FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

If you are unable to find specific information in the questions below, please feel free to contact us at 


How do I apply for Data and Policy Summer Scholar Program?

Applicants will create an online account here to fill out the application. We encourage you to start your application as early as possible, and you can always log into your account to edit your application before submitting it.

What is the deadline of the application?

In 2019 there are two sessions of the program and each session has different deadlines. You can find the specific deadlines here. We encourage students to apply in the Early Action Round.

What is the application fee?

There is no application fee for this program. However, if you need to take the Academic English Proficiency Assessment (AEPA), there is a non-refundable $70 fee charged by the University of Chicago Office of Language Assessment.

Will you tell me if you have successfully received my application material?

After you submit your materials electronically, you will be able to check the status of your application online. Please do not send inquiries requesting status of your application. If your application is incomplete, you will be notified directly via email.

When can I expect to receive an admission decision?

It usually takes two weeks to release admissions results after each round of application. We will send out the official admissions result electronically via email. Please make sure you can receive emails from If you do not hear from us after two weeks of the application deadline, please email us directly.

Should my grades (GPA) be converted on a scale of 4.0?

We ask you to convert your grades on a scale of /4.0. However, you should submit the transcript showing your grades in their original format.

Must my transcript be translated into English?

Yes, if your are from an institution that uses non-English as the official language, please translate all content into English and convert all grades on a scale of /4.0.

Should transcripts be sent directly to Harris from an institution, or can they come by way of the applicant?

Unofficial transcripts can be uploaded via the electronic application. Applicants who are offered admission may be required to submit official transcripts.

Why was my application denied? Can I be reconsidered?

We assess a number of factors when evaluating applications to the summer scholar program. Academic background, work/internship experience, test scores, motivations for participating the summer program and essays all play an equal role in consideration. For international students, English language skills are also assessed. There is no one factor that determines admission. At this time, we are unable to provide specific feedback on your application and all admission decisions are final. If you would like to re-apply in the next application cycle, we would be happy to transfer any materials to a new application.

Is the program open to undergraduate or graduate students?

We welcome both undergraduate or graduate students to participate in the program as we believe based on your unique background and knowledge expertise, you may find either one or several aspects of the academic component of the program being very attractive and challenging. Courses are offered by UChicago faculty who have tremendous experience teaching both undergraduate and graduate students.

How many students will be joining this program this summer? What is the admission rate?

In 2018 there were 52 students joining the program from eight countries. We expect to have a similar cohort size in 2019.

Can I work while being a summer student?

Unfortunately you will not be able to work or get paid under your short-term visiting student visa status during the program period.

English Requirements

What is the language requirement for applying the program? If I do not have TOEFL/ IELTS score, will I be able to apply for the program?

International applicants may submit either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to meet the English language requirement. If you are not able to provide a TOEFL or IELTS score report, you have to take the Academic English Proficiency Assessment (AEPA). Please email with the subject title “Request for AEPA - Your Name” as early as possible and you will be contacted by us to arrange the test.

Can I submit SAT, AP or A-Level results instead of TOEFL/IELTS to prove my English proficiency?

No. You must have an official TOEFL or IELTS score sent directly to the University of Chicago. The University’s institution code for TOEFL reporting is 1849; if you are taking the IELTS, University of Chicago downloads IELTS scores that have been transmitted to our e-download account. Please contact your test center and request that your scores be sent to the following IELTS e-download account:

University of Chicago - Graduate Enrollment
970 East 58th Street, Third Floor Chicago, IL 60637

If you have issues contacting the test center, please email graduate with your TRF number as soon as possible.

What is the AEPA?

The Academic English Proficiency Assessment (AEPA) is an authentic, highly structured English conversation between a prospective University of Chicago student and an English language specialist at the University of Chicago. An AEPA typically lasts 15 to 30 minutes and includes an academic role play. You can get access to more information relating to AEPA here.

How should I prepare for the AEPA?

Due to the spontaneous and customized nature of the AEPA, there is no official way to study for an AEPA. The language specialist’s goal is to elicit the test taker’s best possible sample of spoken English in academic context. The language specialist is interested in overall, functional speaking ability rather than only accuracy and grammar.

Can I retake the AEPA if I am not satisfied with my performance during the test?

Yes, it is possible to retake the AEPA. However, since this test measures the overall academic English oral proficiency, it is not expected that a candidate has a significantly higher rating unless the first rating was impacted by some external non-language factors on the test taker’s side. Each candidate receives an individualized scoring report and feedback which points of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. This can be used as a roadmap to improve the rating for the second attempt. The AEPA is not scored and will be rescheduled if any technical problems occur during the test.

Program Fee and Financial Aid

What is the cost of attendance and what does it include?

The cost of attendance for this program is $9,500. This amount includes all tuition, course materials, meal plans*, on-campus accommodations, student life fees, extracurricular fees and mandatory student health insurance. Travel costs (e.g. flight tickets) are NOT included.

  • Meal plans: your cost of attendance covers $600 value of meals that you can freely choose in various locations on campus. The amount is a good estimation of covering your weekday on-campus life as well as to provide some flexibility for you to dine out. Please notice that the $600 amount is non-refundable so it is your responsibility to use it up. You can always add more dollars into your meal plan account once you start the program.

How can I let the admission team know that I will attend the program?

Once being admitted and accepting the electronic offer letter from the admissions team, you need to submit a $2500 enrollment deposit to confirm your attendance by the deposit deadline shown here. The deposit will apply to your tuition reflected in the electronic bill later. Students who fail to submit the deposit in time will be viewed as voluntarily giving up the seat to attend the program.

How can I pay for the program fees?

You will receive an electronic bill from the University’s Bursar Office around late June 2019 and you will follow the instructions to pay for the bill that covers the entire program fees. The Bursar Office recommends international students to use flywire to make payments which allows multiple ways to do it.

What is the refund policy if I decide not to come or quit during the program period?

If you cannot attend the program due to personal reasons, we ask you to inform the admissions team as soon as possible via email. We will evaluate your case on an individual basis and decide if you will be refunded, to what level etc.

When will you issue the financial aid decision?

If you are admitted with a scholarship, you will receive the letter of scholarship electronically at the same time together with your program admissions letter.