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The Division of the Social Sciences

Dean

  • David Nirenberg

Deputy Dean and Master of the Collegiate Division

  • James Sparrow

Dean of Students

  • Patrick Hall

Associate Dean of Students

  • Kelly Therese Pollock

 

The Division of the Social Sciences includes the departments, committees and programs which are engaged particularly in the study of human beings in social and temporal contexts; the origins, development, and structure of institutions and ideas, and the relationships between individuals and among groups of individuals. Research and instruction, which are strongly interdisciplinary, focus on interpreting the complexity of human experience through time and explore the interactions between diverse peoples and the world in which they live.

The division welcomes as students potential researchers, scholars, and teachers, as well as those who seek in the social sciences the enrichment of their cultural preparation for the appreciation of life. The division awards the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. The division also cooperates in the undergraduate programs leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts awarded by the College. Students seeking the Bachelor of Arts degree should consult the College’s publication, Courses and Programs of Study.

Programs leading to the Ph.D. are offered by the Departments of Anthropology, Comparative Human Development, Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology, as well as the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, and also, the Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science. Programs leading to the M.A. are offered by the Committee on International Relations, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS).

Admission to the Division

The Division of the Social Sciences considers for admission to its graduate programs students who have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, or equivalent training. Students apply for admission to the division through the Office of the Dean of Students in the Division of the Social Sciences; applications are subsequently evaluated by the faculties of the various programs. Applications can be found at https://socialsciences.uchicago.edu/admissions/apply. Questions should be directed to admissions@ssd.uchicago.edu.

Degrees

Master of Arts

The degree is awarded for competence in a field of study, not solely for satisfactory completion of a set number of courses.

The general requirements for the master’s degree are as follows:

  1. In programs that recommend only the awarding of the master’s degree, at least nine courses and three quarters of residence in the division. In departments and committees that recommend the awarding of the Ph.D. degree, at least three full time quarters (or their part time equivalent) of Scholastic Residence.
  2. Completion of the program of study and other requirements prescribed by the student’s department or committee.
  3. In almost all departments and committees, presentation of an acceptable master’s research paper or thesis.
  4. In certain departments and committees, satisfactory performance on a final comprehensive examination.
  5. Any additional requirements set by the separate departments or committees.

Doctor of Philosophy

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is awarded for mastery of subject matter and demonstration of research capacity, not solely for completion of a set number of requirements.

The general requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree are:

  1. Residence requirement and program requirements. Students in all Ph.D. degree programs must be registered in accordance with the University Doctoral Residence System.

    Students must complete the requirements set by their particular academic programs (including courses, seminars, research work, and examinations). These requirements vary from program to program within the division.

    Portions of the program requirements may sometimes be satisfied on the basis of equivalent work done at other institutions or in other units of the University. The student’s department or committee determines whether previously earned academic credit and degrees will be accepted as partial fulfillment of program requirements.
     
  2. Admission to candidacy at least eight months before the date the degree is to be conferred. The student is admitted to candidacy by the dean of students upon the recommendation of the student’s department or committee after completion of the following requirements:
    1. Completion of the work required for a master’s degree even if the formal M.A. degree is not taken.
    2. Successful performance on the departmental preliminary examination(s), if required. Ordinarily, this is taken after the completion of the first year of work.
    3. Approval by the department or committee of a dissertation proposal and a program of research.
    4. Satisfactory completion of any additional requirements set by the separate departments or committees.
       
  3. Doctoral dissertation. The candidate is expected to submit to the department or committee an acceptable doctoral dissertation which makes an original contribution to knowledge within the field of inquiry. This step is necessary before the final oral examination is scheduled.
     
  4. The final oral examination and defense of the dissertation.