MS-CAPP Curriculum Overview

All MS-CAPP students complete a common set of courses in computer science and policy analysis - see the overview below. Courses marked with an [H] are taught by the Harris School of Public Policy while courses marked with a [CS] are taught by the Computer Science department.

  Fall Winter Spring
Year 1 Computer Science with Applications 1 [CS] Computer Science with Applications 2 [CS] Databases for Public Policy [CS]
Statistics I [H]
    Option 1
    Option 2
Statistics II [H]
    Option 1
    Option 2
Program Evaluation [H] *
Microeconomics I [H]
    Option 1
    Option 2
Mathematics for Computer Science and Data Analysis [CS] Machine Learning for Public Policy [CS]
Summer Internship    
Year 2 Analytical Politics [H] Microeconomics II [H] Elective
Elective Elective Elective
Elective Elective Elective

* Program Evaluation is offered every quarter; we encourage students to take it in the Spring quarter of their first year, but it may instead be taken in any quarter of the second year.

In the first year, students complete core sets of classes in computer science, statistics, and economics. Further, students study the mathematical fundamentals necessary for more advanced coursework and then engage with critical technical skills in their databases and machine learning courses. 

In the second year, students can deepen their understanding in econometrics, data science, applications development, and policy research. Students have the flexibility to take a wide range electives from Harris Public Policy and the Department of Computer Science, as well as other schools at the university (at least one elective in Harris and one elective in computer science is required). This often includes the Toyota Technology Institute at Chicago, the Booth School of Business, the Department of Economics, the Department of Statistics, the Division of Social Sciences, the Law School, and the School of Social Service Administration.

For further insight into the wide variety of interests students pursue in their second year, a comprehensive list of elective courses that CAPP students have taken in past academic years can be found here. Please note this is not an exhaustive list of courses that are offered (courses change from year to year), and is not an endorsement of these courses.

Students also have the opportunity to engage in policy labs, further developing their skills by helping partner organizations with real world problems. 

Waiver and Placement Exam Information

Waivers are available for a range of the core coursework, including Computer Science with Applications I and II, Mathematics for Computer Science & Data Analysis, Statistics I, Microeconomics II, and Analytical Politics. You can read about all of the waivers in detail on this page.