A Program That Will Surprise You

MAPSS is very different from most MA programs. We are highly selective for admission, and we offer partial and full tuition scholarships. We recruit the most promising graduate students we can find, persons of unusual academic or professional accomplishment, and we give them the same access and faculty support as UChicago doctoral students. We achieve academic and career placement rates that no other MA program approximates.

Approximately 15% of a typical MAPSS cohort will turn down PhD offers to join us, in most cases because they are switching disciplines or unsure about their placement prospects. Another 15% will come to MAPSS with an MA degree already in hand, typically when that degree was earned overseas, or from outside the social sciences.

The 363 students that we matriculated in 2021 come from more than 171 different undergraduate institutions. Dozens will have graduated Phi Beta Kappa, or with departmental prizes, from institutions large and small, well-known and obscure. Dozens more will have found their footing after an initial transition, or some early missteps, showing the resilience and tenacity that are critical for graduate success.

MAPSS is a program where the prize-winning student from Messiah College receives the same faculty attention and support as the PBK graduate from Stanford. We take pride in catapulting students from outside of conventional pipelines into the most competitive ranks for PhD and career entry.

A Transformative One-Year Degree

Why MAPSS? Our admitted students:

  • Get full access to the faculty and resources of the University of Chicago, including all graduate workshops and the University’s 140 centers and institutes.
  • Select eight graduate courses from any department or professional school of the University. While most of those classes will be in the Division of Social Sciences, others may be in the Division of the Humanities, the Harris School of Public Policy, the Booth School of Business, the Law School, the Divinity School, and the School of Social Service Administration.
  • Take one required course, “Perspectives in Social Science Analysis,” furnishing a common vocabulary, and a common exposure to canonical texts, that you will carry forward in your research.
  • Write an article-length MA thesis under the direct supervision of a UChicago faculty member, from any department or professional school of the University.
  • Acquire professional-grade methods training, selecting from dozens of graduate offerings in ethnographic methods, network analysis, game theory, involved interviewing, historical methods, statistics, comparative case study, rational choice, content analysis, linear models, comparative historical analysis, experimental methods, organizational analysis, interpretive methods, survey research, computational methods, and more.
  • Receive close mentorship and weekly support from a MAPSS preceptor, our senior academic staff, our program administrators, and our Career Services team.
  • Learn how to write for a professional readership and make original contributions that will be persuasive to specialists in the field.
  • Achieve extraordinary placement success, with almost 90% of MAPSS students accepted for funded PhD study each year. We support even larger numbers for an impressive range of professional careers.
  • Qualify for partial and full tuition scholarships, awarded at the time of admission, with 98% of a typical cohort receiving significant merit aid.
  • Begin MA study in September, taking three graduate courses for each of the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters, and complete the MA thesis for June or August convocation.
  • In just one year, make remarkable transitions in your intellectual and professional development. You can confirm your PhD path, switch to an entirely new academic discipline, or take your research into a professional career, drawing on our extensive career placement resources. Our MAPSS staff is fully invested in your success.