Students participating in the summer 2024 cohort will enhance their quantitative and communication skills through coursework in Statistics, Microeconomics, and Writing for the full seven weeks of the program, complimented by two to three week policy modules on a specific policy topic.

Policy topics in 2023 included National Security taught by Javed Ali, who previously held positions in the Department of Homeland Security and FBI, and Poverty & Social Policy featuring Natasha Pilkauskas, whose research has been supported by the Institute for Research on Poverty and the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation.

Students in the 2024 cohort will also  have the opportunity to connect directly with our internationally recognized faculty and guest speakers through weekly lunch conversations. Additionally, Ford School JSI participants will engage in professional development, career planning, resume workshops hosted by our Career Services Office, and graduate school admissions preparation sessions with our Admissions Team.

Previous programs have included site visits to Detroit, Lansing, Flint, and Chicago to meet with government officials, community organizers, and policy makers. These connections allow students to learn about policy issues that are affecting citizens in real-time and empower students to envision themselves as future leaders in public policy. Learn more about the Ford School.


Each student enrolled in the Ford School JSI receives a $1,500 stipend, on-campus housing and meals, travel expenses for arrival and departure from the program, and books and related course supplies. Students will receive exclusive access to a full GRE preparation course, as well as receive GRE preparation materials. PPIA Fellows who successfully complete any PPIA Junior Summer Institute and who are admitted to the Ford School’s Master of Public Policy will be guaranteed at least a quarter tuition fellowship. They are also eligible to be considered for a Rackham Masters Award which consists of four semesters of tuition and fees, a living stipend, and health care.


The Ford School PPIA JSI program offers courses focused on improving students’ communication and quantitative reasoning skills, which we believe are vital to set students up for success in graduate programs. There are no prerequisite courses, but previous experience in algebra is beneficial for comprehension. Students do not receive any course grades, but will receive a detailed qualitative evaluation which can then be included in a graduate application to provide admissions committees with a deeper understanding of the student’s abilities.


This course covers descriptive statistics, probability theory, probability distributions, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. It also includes an introduction to experimental design. Emphasis in this course is placed on preparing competent users and consumers of basic statistics.


This course teaches the fundamental concepts in microeconomic theory that are essential as a foundation for the study of public policy, law, and international affairs. Students learn economic theory in order to model decision-making processes. Participants will also learn how to evaluate whether an outcome is good for society and what incentives are needed to achieve a desired outcome. Each course lecture includes a policy debate where students use economic models to analyze a policy problem and propose solutions.

Policy Modules

In these accelerated courses, our accomplished Ford School faculty introduce students to current policy issues, encouraging intellectual and professional growth by applying analytic tools and improving communication skills – particularly writing composition. The policy modules will each have a distinct focus, with a mix of international and domestic topics. The material and approaches used in these modules will draw from topics established within the Statistics and Economics courses. Students will craft policy memos analyzing each topic area, and will gain expertise in public speaking and presentation. Previous module topics have included Counterterrorism, Transportation Policy, Health Policy, Irrational Actors: Psychological Approaches to Decision Making; International Economic Policy; Mass Incarceration; Public Management and Environmental Protection; U.S-China Relations and many more.

Writing Instruction

Students will collaborate with a Ford Writing Center instructor for the duration of the summer program. This instructor conducts seminars on the norms and best practices of policy writing, opinion writing, graduate school application statements, and career documents. In addition, the Writing Center instructor meets with students one-on-one for individualized conferences focused on writing assistance and feedback on any writing the student is working on during the program.


Application deadline  November 1, 2023
Admission notification  February 1, 2024
Program begins  June 9, 2024
Program ends  July 28, 2024


Ann Arbor is nationally ranked as one of the most livable communities in the United States. Energetic and intellectual, attracting students from all over the country and the world, the city features outdoor concert series, and farmer’s markets. Ann Arbor is within an hour drive of Detroit and about five hours from Chicago and Toronto. New York City, Boston, and Washington D.C. are ninety minutes away by plane. The University of Michigan is only blocks away from downtown, where you'll find museums, restaurants, music venues and independent bookstores, as well as record stores, comic shops and movie theaters. Historic bungalows and Victorians make up much of the housing surrounding the city. To the north and east of downtown you can find canoe liveries and boat launches on the Huron River, along with dozens of miles of running trails in the Nichols Arboretum and in the city's enormous park system.


PPIA Junior Summer Institute at University of Michigan

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

735 S. State Street, #2245 Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091

Phone: 734-764-0453


Learn more about the program here!