The University of Chicago held its first classes in 1892, a new university birthed from the American Baptist Education Society and the money of famous rich man John D. Rockefeller (an investment he later described as “the best he ever made”). A community of great scholars was pulled in from around the nation, all dedicated to creating what was to become a “leader in higher education” and a model for subsequent universities (it has been called “one of those event in American history that brought in to focus the spirit of an age” of innovation and advancement in higher education).
Located in what was to become the Hyde Park area of Chicago, this major metropolitan university was one of the first to offer year round classes, with a commitment to gender equality and nonsectarianism in both its graduate and undergraduate offerings.
Today, the Chicago landmark has grown to fill up 211 acres (a designated botanic garden filled with English Gothic and modern buildings), bringing in 5000+ undergrad and about double that in graduate students. 15 minutes from the heart of Chicago, it houses an undergraduate school called “The College” (home to all Bachelor seekers), as well as 4 graduate divisions, and 6 graduate professional schools, as well as a continuing education college (Graham School of General Studies).
For such a large university, there is really no distance option offered and no online degree program of any sort. Even online classes are simply supplemental materials put online by traditional teachers, but much of that is owed to the historically tested desire to bring students into small groups focused on learning through discussion rather than lecture. The interdisciplinary core curriculum (the “Common Core”)at The College is a jumping point for all learning and has been imitated at numerous universities (as has the four quarter system and the Executive MBA program, both also first at UC).
The undergrad college offers 50 majors (with 29 minors) for BA and BS seekers, with 5 divisions of study: Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, and the New Collegiate Division (for programs that don’t fit in to the previous 4). Graduate students have the same 4 divisions (minus the New Collegiate), as well as professional graduate training in world renowned schools of Business (since 1898), Law (since 1902), Medicine, Divinity, Public Policy, and Social Service Administration. The added bonus of all these tracts is their ability to access resources of one of the world’s major cities, with all the internship and experiential learning involved with it. Whether training for your BA in Education, a Nursing Master’s, or a PhD in Philosophy, UC has a program that not only gives full academic teaching, but offers first hand education and job opportunities (another reason why distance learning isn’t in place at UC).
Research opportunities abound, as does the chance to travel and learn (there are satellite campuses in London, Singapore, Beijing, and Paris). Their library system encompasses six different libraries (12th largest by collection in the nation), they have the largest university press in the country, and has been home to many academic and scientific innovations and discoveries (from the identification of REM sleep to the launch of the Human Genome project).
Offering its students a world class education for over 100 years in one of the greatest intellectual communities in the country, the University of Chicago encourages intellectual curiosity and discussion in its students and faculty, leading to the innovation and change that education can bring to the world.