FAQs

If you have not already read through our “Application Requirements” page, please start there. If you have further questions, they may be answered in our FAQs.

What are the minimum requirements for admission?
  • Applicants to the University of Chicago’s graduate and professional programs are expected to be enrolled in or to have completed a Bachelor's Degree program or its equivalent from an accredited college or university.
  • Applicants from a three-year Bachelor's program will be given due consideration.
  • Applicants must submit the online application, pay the application fee, and submit all required supporting documents by the posted deadline.
  • We do not have minimum GPA or GRE scores.
  • International applicants and U.S. applicants who have never studied in the U.S. must show proof of English proficiency.
Can I apply to an MA program if I already hold an MA?
  • According to The University of Chicago Student Manual:

    Students coming to the University with a master's degree from another institution may receive a master's degree from the University in a different field, and no special considerations apply. When a student enters the University in the same or closely related field in which a previous master's degree is held, the University may award a second master's degree in that field. To be eligible, a student must fulfill all the standard requirements for a master's degree from the University by work done as a student at the University.

  • If you have any questions about your eligibility, please email ssd-admissions@uchicago.edu.
Can I apply to a PhD program if I am currently enrolled in a PhD program?
  • You may apply to a PhD program, but if you are offered admission you will be expected to abandon your current program and to complete all requirements of our program, without any consideration for the work you have already accomplished.
Can I apply to a PhD program if I already hold a PhD?
  • The Division of the Social Sciences will not admit students for a second PhD in the same or related field of study. You are encouraged to email ssd-admissions@uchicago.edu with any questions about your eligibility before applying.
If I have questions regarding the application process, whom should I contact?
  • The admissions staff can address questions regarding the admissions process only. You may contact them either via email at ssd-admissions@uchicago.edu or by phone. We will make every effort to answer emails within one business day.
  • The appropriate department administrator should address questions regarding program specifics such as language requirements, coursework, etc. Information on departments can be found through the specific degree-granting programs.
Can I have a counselor or advisor speak to me about my chances for admission?
  • Members of the admissions staff are happy to answer questions about the admissions process and general questions regarding our academic programs. However, we cannot answer questions regarding an individual’s prospects for admission or financial aid.
May I submit applications to multiple departments the Division of the Social Sciences?
  • You may apply to no more than two PhD departments within the Division of the Social Sciences. You will need to pay the application fee for each department to which you apply.
If I have been denied admission to a program before, may I reapply?
  • If you have applied to and been denied admission to a department in the past, you may reapply. However, if you have been denied by a department three times, you may not apply a fourth time.
What if I don't want to use the online application?
  • The online application is the only available means for applying to the Division of Social Sciences. Printed material or applications are no longer available for any of our departments.
How do I answer the GPA question if my school did not use a 4.0 scale?
  • Please use a 4.0-point scale. If your school does not use a 4.0-point scale, please use the GPA conversion worksheet to convert your grades. If after reading the worksheet you are still unable to convert to a 4.0 scale, simply leave this GPA section in the application blank.
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Whom do I contact if my contact information (mailing address, email address, telephone number) changes?
  • If any of your contact information changes after you have submitted your application, you should contact the Office of Admissions by email at ssd-admissions@uchicago.edu.
  • Your current mailing address and email address will be the primary means of contact from the University so it is important that you maintain up-to-date information with the Office of Admissions.

Supporting Materials

I already have a Master’s degree or have attended graduate school. Do I still need to take the GRE test?
  • All applicants are required to submit valid GRE score reports from the last five years regardless of previous degrees, education, or professional background.
Do I need to submit transcripts for every school I have attended?
  • We would prefer that you submit transcripts for all post-secondary education; we require that you submit transcripts for all degree work. If you have attended an academic program and subsequently had those course credits transferred to your primary institution, we must have documentation of those courses.
  • The name of the institution, the coursework, and the grades must be clearly identified. If the proper information for those courses appears on your primary institution’s transcript to which the credits have been transferred, we will not need separate transcripts from each individual institutions attended. However, if the coursework and grade do not appear on your primary transcript, then we will require an official transcript showing this information.
Can my supporting materials arrive late as long as my online application was submitted on time?
  • To be considered as making the deadline, we must receive your application, processing fee, and supporting material (including letters of recommendation) no later than the published deadline for the department to which you are applying. Please take this into consideration when you are requesting your letters of recommendation, transcripts, and test score reports.
Do you accept supplemental materials sent through Interfolio/My Credentials Vault?
  • We will accept confidential letters of recommendation and official transcripts submitted through Interfolio.
  • Electronic delivery should be directed to the University of Chicago–Division of Social Sciences Graduate Admissions.

International Applicants

Whom should I contact with questions about the visa process?
  • The process to be issued official documents for the purpose of obtaining a visa to study at the University of Chicago does not begin until after you have been offered admission.
  • Any documents required for this process should not be sent until you have received the informational email sent from the Office of Admission following acceptance of the offer of admission.
  • You may also visit the Office of International Affairs for more information.
If my undergraduate/graduate instruction was conducted in English, do I need to take the TOEFL?
  • The English language requirement may be waived if the applicant is a native of or studied in full-time status for at least one academic year within the last five years in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or English medium universities in Canada or South Africa.
  • Students who studied in English in other countries, for example, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc., are not exempt from the English language requirement.
  • Please see the Office of International Affairs for more complete information.
If my TOEFL scores do not meet the minimum requirements of the University of Chicago, should I bother to apply?
  • You must submit either TOEFL or IELTS scores to apply for admission. You are welcome to apply for our graduate programs with TOEFL scores that do not yet meet our minimum requirements. However, if you are admitted, you will not be able to matriculate until you have demonstrated an adequate command of both spoken and written English by submitting official TOEFL or IELTS scores that meet our minimum requirements. Furthermore, our Office of International Affairs will not be able to issue your I-20 or DS-2019 until your scores are received.
  • If your current scores are not high enough, we suggest that you immediately register to take the test again, as you might not have enough time after you learn you are admitted to schedule the test, take the test, have the score report sent, and go through visa processing.
  • Please note that while it is possible that you will be admitted with scores that do not meet our requirements, admissions committees do look at the TOEFL or IELTS scores, and scores that are too low will put you at a disadvantage.
If my TOEFL or IELTS scores are low in one section, but my overall score is high enough, do I need to re-take?
  • In order to matriculate, your TOEFL or IELTS scores need to meet our requirements in all subsections:
  • The minimum required score for the TOEFL is 104 overall, with sub scores of 26 each.
  • Minimum required scores in the IELTS are an overall score of 7, with sub scores of 7 each. (Note: students are required to take the Academic Reading/Writing test within IELTS, not the General Training Reading/Writing test).
What should I do if my transcripts are not in English?
  • Applicants who did not attend an institution where the primary language of instruction was English must submit an English translation in addition to the transcript issued in the language of instruction.
  • Applicants may prepare the translation themselves and have it verified by a person whose position requires knowledge of both English and the pertinent language, such as a professor of English at a French university, OR they may have the translation done by such a person.
  • A signed statement or certificate of verification should be included with the translation.
  • An official translation may also be obtained from a certified translation service, an embassy or consulate office, or other official entity requiring knowledge of both languages.

Finances

Can my application fee be waived?
What sorts of scholarships and fellowships do you offer?
  • Please see our Financial Matters page for complete information about university and divisional scholarships and fellowships.
Are loans available for graduate study?
How can I receive a FLAS application?
  • Applicants to Ph.D. programs who are U.S. citizens and whose program will include area studies and extensive language training may be eligible for a National Resources (Title VI) Fellowship.
  • Eligible languages include those of South Asia, Latin America (excluding Spanish), Slavic languages, and the Middle East.
  • Applications will be available on the Office of Graduate Student Affairs website.

Degrees and Programs

What degree programs does the Division of the Social Sciences offer?

These programs offer study for the PhD only:

These programs offer study for the Master of Arts degree only:

Do you offer a concurrent PhD/JD program?
  • Doctoral students in Social Sciences who are also admitted to the University of Chicago Law School may pursue a concurrent PhD/JD program, where there is an explicit and authorized close association between legal education and doctoral training. Students in the concurrent degree program alternate registration sites between the two units. Students complete all requirements for both degrees. Registration in the Law School does not count towards residence requirements in the PhD program, but courses undertaken while registered in the Law School, at the determination of the PhD department, may satisfy milestone requirements in the PhD program. Courses undertaken while registered in the PhD program may count towards credits for the JD, as determined by the Law School. The student’s faculty in the Law School and in the doctoral program determine which quarters and years the student will register in each unit.
  • Applicants must apply to both programs separately. Applications to the PhD program should be made through the Division of the Social Sciences. Application to the JD program should be made through the Law School. Applicants to PhD programs will be considered for five years of fellowship funding; that fellowship funding will cover only the years in which the student registers through the Division of the Social Sciences, and not in the years in which the student registers in the Law School. The University of Chicago Law School has established a fellowship program to support students pursuing a concurrent JD/PhD at the University of Chicago, which may grant fellowship aid during the Law School years. For more information, see http://www.law.uchicago.edu/joint-degrees. For inquiries, please contact Dean Ann Perry at akperry@uchicago.edu.
Do you offer a terminal MA/MS/MSc in Economics?
  • The Department of Economics admits students only to the PhD program and does not offer a program for students who intend to do only a master’s degree. Students can study Economics through the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS).
  • Applicants do not need to hold a master’s degree to apply to the PhD program.
Do you offer a PhD or MA in counseling or clinical Psychology?
  • We do not offer graduate degrees in counseling or clinical Psychology.
  • Applicants to the Psychology PhD program or to the psychology specialization of the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS) should indicate interest in one of the following areas: Cognition; Developmental Psychology; Integrative Neuroscience; or Social Psychology.
Which program should I apply to if I want a degree in Social Work?

Admissions Decisions

When will I be notified of the decision about my application?
  • The Office of the Dean of Students emails all official admission decisions in the first two weeks in March.
  • In some cases, departments may informally notify applicants of decisions earlier.
If I am not admitted to a PhD program, will I have a chance to apply to an MA program?
  • The application deadline for some of our MA programs is in early January, so it may not be possible to apply after learning the decision for your PhD application.
  • You are welcome to apply to an MA program at the same time that you apply for a PhD program, but you will need to submit two complete applications and pay the application fee twice.
  • In some cases, applicants who do not already hold master’s degrees in related disciplines, whom our faculty feel would be very strong students, and whom we cannot fund in our doctoral programs, will be offered the opportunity to enroll in one of our intensive master’s degree programs without a separate application process.
Another school is pressuring me for my decision now. Is there any way to find out my admission decision early?
  • Unfortunately, there is no way to find out your admission decision before the official decisions are sent in early March. We ask for students admitted to Ph.D. programs to respond to us by April 15. Students admitted to our M.A. programs have until May 1 to respond to our offer. Furthermore, admitted students are under no obligation to notify their 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.
  • More information regarding the Council of Graduate Schools and this Resolution are available online.
I have been accepted into one of your programs. Can I defer this acceptance and begin the program next year?
  • No, you may not defer your acceptance.
  • Applicants who have been admitted may "reactivate" their applications one year later—without paying the application fee again—by informing the Admissions Office and reapplying; the Admissions Office will add to your application any materials we have on file from your previous application.
  • All other applicants must fill out a new application, pay the application fee again, and resubmit most supplemental materials to be considered for admission for any subsequent year. 
  • Check with the Admissions Office to see if there are any materials still on file that you may be able to use.
  • Any applicant interested in reactivating or reapplying should contact the Admissions Office as early as possible.