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About the Program

The Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults offers a rigorous, noncredit liberal arts curriculum that draws on the strong Socratic tradition at the University of Chicago and covers the foundations of modern Western political and social thought. Read, explore, and engage with these important texts in a dedicated community of learners, led by experienced instructors. There are no tests, papers, or grades; you will instead discover, disagree, and discuss these works just as students in the College at the University of Chicago do, with the benefit of additional years of insight and experience to add to the conversation.

Participants earn a certificate upon completion of the entire four-year curriculum, as well as some of the privileges of University of Chicago alumni. 

View the current 4 year Curriculum Chart

Now until August 15, Tuition Discounts are Available for New Students 

New students who register for a Basic Program Year One Autumn course from July 15 to August 15 will receive $50 off by using the code: BPYR150. 

To activate the code, please choose from one of the available course sections and add the course to your cart. A box for you to type in the discount code will appear on the checkout page. The discount will be applied once you update your order. 

Program Structure

In total, the Basic Program consists of a four-year curriculum. Courses meet three hours, once a week, for ten weeks. Each class session consists of a seminar, covering three or four texts, and a tutorial, which involves in-depth analysis of one or two texts. Students take the curriculum in order, progressing with their classmates from quarter to quarter and year to year.

Registration Requirements

  • No application is required at any time. Students register for courses one quarter at a time.
  • Participants must study the curriculum in order: Year 1 is a pre-requisite for Year 2, and so on.
  • We encourage students to register for Year 1 in the Autumn Quarter, but it is possible to join in later quarters.
  • Basic Program Alumni Courses and Alumni Sequences are open to students who have completed Years 1 and 2.
  • Open Enrollment Courses are open to anyone who wishes to enroll.