Master of Liberal Arts, UChicago students in graduation robes.

Master of Liberal Arts

How to Apply for Master of Liberal Arts

Master of Liberal Arts Application Process

Step 1: Apply Online

Application Deadlines

Spring 2021 February 16, 2021*
Autumn 2021 September 6, 2021*

*International applicants who need a student visa should apply at least 30 days before the listed deadline.


Application Requirements

  • Writing Sample. A cohesive writing sample of at least 5 double-spaced pages is required. You are free to submit an academic paper you previously wrote for school, or a more professionally-oriented sample (like a long report written for work) is acceptable. If you are unsure if a sample would be appropriate to use, please check with the MLA admissions team. If you need to write a brand new sample, you are free to write a review of a book, movie or play or write an opinion piece. In addition, you may also respond to two of the following prompts in 750 words or fewer:

    2020-2021 Prompts:

    • Describe a street from your childhood. How have American neighborhoods changed since then?
    • In 1965, Bob Dylan sang: "You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows." Which way is the wind blowing in 2020?
    • If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your 21-year-old self, what would it be and why?
    • Describe the best meal you have ever had. What made it memorable?
    • Discuss one recent innovation that you believe has affected society positively, negatively, or somewhat more ambiguously.

  • Transcripts. One unofficial transcript from each university attended must be uploaded within the application. Please do not mail transcripts as part of your admission application; we accept unofficial uploads only for application evaluation. If you are offered admission, one official transcript for each university attended will be required prior to the first day of the term. An unofficial transcript for undergraduate coursework is still required for application evaluation even if you hold an advanced degree(s).
  • English Proficiency. If your native language is not English, we require a TOEFL or IELTS test score. Our TOEFL and College Board code is 1832. The required proficiency standards include a score of 104 on the TOEFL (with 4 sub scores of 26 each), or 7 overall on the IELTS (with sub scores of 7 each*). Applicants who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in the United States are exempt from providing proof of English proficiency.
  • Letters of Recommendation. We require 2 letters of recommendation from individuals who can assess your academic or professional qualifications.
  • Candidate Statement. Applicants are required to demonstrate the motivation, academic potential, and ability to undertake work at the University of Chicago by writing a candidate statement (typed, double-spaced, not to exceed 4 pages) describing his or her interest.
  • International Transcripts. Applicants with international transcripts must provide an English translation with their applications. An official course-by-course evaluation of transcripts may be requested through an accredited NACES member. A course-by-course evaluation will translate courses, degree(s), and grades to U.S. equivalents. Please visit for more details.
  • Resume or CV
  • $75 Application Fee (non-refundable)
  • Interview. All applicants will be required to complete an interview as part of the application process. You will be contacted to schedule the interview once your online application is complete and all required materials have been submitted. The interview is not a test of liberal arts knowledge; rather, we will use this time to discuss your background, your academic and professional goals, and your interest in the Master of Liberal Arts program. The interview typically takes 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Standardized test scores (GRE, GMAT) are not required for the MLA program.

* Students are required to take the Academic Reading/Writing test within IELTS, not the General Training Reading/Writing test.

Step 2: Interview

An interview with the program director may be conducted at the request of the applicant or the admissions committee.

Step 3: Submit Transcripts

Submit your official transcripts if accepted to the program.