The admissions process differs by graduate degree program. No single committee oversees all applications to the University of Chicago, but there are some helpful hints that are often useful to applicants in general. To help you with some of those most frequently asked questions and areas that applicants are most concerned about, we have included the information below. We hope this helps clarify some of the mystery of the process! For specific questions regarding your application, please feel free to contact an admissions representative from your school or department.
With only a few exceptions, all programs at the University of Chicago use an online application system. Most of our applicants find this to be more convenient than paper, because it often allows you to see the status of your application in “real time.” When you begin an application, you will be prompted to create a log-in ID and password tied to an email address. HINT: We always like to recommend using a single email address for all of your applications—some address that you can dedicate to your application process. That way, you will have all your information from all your schools in one easy to remember place.
You can find a link to the application that your intended program currently uses on the application page »
Deadlines vary greatly by degree program, so be sure you check the specific graduate program for the application deadline date. As a general rule, applications should be submitted as early as possible so that you can track the status of your application and the receipt of Standardized Test Scores or Letters of Recommendation. You should log into and check the status of your application frequently once you have submitted it. In most cases, you will not be allowed to submit an application after the deadline to your designated program has passed.
The applications to our degree programs often require an accompanying fee. Some programs require different amounts for the fee, and this is usually due to different resource demands needed to process and evaluate the high volume of applications each year. The fee will be clearly indicated in the instructions to your application, and you will be prompted to pay the application fee at the time you are ready to submit your application. PLEASE NOTE: Application fees are non-refundable.
Many degree programs will accommodate fee waivers if the applicant meets certain criteria. There are instructions on the application itself for how to request a fee waiver. Each degree program will have slightly different procedures for the fee waiver, but typically, if you submit a request for a fee waiver, we will be in touch with you if we require further information. Please do not be deterred from applying based on the application fee. The University is committed to making a UChicago education accessible to people of all financial backgrounds, including by aiding students who need assistance with this application fee. Participants of the Leadership Alliance, Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers (IRT), Project 1000 and the CIC FreeApp, should contact Dr. Chinonye Nnakwe (email@example.com) for assistance in requesting an application fee waiver. Please note that you must apply for a fee waiver directly to the University of Chicago using the information in the online application in addition to any materials that you may submit when applying for fee waiver through these programs.
We thought this heading might get your attention! While there is no simple answer or formula, we can pass along some of the following information.
Because all admissions to our graduate programs are handled by their own staff and faculty, applications are read by different people depending on the program to which you are applying. For most Doctoral programs, faculty committees will read and decide all of the applications that are submitted. For some Masters programs, there may be committees that are comprised of a combination of faculty and admissions staff members. However, since the level of study is so specialized at the graduate level, each graduate degree program has its own way of determining the files that they wish to admit in any given year.
Sometime admissions committees will want to meet you before they invest in offering you an admissions decision. If an interview is required for your admission, the admissions committee for your program will indicate that in the instructions, and they will provide more information about the interview process.
In many cases, admissions decisions are released as soon as they are ready! Our admissions committees put forth a lot of energy to get the admissions decisions released as quickly as possible, but there is no way to estimate when that date might be. Each degree program will release decisions at different times, and some degree programs may release decisions on a more “rolling” basis instead of all at once. It simply depends on the program and they process that they use to determine admissions decisions. For example, one department might read application alphabetically by surname, while others might read based on certain subject areas you indicate in your application. Until you have heard directly from the committee itself, you cannot infer or assume anything about the status of your application.
Transcripts requirements vary according to degree program. You should check the instructions to the program to which you are applying, as this may be different for different programs. However, for many of the programs on campus, you will need to scan and upload a copy of your transcripts for each college or university you have attended as part of your online application. College seniors should upload a current transcript available at the time the application is ready to be submitted. Once fall term grades are posted to your record, you should send or upload a revised transcript. Admitted students will need to have an official copy of final transcripts before they can enroll (and any discrepancy between your personal copy and the official, final copies may be grounds for rescinding an offer of admission). In some cases, you may have to print out the transcript, scan it, and save it as a PDF to upload into your application. If your school offers electronic transcripts to be uploaded into your online application, you may do so. However, please note that due to encryption technologies at use in different institutions around the world, your application may not be compatible with your official electronic copy. Don’t worry—we know this happens! Simply scan and upload your personal copy, and we will accept that for the admissions process.
The terminology can be confusing, but here are some basic definitions. An “official” transcript is one that comes directly from your former institution to us, through some secure method (whether signed/sealed by their registrar, or by a secure electronic delivery). A “final” transcript is one that contains all of the information on your work there at the conclusion of your studies. There are no incompletes or in progress notes on a “final” transcript.
Applicants who have attended international institutions whose transcripts are in a language other than English must submit those transcripts or certified attestations of study with certified English translations. Both the original transcript and the certified translations must be uploaded to your online application or sent to the department.
The University prefers that recommendations be received through our online application system. When filling out the recommendation section of the application, you will be asked to provide contact information for recommendation letter writers, including name, affiliation, title, and institutional e-mail address. The number of letters required varies depending on the degree program. It is generally advisable to have past professors or others who know you in an academic setting write your recommendation letters.
Please read the requirements for applying to your program very carefully, as each one will have a different requirement regarding standardized tests. We always recommend following the “recommendations” that admissions committees place on their websites or in their instructions. If they recommend a certain test and you don’t take it, your application very well may be at a disadvantage. However, you should also feel free to reach out to the admissions staff at that particular program for clarification, too. We also recommend looking at those requirements well in advance of your intended application deadline. It’s usually not a good idea to rush into a standardized test without properly preparing for it, so don’t leave it for the last minute. Signing up for a standardized test should be one of the first steps in your graduate school application, not one of the last.
In some instances, you will be able to submit the application with just a test date (even if it’s a date in the future). Other programs will require not only the scores, but official verified scores from the testing service before your application will be considered “complete.” We recommend looking at the instructions provided with your application for more information.
In most cases, international students will have to supply a valid TOEFL or IELTS score. However, there are many exceptions to this, and those exceptions will vary greatly by degree program. Some programs will waive this requirement if you spent a certain number of years in an English language curriculum in a country where the official language is English. However, it is best to read the specific instructions carefully for each application to determine if you fall into the exceptions they will offer. Find more information on the international students page.
There is no score for any standardized test that will guarantee admission to the University of Chicago. Admissions are always based on a combination of factors, of which test scores are only one piece. However, the TOEFL or IELTS usually must be at a certain minimum score in order to qualify for admission (if you are required to supply a TOEFL or IELTS score). Please read the instructions to your application carefully to learn what TOEFL or IELTS score is needed in your program.
The Graduate Record Examination general test is a standardized test separated into three sections: quantitative, verbal, and writing. In addition, certain departments and programs require scores from one of the GRE Subject Tests. The Educational Testing Service administers the GRE in the United States and abroad. Please have an official GRE score report sent directly to the University of Chicago. When requesting an official score report from the Educational Testing Service, you may include the University of Chicago institution code, which is 1832.
We urge you to take the GRE no later than November. November test scores often do not reach us until January, and lacking scores could put your application at a disadvantage.
The Graduate Management Admission Test is the assessment for graduate business school candidates. It was designed by business schools to measure the skills shown to help graduate business students succeed in the challenging curriculum. Please add the University of Chicago to the list of schools who will have access to your scores: The school code is H9X-9F-34.
The Medical College Admission Test is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess the candidate’s problem solving, critical thinking, writing skills, and knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. The latest accepted test date for admissions is in September. Check the Pritzker School of Medicine entrance requirements for the date of the last accepted test for your admission. Applicants may submit MCAT scores from up to three years prior to matriculation. Beyond that period of time, an applicant is required to retake the exam.
The Law School Admission Test is a half-day, standardized test administered four times each year at designated testing centers throughout the world. It provides a standard measure of acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use as one of several factors in assessing applicants. All applicants to the University of Chicago Law School are required to take the LSAT and submit a valid score. An LSAT score is considered valid if it was received within five years of the date of your application. You must submit all LSAT scores that you have received.
A personal statement of purpose is a required component of your application. Your statement should address your past work, preparation for the intended field of study, relevant background and interests, academic plans, and career. It should be used to describe your reasons for applying to the particular department or program. This statement may assist the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study. Beyond what is apparent from your transcripts, describe preparation for proposed program of study, including research projects in which you have participated or language and other academic training where appropriate.
Resume/CV requirements vary according to degree program. If your program requires a resume or CV, we recommend spending some time to make it as clear and professional as you can. If there is an industry standard for how to structure the document or what to include on it, you should adhere to that as much as possible. Remember, there is always a danger of including either too much or too little, so make sure it accurately represents the best you have to offer the program.
There is almost always a place for you to expand upon the required components of the application by including additional information that you deem important. However, our advice is to be cautious with adding additional material. Admissions committees receive a LOT of applications each year, and adding information that they don’t specifically ask for is usually not going to sway an admissions decision one way or the other. Committees know that everyone is different, and that everyone has a different path to graduate school; however, they also know how to ask the questions that are most important for determining potential for success in their degree program, so we like to recommend putting your energy into filling out the application as fully as possible, and then if you feel like anything is still missing, contact the degree program to see if they would welcome additional material.