The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

Master of Liberal Arts – MLA

Division: Graham School
Degree Type: MLA

Program Description

To earn a Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) degree from the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Chicago, you will study the greatest works in the humanities and in the natural, social, and biological sciences in courses that will be taught by renowned University of Chicago faculty. This evening or weekend program is offered part time or at a more accelerated pace.

The MLA program will allow you to:

  1. Differentiate yourself with a University of Chicago approach
  2. Hone critical thinking skills to help you understand and resolve big-picture issues
  3. Challenge yourself; surprise yourself; see the world in new ways
  4. Gain credentials and context for your career and your life, in general
  5. Join others who share a passion for learning

Courses are offered at the downtown Gleacher Center (450 N. Cityfront Plaza) on weekday evenings and/or Saturday mornings. You have up to five years to complete your MLA, so you can choose a pace to fit your lifestyle.

  • If you take three courses a quarter, you will earn your MLA in a year.
  • If you take two courses a quarter, you will earn your MLA in two years.

Explore program faculty »


  • Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies
  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • 1427 East 60th Street
  • Chicago, IL 60637
  • Phone: 773.834.0159 or 773.834.2964
  • Graham School:
  • Website:

Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application.


  • Fall Quarter, 2014: July 14, 2014 (International Students), August 10, 2014 (Domestic Students)
  • Winter Quarter, 2015: October 13, 2014 (International Students), November 10, 2014 (Domestic Students)
  • Spring Quarter, 2015: January 13, 2015 (International Students), February 10, 2015 (Domestic Students)

Campus Visits

Join us for an open house or information session where you can meet staff and faculty. Alumni and students will share their perspective on how the MLA program's rich curriculum, exceptional instruction, and insightful classroom conversations have enriched their personal and professional lives. They also will answer your questions about the program, such as, "What are students looking for and what do they find?" "How difficult is the coursework?" and "What are classes like?"

Degree Objective

The MLA degree

Application Requirements

  1. Application: Apply online
  2. Candidate Statement
  3. Writing Sample
  4. 2 Letters of Recommendation
  5. Official academic transcripts must be enclosed in a sealed envelope from every college and/or university from which you received a degree or were enrolled in a degree program. In order to ensure timely application processing, international transcripts, when necessary, must be submitted in a translated English version. Applicants who have previously attended another University of Chicago program must submit a transcript of their coursework.
  6. International applicants generally must submit proof of English proficiency by providing TOEFL/IELTS scores. Exemptions may be granted if the applicant attended for two years a secondary school where the language of instruction was English, or if the applicant attended a one year institution of higher learning in the United States of America. Other evidence documenting English proficiency may also qualify.
  7. Non-refundable application fee
  8. After the materials have been reviewed, selected applicants will be invited for an interview with the program director.

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are released on a rolling basis.

Program Requirements

At least nine courses are required to earn a master's degree. The MLA program distributes the course requirements as follows:

  • 1 humanities core course
  • 1 social science core course
  • 1 biological science course
  • 1 physical science course
  • 4 elective courses (must include one non-Western topic)
  • 1 independent study course

The independent study course enables a student to work independently with a University faculty member on his or her thesis or special project and receive a quality grade for the work.

Students are given freedom and guidance in selecting and researching a master's thesis or special project. A thesis is a formal paper exploring a specific topic. Special projects can range from a video project to a compilation of poems or photographs, or a tory. A paper, although shorter than the thesis, is expected of the student pursuing the special project option.

The program has a flexible format, with courses offered part-time on weekday evenings or Saturdays. Although students have up to five years to complete the program, most students graduate within a three-year period. We also accommodate students who would like to complete the program at an accelerated rate.

Costs & Financial Aid

Tuition for the 2013­-2014 academic year is $2,795 per course.