The University of Chicago (U of C, UC, or UChicago) is a private university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is recognized for its world-renowned economics department and as the location of the first self-sustaining nuclear reactor. Approximately, 5,000 undergraduate and 10,000 graduate and professional students attend the University of Chicago each year.
The University of Chicago is also known for its interdisciplinary academic programs and emphasis placed on critical thinking. The University also takes pride in public service by opening cultural events and art displays to members of the public free of charge. The Smart Museum, Oriental Institute, and Court Theatre often sponsor these free public events. The University of Chicago also invests in the local community by sponsoring economic development programs known as retail development initiatives.
The University of Chicago offers over 50 specialized academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Its interdisciplinary programs include biological chemistry and a unique academic program known as Big Problems where students study major international and national problems and propose solutions to resolve them. The University is affiliated with 86 Nobel Prize Laureates and 49 Rhodes Scholars.
Students also gain real-world experience at the University of Chicago. For example, the Careers Pathways Initiative program enables students to conduct research, complete internships, and work with local health and business professionals.
The University of Chicago participates heavily in community service and philanthropy. It partners with community organizations to improve economic conditions around Chicago. Students can volunteer with such organizations as the Urban Health Initiative and Urban Education Institute.
Financial need is not considered during admission decisions, making it possible for students from all backgrounds to attend the University of Chicago. Federal Pell grants, loans, and scholarships are available to qualified students.
New students are required to reside on campus for a minimum of one year. Most students say they enjoy this experience.
Academic programs at University of Chicago are organized into six professional schools, four divisions of graduate research, the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies and The College (undergraduate studies). Other university divisions and departments include the University of Chicago Press (the largest university press in the nation), the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the University of Chicago Medical Center, and an extensive library system.
Similar to other universities, the University of Chicago is based on the quarter system. The academic year is divided into four terms: Fall (September – December), Winter (January – March), Spring (April – June) and Summer (June – August). Most undergraduate students at the University of Chicago will complete 3 to 4 courses per quarter. The school year starts in September and finishes in June.
Programs offered at the University of Chicago are accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Online Degrees and Courses
Currently, University of Chicago does not offer a large selection of online degrees or courses. In April 2012, the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies launched an online learning option that allows professionals to earn a certificate entirely online. The online certificate programs are offered to working professionals who want to develop new skills and knowledge via a distance learning program. The two certificate programs offered by the University include Clinical Trials Management and Medical Writing and Editing. Both of these online certificates are accredited by North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI).
For more information on undergraduate and graduate-level online degree programs offered by accredited colleges and universities you can perform a search using the “College Degree Finder” feature located in the upper right-hand corner of this page.
Undergraduate College (“The College”)
The College is the only undergraduate institution at the University of Chicago. Established in 1892, contemporaneously with the university, The College is one of the oldest divisions of the University of Chicago. While undergraduate instruction at The College is provided by faculty from nearly all graduate divisions and schools, the University of Chicago maintains a select group of scholars and professors who exclusively teach the school’s core curriculum courses.
The College currently offers Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees or “majors” in 50 academic subjects and 28 minors. The undergraduate programs at University of Chicago are divided into five divisions, which include the following:
- the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division;
- the Physical Sciences Collegiate Division;
- the Social Sciences Collegiate Division;
- the Humanities Collegiate Division;
- and the New Collegiate Division.
Each of the first four divisions listed above correspond to their respective graduate divisions. The New Collegiate Division is responsible for other interdisciplinary majors that don’t fit into one of the previous four divisions.
All undergraduates at the University of Chicago are required to complete a core curriculum referred to at University of Chicago as the Common Core. The average size of the classes in the Common Core is about 25 students and unlike many other universities, most Common Core classes are taught by full-time professors (as opposed to graduate students or teaching assistants).
Graduate schools at the University of Chicago are divided into four divisions: Humanities, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Physical Sciences. Nearly a third of all graduate students can be found in the Humanities Division, another third in the Social Sciences Division, with the remaining equally divided between the Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences Divisions.
The University has six professional schools which include the Booth School of Business, the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Law School, the Divinity School, and the School of Social Service Administration (SSA). Over half of all participating students are enrolled in the business school, about a sixth are in enrolled in the Law School, and the remaining professional students are about equally divided between the Harris School, SSA and the Divinity School.
While the University of Chicago is accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, its Law School is accredited by the American Bar Association, the Pritzker School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, and the Divinity School is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.
Associated Academic Institutions
In addition to its undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, the University of Chicago operates several affiliated academic institutions and programs. These include the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School (a treatment program for emotional and behavioral disorders), the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (a private, co-educational day school for K-12 and students of faculty at the University), and several charter schools which are run by the University’s Urban Education Institute.
Other academic programs include the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (used in urban schools), the Hyde Park Day School (a school for the learning disabled), the Council on Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences and Humanities (offers workshops and forums used by graduate students, faculty and scholars for presentation of scholarly work) and the University of Chicago Press (the largest university press in the nation).
The University Library System
The library system at University of Chicago is composed of six libraries which house over 8 million volumes. The University’s main library, the Regenstein Library, contains the largest collection of print volumes of any library in the United States. The University also runs several specialty libraries, such as the SSA Library, the Eckhard Library and the D’Angelo Law Library.
While the University of Chicago isn’t the largest research university in the nation, it conducts a substantial amount of research each year. According to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the University of Chicago is a school with “very high research activity”. In total, the University runs 113 on-campus research centers and 12 research institutes. These include the Oriental Institute for Near Eastern Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
In addition to university operated research centers, University of Chicago is affiliated with several other research institutes including Argonne National Laboratory, the first science and engineering research lab in the U.S., Fermilab, which specializes in high-energy particle physics, and the Apache Point Observatory (APO).
The Toyota Technological Institute Chicago, located adjacent to the University’s campus, was opened via a joint venture between Japan and University of Chicago. The purpose of the institute is to “impact research and education in computer science”. The institute supports research activities for the University’s computer science department.
Over the years, the University of Chicago has been responsible for fostering several famous experiments and monumental academic discoveries. The University has helped to shape several modern day ideas and concepts about free markets. The University also played an important role in the development of Chicago Pile-1 (the first man-made nuclear reactor), Robert Millikan’s oil-drop experiment (which measured electron charge) and radiocarbon dating.
The University of Chicago prides itself on making its campus feel like a community and home for both faculty and students. At every turn students will find events, activities, organizations and traditions that make University of Chicago much more than just another university.
The University of Chicago has over 400 student clubs and organizations. All officially recognized student clubs and organizations are known as Recognized Student Organizations or RSOs. Student organizations include special-interest and common-interest clubs, academic clubs and teams, religious groups and cultural groups. Some of the University’s most notable organizations include Doc Films—one of the nation’s oldest student film societies, The Chicago Maroon—a weekly student publication, Off-Off Campus—one of the nation’s oldest student improvisational theater troupes, and WHPK-FM—a radio station owned and operated by the University.
Fraternities and Sororities
The University of Chicago has 14 fraternities, 6 sororities, and one co-ed community service fraternity. Ten of the 14 fraternities compose the University of Chicago Interfraternity Council, and 3 of the sororities are members of the National Panhellenic Conference (an umbrella organization for 26 national and international women’s sororities). It is estimated that about 10 percent of undergraduate students at the University are members of either a fraternity or a sorority.
Student Housing at U of C
The University of Chicago has a unique housing system where participating undergraduate students are assigned to one of 10 residence halls and to a smaller group within each hall known as a “house”. In all, there are 35 houses, each composed of about 70 students. Participation in the house system at U of C is mandatory for first-time freshmen and is made available for all students each year thereafter. Nearly 60% of all undergraduate students at U of C live on campus.
The University also provides ample housing resources for graduate students as well. U of C currently maintains 28 apartment complexes right off campus to provide guaranteed housing each year for graduate students.
One of the most well-known events and traditions at the University of Chicago is, the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt, an annual 4-day scavenger hunt held in May where teams compete to acquire a variety of notoriously esoteric items off a list of approximately 300 items. Each item is assigned a point value and is evaluated by judges. Teams compete fiercely to win each year.
Another popular event and tradition at U of C is the Festival of Arts (FOTA), which lasts for 7 to 10 days each year, and features a collection of exhibits and various artistic endeavors.
U of C students and faculty look forward to the Summer Breeze each year, a summer carnival and outdoor event that includes a large variety of musicians. The Summer Breeze is also the stage for one of the University’s most popular organizations, Doc Films, which screens films each night throughout the carnival.
Lastly, the Latke-Hamantash Debate—an entertaining academic debate about the merits and meanings of “Latke” and “Hamantash” (two items of Jewish cuisine)—has been held every year since 1946.
University of Chicago is home to several intercollegiate sports teams that operate under the name Maroons, named after the color maroon, a main color of the University. In total, the school has 19 varsity teams, which include 10 men’s teams and 9 women’s teams.
The Maroons are primary members of the UAA and compete in the NCAA’s Division III. In 1895, the University of Chicago co-founded the Big Ten Conference and participated in the conference until 1946 when Robert Maynard Hutchins, the University’s acting president, began to de-emphasize varsity athletics by withdrawing entirely from college football. However, in 1969 the University reinstated its football team and started playing Division III games on the new Stagg Field (named after Amos Alonzo Stagg, the first tenured football coach in America).
Today, the University is actively involved in both intercollegiate and intramural sports. The University offers athletic programs in the following sports:
1101 East 58th Street
Rosenwald Hall, Suite 105
Chicago, IL 60637
Fax: (773) 702-4199
Contact: Theodore O’Neill
Dean of Admissions
Edward H. Levi Hall
5801 South Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
Total undergrads: 5,065
First-time degree-seeking freshmen: 1,306
Degree-seeking undergrads: 5,027
Tuition & Fees
|Estimated Annual Expenses||2008-’09||2009-’10||2010-’11||2011-’12||% change 2010-’12|
|Tuition and fees||$36,653||$38,453||$40,286||$42,041||+4.36%|
|Books and Supplies||$1,050||$1,100||$1,100||$1,250||+13.64%|
|Living Arrangement – On Campus|
|Room and Board||$11,139||$11,697||$11,697||$12,153||+3.90%|
|Living Arrangement – Off Campus|
|Room and Board||$0||$0||$0||$0||0.00%|
|Total Expenses||2008-’09||2009-’10||2010-’11||2011-’12||% change 2010-’12|
|In-state On Campus||$50,761||$53,271||$55,195||$57,590||+4.34%|
|In-state Off Campus||$37,703||$39,553||$41,386||$43,291||+4.60%|
|In-state with Family||$37,703||$39,553||$41,386||$43,291||+4.60%|
|Average Graduate Student Tuition & Fees|
|Tuition for In-state Students||$42,444|
|In-state Student Fees||$780|
|Tuition for Out-of-state Students||$42,444|
|Full-time Beginning Undergraduate Students|
|Type of Aid||Students||Percent||Amount||Average Per Student|
|All students financial aid||939||72%|
|Grant or scholarship aid||781||60%||$21,920,881||$28,068|
|• Federal grants||199||15%||$1,267,229||$6,368|
|• Pell grants||199||15%||$693,249||$3,484|
|• Other federal grants||183||14%||$573,980||$3,137|
|State/local government grant or scholarships||86||7%||$397,812||$4,626|
|Institutional grants or scholarships||780||60%||$20,255,840||$25,969|
|Student loan aid||441||34%||$3,195,863||$7,247|
|• Federal student loans||432||33%||$2,112,812||$4,891|
|• Other student loans||57||4%||$1,083,051||$19,001|
All Degrees and Programs
|Total of All Education Programs||1384||2588||675||–||–|
|Area, Gender, Cultural, Ethnic, and Group Studies||29||31||–||–||–|
|Ethnic, Cultural Minority, Gender, and Group Studies, Other||10||–||–||–||–|
|Latin American Studies||12||12||–||–||–|
|Near and Middle Eastern Studies||–||19||–||–||–|
|Biology and Biomedical Sciences||128||18||82||–||–|
|Biology and Biological Sciences, General||128||–||–||–||–|
|Cell/Cellular Biology and Histology||–||2||3||–||–|
|Developmental Biology and Embryology||–||–||1||–||–|
|Neurobiology and Anatomy||–||1||8||–||–|
|Oncology and Cancer Biology||–||–||8||–||–|
|Business, Administration, Management, Marketing, etc.||–||1315||20||–||–|
|Business Administration and Management||–||1309||–||–||–|
|Computing and Information Sciences||15||38||3||–||–|
|English Language, Composition and Literature/Letters||81||11||9||–||–|
|English Language and Literature||81||11||9||–||–|
|Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics||94||60||34||–||–|
|Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics||1||–||–||–||–|
|Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics||12||3||1||–||–|
|Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other||–||–||–||–||–|
|East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other||12||3||6||–||–|
|German Language and Literature||4||6||2||–||–|
|Middle/Near Eastern and Semitic Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other||10||23||8||–||–|
|Romance Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other||16||7||4||–||–|
|Slavic Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics||7||5||–||–||–|
|South Asian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics||9||3||3||–||–|
|Health Services and Allied Health Sciences||–||5||115||–||–|
|Public Health, Other||–||5||–||–||–|
|History and Philosophy Of Science and Technology||12||–||–||–||–|
|Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services||–||7||–||–||–|
|Securities Services Administration/Management||–||7||–||–||–|
|Public Policy Analysis||49||128||10||–||–|
|Legal and Law Studies||–||67||203||–||–|
|Advanced Legal Research/Studies||–||–||4||–||–|
|Legal Research and Advanced Professional Studies, Other||–||67||–||–||–|
|Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities||18||130||–||–||–|
|Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies||6||–||–||–||–|
|Mathematics and Statistics||102||149||14||–||–|
|Applied Mathematics, Other||–||118||–||–||–|
|Medieval and Renaissance Studies||4||–||–||–||–|
|Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other||–||–||–||–||–|
|Natural Resources and Conservation||12||–||–||–||–|
|Geophysics and Seismology||4||2||3||–||–|
|Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics||–||–||–||–||–|
|Developmental and Child Psychology||–||–||–||–||–|
|International Relations and Affairs||51||47||–||–||–|
|Political Science and Government||137||13||11||–||–|
|Social Sciences, Other||18||–||–||–||–|
|Theology and Religious Vocations||9||61||17||–||–|
|Visual and Performing Arts||41||8||14||–||–|
|Art History, Criticism and Conservation||12||2||7||–||–|
|Design and Visual Communications||–||5||–||–||–|
|Directing and Theatrical Production||5||–||–||–||–|
|Visual and Performing Arts, Other||4||–||–||–||–|
College has an application fee: Yes
Regular application fee: $65
Online application fee: $65
Percent applicants admitted: 28%
Percent students who return for sophomore year: 98%
Secondary school GPA: Recommended
Secondary school rank: Recommended
Secondary school record: Required
Admission test scores (SAT/ACT): Required
Undergraduate Admissions Fall 2011
Test Scores: Fall 2011|
SAT Critical Reading
Undergraduate Attendance Status||
Undergraduate Student Gender|
Undergraduate Student Age||
Undergraduate Student Residence|
Graduate Attendance Status
Retention and Graduation Rates
Retention Rates for First-Time Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees||
Overall Graduation and Transfer-Out Rates for Students|
Graduation Rates for Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees
6-Year Graduation Rate by Gender for Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees
6-Year Graduation Rate by Race/Ethnicity for Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees
Area, Ethnic, Cultural, & Gender Studies
African Studies B
Arts, Visual & Performing
Art History/Criticism/Conservation B
Biological & Biomedical Sciences
Computer & Information Sciences
Computer/Information Sciences – General B
English Language & Literature
English Language & Literature – General B
Foreign Language & Literature
Ancient Near Eastern/Biblical Languages B
History – General B
Liberal Arts & Sciences
Liberal Arts & Sciences B
Applied Mathematics B
Natural Resources & Conservation
Environmental Studies B
Philosophy & Religion
Jewish/Judaic Studies B
Psychology – General B
Public Administration & Services
Public Policy Analysis B
Degree levels for each major are designated by the following letters:|
B = Bachelor’s degree
C = Certificate or diploma
“The University of Chicago”. College Navigator.
University of Chicago Office of College Admissions.
“The University of Chicago Academic Calendar”.
“Abstract of Robert A. Millikan Oil Drop Experiment Notebooks”. Caltech Institute Archives.
“Academic Regulations and Procedures”. The University of Chicago.
“Departments and Academic Degree Programs in the College”. University of Chicago.
Kasper, Sherryl (2002) The Revival of Laissez-Faire in American Macroeconomic Theory: A Case Study of Its Pioneers. Edward Elgar Publishing. ISBN 1-84064-606-3
“About TTI-C”. August 2009.
“New Collegiate Division”. University of Chicago.
“Minors”. University of Chicago Office of College Admissions.
Another Chapter in the Life of the College. The University of Chicago Magazine.
Chicago, University of. “Rhodes Scholars”. UChicago.
*We do not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.