Curriculum & Faculty

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. 


Data Analytics in Public Policy

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.

Introduction to Programming in R

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.

Read the blog post with advice from alumni on navigating the data-based coursework. 

Capstone Research Project 

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 gain in the project are transferable for further research in your area of interest.

Read Professor Wright's blog post about the capstone research project.

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.

Explore Examples

View some example data visualizations from previous students:


Austin Wright

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. 

Email 7_Professor Austin Wright

Credential Award

Participants will receive two documents, issued electronically, upon successful completion of the credential program:

  • Official UChicago Transcript with pass/fail marks (non-credit) for each academic component: Data Analytics, R Programming, and Capstone research project. Students will be able to access this transcript at the end of summer (approximately early October), and will have lifetime access to request a transcript from the University Registrar. This is a non-credit program.
  • Certificate of Credential Completion, issued by the Harris School of Public Policy, contains a letter grade for each academic component: Data Analytics, R Programming, and Capstone research project. You will receive an email from our office ( with the electronic certificate approximately four weeks after the program.

You are welcome to share your certificate and transcript in job or graduate school applications, professional networks such as LinkedIn, etc.

Schedule & Format

Program Dates

  • Session 1: June 13 - July 31, 2022

  • Session 2: July 25 - September 10, 2022

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.

View the application requirements and application process. 

Virtual Format

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. 

Read our blog post on the Benefits of the Virtual Format

Time Commitment

Anticipate a commitment of approximately 10-15 hours per week. This weekly estimate is based on: 

  • 1-2 hours of live office hours with faculty, teaching assistants and study group
  • 2-3 hours of live sessions of UChicago community resources
  • 3-5 hours of assignments and projects
  • 4-6 hours of lectures, watched and re-watched at your own pace

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.  

Office Hours

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).


Admissions & Fees


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. 

How to Apply 

Start Your Online Application

The application for this year is closed. The application will open in fall 2022 for the class starting in the summer of 2023.


Submit Required Application Materials
  • Motivation statement in English (word limit: 300)
  • Resume (one or two pages is recommended)
  • Academic transcripts
    • Transcripts must clearly state your full name and name of university or academic institution. If your transcripts show your student ID number instead of your name, then please provide supplemental documentation with both your full name and student ID number. 
    • Transcripts detail the course names, dates (term and year), grades and grading scales for each year of postsecondary (college or university) education.
    • Provide a transcript for each degree conferred (undergraduate and graduate).
    • Unofficial transcripts are accepted. You may upload a PDF copy. 
    • An English translation must be submitted for all foreign language transcripts. 

Read our Application Tips blog post

Application Deadlines

Application Deadline
Reply Deadline
Early Action January 11, 2022  January 20, 2022  March 8, 2022
Priority Deadline March 1, 2022 March 11, 2022 April 5, 2022 
Round 3 April 5, 2022 April 13, 2022 April 26, 2022
Round 4* May 3, 2022  May 11, 2022 May 24, 2022 
Round 5** May 31, 2022 early June June 15, 2022

The application for classes starting in the summer of 2022 has now closed.

Sign up to stay updated for the 2023 program.

Admissions notifications are issued approximately two weeks after the deadline.

We encourage you to apply early to take advantage of the priority deadline discount, longer timeline to confirm acceptance, and join events exclusive for submitted applicants and admitted students. 

Priority Deadline Benefits

There are several benefits to applying before the Priority Deadline. For example, you can:

  • Provide input on policy topics for capstone projects and speakers
  • Receive priority consideration for UChicago scholarship; Maximize your time for financial planning 
  • Plan your summer schedule and make the most of UChicago activities
  • Connect with your DPSS speakers, alumni and peers before the program begins

Learn about the full benefits of applying early

Program Fee and Payment

The program fee for the 2022 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. 

Tips for Financial Planning

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. 

Read our blog post with Tips on Financial Planning.

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.

Paying the Enrollment Deposit

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 ( for additional instructions.  

Paying the Program Fee

The program fee remaining balance is due July 13, 2022 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.

Community and Co-Curricular Resources

The program is intentional to create interactive spaces for students to learn, prepare and ask questions about careers in the field as well as connect with the UChicago Community. We have approximately one-three hours of community events each week of the program. These activities are hosted virtually. 

Read our blog post about the DPSS Virtual Community.

Policy in Action Speaker Series

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.

UChicago Community Chats (small group networking)

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.

Writing in Policy Workshops

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. 

Career Exploration Workshops

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.

Graduate Admission Panel

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. 

Social Activities

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. 

Chicago Weekend

W 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. 

Schedule and Activities

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:

  • Session 1: August 4-6, 2022
  • Session 2: September 15-17, 2022
Registration and Logistics

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. 

By the Numbers

Learn more about the Data and Policy Summer Scholar student cohort and outcomes.

DPSS_Icons_Artboard 9


Summer Scholars



Countries Represented

2021 Cohort Demographics

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 undergratuate study


Completed during or after their graduate study


Had former full-time professional experience

Top Undergraduate Majors

The top undergraduate majors of the 2021 cohort include:

  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Languages

Alumni Outcomes

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.

Read the blog post: DPSS Benefits for Graduate School


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:


Alumni Stories

Meet Data and Policy Summer Scholar Program alumni and hear of their experiences. You can read their profiles and watch their testimonies below. 

Connect with Alumni

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. 

Oscar  Becerra Hernandez-1
Oscar Becerra Hernandez

From working in vineyards as a youth to serving his Oregon community as a certified alcohol and drug counselor, Oscar enjoys cultivating connections and contributing to measurable social impact. He attended DPSS in 2021 seeking to make a formal transition into public policy and develop his quantitative analysis tool kit. After DPSS, Oscar has worked in recruiting and as a Community and Scientific Board Member at the University of Oregon, and will return to UChicago Harris in the fall of 2022 to begin the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program.

"In just seven weeks DPSS gave me a strong foundation in quantitative analysis and a programming language. This was huge for me because I never coded a day in my life.”

Watch Oscar's video.

Amethyst Davis
Amethyst Davis

Amethyst initially pursued DPSS as a stepping stone to graduate school. When she realized her grandparents' home town of Harvey, Illinois lacked a news outlet, she decided she wanted to leverage the data visualization and analysis tools in the DPSS program to build her own news company from the ground up. Her company, The Harvey World Herald, launched in shortly after her experience in DPSS in the summer of 2021.

"DPSS made me a better listener and changed the sort of questions I ask as a journalist."

Read Amethyst's profile.

Allison Lu, DPSS 2021-1
Jaiyue "Allison" Lu

Allison was a rising senior at Shanghai International Studies University, studying Russian Language and Literature when she attended DPSS in 2021. Allison chose DPSS because she wanted to explore first-hand the importance of data analysis in developing efficient public policy. Having no prior coding experience, Allison was able to write code and produce data visualizations at the end of the program. She is currently a Business Analyst Intern at Accenture, and plans to pursue a master’s degree in the United States in the future.

"DPSS satisfied all my expectations of data analysis and data visualization. Even if you are a complete novice, like I was, you can still write your own code at the end of the program.”

Watch Allison's video.

Wrojensky André
Wrojensky André

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."

Read Wrojensky’s profile.

Alexandra Garney
Alexandra Garney

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.”

Read Alexandra’s profile.

Sanika Sahrabuddhe
Sanika Sahasrabuddhe

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."

Read Sanika's Profile.

Miyu Haraguchi
Miyu Haraguchi

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.” 

Hear Miyu share more in her video interview. 

Brandon Williams
Brandon Williams

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.”

Read Brandon’s profile.

Yuqing Cheng

Yuqing was a senior at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics majoring in Applied Mathematics and Finance Statistics when he attended DPSS in 2020. He devotes a lot of his time to mathematical and statistical modelling and wanted to extend his knowledge to real-world problems by joining the DPSS program. In his previous work at Bloomberg Academy, he guided his team on trade-war policies and policy analysis. Through his work, he learned how to translate raw data to current affairs and media. With a long term goal to deepen his understanding of data and policy, he plans to advance in the sector after gaining new skills through the DPSS program.  

“I deeply understand the meaning of the slogan: Social Impact, Down to a Science. With the DPSS capstone project, I learned to analyze complex real-world data with tools that streamline the process. And I made friends across the world—thanks to the German language interest group, Miguel and I will continue practicing German together after DPSS.”

Maria Eugenia
Maria Eugenia Araujo

From Sao Paulo, Brazil, Maria graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Pontificia Universidade Catolica Do Rio De Janeiro in 2020. During her time in university, she studied corporate law and eventually moved to technology law where she found a place to explore her interests in both computer science and law. 

She turned to DPSS in the summer of 2020 as a way to experience graduate school in the United States and learn more about data science tools, which she hopes to incorporate into her legal toolkit. In Spring 2021, Maria attended Columbia University’s visiting post-bachelor student program in Computer Science to pursue her passion for technology law. 

“DPSS was amazing. As a lawyer, I was afraid I would struggle with  the quantitative skills, but all the staff was so helpful, and Professor Wright was a great lecturer.”

Read Maria's profile

Meera Trivedi
Meera Trivedi

Meera was a rising a sophomore majoring in History and Politics at Krea University in South India when she completed DPSS in 2020. As a part of the first cohort students at Krea University, Meera saw an opportunity to realize her interest in student government and policy by establishing Krea University’s first student council and co-authoring the University’s Student Constitution. Meera gained further interest in education policy through her time tutoring at local orphanages. Meera gained exposure to data-driven policy thinking through DPSS. The program helped her see how data can help advance her many policy areas of interest. 

“My experience with DPSS was phenomenal.  It gave me clarity on the kind of future I see for myself. DPSS taught me to collect and use data in ways I have not been taught in school.”

Read Meera's profile

Esnold Jure
Esnold Jure

Esnold completed DPSS in 2020 as a rising senior at Paul Quinn College studying Political Science. Inspired to work towards directing state resources to those who need them most, he has been learning about the roles of various stakeholders who play a key part in creating policies. He aims to help policymakers in the formulation, evaluation, and implementation of policy programs using data and evidence. Through the DPSS program, Esnold wanted to gain first-hand experience analyzing policies through an empirical framework used by policy practitioners.  He also wanted to learn about policy experiences from the diverse group of students in the program while also sharing insight from his own multicultural background. Esnold is currently enrolled in a graduate program at George Washington University. 

“I enjoyed the group discussions led by both staff and students. I had the opportunity to meet new people and learn about their current roles and career plans. I also appreciated the office hours, especially with Professor Wright, because that's the place to test your ideas and find solutions. There was always an opportunity to discover something new or reinforce a concept.”

Hear Esnold's experience in his video interview. 

Xiaoyun Tang
Xiaoyun Tang

Xiaoyun is a graduate of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE) with experience in the financial industry as well as public policy. Xiaoyun most recently worked on strategic planning and branding projects for NGO clients in China.

Xiaoyun chose DPSS as a way to explore her budding interest in public policy and experience evidence-based research. Through DPSS’ data-driven emphasis on public policy, she feels more confident with applying advanced mathematical concepts and has gained a better understanding of what drives policy decisions. Xiaoyun attended DPSS in the summer of 2020, and in fall of 2021, started her Master of Public Policy at Harris Public Policy.  

“It was very interesting and very helpful for us to solve real-world problems. I now feel more comfortable with the quantitative side of public policy.”

Learn more of Xiaoyun's story.

Amanda Booth
Amanda Booth

With a diverse professional background in writing and design, Amanda was a Content Designer at IBM when she completed DPSS in 2020. With an educational background in journalism, Amanda wanted to fill the gap between open-ended questions and cautious conclusions with quantifiable insights. She pursued the DPSS program to gain the tools to understand the interpersonal and socioeconomic impacts of technology and information policy. Looking to pivot to a more data-oriented policy role, Amanda chose the DPSS program equip her with the skills to change careers. In the fall of 2021, she began a graduate program in public policy in her home state of Texas. 

“The capstone project was my favorite part of the program, as it allowed me to express my own creativity and dive into things I am passionate about. Even when we were working as a group, the program staff encouraged us to go beyond the rubric to explore our individual interests.”

Hear Amanda's experience in her video interview. 

Raymond Zhang
Raymond Zhang

Raymond graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Systems Engineering in 2018. Since graduation, he has worked as a process and manufacturing engineer for 3M, where he has led two major Lean Six Sigma Green belt projects amongst several others and financial benefits of over 400k combined. 

In his free time, Raymond enjoyed coaching speech and debate for a local high school, advising a team of about 50 students. Raymond turned to DPSS in 2020 as a way to explore his growing interests in education and social science. In the fall of 2021, he began a graduate program at Stanford University. 

“The DPSS program was one of the only programs that had the emphasis I wanted: data-driven, highly analytical but also in the field of social science. I don’t think there are many programs that offer that.”

Read Raymond's profile

Tatiana Amaya
Tatiana Amaya

Tatiana was a sophomore majoring in psychology and public policy at Claremont McKenna College when she attended DPSS in 2020. She strives to better understand others’ experiences through psychology and help the underserved through education and policy. While Tatiana was in the DPSS program learning more about public policy, she also gained more experience in education through her internship with the Center for Black Educator Development, where she taught underserved children in her community how to read and explore their identity. 

After her experience with the program, she feels more comfortable with data analysis including programming in R, and more certainty in her interest in public policy. 

“In the DPSS program, you are able to work one-on-one with professors. You can collaborate with peers on problem sets and coding. The quantitative analysis portion of DPSS really attracted me and was a valuable part of the program. I was able to take what I learned and utilize it to produce my very first capstone project. I am very grateful for my experience.

Read Tatiana's profile. 

Irene Franco
Irene Franco Rubio

Irene attended DPSS in 2019 while a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. Growing up in the West Phoenix Valley in Arizona and recognizing social and racial injustices in disadvantaged communities, she made it her mission to advocate for systematically oppressed populations. She hopes to shift today’s media landscape by accurately representing the perspectives of disenfranchised communities as an advocate, content creator, intersectional thinker, and change-maker. In the fall of 2019, Irene interned at the U.S. House of Representatives at the office of Debra Haaland, one of the two first Native American women to serve in Congress, in Washington D.C. through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

“Through DPSS I came to better understand the importance of data in policymaking. Having this data and quantitative analysis awareness will give me the edge that is necessary when it comes to reporting, and when it comes to producing evidence-based writing."

Jiuzhi Simon Zhang
Simon Zhang

Simon was a senior at University of California Los Angeles, majoring in applied mathematics and minoring in philosophy, went he joined DPSS in 2019. He chose the program to connect his analytic and liberal arts backgrounds and apply the quantitative skills to issues he is passionate about, such as international relations. In his capstone project, Simon worked with Dr. Kara Ross Camarena to aid in her research into refugee camps and the political economy of migration. Simon aims to apply the quantitative analysis and R programming he learned in the program to his coursework in the fall. In the fall of 2021, Simon started the Master of Public Policy program at Harris. 

“The work we're doing really allowed us to apply the skills we learned throughout this program, as well as think about some of the important policies that needs to be addressed in this world today. I really love the faculty here. I've got to talk to a few of them about my possible future, career-wise or academic. They've been really helpful in terms of helping me think about what my next step is in my life.” 

Read Simon's profile.

Kristen Storms
Kristen Storms

Kristen attended DPSS in 2019 as a rising junior at Soka University of America in southern California, studying humanities with an emphasis on law, history, and critical race theory. Kristen attended the program seeking a taste of quantitative analysis to balance her liberal arts education. She applied the mathematics and computer programming she learned at UChicago toward her senior capstone project at Soka. In the fall of 2021, Kristen will begin her law degree at Loyola University Chicago. 

“Despite my lack of background in quantitative analysis and (computer) programming, I felt comfortable in the classroom to ask my questions, because I know that all of my classmates are at different stages, and some know more than others. We really collaborate in the classroom and outside of the classroom, as well. I always have support—not only from faculty, but also my own classmates. And I now have a very firm foundation in both quantitative analysis and R programming language that I can take beyond this program.”

Learn more in Kristen's video.

Maria Ballesteros
Maria Ballesteros

María is a graduate of Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México with a bachelors in Political Science. Her interest in understanding how policy impacts daily life influenced her choice to attend the 2018 Data and Policy Summer Scholar Program. María returned to UChicago Harris Public Policy as a full-time Research Assistant, and supported the 2019 program as a Teaching Fellow and Resident Assistant. She started her PhD in Government at Harvard University in fall of 2020.

"The biggest impact was getting to work with so many exceptional people from all around the world. The capstone project allowed us to work closely with both professors and peers in several fields, all of whom have different outlooks on a specific problem. Living in the dorms and exploring the city was a great balance of fun and social engagement to our studies. The group’s diverse backgrounds made the program an enriching and mind-opening experience."

Read María’s blog post.

Manish Muthukrishnan
Manish Muthukrishnan

Manish studied economics and marketing at the University of Canterbury when he attended DPSS in 2019. Wanting to supplement his knowledge of statistics with a foundation in computer programming, Muthukrishnan attended the program to learn the computer programming language R. While at UChicago, he used R to analyze data on racial segregation in Chicago housing and to create a visual representation to communicate the scope of the problem. 

“I've always been in public policy, but the data element and how you can incorporate that into public policy is something that DPSS has really given me. After this, I want to go back and continue learning R, and add Python to it. That will be really useful in my career, and the impact that I can have on my community.” 

Learn more in Manish's video.

Jessica Lyu
Jessica Lyu

Jessica attended DPSS in 2018 before graduating from the University of International Business Economics in China. As an economics major Jessica has a solid knowledge of the theoretical side. She chose this program to learn more about policy and the application side, which is part of the reason why she enjoyed the policy series the most. In December 2020, she graduated with Master of Arts in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods at Harris. 

“What impressed me the most was the ability to ask all of our questions. we were able to ask questions at any time in class, and there were office hours every day after class for us to ask more questions. This ability and opportunity to connect with faculty and engage the course content was different from my undergraduate experience.”

Kevin Silverman
Kevin Silverman

Kevin completed his bachelor’s degree in Intellectual History from Williams College shortly after completed the DPSS program in 2019. Pivoting from a liberal arts background with an interest to develop a data toolkit, he knew the DPSS program at UChicago Harris would be a natural fit. Since DPSS, Kevin has worked in venture capital and environmental consulting. 

“The DPSS program helped me build my quantitative toolkit and policy-oriented framework to thoughtfully engage in policy debates. My current role in venture capital builds upon the coding skills I learned at Harris, while the policy foundations and debates we grappled with have proven invaluable as I immerse myself in the tech world. Professor Wright demonstrated that working for the public good is not accomplished only by government officials, but the responsibility of a diverse group of actors working together.”

Hear more from Kevin in his recent webinar.

Mayra Hoyos Benitez
Mayra Hoyos Benitez

Mayra graduated from the Universidad de Monterrey with a double bachelor’s in Political Science & Public Administration and International Affairs. Prior to joinning DPSS in the summer of 2019, she was a researcher for TOJIL, a non-profit civil association, and a Director of International Affairs at the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples. Wanting to focus on public policy, Mayra saw the program as a crucial preparatory step for graduate study—or any policy job.  She worked as an Account Supervisor at Edelman Public Affairs Practice before starting her Master of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School in the fall of 2020. 

“Through this program I learned that I can push myself, and get out of my comfort zone to learn new skills and to do things I never thought I could do before. This was most apparent in our capstone project, which explored how the demographics of refugee camps have shifted to include more women and children. It was challenging and rewarding to accomplish so much in so little time.” 

Ruobing Wang
Ruobing Wang

Ruobing attended DPSS in 2019 while studying computer science and economics at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and working as a teaching assistant for the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He worked as a student mentor for a Bloomberg Workshop to analyze the stock market and financial trends. Ruobing decided to join the program to learn the economics behind programming systems and network within UChicago.

“This program offers opportunity to build your network. Not only did I meet with university admission advisers, but also with current graduate students and professionals. For example, I had coffee with a student who has almost two decades of experience working in global finance and policy. It was really helpful to talk with him about his experience, work, and how he applies the course materials. We are now connected through LinkedIn.” 

Yangzhou Ou
Yangzhou Ou

Yangzhou is an aspiring data journalist. Before entering her fourth year at Fudan University’s School of Journalism, Yangzhou was actively seeking data science and quantitative skills. She chose DPSS in 2018 to become equipped with the analytical and programming skills to conduct in-depth reporting. Yangzhou interned  at international organization and technology companies before returning to Harris in fall of 2020 as a graduate student in our MS in Computational Analysis and Public Policy.

"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. I was amazed to find that I could visualize the data and conduct analysis with the knowledge I learnt just few weeks ago."

Read more in Yangzhou’s blog post.

Zhaopeng “Cecilia” Cai
Zhaopeng “Cecilia” Cai

Cecilia was a junior at New York University Shanghai, is earning a bachelor’s degree in Interactive Media Arts when she joined DPSS in 2019. She studies and artistically interprets the connections between new media technology and the physical world. Cecilia chose the program to learn how to use data to help solve real-world problems through policy—a skill she thinks will be invaluable in her post-college career.

“It really helped me a lot in thinking about how to analyze a situation and what kind of information I will have to seek to support my evidence. One thing I learned is to never be too hasty to draw conclusions from your evidence. That logic and that mindset really helped me prepare for my future learning.”

Nina Jhunjhnuwala
Nina Jhunjhnuwala

Nina graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Conservation and Resource Studies shortly after completing the 2019 DPSS program. She chose the program as a way to add quantitative prowess to her qualitative skills, particularly when it comes to analyzing environmental policy. Nina found her newfound computer program and data analysis skills was the first step she needed to enter the force workforce and begin her journey to being a programmer and software engineer. 

“The academic highlight for me for me has been in learning how to use the programming language, R. Learning how to utilize it to analyze data has been such a joy in a way that I didn't expect it to be. It's difficult to learn, but once you're able to master it—and are able to analyze data and be able to predict results and draw graphs—it really changes how you view data and how you can use it to move forward research. I'm able to spend hours on a (data) set and get an immediate answer in a way that you couldn't do before having this program.”

Learn more in Nina's video.

Lana Kugli
Lana Kugli

Lana completed DPSS in 2018 the summer she graduated from New York University Shanghai with a bachelors in Economics. Her research interest and experience is in the intersection of economics, politics, and gender. In search of a fulfilling graduate school program, Lana chose the program to help narrow to her search and to deepen her technical understanding of data. After a few years of working, she enrolled in the MS in Computational Analysis and Public Policy at Harris in the fall of 2021.

"I entered the program with so many graduate school ideas. I wanted to learn programming, and to understand my graduate school interests. Week by week, the program shaped my interests and goals. I ended the program with a clear picture of what I want. I want to go to graduate school for a Masters in Public Policy with data analytics.”

Read more in Lana’s blog post.

Sixian Zeng
Sixian Zeng

Sixian attended DPSS in 2018 while an undergraduate student at Peking University, studying sociology. Sixian found UChicago Harris School of Public Policy to be a place for diverse people and backgrounds who share the commonality of wanting to increase social good. Sixian’s insight for prospective students is if you are interested in public policy and want to do social good, then this program is for you.

“The classes are worth our efforts, challenging but rewarding. I would definitely recommend this program to whoever wants to experience the UChicago way of being rigorous and fun and learn new things everyday.”

Maria Camila Diaz Granados Baena
Maria Camila Diaz Granados Baena

María Camila attended DPSS in 2018 between finishing a degree in psychology and business administration from the Universidad De Los Andes. Her background combines the internal or innate human mind and the external or socialized structures in society,and how these two factors relate in effective policy. María Camila chose UChicago because of the diverse and interdisciplinary approach to education and research necessary for data-based policy.

"I got to know the University of Chicago and get a glimpse of what studying there would be like. I loved getting to know more about the different graduate programs the university offers. In addition, I really enjoyed getting to know different people from all over the world and from different backgrounds including students, teachers, and other members of the UChicago community."

Admitted Students

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.

Events for Admitted Students

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.  

Connect with Your DPSS Team

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 to schedule a call, we love to hear from you!

Steps to Enroll: Part One

Accept Your Offer

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. 

Submit Your Enrollment Deposit

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 ( for additional instructions.  

Paying the Program Fee 

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. 

You can preview the payment process from the UChicago Bursar Office webpage on Self-Payment Options and Third-Party Contract Option.

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 ( if you have any questions on payment processes. 

Admitted students will receive detailed information about payment options closer to the program start date.

Steps to Enroll: Part Two

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. 

  1.  Claim your UChicago CNetID: Claiming your UChicago CNetID will include the generation of your email address, and enable access your UChicago Student Portal, which is where you will pay your remaining program fee. The deadline to claim your CNetID is: 
    • Session One Deadline: May 31, 2022
    • Session Two Deadline:  June 30, 2022

  2. (Optional) Register for the Chicago Weekend:  You will receive a link to register for the Chicago Weekend-an optional, in-person event the weekend after your session ends. Please see the above Community Resources section for details.  

  3. Pay the Program Fee in your UChicago Student Portal: Read the above "Paying the Program Fee" section for details. The deadline to submit payment is July 13, 2022 for both Session One and Session Two. 

  4. Join the Platforms (Canvas, Slack, Zoom): Your UChicago email address will be invited to these platforms a couple weeks before the session start date. It is in Canvas that you will access academic materials, and the full schedule of live office hours, lectures and community activities (workshops, networking, etc.). 

  5. Register for Orientation and Community Activities:  Orientation occurs one week before the session begins. Community Activities occur two or three times a week during the program. The full dates, times, and details are on Canvas.
    • Session One Orientation:  June 6, 7:00-8:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time
    • Session Two Orientation: July 18, 7:00-8:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time

Jumpstart Your Learning

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.

Thinking Clearly with Data: A Guide to Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis by Ethan Bueno de Mesquita and Anthony Fowler

Mastering Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect by Joshua D. Angrist and Jörn-Steffen Pischke