The M.S. in Computational Analysis & Public Policy (MS-CAPP) is a rigorous, two-year program offered jointly by the Harris School of Public Policy and the Department of Computer Science at The University of Chicago.
The curriculum is a three-legged stool, building foundational knowledge of computer science, statistics, and public policy analysis. Students then go on to advanced coursework in econometrics, machine learning, big data methods, data visualization, and application development all while learning how to apply these skills in the policy realm.
MS-CAPP graduates have become civic technologists, data scientists, and policy researchers bringing modern technology to bear on the societal problems that matter most.
MS-CAPP students have come from prominent places in governance like the White House and the Japanese Ministry of Finance, non-profit organizations like the World Bank, and technology companies like MongoDB. Still, not all applicants have a background in economics, statistics, or computer science: Drive, passion, and intellectual curiosity define the best MS-CAPP candidates.
“The MSCAPP program was just launching and offered a whole new dimension of computer programming, which felt like the natural extension of a quantitative program. And it built upon my pre-existing interest in coding. It was an amazing opportunity to have everything I wanted: the quantitative piece, public policy, and a whole new mastery of computer programming."
- Natnaell Mammo (MS-CAPP '16), Applied Data Scientist at Civis Analytics [More from Natnaell]
“The world of data analytics in the public sector is still defining itself. It’s a developing field with a lot of real opportunities for people at the intersection of public policy and computational analysis to make an impact,” Iwata says. “That makes it an exciting field to be a part of.”
- Mitsue Iwata (MS-CAPP '16), Technical Project Manager in the NYC Mayor's Office of Data Analytics [More from Mitsue]
“What I found compelling about CAPP was that it was taking all of the things that I was interested in and then applying them to things that actually matter, that are really important for people’s everyday lives, in a way that would prepare me for a career of making decisions and helping make things happen. This program can’t be found anywhere else.”
-Alden Golab (MS-CAPP '17), Data Engineer at Engima Technologies [More from Alden]
"I decided to learn how to code so that I could help build systems that would act as intermediaries between public officials and the citizens they serve, both asking and answering questions relevant to making choices that have a lot of impact on peoples’ lives. And so I came to the CAPP program."
-Emily Webber (MS-CAPP '17) is a Solution Architect at SimMachines [More from Emily]
"To me, Harris distinguishes itself from other public policy programs by treating public policy analysis as an evidence-driven and scientific discipline. I strongly believe that in order for us to collectively solve the most pressing issues of our time, we need to devise solutions driven by rigorous scientific analysis and aided by modern advances in computation. No other program I looked at was as intentionally committed to this approach as Harris."
-Saptarshi Ghose (MS-CAPP '19) [More from Saptarshi]
“Harris was the only place as quantitatively intense as what I experienced in undergrad. That’s what I wanted more of in my future... The facilities are so empowering and the policy background unparalleled.”
-Emma Nechamkin (MS-CAPP '19) [More from Emma]
“I was already aware that Harris offered rigorous training in economics and statistics,” Li says. ”And after reviewing the curriculum, I realized that Harris’s MSCAPP program offered me an unparalleled opportunity to combine my economics studies with training on policy research and analysis, especially from the perspective of quantitative methodologies.”
-Peter Li (MS-CAPP '20) [More from Peter]
“I chose the MSCAPP degree because I want to be able to make the language of technology more understandable to policy makers. That’s why the focus of the MSCAPP program on computer science, statistics, and policy analysis appealed to me right from the start.”
-Andrés Nigenda Zárate (MS-CAPP '20) [More from Andres]