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General Information

This is an archived copy of the 2012-13 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Announcements: Graduate Programs in the Divisions provides an overview of all graduate programs at the University of Chicago in the Divisions of the Humanities, the Social Sciences, the Physical Sciences, and the Biological Sciences. Professional schools in the University are closely integrated into the wider University; their programs are briefly described here. An individual issue of the Announcements is also available from each professional school which describes its programs and requirements in detail.

This volume is organized in a way that reflects the organization and functioning of the University. Each department or degree granting committee in the divisions of the University conducts its own admissions and aid competition, and sets its own degree requirements within a framework that is set by the University and by each division. However, divisions and departments engage in a substantial number of cooperative efforts, as evidenced by the large number of interdepartmental and interdivisional programs, committees, centers, and research groups in the University. Therefore, this volume contains a section for each division, and a separate section for interdivisional programs, centers, committees, and other organizations in which students may participate and, in some cases, earn a degree. The introductory section, which you are now reading, contains information about the University that is relevant to all students and applicants. A final section contains information for those interested in one of the professional schools.

Readers of these Announcements are advised that the policies and degree requirements of academic units that are set forth herein may change at any time without prior notice, or may represent a summary of more detailed policies and requirements. Students and applicants who wish the most up to date information regarding courses and degree requirements should review the divison or department website or contact the department or the dean of students in the relevant division. The provisions of these Announcements are for informational purposes only and are not intended to create a contract or agreement between the University and any applicant or student.

History and Purpose

The University of Chicago is a private, nondenominational, coeducational institution of higher learning and research. It is located in the community of Hyde Park-South Kenwood, a culturally rich and ethnically diverse neighborhood seven miles south of downtown Chicago. Hyde Park-South Kenwood encompass one and one quarter square miles of commercial and residential districts that extend from 47th Street on the north to 61st Street on the south and from Cottage Grove Avenue eastward to the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The neighborhood is a stimulating blend of the urban and small town.

The University of Chicago includes the undergraduate College; four graduate Divisions (of the Biological Sciences, the Humanities, the Physical Sciences, and the Social Sciences); six graduate professional schools (The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Divinity School, the Law School, the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, and the School of Social Service Administration); the libraries, laboratories, museums, clinics, and institutes; the William B. and Catherine V. Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies; and the University of Chicago Press.

The University was founded by John D. Rockefeller. William Rainey Harper was its first president. Classes began on October 1, 1892, with an enrollment of 594 students and a faculty of 103, including eight former college presidents. In 1930 the undergraduate College and the graduate divisions were created by President Robert Maynard Hutchins to foster interdisciplinary study and encourage interdepartmental cooperation. Such cross fertilization continues to characterize the University.

Since its founding, the University has earned a reputation for recruiting a faculty committed to scholarly distinction and intellectual innovation. The faculty is represented in more than seventy honorary and professional societies, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Education. Eighty-seven members of the faculty, former students, or individuals who did research at the University have been named Nobel laureates, and seven are currently members of the faculty. Notable is the faculty’s tradition of developing cross disciplinary fields of study, such as Law and Economics, Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Ecology and Evolution, and the Institute for Mind and Biology. A leader in higher education, the University of Chicago has had a major impact on the nation’s colleges and universities.

The graduate programs in the University aim to send out graduates who have begun to develop mastery of the content and methods of their chosen field of study and who are equipped to continue to learn and to produce new knowledge. To that end, the University of Chicago offers an unusually free environment for graduate study, one that encourages both faculty and young scholars and researchers to develop their interests and talents by working with colleagues throughout the University.

In addition to its Ph.D. programs and the master’s degrees offered through them, the University offers a number of special degree programs for students who have completed an A.B. These free standing master’s degree programs, which may be departmental and multidisciplinary, or offered in conjunction with a master’s degree in a professional school, are carefully tailored for students whose goal is a master’s degree. Some students who successfully complete these programs subsequently decide to apply to doctoral programs at the University or elsewhere. However, these special degree programs are conceived as self contained. These programs are listed below:

Division of the Humanities

  • Art History
  • Visual Arts (M.F.A.)
  • Master of Arts Program in the Humanities

Division of the Social Sciences

  • Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences
  • International Relations

Interdisciplinary programs

  • East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (as M.B.A./A.M. only)
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • East Asian Studies (as M.B.A./A.M. only)
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • South Asian Studies (as M.B.A./A.M. only)

Division of the Physical Sciences

  • Professional Master of Science Program in Computer Science
  • Divisional Master of Science Program in the Physical Sciences
  • Master of Science Program in Financial Mathematics

Division of the Biological Sciences

  • Health Studies

Application to the Programs in the Divisions

Applicants for admission to graduate programs in the divisions at the University of Chicago should address their inquiries to the dean of students of the graduate division or to the program to which application is being made. Applications are submitted electronically; applicants should consult the appropriate divisional or program website for information and instructions.

Division of the Biological Sciences

Associate Dean of Students
BSD Office of Graduate Affairs
924 East 57th Street, Suite 104
Chicago, IL 60637 5416
(773) 834 2105

Division of the Physical Sciences

Applicants should consult the website of the program to which they intend to apply for up to date admission materials.

Division of the Humanities

Dean of Students
Division of the Humanities
Walker Museum 111
1115 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 702-1552

Division of the Social Sciences

Dean of Students
Division of the Social Sciences
Foster Hall 105
1130 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 702-8415

An applicant who holds a degree from an accredited institution is considered for admission on the basis of (1) an undergraduate record, (2) a well organized plan for graduate study, (3) Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and English proficiency scores, where required, and (4) recommendations from three college faculty members acquainted with the character, ability, potential, qualifications, and motivation of the applicant. Persons who have been away from school for several years may submit recommendations from employers, professional associates, or supervisors.

Certain departments of the University require additional credentials; details concerning these additional credentials are available with the application form, or will be sent to candidates for admission after they have filed their applications.

Transcripts of all academic work should be submitted with the application if at all possible; the applicant should request each institution attended to provide an official transcript in a sealed envelope or via a digitally secured PDF originating from the college’s registrar. Letters of recommendation should also be submitted with the application; each recommender should enclose the evaluation in sealed envelopes and put his or her signature across the sealed flap. Foreign records of university work may be certified copies of the original. More detailed instructions are included with the application. Every applicant is asked to study the general statement of the division he or she plans to enter and specific requirements of the proposed field of graduate study.

International Students

Students from abroad must submit, in addition to the usual credentials, proof of proficiency in English and documentation of all sources of financial support to cover their first year of expenses at the University. Only those students from abroad who hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree and whose academic record is excellent will be considered for admission.

Application Deadlines

Applications for admission and for aid must be submitted by the appropriate deadline. Application deadlines can be found on the online applications and may be as early as December 1 for the following autumn. Incomplete applications will be evaluated on the basis of materials received at the time of the regular review process.

Part Time Study

Part time study is more feasible in some fields than in others. The divisional dean of students can answer questions about opportunities for part time study in particular departments. Student loans are available to students enrolled at least half time. Applicants for part time study are generally not eligible for scholarship assistance since priority in assigning limited University aid funds must necessarily go to full time students.

Applicants who wish to begin their studies on a part time basis should so indicate on their applications.


Most admission and aid decisions for the autumn quarter are sent by mid-March. Students have until April 15 to accept or decline.

In agreement with the Resolution of the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States, a student who agrees to accept a scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or graduate assistantship at the University of Chicago or at any of these schools prior to April 15 and subsequently desires to change plans must resign the financial aid offer and/or acceptance of admission at any time through April 15 in order to accept another scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or graduate assistantship, regardless of any understanding reached before then. This protects the student’s right to select the offer that is most attractive.

Students with Disabilities

As soon as possible after having been admitted, students should contact their divisional dean of students.

Conditions of Acceptance

Acceptance of a scholarship or fellowship is conditional on the student’s agreement to devote full time to graduate study toward an advanced degree at the University of Chicago. In cases of students holding larger awards, special permission for remunerative work must be secured in advance.

Application to Professional Schools

Students interested in the University’s professional schools (The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Divinity School, the Law School, the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, or the School of Social Service Administration) should contact the admissions office of each school.   Students interested in general courses, courses as a student-at-large, returning scholar, the Master of Science in Threat and Response Management, or the Master of Arts in Teaching program should contact the William B. and Catherine V. Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies.

Being a Student at the University of Chicago

From healthcare services to cultural programming, The University of Chicago is dedicated to supporting and enriching the life of its graduate students. To that end, there are many offices and programs that exist to create a healthy, safe, and productive environment for students both inside and outside the classroom. You can find a list of resources available to graduate students at

Chicago is a vibrant and exciting city that you will want to explore. As a world class city, Chicago also presents all of the typical challenges of a complex modern urban society. While the University takes measures to ensure a safe campus environment, there are also many things you can do to ensure your own safety. The University’s campus safety report, Common Sense, is designed to help equip you to navigate the city successfully and offers information about the University offices that provide services related to security and safety. The report is available online at . Hard copies of Common Sense are available upon request from the Office of Campus and Student Life, 5801 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago, IL 60637, (773 702-7770).

As a member of The University of Chicago community, there are University policies and regulations you are responsible for knowing. These policies protect your rights and outline your responsibilities as students. For instance, the Graduate Student Parents Policy grants academic accommodations to graduate students who are also new parents, and the Residence System for Students in PhD programs defines the status of doctoral students as they progress through their studies. A complete statement of policies and regulations can be found at