The UChicago Institute of Politics

Our Mission

The nonpartisan Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago is an extracurricular program designed to ignite in young people a passion for politics and public service.

Our Programs

Three programs form the core of the Institute: A visiting Fellows program where political officials, policymakers, journalists and others involved in politics and policy share their experiences with students and others over an academic quarter; an expanded set of policy and public interest internships; and a continuous series of public speakers discussing current events and political life.

Our Story

The idea for the Institute of Politics grew out of the lifelong experiences of its founding director, David Axelrod AB ’76, an accomplished political journalist, strategist and policy advisor, and his core belief that participation is essential to a vital, healthy democracy. Inspired by his own work with young people through various political campaigns and by the example of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, Axelrod sought to establish a non-partisan program in Chicago that would provide students with opportunities to engage directly with the ideas, people and processes that shape politics today.

A Legacy Of Public Service

Consistent with the University’s tradition of wide-ranging political debate, the Institute of Politics brings together leaders, fellows, and students from a broad spectrum of political beliefs and experiences.

The University of Chicago has a long tradition of diversity of political thought, embracing innovative thinkers with an array of political viewpoints. The University has given rise to some of the most noted political leaders and thinkers of the last century. The list of alumni and former faculty members includes Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders AB '64; Sen. Paul Douglas; Sen. Carol Moseley Braun; Sen. Charles Percy; Sen. Amy Klobuchar; U.S. Attorney General Edward Levi; U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft; U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz; and President Barack Obama.

Alumni of the University also have made prominent contributions to public service journalism, including Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist David Broder, AB’47, AM’51; New York Times columnist David Brooks, AB’83; Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Daniel Gilbert, AB’05; Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winning publisher and author Katharine Graham, AB’38; Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, AB’58; New York Times editorial board member Brent Staples, AM’76, PhD’82; and Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago writer Studs Terkel, PhB’32, JD’34.

University of Chicago Non-Discrimination Statement

In keeping with its long-standing traditions and policies, the University of Chicago considers students, employees, applicants for admission or employment, and those seeking access to University programs on the basis of individual merit. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law (including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972).For additional information regarding the University of Chicago’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct, please see:

The University official responsible for coordinating compliance with this Notice of Nondiscrimination is Sarah Wake, Assistant Provost and Director of the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs. Ms. Wake also serves as the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Affirmative Action Officer, and Section 504/ADA Coordinator.  You may contact Ms. Wake by emailing, by calling 773.702.5671, or by writing to Sarah Wake, Office of the Provost, The University of Chicago, 5801 S. Ellis Ave., Suite 510, Chicago, IL 60637.