About Graham

A Community of Lifelong Learning

As one of the first university extension schools in the country, the University of Chicago Graham School has been at the forefront of adult learning since 1890.

Our core philosophy—the Chicago Approach—values intellectual curiosity, encourages risk-taking, and rewards those with the ambition to take their ideas from good to great.

Opening the University to All

The University of Chicago's first president, William Rainey Harper, had a vision: that learning can, and should, be a lifelong pursuit. 

Graham is the realization of that vision. Established as one of UChicago's three original divisions, our mission is to bring the University's intellectual resources and distinctive scholarly approach to a broader audience. 

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Leading Remote Learning

The Graham School has always been a pioneer of distance learning. We were the first US school to organize correspondence courses at the college level, starting with botany in 1895. We offered the same rigorous standards as in the classroom and full University credit for successful completion.

Today we offer a seamless online learning experience that combines flexibility with rigor.

Student studying on computer

The Place to Expand Your Mind

Students tell us that studying at Graham is life-changing — but our impact doesn't end in the classroom. Part of our work is to foster a thriving community around the liberal arts.

We host free lectures that are open to the public, and engage with our city through arts programming.

Upcoming Events
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The chief purpose of graduate work is not to stock the student's mind with knowledge of what has already been accomplished in a given field, but rather so to train the student that the student may be able to push out along new lines of investigation.

william rainey harper

William Rainey Harper, Founding President, University of Chicago

Meet the Graham School Team

Our administrative team is comprised of experienced leaders who are deeply committed to harnessing the power of lifelong learning to enrich the lives of students and to deepen understanding of our world.

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Our Values

What does it mean to be a Graham School student? Access to an education based on rock-solid principles that guide everything we do.

  • Thoughtful Debate

    We promote thorough, civil, and transparent discourse, and welcome divergent points of view.

  • Diversity and Inclusion

    We welcome learners with diverse lived experiences, knowing that respecting and hearing diverse perspectives is crucial to the spirit of joint inquiry.

  • Putting Students First

    We prioritize the personal, intellectual, and professional growth of our students, fostering a learning community where all can thrive.

  • Intellectual Generosity

    We believe the richest experiences are born out of an open exchange of ideas.

  • Tried and True Methods

    We build for the future by learning from decades of successful educational methods.

  • The University of Chicago

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Itching to explore the big ideas of our time? Intrigued by scientific innovation? Curious to read the classics? Your lifelong learning adventure starts here.

Explore Our Programs & Courses
Roof of Stuart Hall Reading Room on UChicago campus