Two-Year Language Option

Large library and study space with arched ceiling and large gothic window

Our new Two-year Language Option (TLO) was designed for students who require extensive language skills that exceed the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities' (MAPH) traditional one-year curriculum. This language component is ideal for students who are interested in translation studies, need advanced proficiency for admission to a PhD program, or would like to pursue language study to enhance their academic work. TLO students must begin language study at the intermediate level or higher in at least one language.

TLO students take 9 language courses at the intermediate and advanced levels—in addition to the regular MAPH curriculum of 1 Core course, 7 electives, and 1 thesis—over two academic years. Students also have the opportunity to use the three summers of the program for language study on campus or abroad.

How the TLO Works

Year 1

During the first year, students participating in TLO move through the MAPH year in the traditional manner—the required Core course in the fall quarter, seven elective courses, and complete a thesis in the spring quarter. However, MAPH TLO students must devote at least one of their electives to language study every quarter.

Year 2

In the second year, MAPH TLO students take nine courses—three electives and any outstanding language study courses for a minimum of nine language courses over the two years.

Summer Language Study

MAPH TLO students can gain even higher language proficiency by studying language during the summer. Many language courses are offered through the University of Chicago’s Summer Language Institute (SLI), and students may wish to enroll in summer language courses before MAPH begins. During the second and third summers, MAPH TLO students can study abroad or take another course through the SLI. Note: Summer language study does not count toward MAPH required courses.

Sample Course Schedule

Year 1

Summer Quarter 1 (optional) Fall Quarter 1 Winter Quarter 1 Spring Quarter 1
Summer Language Institute MAPH Core Thesis Workshop Thesis Workshop
  Language Language Language
  Elective Course Elective Course Elective Course
    Elective Course  

Year 2

Summer Quarter 2 (optional) Fall Quarter 2 Winter Quarter 2 Spring Quarter 2 Summer Quarter 3 (optional)
Summer Language Institute or Study Abroad Language Language Language Summer Language Institute or Study Abroad
  Language Language Language  
  Elective Course Elective Course Elective Course  

Application Process

In addition to the traditional MAPH application, students interested in applying to the TLO must submit one supplemental document that indicates:

  • which language(s) they would concentrate on
  • academic and professional reasons for studying these languages
  • how many years and at which institution(s) they have studied these languages

Tuition Costs

Academic Year Tuition

The Two-year Language Option is a cost-effective option for gaining language proficiency and earning an MA degree.

  • In the first year, TLO students pay the normal MAPH tuition; like other MAPH students, TLO students are eligible to receive a partial-tuition scholarship.
  • In the second year, TLO students receive a scholarship that covers 90% of that year's tuition. To receive this scholarship, students must have completed all 9 first-year courses by the start of Autumn Quarter and maintained a 3.5 GPA in those courses.

In the example below, using the 2017-18 tuition rate of $55,836, a MAPH TLO student receives a $6,000 fellowship award for their first year for a total rate of $49,836. If they maintain a 3.5 GPA, their tuition for the second year would be only $5,584 (if the tuition for year 2 remained at $55,836).

TLO Tuition Example
  Year 1 Year 2
Tuition $55,836 $55,836
Scholarship -$6,000 -$50,252
Total Cost $49,836 $5,584

Summer Language Study Tuition

Many MAPH students receive scholarships that cover more than half of the tuition fees for Summer Language Institute courses. A short application is required to apply for these scholarships. More information about SLI pricing and scholarships can be found on our Summer Language Study page. Please know that due to federal loan restrictions, MAPH TLO students are not eligible to receive federal loan funding for SLI courses.

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship

MAPH TLO students are eligible to apply for a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship for summer language study and/or for their second year of academic study. FLAS funding is awarded through an application process and is not guaranteed to MAPH TLO students.

Languages Available for Study

The University of Chicago is a worldwide leader in language study—more than 50 languages are regularly taught each year. Please note that some languages are offered only during specific quarters of the year. You can find current language course offerings through the University of Chicago's Course Search, as well as on departmental websites. 

The availability of courses at different levels in different quarters during the academic year varies: commonly taught languages such as German offer multiple levels in all quarters; a less commonly taught language such as Middle Egyptian may only be offered in one or two quarters, or even in alternate years.




American Sign Language 



Arabic (Colloquial) 



Arabic (Modern)

Greek (Ancient)



Greek (Biblical, Koine)



Greek (Modern)



Haitian Kreyol



Hebrew (Classical)


Bangla (Bengali)

Hebrew (Modern)
















Ottoman Turkish




Old Egyptian



Old English



Middle Egyptian


Yucatec Maya

Late Egyptian Marathi




  • View a list of frequently asked questions about the Two-year Language Option. 
  • Looking for more information about placement and specific language offerings? Contact the Chicago Language Center, which offers placement exams, advising, and Practical and Advanced Language Proficiency Certificates for the University of Chicago.