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Admission Requirements

Detailed information regarding application requirements and procedures can be found on the Social Sciences Division website. All applications must be submitted online through the Division of the Social Sciences. Please note that the GRE General Test is recommended, but not required.

The deadline for applications is December 5.

Questions regarding the online application, applications requirements, or admissions policy should be directed to Prospective applicants with questions about the program are encouraged to contact our Student Affairs Administrator, Megan Swartz, at

Application Guidance

In any given year, the Committee will receive 100 to 125 applications for approximately 5 places in our program. Students in the Committee on Social Thought have unusual scope for independent study and thus, successful work in the Committee 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 candidate statement required by the University application should take the form of a letter to the Committee which addresses the following questions:

  1. What intellectual interests, concerns, and aspirations lead you to undertake further study and why do you want to pursue them with the Committee?
  2. 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.
  3. How has your education to date prepared you?

In addition, you should include a writing sample of no more than 30 pages 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. 


All PhD students enrolled in the Division of the Social Sciences will be funded for the duration of their program with funding support from the University of Chicago, external sources, or a combination of the two, regardless of citizenship or other factors. Funding support includes a full-tuition scholarship, health insurance premium (for the student only), coverage of the Graduate Student Services Fee, and a living stipend. The guaranteed minimum annualized funding level for the 2023-2024 year is $37,000.

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