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University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is also featured in our ranking Top 50 Bachelor's Degree Programs in Psychology.

Bachelor's in Psychology at the University of Chicago

The psychology undergraduate program is designed to introduce students to all areas of the field so that they have a complete foundation and can make an informed decision regarding their specialty. The department also focuses heavily on research, both by designing experiments and evaluating the work done by others. Along with university requirements, a psychology major requires 12 courses in the field along with an advanced statistics course and two semesters of calculus. The major classes fall into three categories, statistics and methodology, psychology breadth, and electives.

All students are advised to complete the Psychological Statistics and Psychological Research Methods early in their program because these courses provide an understanding of the methodology behind the research that led to psychology's overarching theories. For the breadth requirement, students choose four of the following five psychology courses.

  • Biological
  • Cognitive
  • Developmental
  • Social
  • Sensation and Perception

The necessary six elective classes are individually chosen by each student based on their career goals and interests. Students are encouraged to participate in research early in their programs, and the Undergraduate Research Initiative offers a variety of workshops and information sessions to help students find their niche. Some options include The Attention, Perception, and Experience Lab, The Child Neurosuite, The Human Performance Lab, The Multilingualism and Decision-Making Lab, and The Visual Sciences Lab among others.

About the University of Chicago

Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, this university is one of the most selective schools in the country, admitting only approximately 6000 undergraduates from a pool of roughly 75,000 applicants. From its inception of 1890 with funding primarily from John D. Rockefeller, the school clearly stated that its mission was to provide high-quality education to all qualified individuals, both men and women, and has continued this message of inclusion to the present. Currently, the university offers 51 undergraduate majors as well as graduate programs in 12 divisions including medicine and law. Professors in all departments teach students how to think critically and encourage them to continually ask questions. The psychology department is part of The College and has existed since 1905. Since then, faculty members have made significant contributions to the field and have included one Nobel Prize winner and five members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Research at the University of Chicago led to the discovery of REM sleep, development of IQ scores, and the introduction of open-ended questions in talk therapy.

The U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school tied for the third best national university. In addition, it is listed as #15 on their list of Best Value Schools and #20 on the Most Innovative Schools list. Additionally, Forbes has named it the #1 Top School in the Midwest and the thirteenth best research university.

University of Chicago Accreditation Details

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has provided continuous accreditation for the university since 1913 with evaluations every 10 years, next scheduled for 2023. The HLC is responsible for colleges and universities in 19 states, mainly located in the central area of the United States. It evaluates each school in five areas including quality of education, a clear and demonstrable mission, engagement of faculty and staff, business strategies, and commitment to continual improvement. Accreditation is an important benchmark for prospective students because it certifies both that they will receive a quality education and that the institution has a solid financial foundation. In addition, only students attending accredited schools are eligible for federal financial aid.

University of Chicago Application Requirements

Students interested in pursuing a psychology degree at the University of Chicago first need to achieve admission to the university as a whole and then designate their major. For freshman applicants, the university accepts both the Common Application and the Coalition Application, complete with a personal statement. Applicants are encouraged to spend extra time on the extracurricular section and list all activities and hobbies, even those not officially sanctioned by an organization. This helps provide a holistic view of each individual. The University of Chicago Supplement is also required which consists of two essays, a longer one in response to a prompt and a shorter one about why the student is applying specifically to this school. Other required materials include a high school report and transcripts, two letters of recommendation from teachers, and a mid-year grade report. While SAT and ACT scores are recommended, they are optional for freshman domestic students.

Since admission to the University of Chicago is extremely competitive, applicants are also invited to submit an additional letter of recommendation, either from a teacher or other non-relative with relevant information about the individual's abilities, work ethic, or character. Other optional components include a 2-minute video introduction, samples demonstrating artistic talent, and significant literary or academic written work. The deadline for early action applications is November 1st with a regular decision deadline of February 1st.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The University of Chicago is a private school, so the state of residence does not change the tuition rate which runs about $50,000 per year with room and board adding an additional $15,000. Even with this steep price tag, the university works hard to ensure their education is accessible to individuals from every financial class. This starts with a waived application fee for all students who submit a financial aid application. Once admitted, through the No Barriers program, staff collaborate with each student to secure grants and scholarships which do not need to be repaid.

The Odyssey Scholars Program, like many scholarships offered to University of Chicago students, is available specifically for students with demonstrated financial need who are the first in their families to attend college. Along with tuition support, the program also offers networking and internship opportunities as well as assistance with health insurance and funding for a semester abroad. There are many other scholarships available to students based on academic and social achievements and/or financial need.

Psychology graduates can find work in a variety of fields from business and education to social work and politics. The University of Chicago offers a debt-free comprehensive psychology undergraduate education to students regardless of financial standing and prepares graduates for professional life and advanced education.

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