UChicago’s approximately 6,800 undergraduates comprise a community of exceptional student scholars who are eager to explore, take risks, challenge themselves intellectually, and determine the direction and focus of their own education. Students choose UChicago for its rigorous liberal arts curriculum, small Socratic-style seminars, and 5:1 student-faculty ratio. Students also prepare for challenging careers and competitive graduate schools through professional and recreational opportunities on campus and in Chicago.
An educational ideal
College seminar–style classes promote invigorating discussions that begin in the classroom and extend into the community. Focused on careful reading, analytical writing, and critical thinking, UChicago’s Core Curriculum is the perfect foundation for any major and all future endeavors. Through Core classes in the humanities, social sciences, mathematics, foreign languages, natural sciences, physical sciences, biological sciences, fine arts, and civilization studies, students investigate the human experience and the natural world. With over 50 majors and more than 40 minors, students can double-major, create their own major, or explore interdisciplinary opportunities. Undergraduates choose electives from more than 3,000 courses offered in the College each year, and over 40% study abroad through nearly 60 faculty-designed and taught programs.
More than 160 institutes and centers provide a home for true innovation. Our new Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering provides a unique opportunity to pursue molecular-level science in both an academic and research-based context. Similarly, UChicago’s partnership with the Marine Biological Laboratory furthers biological research and education across the world.
No Barriers, empowered
UChicago’s No Barriers, an access and affordability program, ensures that students from every background, regardless of their financial need, will find a home on campus. No Barriers waives the application fee for every family who will be applying for need-based financial aid. UChicago meets 100% of every family’s demonstrated financial need, and need-based aid is awarded as grants, not loans. As part of the UChicago Empower initiative, additional scholarships are now available, including $20,000 scholarships and paid summer internship or research opportunities for first-generation students; full-tuition scholarships for children of police officers and firefighters nationwide; and a new partnership with the Posse Foundation’s Veterans Program, with the first undergraduate Veterans Posse cohort entering UChicago in autumn 2020.
Revolutionizing undergraduate engineering
New majors in Molecular Engineering and Astronomy & Astrophysics, a specialization in Applied Math, and new minors in Geographic Information Science, Neuroscience, and Data Science give UChicago students more academic options than ever before. The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) utilizes a groundbreaking model for engineering education and research. Molecular engineering uses nanotechnology to create processes and new materials to solve big problems. The PME brings experts from biology, chemistry, math, and physics together under one roof, creating a revolutionary engineering division. Rather than specializing in traditional areas, UChicago’s engineers take multidisciplinary approaches to address issues from energy and human health to water purification and quantum computing.
A legacy of research
Research is part of UChicago’s DNA. The College is uniquely positioned to lead in undergraduate science education. By attending a residential liberal arts college nestled within a world-class research university, every UChicago student gets the best of both worlds. More undergraduate research positions are available than undergraduates to fill such positions. Open inquiry and interdisciplinary approaches define the culture, from the Core Curriculum that enriches every student to the faculty who hold appointments in multiple departments. This spirit of innovative thinking is the backbone behind some of our most notable scientific breakthroughs: the structure of DNA, new species of dinosaurs, the science of ecology, the mathematical theory of black holes, carbon-14 dating, measuring the speed of light, how to preserve blood, and the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
Lifelong support for STEM careers
Undergraduates are supported by their academic advisors, professors, alumni, and Career Advancement specialists. Students in any major can participate in UChicago Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (UCISTEM), a program that combines a workshop curriculum, research opportunities, internships, career treks, and innovation competitions. Recent career treks have visited Palo Alto, New York City, and Beijing and have toured a range of companies, including Caterpillar, Google, and Chrysler Group. The Chicago Innovation Exchange works with STEM students to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and bridge the gap between theoretical research and mass-market application, creating an incubator environment to foster undergraduates’ entrepreneurial spirit.
The residential housing system is a vital element of the College community. Modeled after the British housesystem, our 39 houses eat together atshared dining tables, explore Chicago at sporting and cultural events, and compete against each other in intramural sports. Each student is guaranteed housing for four years, and though it’s only required for first- and second-year students, many remain to enjoy the house system’s perennial traditions.
Undergraduates actively participate in more than 400 student organizations encompassing athletics, the arts, community service, and Greek life. Varsity teams compete at the NCAA Division III level in the UAA Conference. More than 70% of the student body participates in UChicago’s extensive intramural and club sports such as softball and inner tube water polo.
UChicago is also the birthplace of modern theatrical improvisation, which continues to thrive via weekly performances by student improv groups. Student actors, playwrights, designers, producers, directors, and technicians stage over 35 plays annually through University Theater. The music scene provides an equally broad array of opportunities for student involvement across many different genres. Daily film screenings happen at Doc Films, the nation’s oldest student-run film society. Additionally, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs hosts dozens of cultural groups as well as the Office of LGBTQ Student Life.
The multitude of community service projects at the University Community Service Center (UCSC) includes the Neighborhood Schools Program (NSP) and Summer Links, an 11-week paid public service internship program.
Hyde Park and Chicago
The University’s neighborhood, Hyde Park, is a vibrant yet relaxed residential community located just sevenmiles from downtown Chicago. Nearly 60% of the faculty and theirfamilies call Hyde Park home. With its stimulating diversity, Hyde Park boasts a thriving cultural scene ranging from the Barack Obama Presidential Center to Promontory Point—a peninsula extending into Lake Michigan and an ideal site for Frisbee and barbecues—to the DuSable Museumof African American History. Because of its close proximity to UChicago’s many educational resources, Hyde Park is home to a community whose common bond is a shared passion for invigorating intellectual discussion.
Successful UChicago applicants will have a record of achievement in a wide variety of challenging high school courses and will have impressive recommendation letters, essays, and extracurricular activities. Applicants must submit the Coalition Application or the Common Application and the University of Chicago Supplement, which includes an additional extended essay and one short-essay question. Applicants may self-submit their transcripts, and our test-optional policy allows students to decide what information best represents their skills and college readiness. Applicants also have the option to submit a two-minute video introduction in lieu of the traditional college interview. (Interviews are no longer part of our application process.) Prospective students and families are welcome to visit campus for an information session and student-led tour.