Basic Program of Liberal Education

At a Glance

Certificates Confers Alumni Status
12 quarters
$540 Per course

Upcoming Events

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Basic Program Info Session

| Chicago (Downtown)

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Basic Program Info Session

| Online

Basic Program instructor Katia Mitova in the classroom.

Delve into great texts from the Classical and Western traditions in philosophy, literature, and political and social thought and consider some of the biggest questions of all time. Learn more about the Great Books.

Who is in the Basic Program?

Whether you previously studied the Great Books or will be reading them for the first time, all are welcome. There are no prerequisites, no papers, and no grades. We invite curious learners from all walks of life and experiences for deep and respectful conversation.

Join a community of adult learners who seek a rigorous liberal arts education and committed instructors who are both scholars and experienced discussion leaders. Students progress with their cohort from quarter to quarter. They build on their conversations with each other as well as with the texts, deepening discussions further.

The instructors are just amazing. They are committed, incredibly knowledgeable, and generous-spirited.

Headshot of Hope Sheffield

Hope Sheffield, Basic Program graduate and lifelong learner

The UChicago Difference

UChicago's commitment to rigorous and respectful dialogue underlies our approach to teaching, learning, and the classroom environment.

In Socratic-style classrooms, instructors engage in a dialogue with and among students. By asking questions and using close readings of texts, instructors encourage students to offer ideas and explore the underlying dynamics of various arguments. Our classrooms explore questions with no easy answers but by doing so, hone active listening and learning for all and call in the wisdom of the learners in the room—whether in-person or on Zoom.

In a political and social landscape of increasing polarization and isolation, we believe that open, respectful, and rigorous inquiry has never been more relevant and rewarding.

Explore our Basic Program curriculum, instructors, courses, and more—and find your learning home at Graham.

Preparing for Your First Course

For new students entering the Basic Program, we recommend enrolling in our courses on How to Discuss Classic Texts and How to Read Classic Texts to better prepare for participation.

Questions on the Registration Process?

If you have questions about the course registration process, click here.

Related Articles

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Dean Seth Green awards Basic Program certificate to student

Graham School Celebrates its Newest Basic Program Alumni 

Navigating unique circumstances, the Class of 2023 found joy in learning and leaves a lasting legacy with its class gift.

Don Phillips

A Champion of the Liberal Arts

Don Phillips receives the University of Chicago Alumni Service Award for his relentless support of the Graham School’s liberal arts mission.

Noah Chafets

Why Teaching at Graham Energizes Noah Chafets 

An enterprising instructor embraces a commitment to questioning and the hunt for knowledge.