Academics

We inspire talented and curious students by encouraging intellectual exploration, fearless analysis, and the pursuit of bold new questions. Through our uniquely UChicago curriculum and style of teaching, we engage young minds with formative ideas and approaches in an environment where they are challenged by leading scholars – and taught to challenge in return.

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The College Curriculum

Academic study at UChicago College is comprised of three components: the Core curriculum, a major program, and electives. Graduate study, interdisciplinary opportunities, and joint degree programs are also available.

All students in UChicago College begin their undergraduate education by taking courses from the Core curriculum, an integrated, often interdisciplinary, sequence of courses that are designed to establish the habits of mind and the critical, analytic, and writing skills that are expected of an educated, well-informed member of modern society. The Core serves as an introduction to the tools of inquiry used in every discipline—science, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences. The goal is not just to transfer knowledge, but to raise fundamental questions and to become familiar with the powerful ideas that shape our society.

Majors

Just as the Core provides the broad foundation for addressing key intellectual questions, major programs of study provide students with a depth of knowledge and sophistication in a particular area of inquiry – whether a traditional academic discipline, an interdisciplinary program, or a program of a student’s own design.

UChicago College's 52 majors reside within one of the five Collegiate Divisions, and range from nine to 19 courses, depending on the specific requirements of UChicago’s academic departments. Information about the majors and their requirements are described in the College Catalog.

Minors

UChicago College’s 45 minors permit students to use their free electives with intellectual effectiveness and precision—to take a cohesive set of courses that complement studies in one’s major or to explore an unrelated area of intellectual interest.

Minors typically require five to seven courses and are counted towards one’s electives. Each program outlines its particular requirements for a minor in the College Catalog.

UChicago College believes that maturity and independence of mind are enhanced by exploring intellectual areas beyond required programs of study. Electives can provide a breadth and a balance that is critical to a true liberal education. Students may use electives to explore a wide range of intellectual pursuits, including:

Highly motivated undergraduate students often turn to graduate study to take full advantage of their time on campus.

Students in UChicago College may enroll in graduate and professional school courses while completing their undergraduate studies. Available courses can be found in the graduate division, Chicago Booth School of Business, the Law School, Pritzker School of Medicine, Harris School of Public Policy, and the School of Social Administration.

Students are encouraged to speak with their advisers about taking advantage of these opportunities as soon as their second year in the University.

A number of departments in the University offer joint BA/MA programs or a professional option for students who have completed a significant portion of their undergraduate program early and want to concentrate their electives in order to begin their graduate-level studies early. Joint degrees span departments from across the disciplines and offer both 4-year and 5-year programs. 

Students are encouraged to speak with their advisers about these opportunities early on so that they can make plans to complete their general education requirements by the start of the application process

Through a number of programs and initiatives, the University brings together scholars from a variety of fields to engage in sustained interdisciplinary collaboration. Courses offered through Big Problems, Chicago Studies, Clinical and Translational Science, and the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge offer students the opportunity to engage in training, undertake projects and ask questions that span multiple fields of study. 

Dean's List

Each year, approximately 20% of degree-seeking students whose cumulative grade point averages are the highest for that academic year, and who have completed a minimum of nine courses with at least seven quality grades, are placed on the Dean's List for that year. Students are only considered for Dean’s List once all of their grades for the academic year have been recorded. A determination is made each year on the basis of grades available in the registrar's office after July 1. For course work that does not contribute to the GPA, see Grading Scale. Transcripts are marked accordingly for all students who qualify for the Dean’s List.

Honors by Major 

For honors within a major, students should refer to that department's program description for the eligibility requirements.  

College Honors 

Grade point averages are calculated on a cumulative annual basis. At the end of their second year, students in the top 10% of their class will be designated Robert Maynard Hutchins Scholars, based on the grade point average for their first and second years. This award is designed to honor students who have performed exceptionally in their core courses and introductory courses for their major.  

In their third and fourth years, students whose cumulative GPA places them in the top 5% of their major compared to a 5-year average will be eligible for an award by division. The name of the award is selected by each division.  

Latin Honors 

In addition to departmental honors, students whose cumulative GPA places them in the top 25% of students by major over the past 5 years will be eligible to receive Latin honors. All students in the top 25% will be eligible for recommendation to receive their degree cum laude. Students whose GPA places them in the top 15% will be eligible to be recommended to the College for magna cum laude. Students whose GPA places them in the top 8% will be eligible to be recommended to receive their degree summa cum laude.  

For honors beyond cum laude, a College committee will review each student’s record to gauge broad engagement with the curriculum by, for example, promoting students who have taken graduate courses, taking multiple majors, attempting courses across divisional boundaries, taking extra courses, and completing minors. For the honor summa cum laude in particular, the committee will consider the breadth and depth of the student’s engagement with the curriculum outside of their primary major. 

Exceptions to these minima may be granted by the College in response to department petition.  

The Harper Awards for exceptional performance in a course 

To recognize exceptional achievement in an undergraduate course beyond the Core, departments are invited to nominate students for a Harper Award. The Harper award is designed to decorate the deeply engaged, stellar student, independent of the grade they receive in the class. Departments may nominate up to one Harper Award from each course with more than 10 students, and up to two Harper Awards from each course with more than 70 students. Departments can pool courses with enrollments smaller than 10 students and allow faculty to jointly recommend a Harper Award from that group of courses.  

Reading courses, independent research courses, and thesis writing courses, are not eligible for a nomination.  

The awards will be announced each year near the conclusion of the spring quarter.

Academic Stories

Study Abroad

Learning Around the Globe

In Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, UChicago undergraduate students live the life of the mind, one great city at a time.

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Research & Fellowships

The College Center for Research and Fellowships (CCRF) supports students as they pursue transformative experiences through scholarly undergraduate research and nationally competitive fellowships. The CCRF promotes meaningful connections between faculty and students, encourages mentorship, provides high-impact advising and events, and educates the broader UChicago community about these opportunities for all UChicago College students and alumni.

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Students meet with undergraduate and graduate tutors in the Cathey Learning Center.

Academic Resources

Throughout every step of the academic journey, UChicago provides programs and support to ensure students achieve their full potential.

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Experiential Opportunities

Extended learning to further intellectual development within specific fields of interest.