About CAS

In 1982, the University of Chicago pioneered a new dimension in graduate education—interdisciplinary workshops that bring together students and faculty in the Divinity School, Humanities Division, and the Social Sciences Division for ongoing and collaborative exchange of ideas around particular areas of interest. By providing graduate students with a forum for presenting their research and writing, the workshops, which have been widely replicated at other universities, have become an important part of the UChicago graduate education experience. Workshops facilitate the dissertation-writing process and create opportunities for professionalization as they encourage students to engage rigorously with their own and their fellow students’ work through discussion, debate, evaluation, and critical feedback.

In addition to the academic importance of workshops, participation in a workshop series, which can include scheduled meetings as well as dinners and other social gatherings, serves well to combat intellectual isolation. The workshop setting provides an informal forum for students to develop close and supportive ties with their fellow students as well as faculty mentors and even guest faculty. More advanced graduate students often become mentors and role models to other students as they experience together the different stages of their transition from consumers to creators of knowledge. The workshops represent dozens of vibrant micro-communities of scholars where the participants engage in lively conversation and receive valuable insight and encouragement.

Workshop Structure and Activities

The basic workshop structure can be defined by regularly scheduled seminar-style meetings where a student, faculty, or guest speaker presents his or her work-in-progress. Workshop groups can also facilitate activities such as exhibition visits, concert or film screenings, and hands-on learning of field-work techniques. They can also work collaboratively on relevant events and conferences with UChicago centers and institutes as well as colleagues at other universities. While their structure and emphasis may vary, successful workshop programs always allow graduate students to engage with faculty and fellow students in discussion of their evolving research interests. Not all workshops are interdisciplinary in their organization, but since the founding of the Workshop Program, interdisciplinarity has been a key feature of UChicago workshops.

Application Process

Download the 2020-21 CAS application here

Applications for the 2020-21 cycle must be submitted by April 7, 2020 no later than 5 p.m. Late or incomplete materials will not be reviewed.

  • A complete Council on Advanced Studies application will include:
    • 2020-21 Application Form
    • Workshop Description essay
  • The Council will review each 2020-21 application along with quarterly participation reports on file and overall group performance (where applicable). Award announcements are anticipated by the beginning of June.
  • UChicagoGRAD is able to assist workshops with compilation, submission, or general questions by appointment or walk in service, as time allows up to April 6, 2020 during regular office hours 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Assistance will be available on a first come, first served basis. Email cas@uchicago.edu for more information.


  • Chair of the Council on Advanced Studies: Willemien Otten, Professor of the Theology and History of Christianity in the Divinity School and the College
  • Anne Robertson, Dean of the Humanities Division and Claire Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Music and the Humanities in the College
  • Amanda Woodward, Dean of the Social Sciences Division and William S. Gray Professor of Psychology
  • David Nirenberg, Dean of the Divinity School and Deborah R. And Edgar D. Jannotta Distinguished Service Professor, Committee on Social Thought and Department of History
  • Persis Berlekamp, Associate Professor of Art History and the College
  • Mark Bradley, Bernadotte E. Schmitt Distinguished Service Professor of International History and the College; Deputy Dean in the Division of Social Sciences
  • Paul Cheney, Professor of European History, Fundamentals, and the College
  • David A. Gallo, Professor; Chair, Department of Psychology
  • Anastasia Giannakidou Professor, Department of Linguistics, and Humanities Collegiate Division
  • Timothy Harrison, Assistant Professor, English
  • Jonathan Lyon, Associate Professor of Medieval History and the College
  • John Levi Martin, Florence Borchert Bartling Professor in Sociology
  • Allyson Nadia Field, Associate Professor, Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College
  • Eric Slauter, Associate Professor, English, and Deputy Dean in Humanities
  • Sofia Torallas, Professor of Classics and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • Alice Yao, Associate Professor in Anthropology