Application FAQ

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Pre–Application

Do you offer distance or online programs?

No, we do not offer any distance or online degrees, but we do offer a few online certificate programs through the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies.

Do you offer non–degree, certificate programs?

Our Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies offers a number of non-degree certificate programs in fields like visual arts, editing, and community health advocacy. You can view a list of certificate offerings at the Graham School website.

I have not yet decided which program to apply to. Can I take classes at the university without enrolling in a particular program?

Yes. The Graduate-Student-At-Large (GSAL) program, offered through our Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, enables eligible students to take graduate and undergraduate courses throughout the university without being enrolled in a degree program. As a GSAL student, you would not be a degree candidate at the University of Chicago, but credit earned here may be transferable to one of our programs or to other institutions.

Can I pursue my degree part–time?

Most of our graduate programs require that their students enroll full–time. The few exceptions state explicitly whether they allow students to enroll part-time. These include the Booth School of Business's Weekend, Evening, and Executive MBA programs, several programs in the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, the Masters Program in Computer Science, and the MA in the School of Social Service Administration. Other programs may be willing to negotiate part-time status on a case-by-case basis, but it is best to address these concerns with the program's admissions office before applying.

The University of Chicago offers a PhD in my program of interest, but does not specifically mention a master’s degree. Can I apply just for a master’s degree?

Our PhD programs do not typically offer terminal master’s degrees. Instead, we offer several interdisciplinary one-year master’s degree programs which allow students to work with faculty in their field of interest while constructing a unique program of study that best suits their needs. These programs are the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH), the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS), and the Master of Science in the Physical Sciences Division (MS-PSD) programs.

Do I need a master’s degree to apply to a PhD program?

Not usually. The vast majority of our graduate programs accept applicants with a four-year bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. The exceptions are the PhD programs in the Divinity School and the School of Social Service Administration, which require a master’s degree, and our master’s degree in Public Health Sciences, which requires a doctoral-level clinical degree (e.g., an MD, DO, or PhD in Nursing). However, it is not uncommon for some programs to have a preference for individuals already holding master’s degree, and an increasing number of entering doctoral candidates in some fields do already hold a master's degree.

Can I transfer credits from another institution?

For most of the University's programs, credits do not automatically transfer from another institution. Credit transfers are usually decided on a case-by-case basis with your departmental adviser after admission. By contacting your department directly, you may be able to learn which credits are likely to transfer.

Can I apply to more than one program?

You may apply to multiple programs during the same admissions cycle. Please note that you must submit an application for each program, and pay each application fee.

Can I earn joint or dual degrees?

Yes. Application procedures for joint/dual programs vary widely by program. In most cases, students interested in pursuing a joint or dual degree must apply to and be admitted to both programs, though it is not always necessary to be admitted to both in the same year. Application information for all of our joint/dual programs is listed here. All students interested in a joint program are strongly encouraged to contact the admissions office for each program prior to beginning the application process.

I have a different major than the field in which I am applying for a graduate degree. Is that a problem?

Some programs, especially those in the physical, social, and biological sciences, have very specific requirements of their applicants’ undergraduate coursework. Those requirements can be found on the individual program websites. In general, the faculty reading an application will typically be concerned with the coursework related to your intended field of study, so if you majored in an unrelated field but clearly have the appropriate academic background and/or research experience, you may still be a competitive applicant. Students who are changing fields of study may also want to consider one of our interdisciplinary master’s programs before applying directly to a PhD program.

Is it necessary to have the support of a faculty member before I apply?

No, it is not necessary to have a faculty member sponsor your application. In general, you may contact faculty with questions, but there is no expectation that you do so. However, in certain fields, particularly the sciences, it is more common to contact faculty in advance to inquire about their ability to take on new students. Before contacting a specific faculty member, you may want to contact the departmental administrator or divisional admissions office with any questions you might have regarding admissions, whether a particular faculty member is able to take on students, etc. It’s also always wise to have specific questions for faculty, based on the research you have already done on your program and their work.

How do I meet with a representative of a program or school?

If you would like to meet with a representative from your program(s) of interest, we suggest that you contact the department well before your visit. Contact information for most of our programs can be found on our website. If you need assistance finding appropriate contact information, please contact us at gradadmissions@uchicago.edu and we would be happy to assist you. You can also meet with our staff during a campus tour.

Financial Aid & Funding

What funding is offered to PhD students?

Students admitted to a PhD program usually receive full financial support for five years. Support typically includes tuition, health insurance, and in most cases, a living stipend. Each program has a slightly different funding structure; you can learn more on your department’s website.

What funding is offered to master’s students?

Each department and program has different scholarship and funding opportunities, so please visit the website for your program of interest for more specific information. Some highly-competitive merit-based tuition aid is available to students pursuing a master’s degree, and a few programs offer need-based aid as well. You can find more information on funding your graduate education here.

What are tuition expenses/expenses for living in Hyde Park?

Tuition varies by program. Compared to similar neighborhoods in other big cities, the cost of living in Hyde Park is relatively low. You can find out more about what living in Hyde Park is like, as well as information about housing options in the neighborhood and elsewhere around Chicago on our Graduate Housing page.

Test Scores & Required Application Materials

What are your minimum test scores for admission?

With the exception of English language proficiency exams, the University of Chicago has no minimum test scores or GPAs. All of our programs share an emphasis on “holistic” admissions—in other words, looking at the entire picture of an applicant, not just a set of test score results or grades. Which tests or subscores are considered and the average scores of admitted students will vary widely by program.

How do I submit my test scores to the University of Chicago?

The University of Chicago does not accept copies of test scores—you must submit official scores for your application to be considered. For students submitting GRE or TOEFL scores, our ETS institutional code is 1832 for all schools and departments. The only two exceptions are the Booth School of Business (1832-02) and the Harris School of Public Policy (1849).

If you are taking the IELTS, you should contact your test center and request that your test scores be sent electronically to the University of Chicago—Graduate Enrollment, 970 East 58th Street, Third Floor, Chicago, IL 60637. We strongly discourage the sending of IELTS scores in hard copy.

How long are standardized test scores valid?

GRE scores are valid if the test was taken less than five years before the date of the application deadline. English-language exams are valid for application deadlines within two years of the date of the exam.

If I submit multiple test scores, which will be considered?

Admissions committees will generally superscore—that is, they will consider the highest score from each section of each test, regardless of when you sat for the exam. However, all test scores you submit will be visible to the committee, should they wish to view them.

Is it possible to receive an application fee waiver?

Many of our programs waive the application fee for a variety of reasons. For most programs, you can access the application fee waiver request form on the instructions page of your online application. Once you complete the form, typically the program will be in touch within a few days if they require any additional materials from you or further information. Once you complete the form, please do NOT submit the application fee as it is nonrefundable. Please note: applying for a fee waiver does not guarantee that you will receive one. The granting of fee waivers is at the discretion of the individual division or school. Applicants are generally notified on the status of fee waivers through the online application.

Do you accept hard copies of application materials, or provide a paper application?

We do not provide a paper application. All application materials must be provided through our online application. Unless specifically directed otherwise, you should only send electronic materials to the University of Chicago.

Application Questions

I am experiencing technical issues with the online application (unable to login, upload materials, unable to submit application etc.). Whom should I contact?

Please contact us at gradadmissions@uchicago.edu. Please include in the email your full name, application reference number, and the name of the program to which you are applying.

What does it mean to waive my FERPA rights?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows students to access their educational records if they enroll at an institution. Applicants may waive the right to access recommendation letters in any FERPA request they may submit in the future, though you are not required to do so. However, please keep in mind that if a recommender believes you may have access to the letter in the future, they may choose not to write a letter or they may write a different letter than they might have otherwise done. In addition, admissions committees may not assign the same weight to such letters because they are often perceived as less candid.

Can I change my decision to waive or not waive my FERPA rights?

Once you have submitted a recommendation request, you will be unable to change your decision to waive FERPA rights for that particular request. However, you can contact us at gradadmissions@uchicago.edu and we will assist you.

One of my recommenders cannot access/has not received the link to your system. What should I do?

In some cases, institutional email servers may block our automatic emails. If your recommender has not received the email with their link, please contact us at gradadmissions@uchicago.edu.

How can I alter my list of recommenders?

As long as your application has not been submitted, you can add more recommenders. If you have made a mistake with your recommender’s information or wish to delete a recommender, please contact us at gradadmissions@uchicago.edu.

My recommender made an error in my reference. Whom should he/she contact?

If your recommender is unable to submit your reference, or has made an error, please have your recommender contact us at gradadmissions@uchicago.edu.

I would like to alter my application, but I have already submitted it. How can I do this?

If you wish to add new material, such as grades from a recent semester or quarter, you may do so by uploading them through the “Other Miscellaneous Documents” section of your online account. If you have submitted erroneous information, or if you believe there has been some technical or formatting error that occurred during your application’s submission, please contact us at gradadmissions@uchicago.edu.

Why have my test scores not been verified on my online application?

Test scores can take up to four weeks to reach us after you submit them. Please be patient. If you believe your test scores have already been received by the university and should have been verified, please contact us at gradadmissions@uchicago.edu. Please include in the email: your application program, reference number, and any information you have regarding how/when the official score was sent. For the GRE and TOEFL, the batch number from ETS is usually helpful, as is information on any possible mismatches in how your name, email address, or other data may appear between your application account and your test scores. For the IELTS, we will need the TRF code.

Do you accept materials through Interfolio?

Yes. Our system also supports automatic uploads from their system. To submit your letters in this fashion, you will need to enter the unique Interfolio email address in place of your recommender's email address in our application system. Once the request is received by Interfolio you will need to log in to their system to approve the submission. Once that is completed, Interfolio will upload your recommendation request to our application system, typically within 48 hours.

Some of my application materials will be submitted late. Will my application still be considered?

We strongly encourage applicants to submit all materials by the application deadline. If you must submit materials late, the policies vary across the University. If you believe any part of your application will be submitted after the deadline, please contact the admissions office for the program to which you are applying.

Is an interview required?

If your program requires an interview, they will contact you directly to set up an interview appointment.

Decisions

When will I receive an admissions decision?

The date decisions begin to be issued varies widely between programs, so you should contact your program of interest if you have any concerns about the status of your application after it has been submitted. Once an update has been made to your application status, you will receive an email directing you to log into our application system to view your decision. Most programs will not provide decisions via email or phone.

How do I appeal an admissions decision?

We do not offer an appeals process for admissions decisions. All decisions of admissions committees are final.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you still have after consulting this FAQ page. Whenever you contact us, we appreciate you including your full name and program of interest at the top of your email. If you have already begun an application, please also include your reference number and the program to which you are applying. This will help us resolve your issue quickly and efficiently.