Chartered in 1890, the University of Chicago’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
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 language, 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. Our latest academic offerings include a major in Astronomy & Astrophysics, a specialization in Applied Math, and minors in Geographic Information Science, Media Arts & Design, and Renaissance Studies.
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. UChicago sponsors a wealth of undergraduate research opportunities in programs ranging from Economics and Psychology to Astrophysics and Sociology. 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 context. Similarly, the partnership with the Marine Biological Laboratory furthers biological research and education across the world.
UChicago students blend academic exploration, innovation, and theoretical investigation by interacting with peers, professors, and graduate students. Additionally, students develop relationships with their academic advisors. Affiliated with the Dean of Students Office, advisors guide undergraduates throughout their college journeys.
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.
The residential housing system is a vital element of the College community. Modeled after the British house system, the 39 College houses eat together at shared 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 programs, which offer a wide range of 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, while the Office of LGBTQ Student Life offers programs and support for students.
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 internship program for students committed to public service, community building, and social change. The nonpartisan Institute of Politics, led by political strategist and alumnus David Axelrod, is an extracurricular program designed to nurture a passion for politics and public service in students.
A University of Chicago education cultivates intellectual independence that empowers individuals to excel in any pursuit. UChicago’s Office of Career Advancement enables students and alumni to translate their academic foundation—regardless of major or background—into professional success, providing industry-specific training, global networking connections, and opportunities to put ingenuity into practice. Through UChicago’s Office of Career Advancement, substantive paid internships in worldwide locations are available for UChicago students in almost any field, including arts, business, government, public policy, and the sciences.
Hyde Park and Chicago
The University’s neighborhood, Hyde Park, is a vibrant yet relaxed residential community located just seven miles from downtown Chicago. Nearly 60% of the faculty and their families 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 Museum of 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 letters of recommendation, 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.