Non-Degree Visiting Students and Exchange Programs

About Non-Degree Visiting Student (NDVS) Status

Every year, the Division of the Social Sciences hosts short-term Non-Degree Visiting Students from all over the world. Non-Degree Visiting Students must be current advanced graduate students affiliated with another academic institution. Most NDV students are international students; however, domestic students not eligible for one of the University’s exchange programs can apply for NDVS status. They visit Chicago to conduct short-term research with a faculty member at the University of Chicago. The Non-Degree Visiting Student status is available for no more than four consecutive quarters. Please direct all questions to:

Please note that Non-Degree Visiting Students cannot register for courses. Any visiting student interested in taking courses should register instead as a Graduate Student-at-Large through The Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies.


Faculty Sponsor Requirement

As part of this process, you must contact a University of Chicago faculty member in the Division of the Social Sciences to serve as your sponsor before beginning an application. The faculty member must be within one of our divisional PhD programs, and specifically within the department to which you wish to apply. Information on these programs can be found here. In addition, the faculty member must be in-residence during your entire NDVS enrollment. Once you have listed the faculty member in the application, they will receive a secure link to confirm they will serve as your sponsor.

Submitting the Application

Once you have created an account in the online application system, you must select the Non-Degree option and a host department. Only our PhD Departments can host students. Non-Degree Visiting Students who need a student visa can request a J-1 short-term research visa (the DS-2019). Accordingly, the dates of attendance on the online application must correspond with the quarter start and end dates in our academic calendar.


Autumn quarter: June 1
Winter quarter: October 30
Spring quarter: January 30
Summer quarter: April 1

The online application is closed for maintenance during the summer and we cannot accept late applications for autumn quarter. Late applications for winter, spring, and summer may be possible but we cannot guarantee all administrative processing will be completed in time for a student to receive a visa and arrive in Chicago.

English Proficiency Requirement

Non-Degree Visiting Students must meet English proficiency requirements as set by the Division and University. This requirement may be waived if:

  • Primary Language Waiver: If English has been a primary language of communication and schooling for you since childhood, you may attest to this on the application. We cannot assist you in determining if this is the case for you. Falsifying this information, as with any other information on the application, may lead to revocation of an offer of admission.
  • Education Waiver: If you were enrolled for at least one full academic year in the last ten years, as a full-time, degree-seeking student at an accredited English-medium post-secondary institution in one of the following countries or territories:
    • Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States.

If a student meets the requirement for a waiver, the system will automatically waive the requirement to provide scores.

If you are required to provide scores, the minimum required scores are:

  • No less than 6.0 on the Speaking section of the IELTS Academic
  • No less than 18 on the Speaking section of the TOEFL iBT

Official TOEFL reports must be sent to institution code 1832. Official IELTS reports must be sent via online delivery to the University of Chicago Graduate Enrollment (no code is needed). Please bear in mind it can take up to 8 weeks for the university to receive and process official test reports. We accept both in-person and online administrations of the IELTS Academic and TOEFL iBT.

Students can also satisfy the English proficiency requirement by taking the University of Chicago Academic English Proficiency Assessment (AEPA). We require at least a score of “Functional” on this test. If you wish to request to take AEPA in lieu of the TOEFL/IELTS, you may indicate as such in the online application.

Submitted applications cannot be processed until the English proficiency requirement has been met.

Acceptance & Processing

NDV students complete the following steps to matriculate into the NDV program.

Formal Invitation

Two official letters will be uploaded to your online application account. The first will indicate we have accepted you for NDV study and are awaiting assignment of your University of Chicago ID number. Once your UCID is assigned, we will issue the formal letter of invitation. It typically takes up to 4 days for a UCID to be assigned and for our office to prepare your formal letter of invitation.

DS-2019 Request & Visa Processing

Instructions for obtaining the DS-2019 will be sent via email shortly after your formal letter of invitation is uploaded. The formal letter of invitation / admission will be required as part of the DS-2019 process.

NDV Students are expected to pay the NDV tuition ($1,421 per quarter in 2022-2023), the Student Life fee ($449 per quarter) and required health insurance ($1,600 per quarter) for each quarter in which they are in residence. The estimated living expenses are $5,838, which includes the required health insurance. For the purpose of application for the DS-2019, you must provide financial documentation for a total of $9,308 for each quarter of your stay. This amount will be detailed in your invitation letter.

Information regarding the specifics of the J-1 visa process can be found on the Office of International Affairs website.

Vaccination Requirement

The University of Chicago requires all Non-Degree Visiting Students to be fully vaccinated for Covid prior to attendance. All vaccines approved by the FDA or WHO will be considered suitable to fulfill the University’s requirement. Proof of vaccination through medical records (or vaccine certification card) will be required. More information on how to provide proof of immunization will be sent in a separate email after admission has been confirmed.

Student Account Activation

Once you arrive at the University, you must set up an appointment with Associate Dean of Students Brett Baker,, who will activate your student account and required health insurance. Mr. Baker's office is located at Social Sciences Research Building (SSRB), 1126 E. 59th St., Suite 101, 773-702-8414. You must email or call to check Mr. Baker's availability prior to visiting his office.