Admissions Requirements and Policies

Admissions Requirements and Policies

Below you will find information to help guide you through what you will need to complete your application, when you are likely to recieve a decision, and what you will need to do to respond to an offer of admission.


Required Application Materials

All application materials should be submitted electronically through the online application. We will no longer accept additional materials sent on paper. All programs require the following materials:

  • 15–20 page writing sample (exceptions: Music, Visual Arts, Master of Arts Program in the Humanities),
  • a statement of purpose (exception: Visual Arts),
  • 3 letters of recommendation,
  • transcripts for all previous degrees and coursework,
  • GRE test scores from within the preceding 5 years (exception: Visual Arts),
  • an application fee of $90, and
  • TOEFL or IELTS test scores from within the preceding 2 years if needed to meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement for international students

The ETS institution code for submitting both TOEFL and GRE scores is 1832.

We recommend that you request transcripts and give recommenders adequate time to write supporting letters in order to ensure that your application is complete by the deadline. 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 be considered only as long as places are available in the relevant programs. Financial aid (other than loans) is not available for late applicants.

Special Instructions for Music Applicants

Applicants to the Department of Music are required to submit at least two writing samples. Composers should also submit recent scores via the portfolio section of the online application.

Special Instructions for Linguistics Applicants

Applicants to the Department of 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 give the complete title of the 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.

Special Instructions for Visual Arts Applicants

Applicants to the Department of Visual Arts are are not required to submit GRE scores. Visual Arts applicants will submit an artist's statement rather than a statement of purpose and a portfolio in lieu of a writing sample.

  • Artist's statement: 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: 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. To conform to our viewing format, each still image file may be no larger than 16 MB. 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.

Special Instructions for Master of Arts Program in the Humanities Applicants

Applicants to the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) should include a sample of their critical writing that is 10-15 pages in length. In addition, applicants to the MAPH Creative Writing Option must also submit a creative writing sample relevant to the proposed focus of study.


A transcript should be submitted for each degree you hold showing details of all coursework and grades.  If one of your previous institutions does not use a grading system it is not necessary that your transcript or marksheet contain grades or GPA, as long as it is validated by a school administrative officer, such as the registrar, and specifically states your degree and graduation date. If your school does not provide grades or an overall GPA, you should also ask your references to comment in more detail on your academic performance in their courses and, if relevant, grades you received on papers or presentations. If you are still completing your degree, you need only submit your transcript showing your coursework to date.

For the application you are not required to submit official copies of your transcript.  If you receive and accept an offer of admission you will be required to provide official, final transcripts for your previous degrees.  Your transcript is considered final only when it specifically states what degree you have received and the date it was conferred. If transcripts from your institution do not specifically state degrees conferred, you will also need to submit a copy of your diploma.  An official transcript is a transcript which has been supplied from a school administrative officer and which bears an institutional seal or stamp.  Upon acceptance of an offer of admission to the University of Chicago, students who have attended U.S. or Canadian colleges or universities should request transcripts from their Registrar's Offices and submit them in signed-and-sealed envelopes. The Dean of Students Office reserves the right to determine whether a transcript has been tampered with.

Credentials written in a language other than English must be accompanied by an official translation. This should be prepared or verified by someone whose position requires knowledge of both English and the other language (e.g., a professor of English at a French university). Translations must bear the signature and stamp of the translator. Please include the original transcript along with the translations.


An interview is not part of the initial application process for the Division of the Humanities, though some programs do interview groups of applicants during the application review process.  However, prospective students are welcome to visit the University of Chicago campus at any time and should contact their department or program of interest to learn more about their program or to inquire about meeting any faculty or current graduate students.

Submitting your materials

Our application process is now entirely online. Please do not send any materials in hard copy. All materials should be submitted through the online application.  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.

Applying to multiple programs, and re-applying

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 You will need to submit two separate complete applications. This includes uploading all materials for each application and paying two application fees.

Reapplying: 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 for assistance.

Paying the application fee and fee waivers

Fee waivers are available for applicants who can demonstrate substantial financial hardship, applicants who are working for the Peace Corps, Teach for America, military veterans, and alumni of a variety of academic preparatory and service programs as detailed in the fee waiver form (see the instructions page of the online application for a link to the form). Please sumbit your fee waiver request form by December 1st. You will need to complete the online application fee waiver form (found on the "Instructions" page of the online application).

When to apply

Applications and all supporting materials must be submitted online no later than December 15 for the M.F.A. program in Visual Arts and all Ph.D. programs; January 3 for the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities and the M.A. programs in Middle Eastern Studies and Latin American/Caribbean Studies; and April 30 for second round applicants to the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities and the M.A. program in Latin American Studies. We cannot guarantee that applications received after the deadline will be considered.

The Division of the Humanities does not have a rolling deadline for admissions.

It is not possible to apply to start a Ph.D. or M.A. program in the Winter or Spring quarters. Most programs, particularly those with intensive language requirements, are designed to start in the Autumn quarter. The admissions selection committee for each department reviews all the applications submitted by the deadline for admission for Autumn quarter of the following year. During this selection, all available spots and financial aid are allocated for the following year.

Joint-Programs and transfers

Students seeking a joint Ph.D. may petition to be admitted into a second department only after completing at least one year in a Ph.D. program.

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. Each department should determine the maximum number of courses for which a student could receive course credit. The departmental faculty will determine if the student will receive credit towards the degree for any of the previous course work.

Admissions Decisions

Receiving your decision

All admission decisions will be made available to individual applicants through the online application, and applicants will be notified when their decision is available by email from the Office of the Dean of Students during the first half of March. Absolutely no decisions will be provided in an email or by telephone; applicants must log in to the application site to view their decision.

The department to which you applied may contact you regarding your admission decision or to request additional application materials during January and February. However, only the decision offer directly from the Dean of Students Office is considered the official and final notification of admission and aid.

It is important to keep your contact information with us up to date.  You will be able to keep your contact information up-to-date through the online application system. It is particularly important that you provide an accurate email address as you will be notified by email when your admissions decision is ready for you to view at the online application website.

Responding to an offer of admission

If you are offered admission, your official decision materials will contain a link to the online response form where you may inform us of your decision to accept or decline our offer.  We ask that you respond by April 15.  After that date we will assume you have chosen to decline our offer unless you have contacted us to request a response deadline extension, and we have granted the request.  Admitted students are under no obligation to notify graduate schools of their decisions prior to April 15. All member institutions of the Council of Graduate Schools have agreed to the "Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants." Under this Resolution, member universities and colleges recognize that applicants often consider multiple admission awards and allow admitted students until April 15 to return their decision.

Deferring an offer of admission

We do not currently allow admitted applicants to defer offers of admission. However, applicants who have been admitted to one of our programs may "reactivate" their applications for consideration for admission one year later without paying the application fee again. Individual programs reserve the right to request resubmission of particular materials (e.g., updated writing sample, recommendation letters, etc.).

Further Questions

Any questions you may have about the application and admissions process may be directed to the Dean of Students Office in the Division of the Humanities by emailing us at or by phone at 773-702-1552.  We are always happy to help you navigate the process and guide you to any information you need to make the best possible decision regarding your graduate study.