Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective Students

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When is the application deadline?

The Round 1 deadline is January 3. The Round 2 deadline is April 30. We highly encourage students to apply as early as possible, as spaces in the program are limited. See our admissions page for more information.

What matters most in considering my application?

While all components of the application are important, your statement of purpose and writing sample are of most interest to the MAPH admissions committee. The statement should give a clear idea of what the applicant hopes to gain from a year of rigorous humanistic work. MAPH has always held that some promising students do not do well on standardized tests. Therefore, less attention is given to GRE scores than to the statement of purpose, writing sample and transcripts.

What kind of financial support is available from MAPH?

MAPH offers some merit-based partial tuition scholarships. There is no separate application for these; just check the box on your application's Financial Data sheet to indicate that you want to be considered for aid. You will be notified by the Humanities Dean of Students if you are awarded aid. UChicagoGRAD also maintains a database of fellowships and scholarships, which you might want to review to see if you are eligible for any of the fellowships. Educational loans and work study are available to all MAPH students who meet the usual need qualifications. You can contact the University of Chicago Student Loan Administration regarding the necessary forms for loans and work study.

For more information on financing your MAPH year, please check our financial aid page

Can I take any course I want to take? Can I take all of my electives in a single discipline?

MAPH students may take any course open to all first-year graduate students, and may gain consent to attend P.h.D. seminars in the Winter and Spring quarters. Many MAPH students choose to concentrate their courses in one discipline, but many others choose to take courses in several disciplines, in the Social Sciences Division, or the Law, Divinity, or Business schools because their research demands work in many areas. You can use your seven electives in MAPH to roam or to concentrate as suits. Please see our Requirements page for more details.

How much guidance do MAPH students get?

Each student is assigned an Autumn quarter advisor—a faculty member—who offers initial suggestions and guidance about courses, about faculty you might want to work with, as well as any other concerns you might have. Throughout the year each MAPH student also works with a preceptor, an advanced doctoral student, who gives advice on course selection and planning your year, among other things. The preceptors know graduate study in the Humanities Division from the inside, and are often the best sources of information about particular professors and classes, and can offer help with questions about career planning and doctoral study. The MAPH Directors, Associate Director, Program Coordinator, Writing Advisor, and Mentors are also available for consultation. MAPH also maintains close relationships with UChicagoGRAD, where there are a number of counselors dedicated to working with Humanities graduate students on career preparation.

What do the preceptors do?

The preceptors are advanced graduate students (usually in the process of writing their dissertations) from departments throughout the Humanities Division. Preceptors provide advising and guidance throughout the year; they lead discussion groups during the Core Course; they lead thesis workshop groups; and, in consultation with your faculty thesis advisor, they supervise the process of preparing and drafting your MA thesis. You can see bios of the current preceptors on our Staff page.

What do the mentors do?

Every year three students who have just finished the program are hired to be mentors for the following year.  They act as advisors for the current class of MAPH students, and help foster community by planning and executing a variety of social, cultural, and career events.  Because MAPH Mentors have just completed the program, they serve as invaluable advisors for current students. They help students pick courses, find thesis advisors, and write resumes. But at the same time, they can serve as a resource about social life at the University of Chicago and offer advice about culture in the broader city.

Is the MAPH Core Course optional?

No, the Core Course is required and is central to the intellectual and communal life of MAPH. Core provides an introduction to the contests and complications of humanistic inquiry at the graduate level, and it’s the beginning of your year-long collaboration and conversations with your preceptor, your precept group and your MAPH cohort. All MAPH students take Core in their first quarter of study, and Core is only offered in Autumn quarter.

Can I do the program part-time?

Yes, you can complete the program part-time. If this sounds like a good option for you, you need to negotiate a plan for part-time work with MAPH's Associate Director before beginning your course of study. You must finish your degree within five years.

Must I start in the fall quarter?

Yes. It is essential that all MAPH students begin with the MAPH Core Course at the start of their program.

Must I finish in a year?

We highly recommend that you complete the program in a year: MAPH is designed to take you through coursework and the MA thesis in a single year, and the energy and intensity of that year are an important part of the process. Our experience has been that students who delay finishing, who take incompletes in classes or put off writing the thesis find completing their degrees more difficult. Your preceptor, the Associate Director, the Director, the Deputy Directors and the Mentors are all available to help you think about planning your year and finishing in a timely fashion. All students must finish MAPH within five years.

What are my housing options?

The University is unable to offer on-campus housing to graduate students. However, they do maintain a Graduate Housing Resources website. You can also check the Chicago Reader (search under zip codes 60615 and 60637 for apartments in Hyde Park) and for more housing options. Visit for information about Hyde Park cooperative living options. Most of the grocery stores, restaurants, and public transportation routes to downtown are located in northeast Hyde Park (from Woodlawn Ave. to the lake, and from 55th to 51st Streets), which may be something to consider as you begin your apartment search.

What have past graduates gone on to do?

Many of our graduates go on to doctoral study or to professional degree programs. Many others teach, work in non-profits, public humanities and the arts. Many MAPH alumni create rich and surprising career paths with the critical skills and commitments MAPH helped them develop. Please browse through our Further Graduate Study and Alumni Career Profiles to see some of the things (both conventional and surprisingly unconventional) MAPH graduates are doing. You might also take a look at our alumni blog, AfterMAPH, to see profiles of graduates, MAPH alumni in the news and more.

Am I allowed to defer admission?

Unfortunately, MAPH does not allow deferment. You are encouraged to apply again and note in the indicated space on the application that you were previously offered admission. There is a high acceptance rate for previously-admitted applicants.