Application Instructions

Our application is now entirely online, and all materials should be submitted through the online application. Please do not send any materials in hard copy. If for any reason it is not possible to submit materials online, please contact us by email or by phone at 773-702-1552.

We recommend submitting application documents as PDF files for the most reliable results.  The application system will also accept Microsoft Word documents, OpenDocument files, and a few other formats with varying levels of fidelity.  Regardless of the file format you use, we recommend reviewing your application proof carefully to make sure all documents were successfully added to your file by our system.

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of materials submitted by the deadline, and we cannot guarantee that materials received after the deadline will be given consideration. Late applications will not be considered.

All programs require the following materials:

  • statement of purpose written in English ("Artist's Statement" for MFA in Visual Arts);
  • 3 letters of recommendation;
  • transcripts for all previous degrees and coursework;
  • TOEFL or IELTS test scores from within the preceding 2 years if needed to meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement for international applicants; and
  • an application fee of $90. Fee waivers are available for applicants for whom paying it would present financial hardship, and such applicants should submit a fee waiver form, which is accessed through the instructions page of the online application. The fee will be waived automatically for University of Chicago alumni, as well as applicants who are working for the Peace Corps, Americorps, or Teach for America, active duty military and veterans, past recipients of a Pell Grant, past recipients of Fulbright/IIE fellowships, and alumni of any of the following academic preparatory and service programs: McNair Scholars, the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers (IRT), Leadership Alliance, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, and National Name Exchange. Applicants who submit a fee waiver request form should do so before the application deadline, and should not pay the fee when submitting their applications. Requesting a fee waiver will have no effect on the review of the application.

Most programs also require a sample of academic writing and GRE general test scores from within the preceding 5 years. The following table outlines the requirements for Writing Samples and GRE scores. In all cases the writing samples should be double-spaced. Some programs also have special requirements, and you should follow the link to your program of interest to learn more.

Program Writing Sample GRE
Art History 15-20 pgs Yes
Cinema & Media Studies 15-20 pgs Yes
Classics 15-20 pgs No
Comparative Literature 15-20 pgs Yes
East Asian Languages and Civilizations 10-20 pgs Yes
English Language and Literature 15-20 pgs No
Germanic Studies 15-20 pgs, in English or German No
Linguistics 15-20 pgs Yes
Music 2 samples, approx 20 pgs each Yes
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations 15-20 pgs Yes
Philosophy 15-20 pgs Yes
Romance Languages and Literatures 15-20 pgs, in language of specialization No
South Asian Languages & Civilizations 15-20 pgs Yes
Theater and Performance Studies according to primary program No
MFA in Visual Arts Portfolio in lieu of writing sample No
MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies 15-20 pgs Yes
MA in Middle Eastern Studies 15-20 pgs Yes
MA in Digital Studies of Language, Culture, and History none required Yes
Master of Arts Program in the Humanities 10-15 pgs; 2nd sample for Creative Writing applicants No

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of materials submitted by the deadline, and we cannot guarantee that materials received after the deadline will be given consideration. Late applications will not be considered.

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Special Questions

Applying to multiple programs
Joint Programs
Transfer Credits
Reapplying

Detailed Instructions by Department or Program


Instructions for Applicants to Linguistics

Writing Sample: Applicants to Linguistics should submit one writing sample. While the general guideline is for it to be 15-20 pages long, double-spaced, samples longer than 20 pages will be accepted. Writing samples in excess of 40 pages in length may not be read in their entirety. Click here for information about the desired content for a writing sample.

Supplemental Material: Applicants to Linguistics should prepare and upload a document that lists all courses the applicant has taken or will have taken by the time of enrollment which have relevance to graduate study in linguistics (in particular, language courses and courses in linguistics, mathematics/statistics, computer science, psychology, anthropology, and language of philosophy). This list should include the complete title of each course, the instructor's full name, the grade earned (if available), and a brief (at most a paragraph) description of the contents of the course (a list of topics covered, for example), along with the titles and authors of any texts used or papers read.

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Instructions for Applicants to Music

Writing Sample: Applicants to Music are required to submit two writing samples, double-spaced, each approximately 20 pages in length. Click here for information about the desired content for a writing sample.

Supplemental Material for Composition Applicants: Composition applicants should also submit recent scores (PDF) and recordings (MP3) via the portfolio section of the online application.

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Instructions for Applicants to Romance Languages and Literatures

Writing Sample: Applicants to Romance Languages and Literatures should submit a writing sample that is 15-20 pages long, double-spaced. The writing sample should be in the language of specialization. Click here for information about the desired content for a writing sample.

Curriculum Vitae: Applicants to Romance Languages and Literatures are also required to admit a current CV or Resume.

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Instructions for Applicants to Theater and Performance Studies

The Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) PhD program is a joint-only PhD program, and does not admit students who are not also admitted to another program. Applicants must choose a TAPS partner department (the "home department") and submit an application to that department, indicating their interest in also being considered for admission to TAPS. The applicant must submit all materials required for the home department application along with supplemental materials for the TAPS application. TAPS Partner Departments are Art History, Cinema and Media Studies, Classics, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, English Language and Literature, Germanic Studies, Music, and Romance Languages and Literatures.

GRE Scores: Applicants to Theater and Performance Studies are not required to submit GRE scores. TAPS applicants should submit GRE scores only if the home program to which they are applying requires scores.

Statement of Interest: Applicants to Theater & Performance Studies should provide a statement of interest for the TAPS joint PhD program in addition to the Statement of Purpose for the home program.

References: Applicants to Theater and Performance Studies should supply two references specifically for the TAPS program. If one or more of the references to the home program can serve as TAPS references, they do not have to be additional references. However, applicants can add as many references as necessary in the online application.

Optional Items: Applicants to Theater and Performance Studies may submit any or all of the following optional materials:

  • A TAPS-related Writing Sample (maximum 25 pages);
  • An Artistic Resume;
  • Media of past creative work, such as performance videos;
  • Other supporting materials they feel are relevant to their application.

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Instructions for Applicants to the MFA in Visual Arts

Artist's Statement: Applicants to Visual Arts will submit an artist's statement rather than a statement of purpose. The Artist's Statement should comprise one or two pages illuminating your artistic practice by discussion of such questions as sources of influence, character of the inquiry, and some suggestion of future directions you wish to explore.

Portfolio: In lieu of a writing sample, applicants to Visual Arts should submit a portfolio consisting of twenty digital images. Alternatively, students who work in time-based media may submit a selection of work as video files. A significant number of the images should represent work done within the last twelve months. Three-dimensional works should show the surrounding space and context. Portfolios are submitted online as part of the online application. The portfolio submission interface will allow you to label each image with a title, a date of completion, the materials used, and a brief description of the work. Digital files must adhere strictly to the specifications outlined below. Do not format images in any presentation program (e.g., PowerPoint, Keynote), or include composite images (more than one work per file). Still image files may be sent in jpeg, png, bmp, or tiff format. Videos will be accepted in QuickTime, AVI, FLV, MP4, or WMV format. Video files should be no longer than two minutes in length, and the size of your video uploads is limited to 250 MB. Please note that videos are considered as part of your selection of twenty files, not as additional material. Do not include titles or credits within the video files.

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Instructions for Applicants to the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH)

Writing Sample: Applicants to the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities should include a sample of their critical writing that is 10-15 pages in length, double-spaced. Click here for information about the desired content for a writing sample. Applicants to the MAPH Creative Writing Option must also submit a creative writing sample relevant to the proposed focus of study.

MAPH Two-Year Language Option (MAPH TLO): Applicants interested in the MAPH TLO will indicate their interest in the application. They are expected to submit an additional statement of interest specifically addressing their reasons for applying to the TLO, and to provide information about their language(s) of interest on the supplement page in the online application.

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Additional Instructions


Applying to programs in more than one division or school

If you are also applying to a program in another Division, you should follow the instructions available from the other division or school to submit an application to one of their programs. You can find links to the relevant information for all the Graduate Divisions and Professional Schools at UChicagoGrad.

Applying to multiple programs in the Division of the Humanities

If you would like to apply to more than one graduate program in the Humanities Division, please start and submit a separate application at https://apply-humanities.uchicago.edu/apply/. You will need to submit two separate complete applications. This includes uploading all materials for each application and paying two application fees.


Joint Programs

Applicants interested in the joint Ph.D. program in Theater and Performance Studies and the M.D.-Ph.D. Program in Medicine, the Social Sciences, and Humanities should indicate this in the online application. Theater and Performance Studies applicants are required to submit additional materials to their application. Applicants seeking a joint Ph.D. in other fields may petition to be admitted into a second department only after completing at least one year in a Ph.D. program.

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Transfer Credits

Doctoral Programs

Students starting a doctoral program in the Division of the Humanities with graduate level course work completed outside of the department may petition the department to have previous course work counted toward the program requirements.  By divisional policy at least half of the course work must be accomplished within the department.  The departmental faculty will determine whether the student will receive credit towards the degree for each previous course completed outside of the department.  Each department may determine the maximum number of courses for which a student may receive course credit.

Master’s programs

Students starting a master’s program in the Division of the Humanities with graduate level course work completed at the Graduate Student-at-Large program in the Graham School of Continuing and Professional Studies may petition the program to have previous course work counted toward the program requirements.  The program will evaluate and determine whether the student will receive credit towards the degree for any of the previous course work completed at the Graham School of Continuing and Professional Studies for a maximum of two courses.  Other graduate level course work completed outside of the program is not eligible for course credit toward the program requirements.

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Reapplying or Reactivating a past application

Our online application system does retain materials from one application cycle to the next. In order to reuse materials and information, you should log on to the application site using the same email address and password that you used last year. This should allow you to access any materials from your previous applications that have been retained. If you were admitted to one of our programs, declined your offer for that current academic year, and you are now reapplying for next year, please send an email to humanitiesadmissions@uchicago.edu for assistance.

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