Master of Liberal Arts students and instructors
MASTER OF LIBERAL ARTS: Evening and weekend courses that explore the work of thought leaders in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, led by University of Chicago faculty—experts in their fields with international reputations.


Master of Liberal Arts

Does dark matter matter? How does social revolution take root? What are the proper limits, if any, to human knowledge? Why is “otherness” such a powerful theme?

Questions like these — and the stimulating conversations they provoke — are the building blocks for a Master in Liberal Arts degree from the University of Chicago Graham School.

Learn Through Lively Give-and-Take

Through reading, self-reflection, lecture, and lively classroom discussion, our MLA students study the works of great thinkers — in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences — and begin the process of becoming thought leaders in their own spheres.

  • Learn from renowned University of Chicago faculty, some of the finest minds of our time.
  • Consider a wide range of viewpoints, perspectives, and life experiences.

New Skills & New Rewards

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.

  • Refine valuable skills like critical thinking, writing, developing and presenting solutions, and constructively challenging conventions and assumptions.
  • Earn a credential that opens doors.

Connect With Other Thinkers, Doers, Dreamers

MLA class

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. All of which contributes to an engaging — and enlightening — exchange of views.

> What students say

Making it Work

  • Take evening and weekend courses to fit your schedule.
  • Earn your master’s degree on a part- or full-time basis.
  • All classes at the downtown Gleacher Center.


A Distinctive Approach to Learning

Gleacher Center

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.”

  • An emphasis on discussion, rather than lectures

Program Structure

  • Classes meet once a week for 10 weeks on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings for 3 hours
  • Students register for 1-3 courses per quarter (autumn, winter, spring)
  • 9 courses, including a final thesis or project, are required to earn the MLA degree
  • Complete the program within 1 year or take up to 5 years

Course Requirements

  • 1 humanities core course
  • 1 social science core course
  • 1 biological science course
  • 1 physical science course
  • 4 elective courses, including 1 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 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 TranscriptsApplicants 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
  • Admissions interview. An interview with the program director may be conducted at the request of the applicant or the admissions committee.
  • 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.


Financing Your Education

Here 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 a federal student loan. Students who are enrolled in 2 or 3 courses each quarter are eligible to apply for federal student loans. Visit the Student Loan website for information.
  • Apply for a private loan. Students who are enrolled in 1 course per quarter as well as international students sometimes consider taking out private loans. For information, visit the Student Loan website. Student loans may be available through the Maroon Financial Credit Union.
  • Set up a payment plan. The Office of the Bursar offers a monthly payment plan as described on the Bursar's website.
  • Pay 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 tuition 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 tuition remission. The University will pay up to 50% of the tuition for up to 2 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.