Curriculum

MS-CAPP Curriculum Overview

All MS-CAPP students complete a common set of courses in computer science and policy analysis, listed 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 Microeconomics I [H]
    Option 1
    Option 2
Mathematics for Computer Science and Data Analysis [CS] Microeconomics II [H]
Statistics I [H]
    Option 1
    Option 2
Statistics II [H]
    Option 1
    Option 2
Databases for Public Policy [CS}
Computer Science with Applications 1 [CS] Computer Science with Applications 2 [CS] Machine Learning for Public Policy [CS}
Summer   Internship  
Year 2 Analytical Politics [H] Program Evaluation [H] Elective
Elective Elective Elective
Elective Elective Elective

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. This often includes the Toyota Technology Institute at Chicago, the Booth School of Business, as well as the Department of Economics, the Department of Statistics, the Division of Social Sciences, and UChicago Law.

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

MS-CAPP Waiver/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.

Lecture Series

In addition to the coursework, CAPP students attend a weekly lecture series on recent research and innovation in data-driven public policy and civic technology.  Students and faculty interact with both academic and non-academic experts, learn of current challenges, and establish professional networks with potential future employers. Previous speakers have included:

  • Paul Decker, CEO of Mathematica Policy Research
  • Natalie Evans Harris, Senior Policy Advisor, White House OSTP
  • Ron Jarmin, Acting Director of the US Census Bureau
  • Shelley Grach, Director of Civic Engagement at Microsoft Chicago
  • Tom Schenk, Chief Data Officer for the City of Chicago
  • Jascha Franklin-Hodge; Chief Information Officer for the City of Boston
  • Charlie Catlett, Director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data
  • Hollie Russon-Gilman, Fellow, Political Reform Program, New America
  • University of Chicago faculty, such as Austin Wright, Luis Bettencourt, Jens Ludwig, David Meltzer, and Dean Katherine Baicker

Summer Internship

Students gain further exposure to real policy issues through the summer internship program.  Students engage in a summer internship placement related to their area of interest.  Past internships have included roles in government and in organizations that have strong relationships with government agencies, in. This experience provides hands-on learning and assists students in determining their second-year specialization.

Research Opportunities on Campus

Many MS-CAPP students also engage in research while taking courses. A wide range of associated research centers have ongoing work that is highly pertinent to the MS-CAPP curriculum.