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Preparation for Professional Study

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This is an archived copy of the 2013-2014 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

The Arts | Business | Education Professions | Entrepreneurship | Health Professions | Journalism and Media | Law | Public and Social Service | Science and Technology

The Arts

Preparation for the fields of arts and entertainment is as varied as the disciplines within these fields. Students majoring in music, cinema, theater, literature, and the visual arts will have course requirements determined for them by their respective departments. However, many University of Chicago graduates who majored in languages, fundamentals, and the natural and social sciences have gone on to have successful careers in entertainment, the arts, architecture, design, and fashion design. While a conservatory education is valuable for learning craft, the well-rounded and demanding liberal arts education offered by the College is perhaps the best preparation for a career in the arts.

The UChicago Careers in the Arts (UCIA) program is designed to assist students following one or more of three basic arts-related tracks: scholarly, administrative, and creative. Those considering careers as curators, critics, and educators should take as many arts-related history and arts-related social science courses as they can squeeze in. Those following the arts administrative track should be sure to improve their quantitative skills. Students intent on becoming practicing artists should not only concentrate on courses that will help them build a body of work, but should study basic entrepreneurship, as managing a career as a practicing artist is like managing a small business.

UCIA compliments the College’s emphasis on academics with one-on-one career advising and programming designed to connect students with emerging and established professionals in the fields of visual art, music, film, television, theater, publishing, architecture, design, and more. Internships, mentorships, apprenticeships, and collaborations with working professionals provide students with the hands-on experience and deep networking needed to launch successful careers.

At least as many non-arts majors take advantage of UCIA’s services as do those majoring in arts-related disciplines. In general, whatever course of study undergraduates pursue, UCIA can help connect them to the individuals, institutions, and knowledge communities needed to pursue careers in their given field, both during and beyond their college experience.


The College provides no specific course of preprofessional studies to prepare students for graduate study in business administration. It is advisable for interested students to pursue a program of study that hones their quantitative, verbal, and written skills. In addition to course work required to complete their major, students should consider taking the following as electives.

ECON 19800Introduction to Microeconomics100
ECON 19900Introduction to Macroeconomics100
STAT 22000Statistical Methods and Applications100
ENGL 13000Academic and Professional Writing (The Little Red Schoolhouse)100
Up to six of the courses at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business that are open to qualified College students *


 including BUSF 30000 Financial Accounting

Additional support is provided by the UChicago Careers in Business (UCIB) program. This structured and selective three-year program is organized and managed by Career Advancement. Applications are accepted from all students, regardless of their major, from Spring Quarter to mid-August of their first year. Components of the UCIB program include:

  • Weekly mandatory business competencies workshops targeting career exploration, professional development, and technical skills acquisition

  • Small group employer site visits to meet with and learn from professionals in the industry

  • Industry experienced adviser team focused on preparing UCIB participants to begin their career in business and/or apply to a graduate program in business administration

  • Mentoring opportunities by students from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business

  • Minimum of three courses at Chicago Booth, one of which must be BUSF 30000 Financial Accounting

Most graduate business schools require applicants to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Students planning to apply to graduate studies in business administration within two years of graduation should take the GMAT in the summer preceding their final year in the College; registration materials are available in Career Advancement. Graduate business schools typically expect matriculating students to have acquired several prior years of work experience.

Education Professions

A University of Chicago education is excellent preparation for graduate study in the arts and sciences. Students interested in graduate study should take full advantage of the academic resources available to them. The core curriculum encourages an atmosphere of inquiry in which students develop strong analytical and writing skills that provide a solid foundation for further exploration in any discipline.  

Students should develop their knowledge through advanced course work in their fields. When they can, they should take courses that will allow them to increase their critical thinking skills as well as conduct research and write papers. These courses will also help students cultivate strong relationships with faculty in their majors. Students are encouraged to seek out and take advantage of the wealth of research opportunities available to them on campus and elsewhere. They should develop their own research projects through completing BA projects and papers.

To strengthen the University of Chicago's reputation as a "teacher of teachers," the College and Career Advancement launched UChicago Careers in Education Professions  (UCEP) in the fall of 2012. UChicago Careers in Education Professions provides specialized preparation for students in pursuing careers in teaching as well as educational administration, research, and policy.

UCEP is a selective program that provides a variety of resources for students, including advising, workshops, guest speakers, teacher training programs, partnerships with public and private local schools, internship opportunities, and treks to various education institutions.

Advising: Students have access to one-on-one advising with the program director of UCEP, an expert with extensive experience in education. The program director provides students with personalized assistance in career planning, finding job and internship opportunities that match their interests, and preparing application materials.

Workshops and Events: UCEP workshops are held three times per academic term and cover an array of topics and issues in the field of education. Events have included a talk with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the first Urban Education Summit.

Metcalf Internship Opportunities and Career Treks: UCEP is committed to offering students valuable internship opportunities at a wide range of education-focused organizations. In addition, UCEP offers career treks to Chicago area primary, secondary, and higher education institutions. During these treks, students have the opportunity to experience firsthand the work environments in these organizations.

Partnership with the Urban Education Institute (UEI): Through a close partnership with the Urban Education Institute (UEI), students have access to unparalleled resources:

Course Offering: In partnership with UEI, UCEP is able to offer the following course to College students: PBPL 27821 Urban Schools and Communities.

Teachers and Leaders: The College partners with the University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program (UChicago UTEP) to offer a special joint residency opportunity for UChicago undergraduates. Students can apply in their third year to begin UChicago UTEP course work during their final year at the College. Successful applicants can begin UChicago UTEP’s intensive five-quarter clinical residency a year earlier than if they matriculated post-graduation.

Gap Year Support: Increasingly, College students wait to apply for graduate programs until after they graduate, giving them time to make sure they are making the right decision and are able to assemble a competitive application. UCEP supports students who choose to take time between college and their graduate programs in several ways. We continue to work with alumni who may need assistance with their applications or decision-making process. We also help students and alumni find appropriate gap year experiences in the field of education.


Students with an interest in starting a business, working at a star-tup or exploring entrepreneurial finance will find a wide range of resources available to them through UChicago Careers in Entrepreneurship . The goal of this pre-professional program is not to have every student start a business, but rather for every student to have the opportunity to be exposed to an entrepreneurial way of thinking through experiential learning opportunities that complement the Core curriculum.
In addition to organizing College-specific workshops and opportunities, this Career Advancement program also works closely with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. College students are able to take advantage of world-class opportunities and resources available through the Polsky Center, including attending industry conferences, attending workshops organized by the MBA student–run Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club, and attending office hours with Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Students are also able to take courses at Chicago Booth, notably an undergraduate-only section of Building the New Venture.
Programming highlights for UChicago Careers in Entrepreneurship include:
  • The College New Venture Challenge, entering its third year, is an undergraduate-only business plan competition that enables students to go through the progression of discovering an idea, building a team, creating a proof of concept, and pitching to investors. Throughout the competition, students are engaged with mentors drawn from alumni and local entrepreneurs.
  • Many student teams also enter competitions that are not sponsored by the University. Examples include competitions sponsored by Clinton Global Initiative, Clean Energy Trust, Net Impact, Enactus, Microsoft, Google, and Wal-mart, as well as competitions sponsored by such other universities as Stanford and MIT.
  • Social entrepreneurship is a popular topic on campus with many student organizations, including Enactus, GlobeMed, Campus Catalyst, and Envision Do, supporting students who want to solve social and environmental issues through new innovations.
  • Startup careers and internships are another area of student interest. Many local companies participate in the Metcalf Internship program, and local start-up companies are encouraged to hire UChicago students through subsidies and other promotions. Of note, the University has a strong partnership with the 1871 incubator at the Merchandise Mart, placing 34 academic year interns in Winter Quarter 2013.
  • In addition to bringing in alumni and local entrepreneurs as speakers, the program also engages with local angel investors and venture capital firms. Students have worked in associate roles while in school with such local groups as Hyde Park Angels and such international groups as Softbank and Sequoia Capital.
  • Career treks are an outstanding way for students to meet with companies in various industries as well as learn about different regions of the country or the world. In addition to treks to Silicon Valley, UChicago Careers in Entrepreneurship looks to engage with other regional hubs of entrepreneurial opportunity, including New York City, Boston, Austin, and Chicago.

Health Professions

UChicago Careers in Health Professions (UCIHP) provides students with the resources and support to develop the knowledge, skills, competencies, and experiences required for advanced study in the health professions. The College’s broad and intellectually expansive liberal arts education, coupled with pre-health courses and UCIHP’s support, is exceptional preparation for a career in health and medicine. Students develop the competencies required by graduate schools of the health professions, including: in-depth experience with the process of scientific inquiry; a facility in drawing linkages among scientific disciplines; strong critical thinking and communication skills; the ability to use mathematics to explain the natural world; mastery of basic principles of physics and chemistry; an understanding of the diversity of subject matter and methods of investigation in the biological sciences; and a sophisticated appreciation of the social context of health and medicine.

Upon meeting the College's general education requirements, students are encouraged to major in any discipline in which they have a strong interest, while fulfilling the following common entry requirements for advanced study in the field:

  • 3 quarters of general chemistry with labs

  • 3 quarters of organic chemistry with labs

  • 3 quarters of biology with labs

  • 3 quarters of physics with labs

  • 3 quarters of a general education humanities sequence (recommended)

  • 3 quarters of calculus (recommended)

  • 1 quarter of biochemistry (recommended)

  • 1 quarter of statistics (recommended)

The Biological Sciences Collegiate Division (BSCD) offers several course sequences that prepare students for advanced study in the health professions. Students should consult the Biological Sciences page in this catalog and work closely with their College advisers to determine which sequence is most appropriate.

Students with a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement Chemistry Exam may accept credit for CHEM 11100-11200-11300 Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II-III and directly enroll in either CHEM 22000-22100-22200 Organic Chemistry I-II-III or CHEM 23000-23100-23200 Honors Organic Chemistry I-II-III. Alternatively, they can register for CHEM 12100-12200-12300 Honors General Chemistry I-II-III. Students who complete one to three quarters of Comprehensive General Chemistry or Honors General Chemistry forgo partial or full AP credit. Students who decide to use test credits and enroll in CHEM 22000-22100-22200 Organic Chemistry I-II-III or CHEM 23000-23100-23200 Honors Organic Chemistry I-II-III will need to supplement those credits with one quarter of BIOS 20200 Introduction to Biochemistry and one quarter of an upper-level chemistry course to be chosen in consultation with a health professions adviser.

Students who are unable to complete three quarters of a general education humanities sequence in their first year should plan to take a writing-intensive English course when their schedule allows. They should understand however, that this English course cannot be applied to the general education humanities requirement.

It is recommended that students work closely with their College advisers to choose courses appropriate to their level of preparation and interest. Although the College offers course sequences that fulfill all of the above requirements, some schools of the health professions have additional requirements. To ensure all requirements are met, students are also encouraged to check directly with the schools to which they intend to apply.

UCIHP supports students and alumni as they explore the health professions, among them allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) medicine, nursing (PhD), dental (DDS) and podiatric (DPM) medicine, veterinary medicine (DVM), pharmacy (PharmD), and health services research (PhD). In addition to curricular assistance, UCIHP offers a wide range of cocurricular support that empowers students to achieve a high level of academic, professional, and personal success.

Students interested in the health professions should consult first with their College adviser and then with UCIHP, located in Harper Memorial Library, West Tower 406.

Journalism and Media

Journalism is a broad field, covering many subjects—politics, law, international relations, medicine, technology, fashion, entertainment, sports, the environment, and many others. It includes magazines, newspapers, television, radio, the Internet, and new media. Journalism is what is new and what is different—it is content.

The deep, rigorous education provided by the College is exceptional preparation for a student wanting to become an influential journalist. The UChicago Careers in Journalism and Media program helps students secure opportunities for practical experience in this competitive field. It is open to students at every stage of their academic careers. It is certainly for students wanting to go into the field of journalism, but also for those wanting journalism as an extracurricular activity.

The program is organized and managed by Career Advancement. The components include:

  • Individual mentoring to help students win internships and jobs in their particular areas of interest

  • Workshops with professional journalists, including alumni journalists, to develop practical skills and networking opportunities

  • Grants to help support students working in unpaid internships

  • Advising student publications to help them grow and improve

College students are encouraged to major in any subject of their choice. Currently 47 majors are represented in the UChicago Careers in Journalism and Media program. Journalism is such a broad field that journalists cover a great variety of stories in their careers. It is important to learn to think critically, research deeply, write clearly, and gain an extensive understanding of the world.


The College curriculum provides excellent preparation for the study of law. More important than a specific major is the acquisition of certain skills necessary for the intelligent practice of law: the ability to communicate effectively in oral and written expression, a critical understanding of human institutions and values, and the ability to reason closely from given premises and propositions to tenable conclusions. Such skills can be developed in various majors and by taking courses in English language and literature, philosophy, American history, political science, mathematics, and economics.

Students interested in a career in law should use the resources provided by the UChicago Careers in Law (UCIL) Program, which is organized and managed by the Career Advancement. UCIL supports students as they explore their interest in law through programming, internships, and advising. Alumni lawyers often return to the College to participate in programs sponsored by UCIL, including panels in such specific areas of interest as international law, intellectual property, and criminal law. Students can work with UCIL to identify and secure internships with employers ranging from large law firms to public defender services. UCIL assists students in targeting law schools, preparing successful applications, and choosing the most appropriate law school.

Public and Social Service

The UChicago Careers in Public and Social Service (UCIPSS) program works with students interested in the government and nonprofit sectors. Given that these sectors are extremely broad, students of all majors are encouraged to participate in UCIPSS. Since employers in the public and social service arenas look for individuals with a deep commitment to their organization's mission, students who pursue courses of study that are interesting and exciting to them will be most successful in government and nonprofit careers. Through their rigorous academic studies, University of Chicago students learn many essential skills necessary to contribute meaningfully in the service fields. These include extensive research skills, the ability to analyze complex problems and develop creative and effective solutions, exemplary written and oral communication skills, and the ability to manage and prioritize numerous projects and commitments.

UCIPSS, which is organized and managed by Career Advancement, is open to students at all levels, and students may join the program at any point during their college years. Students interested in public and social service are encouraged to meet with the UCIPSS advisers to begin to explore their specific areas of interest. Numerous resources are offered to educate students about specific areas within public and social service and to connect them with alumni and employers in their chosen fields. One of the main goals of the program is to connect students with meaningful, hands-on internships or volunteer experiences in the public or social service sectors. Other resources include:

  • Skill-building workshops to educate students about how to navigate job searches and careers in the public and social service sectors

  • Information sessions with employers to help students learn about different organizations and agencies and the types of opportunities available for students of all levels

  • Paid internship opportunities with government agencies and nonprofit organizations

  • Panels with alumni from a variety of fields to offer students networking opportunities and the opportunity to learn how University of Chicago graduates have translated their educations into careers in these sectors

  • Treks to various locations, organizations, and agencies to learn about public and social service work in the field

Science and Technology

Students with an interest in the rapidly changing fields of science and technology should use the resources provided by the UChicago Careers in Science and Technology (UCIST) Program, which is organized and managed by Career Advancement. The goal of UCIST is to help undergraduate students explore, prepare for, and obtain careers in science and technology. UCIST provides experiential opportunities to students as they explore ways that science, technology, and innovation provide solutions in areas that range from particle physics, bioinformatics, and national security to search engines, alternative energies, and entertainment. Students with any major may join UCIST throughout their years in the College.

Components of the program include advising, career exploration, skill building, and real-world experiential learning. Benefits may include (but are not limited to):

  •  Exploration of the diverse career options in the field of science and technology through the Career Exploration Series and facility tours to Chicagoland organizations such as Argonne National Laboratory

  • Opportunities to hone skill sets that employers are looking for by participating in the UCIST Skill Building Workshops, which include sessions such as "Presenting Yourself Effectively" 

  • Gaining real-world experience and putting skill sets into action while participating in the UCI Innovation Competition with a cross-functional team in conjunction with other UCI programs

  • Exposure to industry information, workplace cultures, and networks of alumni mentors and student peers on the San Francisco Technology Trek and the Boston Biotech Trek

  • Opportunity to participate in the spring/summer for-credit UCIST Research and Innovation Seminar, to learn about the process of innovation in science and technology through case studies and lectures from industry experts and UChicago resources, which can then be applied during a research opportunity over summer.




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