Most MA programs I am familiar with take two or more years to complete. Can I really accomplish that much in a one-year program?

Can one accomplish a lot in a year at UChicago? Just ask current MAPSS students and recent alumni. As they will assure you, UChicago is not like any other university in its intellectual intensity.

We are on the quarter system, and full-time MAPSS students register for three courses per quarter. The workload in many graduate seminars is equivalent to what is assigned for a semester elsewhere. A continuous stream of non-credit workshops, invited lectures, and departmental talks adds still other opportunities for intellectual growth.

Why does UChicago choose to be different?

The Division of the Social Sciences does not believe in weed-out programs inside PhD departments, because of the anti-intellectual competition, student caste systems, and general morale problems that typically arise.

In MAPSS, if a cohort has 255 MA students, that means there will be 255 different MA projects and likely 180 different faculty readers. There is no obvious way you could compete with other students even if you wanted to – not at Chicago during your studies, and not when it comes to doctoral admission afterwards, where you will be selected on the basis of your intellectual fit for the faculty you hope to work with.

Our staff is committed to supporting our students equally, no matter whether they intend to pursue academic or professional paths.

How many students actually complete the MAPSS degree in one year? And what is the overall graduation rate?

All full-time students complete their nine courses by the end of spring quarter. In a typical year, 20% complete all requirements for the degree and graduate in June. 80% complete their theses and graduate in August. 90% earn their degrees by the following December.

We do not give up on the rest, and are happy to provide feedback, receive theses, and see students graduate as expeditiously as possible thereafter.

As a prospective MAPSS student, we hope you will recognize how rare and unusual this record of completion is, and what it signals about our total commitment to seeing you through the rigors of our program. We will do everything we can to help you earn your degree.

I have a great job as well as family responsibilities here in Chicago. Can I pursue the MAPSS degree part-time?

While we think that full-time commitment to graduate work is best for most people, MAPSS will accommodate admitted students who wish to follow the program part-time. The lectures for our core course are set purposely on Mondays at 4:30pm, and there is always a discussion section and an MA proposal workshop available during evening hours. However, there are few graduate courses offered in the evenings and none on weekends. Part-time students will have to accommodate at least one course per quarter during normal business hours.

Please note that part-time students are not eligible for merit-based funding in MAPSS.

Who are the MAPSS preceptors?

The preceptors are University doctoral candidates in the final stages of completing their dissertations. They are handpicked for their demonstrated excellence in teaching and advising, their knowledge of faculty and department courses, their multidisciplinary interests, their sociable and supportive natures, and their engagements in worlds beyond the University. The preceptors complement the Director, the senior academic staff, and our administrative front office in all aspects of student advising and support.

You are assigned to a preceptor on the basis of your disciplinary and research interests, and you move through the MAPSS year in the company of a “preceptor group” of about eighteen students with broadly related interests.

Your preceptor group will be your weekly discussion section for the core course in the autumn, and it will become your MA proposal workshop in January.