Applying to Social Thought

Since students in the Committee have unusual scope for independent study, successful work in Social Thought requires mature judgment and individual initiative. Naturally, the Committee wishes to be reasonably confident of an entering student's ability to make the most of the opportunities the Committee offers and to complete the program of study. Hence, we request that the personal statement required by the University application should take the form of a letter to the Committee which addresses the following questions: What intellectual interests, concerns, and aspirations lead you to undertake further study and why do you want to pursue them with the Committee? What kind of work do you propose to do here? (If you can, include your intentions for the Fundamentals requirement, further language study, and dissertation research.) How has your education to date prepared you? In addition, you should include a sample of no more than 5,000 words (this word count excludes footnotes or bibliography) of your best academic work preferably relevant to the kind of work you propose to do at the Committee, though you may also include a short sample of fiction or poetry in addition. Should we consider the evidence submitted to be insufficient, we may ask you to add to it. For 2020 applicants, the GRE is not required or accepted. 

In any given year, the Committee will receive 100 to 125 applications. Approximately five students will be offered admission with an award of full tuition plus a stipend. Full details of all awards are provided in the Division of Social Science Announcements.

The deadline for applications is December 15. Prospective doctoral students should apply on-line at Questions regarding the on-line application should be directed to The University of Chicago no longer uses a paper application. They may request further information about the Committee on Social Thought or its application procedures from:

Coordinator for Student Affairs
Committee on Social Thought
The University of Chicago
1130 East 59th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637
telephone: (773) 702-8410
fax: (773) 834-1968,

Dean of Students, Admissions Office
Division of the Social Sciences
1130 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

The deadline for applications is December 15.


Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact our Student Assistant, Mat Messerschmidt, with questions about the program and/or for assistance coordinating a visit with the Committee:

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