University of Chicago

#7 / #3
Global Influence / U.S. Influence
#8
Most Desirable School

Private research university in Chicago, Illinois, United States

University of Chicago Featured Rankings

About University of Chicago

By James Barham, PhD

The University of Chicago is one of the foremost universities in the world academically, albeit one of the youngest in that august company. In spite of its relatively recent founding, the school has been associated with some of the world’s most important scientific achievements, above all, the first controlled, self-sustaining, nuclear chain reaction (atomic fission), which was achieved in late 1942 by a team led by the legendary Italian physicist, Enrico Fermi, in a laboratory beneath a football field on the Chicago campus.

In another first, in 1952 then-graduate student Stanley Miller, with the assistance of his adviser, the distinguished University of Chicago chemist Harold Urey, demonstrated that organic molecules such as amino acids can be artificially produced in vitro from only inorganic precursor compounds. It is also worth noting that James D. Watson, the co-discover with Francis Crick of the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule at the University of Cambridge—also in 1952—completed his undergraduate education at Chicago.

However, Chicago is famed for far more than its contributions to science. For example, in 1896 renowned philosopher John Dewey founded the “Lab School” on the university’s campus to put his liberal pedagogical principles into practice. For better or for worse, the Chicago Lab School has had an incalculable impact on the course of educational philosophy in America.

In 1952, former University of Chicago President Robert Maynard Hutchins and philosophy professor Mortimer J. Adler teamed up to found the Great Books of the Western World publishing project and accompanying curriculum—one of the most important ancestors of the Great Books programs that are increasing in popularity today throughout the US.

Of the approximately 90 Nobel Prize recipients connected to the University of Chicago, no fewer than 29 have been recognized for their work in economics, including such distinguished names as:

  • Friedrich Hayek
  • Paul Samuelson
  • Kenneth Arrow
  • Herbert Simon
  • Milton Friedman
  • James M. Buchanan
  • George Stigler
  • Robert Lucas
  • Ronald Coase
  • Gary Becker
  • Eugene Fama

Friedman’s free-market views, in particular, have been identified with the university—so much so that he and his close associates (Stigler, Lucas, Coase, Becker, Fama, among others) have come to be known collectively as the “Chicago School” of economics.

The American novelist and Nobelist Saul Bellow was a professor at Chicago, as well as a longtime member of the university’s prestigious Committee on Social Thought.

Of the many other distinguished scholars associated with the Committee on Social Thought, we may mention Hans Jonas, Hannah Arendt, Mircea Eliade, Allan Bloom, and Leon Kass.

In addition, the highly influential political philosopher, Leo Strauss, held the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professorship at Chicago for 20 years.

Other distinguished Chicago-related individuals include:

  • Astrophysicist, Edwin Hubble
  • Physicists, Luis Walter Alvarez & Carl Sagan
  • Statistician, Nate Silver
  • Novelists, Kurt Vonnegut & Philip Roth
  • Philosopher, Richard Rorty
  • Essayist, novelist, and culture critic, Susan Sontag
  • Historian, Carter G. Woodson
  • Anthropologist, Clifford Geertz
  • Economist, Thomas Sowell
  • Author, radio broadcaster, and oral history pioneer, Studs Terkel
  • Actor, Ed Asner
  • Actor and film director, Mike Nichols
  • Film critic, Roger Ebert
  • Dancer and choreographer, Katherine Dunham
  • Washington Post publisher, Katharine Graham
  • 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination candidates, Amy Klobuchar & Bernie Sanders

According to Wikipedia, The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1890, its main campus is located in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. In Fall 2021, it enrolled 18,452 students, including 7,559 undergraduates and 10,893 graduate students.

University of Chicago Admissions, Retention, and Graduation Information

Annual Applications Acceptance Graduation Rate Median SAT Score Median ACT Score
34,350 7% 96% 1535 34

How Much Does University of Chicago Cost To Attend?

Tuition (in-state)
$62,241
Price by Family Income
Income Average Net Cost
0 - 30K $2,712
30K - 48K $2,800
48K - 75K $7,934
75K - 110K $17,929
110K+ $43,156

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

How Much Do University of Chicago Graduates Make?

If you graduate from University of Chicago, then you can expect to earn an average of $103,000 per year. You also have a 90% chance of being employed after 10 years.

University of Chicago's Demographics

Demographic data is for full-time, on-campus students.

Student Body Under-Grads Graduates
13,496 5,681 7,815

Where is University of Chicago?

University of Chicago is located at 5801 S Ellis Ave, Chicago IL 60637

How Safe is University of Chicago?

University of Chicago has a violent crime rate of less than .01% and a property crime rate of less than .01%.

What Is University of Chicago Known For?

University of Chicago is known for it's academic work in the following disciplines:

University of Chicago's Top Areas of Influence With Degrees Offered

Who Are University of Chicago's Most Influential Alumni?

University of Chicago's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Economics, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice. Here are some of University of Chicago's most famous alumni:

Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman
An American economist, statistician, and writer.
Herbert A. Simon
Herbert A. Simon
An American political scientist, economist, sociologist, and psychologist .
Paul Samuelson
Paul Samuelson
An American economist.
Richard Rorty
Richard Rorty
An American philosopher.
Martin Gardner
Martin Gardner
An American recreational mathematician and philosopher .
Joseph Stiglitz
Joseph Stiglitz
An American economist, professor, and recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.
John B. Watson
John B. Watson
An American psychologist .
James Watson
James Watson
An American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist, (1928– ), Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Saunders Mac Lane
Saunders Mac Lane
An American mathematician .
Gary Becker
Gary Becker
An American economist .
Erving Goffman
Erving Goffman
A Sociologist, writer, academic .
James M. Buchanan
James M. Buchanan
An American economist .