Graduate Admissions


Can you send me printed material on your program?

All of the material on our program is contained on our website. We no longer print brochures on the program. If you have additional questions about the program, we're happy to answer them through email and on the phone. Please contact the department at or 773-702-1255.

What is the minimum GRE score?

There is no minimum score to apply to the program. Scores and averages vary each year based on the quality of the applicant pool. The verbal score is the primary score considered in our application proceedure.

What are your English proficiency requirements and how do I fulfill them?

If you are a native of or studied in full-time status for at least one academic year within the last five years in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or an English medium university in Canada or South Africa, you are considered to have fulfilled the English proficiency requirement. Having studied in English in other countries — for example, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore — would not make you exempt from the English language requirement.

If you have not fulfilled the requirement by the means noted above, you must take the TOEFL or IELTS exam. In order to be issued a visa, you must score at least 104 overall, with sub scores of 26 each, on the internet-based TOEFL, or at least 600, with sub scores of 60 or better, on the paper-based TOEFL. The TOEFL is valid for two years. If you take the IELTS, you must take the Academic Reading/Writing test and score at least 7 overall with no sub score lower than 7.

What is your language requirement for entering students?

Although there is no formal requirement for entering students, accepted applicants have a strong background in at least one East Asian language. While students may spend some time perfecting their language skills during the first two years of coursework, students will be expected to conduct research using sources in the original language of their primary field.

I've looked through your webpages and it doesn't look like you have faculty in my area. Can I study economics/history/ etc.?

All of our faculty are listed. We are primarily a literature and language department with cross-disciplinary interests in art history, history, cinema, cultural and religious studies. Attaining a match with faculty interest is crucial in your ability to complete a PhD. Students with interest in business or economics should consider applying to programs in their respective field. Students with cross-disciplinary interests should consider the methodology they plan to follow in their research when choosing departments for applications.

What is your average time to degree?

Our students average 8 years from entry to completion of their degree. This varies widely based on the experience and and research plans of the candidate. Prospective students should assume a minimum of 6-7 years to complete their degree.

I applied last year, can I reactiveate my application?

Applicants to our PhD programs may no longer reactivate an application in a subsequent year, but must complete a new application, and send in new copies of supplemental materials.

Do you offer an M.A.?

The department does not have a terminal Master's degree program. Although the department does offer M.A.s, they are in conjunction with the pursuit of a Ph.D. degree. Students interested in a terminal M.A. degree should contact the University of Chicago Master of Arts Program in the Humanities or the Master of Arts Program in Social Sciences.

I have a Masters Degree from another university. Can I transfer credit from that degree towards your Ph.D. requirements?

We require all students, regardless of degrees already held, to take two years of coursework, write a directed translation and a Master's thesis as part of the process toward admission to Ph.D. candidacy. Students who enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A. degree from another university may petition the Director of Graduate Studies to accept certain courses and/or their master's thesis from their previous institution toward fulfillment of their M.A. requirements here. This should be done as early as possible after matriculation.