Master of Liberal Arts

A liberal education, built from a broad engagement with the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences is a foundational experience. The Master of Liberal Arts program offers graduate-level course work in the liberal arts.


About the Program

Explore the liberal arts. All courses are taught by world-renowned University of Chicago faculty drawn from divisions across the University. This is a graduate program for those seeking self-enrichment, context for further graduate studies, and career advancement.

Program Structure

  • Ten class meetings scheduled over a ten week period
  • Weekday evenings and Saturday mornings
  • Take courses part- or full-time and continuous registration is not required
  • Complete the program’s nine course requirement within a year or take up to five years to do so
  • Courses are offered in the autumn, winter, and spring

Program Requirements

To earn a master’s degree at least nine courses are required:

  • 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 thesis/special project course (for students at the thesis-writing stage ready to work directly with a University of Chicago faculty member)


View Application Requirements
  • Application form (online)
  • $55 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).
  • 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.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS test scores. 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). Other evidence documenting proficiency may also quality (please contact us for more details).
  • Resume or CV
  • Admissions interview

Official GRE or GMAT scores. Standardized test scores are not required for the MLA program.



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