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Admissions

In keeping with its long-standing traditions and policies, the University of Chicago considers students, employees, applicants for admission or employment, and those seeking access to University programs on the basis of individual merit. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law (including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972). For additional information regarding the University of Chicago’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct, please see: http:///harassmentpolicy.uchicago.edu/

The University official responsible for coordinating compliance with this Notice of Nondiscrimination is Bridget Collier, Associate Provost and Director of the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs. You may contact Ms. Collier by emailing bcollier@uchicago.edu or by calling 773.702.5671

Under normal circumstances, persons are eligible to apply for master’s level study in the Divinity School if they hold a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited college or university. Applicants to master’s level programs are not required to have majored or to have done concentrated work in religious studies in their undergraduate programs, although broad training in the liberal arts is expected. United States citizens and permanent residents who do not hold the bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, or whose degree is from an unaccredited college or university, should contact the Dean of Students concerning eligibility for admission. International applicants should contact the Dean of Students in sufficient time to determine eligibility and to complete the application process.

Applicants to the doctoral program must have completed, or be in the process of completing, a master’s degree from an accredited institution in order to be considered for admission—and the master’s coursework should conduce to the student’s stipulated doctoral research agenda and to graduate level competency in the academic study of religion, broadly.

All inquiries concerning admissions should be addressed to the Office of the Dean of Students in the Divinity School by emailing divinityadmissions@uchicago.edu. Applications must be submitted online at https://apply-divinity.uchicago.edu/apply. The application round opens in September of each year and concludes in May; Round 2018 application submission deadlines for the School’s four degree programs are as follows:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): December 15, 2017, for Autumn Quarter 2018 admission.
  • Master of Arts (MA): January 8 [priority deadline] or April 15 [final deadline], 2018, for Autumn Quarter 2018 admission.
  • Master of Divinity (MDiv): January 15 [priority deadline] or April 15 [final deadline], 2018, for Autumn Quarter 2018 admission.
  • Master of Arts in Religious Studies (AMRS):
    • ​Domestic Applicants: October 13, 2017, for Winter Quarter 2018 admission; January 15, 2018, for Spring Quarter 2018 admission; April 15, 2018, for Autumn Quarter 2018 admission.
    • International Applicants: October 13, 2017, for Spring Quarter 2018 admission; January 15, 2018, for Autumn Quarter 2018 admission; April 15, 2018, for Winter Quarter 2019 admission.

For full consideration in the Divinity School’s scholarship aid awards process, M.A. and M.Div. applicants should submit applications on or before the priority deadline for each program [January 8 and January 15, respectively]; scholarship aid may still be available for applicants who submit applications for these programs’ final deadline but is not guaranteed.

General Procedures for Application

To be considered for admission, applicants who are US citizens or permanent residents must submit the following documentation to the Dean of Students in accordance with the protocols specified in the online application (international applicants should see the following section for applicable variations, especially regarding test scores):

  1. A completed online Divinity School Application for Graduate Admission, including the application fee ($75).
  2. A candidate statement, of no more than 2500 words, that outlines the applicant’s proposed program of inquiry and discusses the candidate’s preparation and qualification for a rigorous program of graduate inquiry in the study of religion, intellectual influences and professional goals, and reasons for thinking that the Divinity School is a good context for her or his graduate work.
  3. Academic records (including courses taken, grades, and degree awarded or sought) from every postsecondary institution of higher education the applicant has attended.
  4. Three or four letters of recommendation. At least two of the recommendation letters should speak to the candidate’s academic experience and aptitude; in some cases the other one or two letters may be of broader scope and concern the applicant’s interests and motivations, character, and general intellectual abilities. M.Div. applicants should include at least one letter that discusses their experience in and/or aptitude for public religious leadership.
  5. A valid official score report for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test. For more details on and registration information for this examination, see http://www.ets.org/gre. The institutional code for the GRE examination is 1832; it is no longer necessary to specify a departmental code. GRE scores are valid for five (5) years.
  6. Ph.D. applicants should submit a sample of academic writing of no more than twenty-five typed, double-spaced pages (including notes); they may submit an excerpt from a longer work with a contextualizing note at the front. Master’s applicants have the option of submitting, and are encouraged to submit, a sample of academic writing; the recommended length is fifteen (15) typed, double-spaced pages. 

Additional Information for International Applicants

International applicants should follow the “General Procedures for Application” as listed in the previous section but should note the following variations with respect to the test score requirement.

  • Native English speakers from Australia, the English-speaking provinces of Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, English-medium universities in South Africa, and the United Kingdom should submit an official GRE score report.
  • All other international applicants should submit, instead, an official score report for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Reading/Writing Test. See http://www.ets.org/toefl (TOEFL) or https://www.ielts.org (IELTS) for more information, including registration details
  • Caveat: international applicants who have, within the past five years, conducted full-time study for a year or more in an English-medium college or university in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, or the United States may elect to submit GRE scores in lieu of TOEFL or IELTS scores.
  • Applicants who have recently studied full-time in English-medium colleges and universities in other countries—e.g., India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore—must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

The institutional code for TOEFL score reporting is 1832; it is not necessary to specify a departmental code. Students submitting IELTS scores should specify electronic submission to The University of Chicago – Graduate Enrollment. International applicants who will submit TOEFL or IELTS scores as part of the application (see above) should note that the Divinity School adheres to the University’s minimum score stipulations for these examinations. The minimum score for the internet-based (iBT) TOEFL is 104 overall with sub scores of at least 26 each in the examination’s four component tests. For the paper-based TOEFL, the minimum score is 600 with sub scores of 60 or better in each of the examination’s component tests. The minimum scores for the IELTS examination are an overall band score of 7 and sub scores of 7 each in the examination’s component tests. Please note that applicants are required to take the Academic Reading/Writing version of the IELTS rather than the General Training Reading/Writing version. 

Eligibility Information for International Applicants 

Applicants to programs leading to a master’s degree (AMRS, MA, MDiv) should hold a US bachelor’s degree or an equivalent foreign credential comprising at least sixteen years of primary, secondary, and postsecondary (or university) education. Applicants to the doctoral program should hold, additionally, a US master’s degree or an equivalent foreign credential. 

Transcripts and Certification of Records

International applicants must submit official academic records (transcripts or mark sheets) with grading scales for each year of post-secondary (college or university) education. If detailed transcripts are unavailable, the certificates must be accompanied by official statements showing the class or quality of the degrees or diplomas as well as marks actually received on degree examinations as compared with the maximum marks obtainable. Official copies of credentials must be validated by a school administrative officer, such as the registrar, or an official of the issuing body. Academic records should be issued in their original language; all documents not issued in English must be accompanied by official translations. The translation should be prepared or verified by a person whose position requires knowledge of both English and the pertinent language, e.g., a professor of English at a French university or an official translator.

            To clarify the University’s expectations regarding previous educational achievements of international applicants, specific guidelines for eligibility are as follows:

Applicants from Europe should submit official records of all university courses and examinations taken and the grades received. Photocopies of each student book, where available, should be certified by a school official.

Applicants from French-patterned educational systems, including Francophone Africa, should have completed, or expect to complete, the Maîtrise or a qualification such as a Diplôme des Grandes Ecoles.

Applicants from British-patterned educational systems, including Anglophone Africa, should have an Honours Bachelor’s Degree in First or Upper Second Division and should present photocopies of their graduate and post-graduate diplomas. A statement showing the division or grade of the degree is necessary, as is an official list enumerating the subjects studied.

Applicants from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan should have a master’s degree completed by the time of matriculation at the University of Chicago. Applicants should present official certificates or certified copies of the degrees and diplomas earned. Applicants must also submit detailed mark sheets covering the work completed for each year for all degrees. Wherever possible, the rank in the university or in the examination should be indicated. True copies made by the registrar or the appropriate administrative official of the university attended, bearing the official seal and signature, are required. True copies prepared and signed by faculty members, or by city or government officials, are not considered official.

Applicants from Latin America should submit official records of their credentials from all universities attended. An official transcript covering all courses taken and grades received should be submitted for each school attended, together with a photocopy of the degree or diploma received.

Applicants from the Near and Middle East should present university records that describe each subject studied, by years, with grades received and degree or diploma awarded.

Applicants from the People’s Republic of China who have studied at universities since 1978 should present the results of their university entrance examinations in addition to their other transcripts. Records should be presented in Chinese accompanied by an English translation.

Applicants from other East Asian countries should present official detailed transcripts from their universities that include all courses and grades received and degrees awarded. If the schools attended no longer exist, or if it is impossible to obtain official transcripts from them, applicants should ask the Ministry of Education of the appropriate country to furnish an official statement testifying to the impossibility of obtaining records. Applicants must also ask the Ministry to supply the University of Chicago with a list of the courses ordinarily required by that school or university.

Visas

Admitted international applicants must provide verification of adequate financial support for the duration of study and submit records of all academic work completed and degrees received before visa documents can be issued. For further information, applicants should contact:

The University of Chicago Office of International Affairs
1414 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone: 773.702.7752
Fax: 773.702.3058
Email: international-affairs@uchicago.edu
Web: http://internationalaffairs.uchicago.edu

Additionally, for general information about graduate study in the United States, international applicants are encouraged to explore the resources available through Education USA. Visit https://educationusa.state.gov for more information.