DO I NEED TO HAVE A BACKGROUND IN MIDDLE EAST STUDIES TO APPLY?
Students enter our program from various backgrounds. Some have no prior experience in the study of the languages and cultures of the Middle East; others do. Our program is not considered to be one of the professional schools so we do not require that our applicants have work experience as a prerequisite for admission.
WHAT IS THE APPLICATION DEADLINE AND WHAT DO I NEED TO SUBMIT?
The deadline to apply is January 4th. You may apply to the Center for Middle Eastern Studies M.A. program through the Division of Social Sciences or the Division of the Humanities. Generally, we advise students to enter through the division that closely corresponds their undergraduate background. To apply, you must complete an on-line application and provide a candidate statement, writing sample, 3 recommendations and transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities in addition to the application fee. The on-line application is available at https://grad-application.uchicago.edu/ . Here you may complete the application, taking as much time as you need, of course while keeping the January 4th deadline in mind. The on-line process also allows you to download all of the necessary forms that you will need to mail in with your transcripts, writing sample, etc. We require that you take the TOEFL or IELTS (for applicants who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents). The TOEFL/IELTS is the only admissions requirement that applies specifically to international applicants. Ideally, the TOEFL tests should be taken no later than November, to ensure arrival of the scores by the January 4th application deadline. The University of Chicago does require that admitted applicants obtain a minimum score for the TOEFL prior to matriculation. We do not require a GRE score for admission nor do we provide statistics on the GRE scores for previously admitted students.
IS FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE?
Competitive, merit based financial aid is available for all students, including international students. These merit based financial aid awards for Masters Degree students vary from half to a third tuition, depending on the applicant’s prior academic performance. All students who perform at or above a 3.5 GPA in the first year are eligible in the second year for an increase in scholarship aid, most up to full tution. Full scholarships (FLAS awards), which cover tuition as well as living expenses, books, etc. are extremely limited for Masters students and apply only to the second year. Student loan programs are also available to all students. However, foreign students are not eligible to participate in the federal loan programs, but are eligible for alternative loans if they have a cosigner who meets the financial requirements of the alternative loan program. The availability and terms of these loans may vary over time.
WHAT IS THE COST OF ATTENDENCE?
For a general idea about tuition and fees for this coming academic year, please go to https://bursar.uchicago.edu/university-students-managing-your-student-account/#.
WHAT KIND OF CAMPUS JOBS ARE AVAILABLE TO STUDENTS?
Unlike other universities, the University of Chicago does not offer graduate assistantships as part of its financial aid packages to students applying to our program. Students are not allowed to become teaching assistants during their first year in our program but are eligible to become research assistants. Unfortunately, given the fact that the University of Chicago has more graduate students than undergraduates, these positions are hard to come by. Most students take work-study jobs, generally clerical in nature, which are generally but not necessarily totally unrelated to their studies. Many students find these positions refreshing as they provide a way to earn spending money without the extra demand on one’s intellect, especially during midterms.
I MISSED THE DEADLINE TO APPLY, MAY I TAKE CLASSES AS A NON MATRICULATED STUDENT?
Yes. The University offers a program to meet this need. It is the University of Chicago’s Graduate Student at Large (GSAL) program which is a credit, non-degree program that allows students to continue or begin graduate study at the beginning of each quarter throughout the academic year. This program, offered through the University of Chicago’s Graham School of General Studies, allows students to complete graduate coursework for credit. However, once accepted to any degree granting program at the University of Chicago, only 3 courses can be applied toward the degree. In the past, students in our program have chosen this path to begin taking required courses for the M.A. degree in Middle Eastern Studies prior to being accepted to our program. This program provides an excellent opportunity to build relationships with faculty, staff and students and many students who work, miss application deadlines or want to explore the U of C environment take the GSAL path before applying to one of our degree programs. For more information regarding the GSAL program, please visit the Graham School’s website at http://grahamschool.uchicago.edu/credit_bearing/gsal.cfm .