Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies

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The University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies
Graham School at UChicago.jpg
Type Private
Dean Mark R. Nemec, since July 1, 2014
Location Chicago, Illinois, USA
Campus Urban

The University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies is one of the seven professional schools of the University of Chicago. The Graham School extends the University of Chicago’s intellectual mission to a broad community of students who seek professional skills or personal development via part-time and flexible programs of study. The Graham School fosters the University’s rigorous approach to learning and scholarship in the form of graduate degrees, certificate programs, and open courses in the professional studies, humanities, arts, and sciences. The Graham School offers five Master's programs, over 18 certificate programs, and a variety of credit and noncredit courses for graduate students at large, returning scholars, and adult learners. In addition, the Graham School manages the University of Chicago Summer Session, a series of academic programs for high school students, visiting college students, and international students, and conducts lecture series and other programs throughout the year. The Graham School's administrative offices can be found on the University of Chicago's main campus in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Summer Session programs and some courses are also held on the main campus. The majority of Graham School courses are conducted at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago.


Founded alongside the University of Chicago in 1890, the University's continuing education division operated in similar fashion to the Chautauqua movement at Oxford and Cambridge, with instructors traveling by train to teach in surrounding communities. The continuing education branch was reformed in 1997 with a $10 million donation from William and Catherine Graham, upon which the name of the division was changed to the William B. and Catherine V. Graham School of General Studies. On July 1, 2011 the school updated its name to the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies to better reflect its mission as a continuing education institution committed to both professional growth and personal, intellectual enrichment.


The Gleacher Center

Per its vision statement, "The Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies will be the standard of quality and innovation in continuing education, advancing the University of Chicago's scholarly values and commitment to learning in service to non-traditional students seeking to explore, understand, lead, and improve themselves and the world around them." To this end, the school lists a wide variety of academic programs encompassing both professional development and liberal education.[1]

Graduate Studies[edit]

The Graham School offers five Master's degrees:

  • Master of Science in Analytics
  • Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics
  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Master of Science in Threat and Response Management[2]

The Graham School also offers graduate coursework without enrolling in a degree program through its Graduate Student-at-Large and Returning Scholar programs. Graduate students-at-large take University of Chicago graduate courses for grades and build a transferable record of study for matriculation into a degree program at the University of Chicago or elsewhere. Returning scholars audit University of Chicago courses, but are not graded for their work and do not build a transferable record of study.

Certificate Programs[edit]

Graham School certificate programs span a wide variety of topics from business to the liberal arts and humanities and are offered on a part-time basis. Upon completion of requirements, a certificate stating mastery of the given area is earned by the student. Because most courses are open-enrollment, students may take certificate courses without enrolling in a certificate program. These certificate programs fall under two broad categories: Humanities, Arts, and Sciences and Business and Professional Programs.

Humanities Arts and Sciences provides intensive study on a specific, grounded in the tenets of a liberal arts education. The Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults, modeled after the University of Chicago Common Core, exposes students to the Great Books of antiquity and the Socratic method of teaching and discussion.

The Graham School offers Humanities, Arts, and Sciences certificates in the following areas:

  • Arabic Languages & Culture
  • Artifact Collection Care
  • Asian Classics
  • Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults
  • Creative Writing
  • Language of Film
  • Language of Music [3]

Business and Professional Programs are short, intensive seminars aimed at students in the workforce. They offer educational expansion opportunities in 11 areas relevant to the modern business world. Upon completion of the required number of courses, a certificate showing the student’s mastery of the particular skill set involved is awarded.

The Graham School offers Business and Professional Programs certificates in the following areas:

  • Advanced Project Management
  • Clinical Trials Management and Regulatory Compliance
  • Editing
  • Financial Decision Making
  • Integrated Marketing
  • Leadership in Sustainability Management
  • Medical Writing and Editing
  • Project Management Strategy
  • Strategic Talent Management and Organizational Design
  • Translation Studies[3]

Noncredit Courses[edit]

The Graham School’s noncredit offerings cover a wide variety of topics and are aimed at the college graduate who wishes to either expand their knowledge of a certain area or learn a marketable job skill. Noncredit courses are offered in the following areas:

  • AXIS Chicago
  • Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults
  • Business and Professional Programs
  • Civic Knowledge Project
  • Freelance Forum
  • Humanities, Arts, and Sciences
  • Know Your Chicago
  • Museum Publishing Seminar
  • One-Day or One-Evening Seminars in the Liberal Arts
  • The Writer's Studio
  • Travel Study Programs
  • Returning Scholar[4]

Courses in certificate programs may also be taken, without enrolling in the certificate program.

Summer Session[edit]

The Graham School is also responsible for the University of Chicago Summer Session. Summer Session is open to anyone who wishes to attend, though participants are divided by academic standing.[5] Courses run from the middle of June, after the University of Chicago lets out (technically the Summer Quarter), in four sessions that last anywhere from three to nine weeks. Students live in the University's Max Palevsky Residential Commons and are supervised by Residential Heads and student Resident Assistants. Meals are provided through one of the university dining halls for high school students and visiting students who elect to purchase the meal plan.[6] Cultural activities planned around the varied offerings of Chicago constitute most evenings.[7]

For High School Students[edit]

The High School Summer Session is open to students who have completed at least their freshman year of high school. It offers specific high-school courses as well as undergraduate courses throughout the College, particularly Common Core and intensive language classes. Hands-on courses for high school students include Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS), where students work in a microbiotics lab, and Stones and Bones: a Practicum in Paleontology, where students work directly on a paleontologic site in Wyoming, as well as in examination rooms at the Field Museum. The Traveling Academy is a study-abroad program led by university instructors whose location changes each year.[8]

For College Students[edit]

The Summer Session for Visiting Students offers students enrolled at other universities an opportunity to study at the University of Chicago. Courses can be taken for credit and yield 3.3 semester hours or 5 quarter hours of credit each, while topics are taken straight from the university course listings and include the Common Core and languages as well as courses in the various departments.[9] University of Chicago students are also able to take these courses throughout the summer.


Faculty for the Graham School comes from a wide variety of sources, though the majority of instructors are pulled from the University of Chicago at large. The Graham School has a tradition of using working professionals to teach in its business-oriented courses and certificate programs, as well as acquiring published authors to lead courses in their particular writing genre.

Public Events[edit]

The Graham School offers multiple lecture series open to the public. The First Friday Lecture Series occurs on the first Friday of every month from autumn to spring, and are delivered by the school’s Basic Program instructors on a topic of their choice.[10] The Works of the Mind Lecture Series runs October through May in conjunction with the Chicago Cultural Center’s Sunday Salon Series of free concerts, and features University of Chicago professors delivering their thoughts on a wide variety of topics crossing academic disciplines.[11] The Great Conversations Lecture Series runs from the autumn to mid-winter and consists of a series of lectures based around a central theme. The theme for 2010-11 was “The Higher Learning” and featured lecturers from the University of Chicago administration, among others.

In addition to lecture series, the Graham School also hosts the Basic Program Weekend Study Retreat each autumn and spring. Participants spend the weekend (Friday evening-Sunday afternoon) in study on one particular work, read beforehand, at varying locations. Instructors give a series of lectures and panel discussions on the work being studied, and participants hold group discussions about their thoughts on the work. (20) Cinema and cultural activities related to the work are incorporated into the weekend.


Coordinates: 41°47′09″N 87°35′26″W / 41.785783°N 87.590531°W / 41.785783; -87.590531