We know that you may have many questions about the process of applying to graduate school.
The answers to all of our most frequently asked questions (FAQs) can be found here, as well as throughout our site.
These questions are separated out into categories – general FAQs, and some that we hear most often from our international applicants. Most of the graduate schools and divisions, as well as individual degree programs, also have their own admissions pages and their own FAQ sections, which we encourage you to consult. If your question is not answered here, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can direct you to the appropriate web page that contains the information you need.
Do you offer distance or online programs?
Aside from our Master of Science in Analytics Online program, UChicago does not offer any fully online or remote degree programs. The University of Chicago Professional Education (UCPE) office does offer a wide array of online and remote short courses, which you can learn about on the UCPE website.
Do you offer non–degree programs?
Our Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies offers a number of non-degree programs in fields like visual arts, editing, and community health advocacy. You can view a list of offerings at the Graham School website. The University of Chicago Professional Education (UCPE) also has many non-degree offerings, and some academic units, such as the Harris School of Public Policy, have non-degree courses and credential programs, as well.
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 Master's Program in Computer Science, and the MA in the Crown Family School of Social Work. 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) and the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS) programs.
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 email@example.com and we would be happy to assist you. You can also meet with our staff during a campus tour.
Does the university offer English language courses?
Only for students already admitted to a program, not as a standalone program. Our English Language Institute offers classes for speakers of English as an additional language through the Academic English Pre-matriculation Program (AEPP), as well as special interests classes and workshops during the school year. However, these classes are not part of an accredited program at the University of Chicago and do not satisfy any University requirements. All applicants are required to either qualify for a waiver or to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores during the application process. Information about minimum scores required for admission can be found here.
Preparing to Apply
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.
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.
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 on our Programs page. All students interested in a joint program are strongly encouraged to contact the admissions office for each program prior to beginning the application process.
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 transfer credits from another institution?
For most of the University's programs, credits do not transfer from another institution. Credit transfers are 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.
Do I need a master’s degree to apply to a PhD program?
With the exception of our Divinity School and the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice PhD programs - both of which do require it - you do not need a master's degree to apply. However, it is becoming increasingly common for successful applicants in some fields to already hold a master's degree at the time of application.
I have not graduated with a four-year bachelor’s degree. Can I still apply?
For admission to most of our programs, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, but we do not have a University-wide requirement that it be a four-year degree. Our faculty understand that in many parts of the world three-year bachelor's degrees are standard. In those cases, our programs will typically accept a three-year degree, provided it is equivalent to a bachelor's, such as a BTech or BSc degree. That said, it is not unusual in some programs for students to do a fourth-year program, a master's degree, or other post-bachelor's program to enhance the competitiveness of their application.
Do you offer conditional admission?
No programs at the University of Chicago offer conditional admission to students who have not submitted an application following the standard application process and deadlines. A few will make conditional offers of admission to students who otherwise have met the requirements for admission, but do not yet meet the program's English proficiency requirements. If you receive a conditional offer, you will not be allowed to enroll until you have met the requirement; the conditions may not be met after arrival on campus.
Test Score FAQs
Does my program of interest require the GRE?
Because each program sets testing requirements other than English proficiency, we do not maintain a list. Check the website of your program of interest to confirm whether they require, recommend, accept, or do not accept the GRE or other standardized tests.
I have taken the TOEFL/IELTS and have earned the required scores. Do I still need to take the GRE?
If the program you are applying to requires the GRE, yes, you do. The TOEFL/IELTS and the GRE test very different things and are not taken in lieu of each other. That means, if you have taken the TOEFL/IELTS, you must still take the GRE. If you are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS, you must nevertheless take the GRE.
Can I have my official scores sent after I am admitted?
Unless explicitly stated on the program's application, no. You should self-report your scores on the application itself, but the requirement is not met until we receive the official scores electronically from the testing agency.
Which English proficiency tests do you accept?
We accept the TOEFL iBT, the IELTS Academic, and the at-home versions of both tests. We do not accept Duolingo, TOEFL Essentials, IELTS Indicator or general test, or any other tests.
I have worked in the U.S. for more than two years. Does that mean that I am exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement?
No, you must take the TOEFL or IELTS. There is no employment waiver for our English proficiency requirement.
I took the TOEFL in 2021 and I am applying in the fall of 2023. Can I still use those TOEFL results?
Scores must still be valid (taken within the past two years) as of the deadline you apply under. If you send us scores, but they expire before the deadline of the program you are applying to, you must send new scores.
I still have some questions regarding my English language proficiency. Whom should I contact?
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application Support FAQs
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 email@example.com. 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. You will need to enter a new recommendation request, and make the correct selection.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I change my recommenders?
As long as your application has not been submitted, you can add more recommenders, up to the limit allowed by the program. Once you enter a request, you cannot change it.
My recommender made an error in my reference. Whom should they contact?
If your recommender is unable to submit your reference, or has made an error, please have your recommender contact us at email@example.com.
Can I make changes to my application after it is submitted?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If the deadline has passed, it is unlikely you will be able to make changes.
Why have my test scores not been verified on my online application?
Test scores can take up to six weeks to reach us after you submit them. Please be patient. If you have already received a confirmation email from us that your test scores have already been received and allowed at least 48 hours for them to appear in your file, but they still have not, please contact us at email@example.com. Please include in the email: your application program, reference number, and any information you have regarding how/when the official score was sent, as well as the date on which you received the email confirming we had received the score. If you have not received the confirmation email, we have not received the score.
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?
Maybe. 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. Some programs allow a grace period, but others do not.
Is an interview required?
If your program offers interviews, they will contact you directly to set up an interview appointment.
Can I have my official scores sent after I am admitted?
No. You should self-report your scores on the application itself, but the requirement is not met until we receive the official scores electronically from the testing agency.
Do I need to convert my GPA to a 4.0 scale?
Unless you are specifically told to do so in the instructions on your application, please do not convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale.
Do I have to have my transcripts translated into English?
If any of your required documents are not already in English, please upload the documents in their original language along with an English translation. Translations should be prepared or verified by someone whose position requires knowledge of both English and the other language—for example, a professor of English at a French university. The University of Chicago does not offer translation services. However, applicants seeking a translator might consider contacting their home country’s consulate or embassy or searching the directory of the American Translators Association.
When will I receive an admissions decision?
The date decisions begin to be issued varies widely between programs, but is usually one to three months after the application deadline. Check your applicant status portal 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. Programs will not provide decisions via email or phone.
How do I appeal an admissions decision?
There is no appeals process for admissions decisions. All decisions of admissions committees are final.
Will the University sponsor a visa for me?
The University of Chicago only sponsors visas for students who have been accepted to and are enrolling at the university. You will not be allowed to begin the visa process if you hold a conditional admission offer. Our Office of International Affairswill contact you with information after your program notifies them that you are eligible to begin the request process.
What funding is offered to PhD students?
Students admitted to a PhD program receive full financial support, usually for the entire duration of the program so long as you continue to make good academic progress. Support typically includes tuition, health insurance, and 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. Many of our master's programs do award some merit-based tuition aid, which is included in the offer of admissions in most cases. You can find more information on funding your graduate education on our Funding Your Education page.
What financial aid is available to international students?
International applicants are given equal consideration for all awards and sources of University funding for which they qualify. However, sources of aid are limited and competitive because some programs receive funding from the U.S. government that cannot be used to support international students. International students are also not eligible for U.S. student loans in most cases. For these reasons, we encourage all international students to investigate outside sources of aid, including programs within their home country, as well as organizations like Education USA, the Institute of International Education, and International Education Financial Aid. Further information on financial policies can be found 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.
Does UChicago participate in Yellow Ribbon?
The University of Chicago welcomes veterans and other military-affiliated students to our community. The University’s Office for Military-Affiliated Communities (OMAC) helps military-affiliated individuals obtain educational benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, and provides a range of other services as well. Yellow Ribbon applicants must be admitted and have confirmed their intent to enroll into an academic program before submitting a Yellow Ribbon application to the University of Chicago, and acceptance in the program is on a first-come, first-serve basis, although most programs do not limit the number of participants. We encourage military-affiliated prospective students to consult with OMAC by contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What work opportunities are available to international students?
There are many employment opportunities available for graduate students, regardless of their citizenship status. Visit our international student funding page and the Office of International Affairs website to learn more about applying for work as an international student.