Joint Degree Petition and Requirements

Students in SALC can pursue a joint degree with another doctoral program in the University, typically in the Humanities or Social Sciences Division. Undertaking a joint degree is a lengthy and complex process that requires approval at every stage. Permission to pursue a joint degree is a privilege extended only to those students who have demonstrated in their work a record of excellence and who can convincingly demonstrate that they will be able to complete the requirements for each of the two degrees within the maximum time period a student is accorded enrollment status. Students may only start the process of applying for a joint degree after the satisfactory completion of the requirements of the first two years of the SALC graduate program.

To embark on a joint degree, students must abide by the set of procedures outlined below:

  1. A strong intellectual case has to be made to the SALC Department as to why a joint degree program is best suited to the fulfillment of the student’s proposed research project. Students should first consult with their advisor(s), followed by conversations with the Chair and Director of Graduate Studies. The student must submit a brief petition (maximum 3 pages) detailing the nature of the research to be undertaken and why training in two doctoral programs is needed. The student’s petition has to be accompanied by a letter of support from the student’s SALC advisor. The departmental decision on a student’s joint degree petition will be made by the entire SALC faculty.
  2. Departmental rules vary widely. Students must consult with the second department to make themselves aware of its rules and requirements.
  3. Students must consult with their advisor(s), the Department Chair, and the Director of Graduate Studies in SALC before consulting members of the second department on the viability of a joint degree program. Students should not assume that taking classes in another department automatically qualifies them for a joint degree.
  4. In the event that approval has been obtained from SALC, the student must be cognizant that he or she abide by the timeline set out by the department in fulfilling the degree requirements. A joint degree should not delay the student’s proposal defense beyond the end of the fifth year. 

    Joint degrees may take longer to complete and so may affect the student’s eligibility for a dissertation-write up fellowship and University of Chicago post-doctoral fellowships.
  5. Students pursuing a joint degree should constitute a committee that has an equal representation from both SALC and the second department. By SALC rules a joint degree committee (in cases where SALC is the home department) should consist of no more than 4 members. Typically, a SALC faculty member and a faculty member from the second department will act as co-chairs of the dissertation committee.                       


Students must familiarize themselves with the regulations for the Joint Degree Petition Process in the Division of the Humanities.