A University of Chicago education is about more than gaining a set of skills, achieving a rite of passage, or even honing the ability to think critically. It is a way of experiencing and moving through the world—interest in a lifelong dialogue across cultures and disciplines, inclination to ask good questions, and willingness to change perspective after encountering new ideas. From the beginning, we’ve believed in the benefits of a liberal arts education, including a robust intellectual foundation in a diversity of disciplines.
Majors, minors, and other programs
Complementing the breadth of the Core curriculum are more than 50 majors and 50 minors, as well as dozens of areas of specialized study, with full-time academic advisers helping students navigate these opportunities from day one.
At a liberal arts institution such as the University of Chicago, your major does not necessarily determine your career path. While for some students, choosing a major serves as a path to a specific career or profession, for others it represents a way to build skills that could apply to many different careers or to dig into a passionate academic interest. You can begin a major at any time, including your first quarter. Unless otherwise specified by the department, the deadline for declaring a major is Spring Quarter of your third year. Most students will change majors at least once during their time on campus.
Typically, about a third of a student's courses are electives. Some students use these courses as a chance to explore a variety of personal or academic interests. About a quarter will choose to use this flexibility to double major, and about half will use it to add a minor. The deadline to declare a minor is the end of Spring Quarter of your third year.
The quarter system
All this exciting academic activity at UChicago takes place in a calendar of academic quarters, which last nine weeks each and conclude with a reading period followed by a week for finals. Most students take classes during Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters, though courses are also available during Summer Session.