work. Topics ranging from energy, education, international development, healthcare, finance and more.
Meet diverse members of the UChicago Community such as university alumni, current graduate students, staff, and community partners. These spaces for you and a small group of DPSS peers are to hear community stories and gain insights to working and studying in the career field and graduate school.
Dive into the writing methods to convey rich information, such as the data in your capstone project, in a persuasive and informative way. These three-part series of workshops teach you policy writing that matters.
Learn from experienced career coaches on personal branding, resume building, networking tips and more. These interactive workshops get students thinking through their goals and skills and how to convey those in various settings.
Ask questions of UChicago graduate students and admissions staff. Learn more about UChicago Harris graduate degree programs, application tips and general advice on the graduate school process.
Join peers at weekly social events such as virtual living rooms, game nights, and more. Students also initiate activities around policy topics (policy debates, TED Talk reviews) and social activities (trivia nights, happy hours).
Attend a Roundtable with Alumni to hear their experiences with the community resources.
We are excited to offer an optional opportunity to connect in person on the University of Chicago campus. This optional weekend provides DPSS students space to connect with peers, the teaching team, and the UChicago community. Participation in the Chicago Weekend is 100% optional and does not impact the academic outcome of program completion.
Note: Events are subject to change based on local health and safety guidelines.
The Chicago Weekend includes part-day programming Thursday-Saturday with the majority of events on Friday. The Chicago Weekend occurs the weekend after the session's end:
Additional details about the Chicago Weekend will be provided to admitted students.
Note: Visa sponsorship and lodging accommodations are not available for the Chicago Weekend.
Our 2021 DPSS cohort at a glance:
Average age of the 2021 cohort
Countries represented in 2021 cohort
Balanced a full-time job or internship
Completed during their undergraduate study
Completed during or after their graduate study
Had former full-time professional experience
The top undergraduate majors of the 2021 cohort include:
Summer scholars have enrolled in some great graduate schools. They have enrolled in graduate programs, at both Masters and Ph.D. levels, in the disciplines of Data Science, Business, Economics, Law, Math, Political Science, Public Policy, and Social Science.
DPSS supports students' path to graduate study, including at UChicago!
Started or completed a graduate program after DPSS
Enrolled in a graduate program at UChicago
Enrolled in a graduate program at UChicago Harris School of Public Policy
Summer Scholars advanced professionally to internships, part-time and full-time employment. They’ve earned positions such as Business Analytic Intern, Data Analyst Assistant, Congressional Intern, Development Coordinator, Financial Analyst, Management Consultant, Software Engineer, and Research Assistant.
Here are some example organizations:
Himalaya Mehta always had a passion for driving change through leadership. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Mathematics and Economics in 2014, he began pursuing a career in Actuarial Science at Cigna.
“The data techniques we used in DPSS taught me to read data effectively and interpret it more objectively. These skills will be invaluable in my new role as I try to help clients in a structured, fact-driven way."
Yangzhou Ou is an alumni of both DPSS 18' and MSCAPP 22'. Yangzhou was considering public policy programs for her graduate studies, and whether such programs could assist her career goal of becoming a data journalist.
"The faculty-led research capstone project was definitely the most memorable experience. Within three-weeks of intensive learning with econometrics and R, we could apply these tools in real-world data sets and give suggestions on policy issues. One example was refugee immigration in Europe. I was amazed to find that I could visualize the data and conduct analysis with the knowledge I learnt just few weeks ago!"
Olivia Gunther credits the Data & Policy Summer Scholar (DPSS) program as her first major exposure to the programming language R. “I had briefly used it during my undergraduate stats course,” she said, “but that was less diving into the program and more being given pieces to copy and paste.
“Not only was Harris the best quantitative program that I researched, but after experiencing DPSS, it was the best place to resolve the coding gap I had in undergrad. I really appreciated that coding is built into the curriculum.”
Miyu was a senior at Keio University majoring in Economics with a focus on Development Economics when she attended DPSS in 2020. Eager to create social impact, she taught at a girls’ school in Tanzania, which strengthened her passion for volunteering and youth empowerment through education. The volunteering experience later encouraged her to conduct formal research by evaluating the impacts of conditional cash transfers on educational outcomes in Tanzania. Through the DPSS program, she wanted to attain formal training in R programming in order to creatively manipulate and process data to answer intriguing policy-related questions.
“One of my favorite parts about DPSS is the Policy in Action workshops—we get to hear from policy practitioners across disciplines, learn about their journeys, and see how their work makes an impact in the world.”
Wrojensky decided to study economics after witnessing poverty in his native country of Haiti. While at Florida State University getting his bachelors, professors advised him to explore policy and development. He received a National Science Foundation fellowship to join the economics master’s program at Pennsylvania State University, and then completed the Harris one-year Master of Arts in Public Policy in 2021. Participating in DPSS in 2020 helped Wrojensky be better prepared to start his Harris career.
"Transitioning from undergrad to master’s level was challenging when I made the jump a few years ago, and I didn’t want the same thing to happen at Harris. After completing DPSS, I felt much better prepared than when I’d enrolled at Penn State."
Alexandra has always loved math and its power to tell the truth about what is happening in the real world. She looked to apply her passion in an impactful career, so she decided to enter the education field. After getting her Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education from Penn State University in 2014 and her Master’s in Education from the University of Central Florida, she entered the higher education sector. Through each position, Alexandra found herself growing curious about the policies that affect education in the United States. DPSS proved to be a route through which she could build the data skills needed to answer these questions. Alexandra attended DPSS in the summer of 2020.
“The fact that DPSS was virtual allowed me to access the program in a way that I wouldn’t have if it meant putting a pause on my career, so I was really excited for this opportunity for professional development.”
Originally from India with an undergraduate degree in Design, Sanika’s educational experience led her to become more curious about how human behavior influences policy and design in the social sector. She chose DPSS in 2018 as a way to explore her budding interest in policy and experience what attending graduate school is like in the United States.
Sanika is currently paving her path by engaging with policy through a design lens at Carnegie Mellon. Her master’s thesis focuses on designing methods and tools for participatory policy-making with a focus on futures and foresight. She is exploring how decision-making processes organizations and other policy issue areas can be tackled through a participatory futures approach.
“I loved the level of energy and knowledge that others brought to DPSS. It was a very productive space to be in. DPSS allowed me to feel more comfortable having conversations with people from different."
A Wisconsin native and University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, Brandon never imagined he would enter an international development career. He decided to answer a call to move abroad and get his Master’s Degree of Management Science at the University of Science and Technology of China, where he would also learn Mandarin and open a brewery. He subsequently served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru, and now he coordinates funds for global health initiatives for Lions Club International.
Brandon has used his experience at DPSS, in the summer of 2020, as a means back into academia. He is awaiting results from Economics PhD applications, which he hopes to use as a springboard further into the fight to end global poverty.
"I was especially drawn to DPPS because of the program’s focus on research—it helped me solidify my decision to pursue a PhD. My DPSS experience was sort of my nudge and affirmation that I can do this—that sort of intense academic life after a couple of years of working.”
Watch a recording of a recent Roundtable with Alumni to hear from multiple alums on their DPSS experience and advice for you.
Read the blog post Alumni Advice: Navigating the Data on tackling the quantitative and coding coursework.
Congratulations on your admission into the Data and Policy Summer Scholar (DPSS) Program! This information will help guide and prepare you for the program. We invite admitted students to engage with the UChicago community.
If you have not applied, then check out the DPSS Admissions & Fees page for guidance on submitting an application.
Before program begins, you will be invited to events exclusive for admitted students.
Webinars for Admitted Students: These informational sessions cover of Steps to Enroll and Steps to Prepare such as how to set up your UChicago email, when to submit final payment, etc. schedule of community resources, and more. Preview these steps further down on this webpage.
The 2022 webinars for admitted students have passed. Admitted students received invitations and access to the webinar recording.
Virtual Happy Hours: Socialize and network with the UChicago community in Gathertown - a virtual space where you can walk and talk to people based on proximity. GatherTown is a unique video-conferencing platform that simulates an in-person environment where you can move around and interact with different people. You will connect with DPSS admitted students, alumni, staff and other UChicago community members.
The 2022 happy hours have passed. Admitted students were invited by email.
Engage with DPSS alumni, UChicago community members, and program staff at a number of events set before your session begins. Register to attend an upcoming event and watch past conversations with faculty and alumni!
Contact us at email@example.com to schedule a call, we love to hear from you!
The first step is to officially accept your offer of admission. Your electronic admission letter will link you to the Admission Reply Form. Complete the one-question form by the deadline listed in your admission letter.
After accepting the electronic admission letter, you will submit a $1000 USD enrollment deposit to confirm your attendance. The deadline to submit the deposit is listed in your admission letter - approximately a few weeks after admission. The enrollment deposit will be applied to your total program cost and is reflected in the final bill. Payment is accepted by credit-card in your application portal.
The deposit is required and is non-refundable. Students who fail to submit the deposit in time are viewed as voluntarily giving up their seat to attend the program.
If you have a third-party sponsor paying the enrollment deposit, then contact our office before your deadline (firstname.lastname@example.org) for additional instructions.
Submitting payment for the remaining balance is different from the enrollment deposit. Payment is submitted through the UChicago Student Portal in one transaction. This process involves bank-to-bank transaction or a wire transfer instead of credit-card.
The deadline to pay the program fee is July 13, 2022 regardless of your session. This deadline is set by the University Bursar Office.
Students will receive a bill from the University Bursar Office in late June through their UChicago Student Portal. The bill will display the total program fee, the submitted enrollment deposit, and the remaining balance owed. UChicago Harris financial scholarship award, if applicable, will also be displayed on the bill. Students will submit payment through this student portal.
If you have a third-party sponsor paying the program fee, then contact our office approximately two-weeks before the program begins or before the bill due date, whichever is earlier. You will need to complete an additional step with the Bursar Office to enable the third-party sponsor to pay for the program. Please contact the DPSS Team (email@example.com) if you have any questions on payment processes.
Admitted students will receive detailed information about payment options closer to the program start date.
The matriculation process begins approximately one month before your session begins. During this time you will receive detailed instructions and deadlines on how to access your UChicago accounts, the virtual platforms, paying the program fee and more. Below is a summary.
DPSS covers all the materials you need to know starting the first day of class. There are no required prerequisites or expectations for read material before starting DPSS. When asked for tips on how to prepare for the program, Austin Wright, Assistant Professor and DPSS Faculty Director, suggested the following two books as optional reads.
Mastering Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect by Joshua D. Angrist and Jörn-Steffen Pischke