Master of Liberal Arts

Master of Liberal Arts

Study the thinkers and writers who have shaped the fundamental questions impacting the world today.

The Master of Liberal Arts program (MLA) at the University of Chicago is a degree program designed for working professionals. Our flexible course schedule offered in downtown Chicago makes our MLA degree program ideal for adults with busy professional lives.


We count doctors, police officers, lawyers, teachers, business professionals, and a wide variety of other professions among our current students. All MLA students take one course each in the humanities, social sciences, biological sciences, and physical sciences, and then fill their remaining course requirements with electives in order to ensure an engaging course load of interdisciplinary liberal arts studies.

The essence of a liberal education is the ability to read deeply, listen closely, think critically, and communicate effectively. It gives you a sense of the big picture and how things relate to one another.

“The liberally educated person,” University of Chicago President Robert Maynard Hutchins said, “has a mind that can operate well in all fields. He may be a specialist in one field. But he can understand anything important that is said in any field and can see and use the light that it sheds upon his own. The liberally educated person is at home in the world of ideas and in the world of practical affairs, too, because he understands the relation of the two.”

This desire to understand how everything fits together provides the basis of the Master of Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago Graham School.

Learn Through Conversation

Through reading, reflection, lecture, and lively classroom discussions, our MLA students study the works of great thinkers—in the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, and biological sciences—and gain the tools to apply interdisciplinary thought to their professional lives. In small classes, all taught by tenured University of Chicago faculty, students engage and wrestle with great ideas as they work towards developing their own ways of thinking and solving problems.

For professional advancement or personal enrichment, our MLA program helps you sharpen your analytic skills, think and plan at a strategic level, better express your ideas, and make more convincing arguments. The program involves engaging, interdisciplinary coursework designed for adult learners. Students refine valuable skills like critical thinking, writing, developing and presenting solutions, and constructively challenging conventions and assumptions. A Master of Liberal Arts from UChicago is a credential that opens doors.

Connect, Relate, Engage

Our MLA program attracts intellectually curious adults who like to ask questions and share ideas. Your MLA colleagues are likely to be as diverse as Chicago is: people who spend their days managing project teams or developing software, caring for patients or young children, responding to public safety emergencies or customers needing assistance. This variety contributes to an engaging and enlightening exchange of views.

Master of Liberal Arts courses are offered in the evenings and on Saturdays to fit your schedule. You can earn your master’s degree on a part-time basis, or complete the program in a year full-time. All classes are in downtown Chicago, at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center on the Chicago River, just east of the Tribune Tower.

Our MLA program is a rare combination of academic rigor and flexibility that reflects what University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer has said is this University’s defining feature: “…a firm belief in the value of open, rigorous, and intense inquiry.”