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.

Will I be in competition with my classmates?

Not at all. We have structured the program so that your fellow students are important colleagues and resources, and not competitors for faculty attention or program support.

In MAPSS, if a cohort has 250 MA students, that means there will be 250 different MA projects and likely 190 different faculty readers.

You won’t be competing with your fellow students during your studies, and you won’t be competing with them when it comes to doctoral or professional placement after you graduate.

On the contrary, your placement outcome will depend on the fit of your research, your MAPSS profile, and your individual application strengths for the programs and job positions you target.

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% take the summer to finish their MA theses and graduate in August.

We do not give up on anyone who runs into problems, and are happy to provide feedback, supervise theses, and do whatever else is necessary to get persons out the door with their MA degree.

Our overall completion rate, within two years of starting MAPSS, is an astonishing 95%.

We hope you recognize what that number 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?

We are reluctant to admit students for part-time study, knowing how difficult it can be to complete all course requirements and the MA thesis if you are not marching in lockstep with your peers in the program.

That said, we do make allowances in particular cases. We have had recent medical doctors at the UChicago hospital earn the MAPSS degree, for example, on a part-time basis. There have been other occasional admits, from staff members of the University or persons who negotiated partial leaves from their full-time employment.

The lectures for our core course are set purposely on Mondays at 4:30 p.m. 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.

Part-time students are not normally eligible for merit-based funding in MAPSS. Any decision to attend part-time must be approved by the MAPSS leadership.

Who are the MAPSS preceptors?

Our preceptors are a mix of postdoctoral instructors and UChicago doctoral candidates in the final stages of their dissertations. They are handpicked for their demonstrated excellence in teaching and advising, their knowledge of faculty and department resources, their multidisciplinary interests, their sociable and supportive natures, and their engagement in worlds beyond the University.

The preceptors work closely with our Faculty Director, our senior academic staff, and our administrators in all aspects of student advising and support.

You are assigned to a preceptor on the basis of your disciplinary and research interests. You move through MAPSS in the company of a “preceptor group” of 18 to 20 students with broadly related interests.