Master of Liberal Arts

Taught by renowned University of Chicago faculty, the Master of Liberal Arts program offers evening and weekend courses in the humanities, social, and natural sciences. It is a graduate program designed for adults who would like to earn their master’s degree on a part- or full-time basis at the downtown Gleacher Center.


About the Program

MLA students come from business and industry, law and medicine, social work, government, and many other walks of life. All wish to enrich their lives by exploring new ideas and challenging old ones through the expansiveness that only a liberal arts education can provide.

Students have used this program as a way to:

  • Improve their writing and critical thinking skills and apply those skill-sets to their careers;
  • Network with University of Chicago faculty and peers in a classroom setting
  • Gain credentials and context for future graduate studies.

Why Pursue a Liberal Arts Degree?

Our students range from recent college graduates to experienced professionals returning to an academic setting. You will find a place among our diverse community whose common goal is to explore the world fully and then apply those ideas to their interests—personal, academic, or professional.

MLA Instructors & Courses

Faculty who teach in the MLA program are drawn from divisions across the University of Chicago. The experience and knowledge they bring to the classroom match their enthusiasm for teaching adult students and the rapport it inspires. At the University of Chicago, the tradition of classroom instruction balances lecture with discussion and encourages students to closely read texts and critique ideas. Faculty are experienced in engineering this type of learning which helps students gain mastery of the readings and confidence in their analysis. See "Instructor" tab on the left side of this page for more Information.

Course offerings for the 2014-2015 academic year can be accessed by using the "Current Courses" tab on the left side of this page

Program Structure

  • Classes meet once a week for ten weeks
  • Class is held on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings for three hours
  • Students register for 1-3 courses per quarter
  • Nine courses and a final thesis or project are required to complete the degree
  • Complete the program within a year or take up to five years
  • Courses are offered in the autumn, winter, and spring quarters

Program Requirements

  • 1 humanities core course
  • 1 social science core course
  • 1 biological science course
  • 1 physical science course
  • 4 elective courses, including one with a non-Western focus
  • 1 thesis/special project course


View Application Requirements
  • Completed Application (online)
  • $75 Application Fee (non-refundable)
  • A writing sample
  • 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 only accept unofficial uploads 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 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; Note that students are required to take the Academic Reading/Writing test within IELTS, not the General Training Reading/Writing test). Applicants who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in the United States are exempt from providing proof of English proficiency.
  • Letters of Recommendation. Two 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 four pages) describing his or her interest.
  • Applicants with international transcripts must provide an English translation with their application. 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, and grades to U.S. equivalency. Please visit for more details.
  • Resume or CV
  • Admissions interview. An interview with the program director may be conducted at the request of the applicant or the admissions committee.
  • Official GRE or GMAT scores. Standardized test scores are not required for the MLA program.


Financing Your Education

Below are the most common ways that students pay for course tuition.

  • Pay out-of-pocket as you register for each course. You can find payment and billing schedule information at the Office of the Bursar.
  • Take out Federal Student loans. Students who are enrolled in two or three courses each quarter are eligible to apply for federal student loans. Information is located on the Student Loan website.
  • Apply for Private loans. Students who are enrolled in one course per quarter as well as international students sometimes consider taking out private loans. Information about private loans is located on the Student Loan website. Student loans may be available through the Maroon Financial Credit Union.
  • Set-Up Payment Plans. The Office of the Bursar enables students to pay their tuition in regular installments. Information is found on the Bursar's website.
  • Pay by Credit Card. The Graham School accepts payment by credit card. Call the Graham School Registrar at 773.702.1722 Monday – Friday, 9 am – 4 pm. You will need your 6-digit student ID number in addition to your bill. Please note that a 3% service fee applies to credit card payments.
University Staff Employee Tuition Remission
Benefits-eligible staff employees may apply for a tuition remission for courses. The University will pay up to 50% of the tuition for up to two courses per quarter, at either the graduate or undergraduate level. The Staff Tuition Assistance Benefit form should be submitted directly to the University Benefits Office.


Once you are admitted to the program, you may register for courses.