Skip to main content

Emerging World Leaders

The University of Chicago, drawing upon our rich tradition of rigorous inquiry and groundbreaking scholarship, has long been a global pioneer in advancing knowledge and research. Our students and professors are fearless problem solvers who engage in interdisciplinary thinking with a ferocity that defines our culture as one of the world’s greatest intellectual destinations.

This summer, experience UChicago with fellow engaged, idea-driven students from around the world. Learn about cutting-edge research from distinguished faculty, experience world-class resources that will support you as an emerging leader, and discover all that the dynamic city of Chicago has to offer!

emerging world leaders students pose for a group picture

Program Description

Outstanding students who are eager to learn how interdisciplinary study brings different fields together and gain an insider's view into the capabilities and resources of a top research university are invited to apply.

Through readings, lectures, discussions, and hands-on activities, learn from leading faculty across many departments about various topics. Examples from previous years include:

  • Exploring the College's distinctive Core Curriculum through texts by Sigmund Freud, Judith Butler, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Karl Marx
  • Drawing on the Chicago Principles of Freedom of Expression and UChicago’s Parrhesia Program for Public Discourse to discuss principles of Public Discourse and Community Engagement 
  • Examining reigning views of the “Other” in our current moment through discussion of Edward Said’s Orientalism
  • Learning how economists interpret data to answer important causal questions like “What’s the return on investment of a college degree?”
  • Investigating the transformation of humans through the study of biohackers, genetic engineers, and cyborgs

Become part of a community and make lasting friendships. Through activities with your peers, you will become part of a close-knit community and gain exposure to opportunities that promote academic growth, professional development, and fun!

  • Bond with peers through interactive House activities led by current UChicago students
  • Take in amazing downtown architecture and Chicago history on a river boat cruise
  • Explore UChicago's Institute of the Study of Ancient Cultures and experience our Scav Hunt tradition across campus with fellow participants

Some programming and excursions will be shared with the China Emerging Leaders program.

Program Contact: All questions should be directed to Alexandria Waters at

Application Requirements

Eligibility: Current 11th grade students, who are at least 15 years old and are enrolled in a high school outside of the U.S., are invited to apply. Students whose academic years end in November or December, are currently in their final year of high school, and will not have graduated by Summer 2024, are eligible for this program. Students applying from this context should select “11th grade” as their "Current Level of Education" on the application.

Applications will be accepted online. The deadline to apply is our Regular Deadline, March 5, 2024. All application decisions for this program will be released at the same time in late April. 

Applicants must complete the Summer Session Application, and all the related requirements, which can be reviewed in the How to Apply section.

Application materials include:

  • Online application
  • Transcript
  • Supplement and essays
  • A letter of recommendation from a teacher
  • A nomination from a teacher or counselor, which can be completed here
  • At least one parent/guardian confirmation email received.

Applicants will be asked to respond to the following essay questions in the application:

Why did you choose the particular program/courses for which you have applied? How are they related to your current interests and future plans? Please be as specific as possible, and make sure your response covers each of the courses you elected. (Limit: 500 words)

"Since its founding, the University has been committed to the idea that a culture of rigorous inquiry requires an environment where diverse perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas inform and stimulate intellectual exchange, challenge, and engagement.” -UChicago Office of the Provost. How would you contribute to this culture of inquiry in this program? What do you hope to gain or learn by engaging with peers from all over the U.S. or from different parts of the world? (Limit: 300 words)

Review the Application Overview pages for more detailed information.

English Proficiency Requirements

The University of Chicago Summer Session only admits students who have demonstrated a superior level of English language competence. Admission to our programs is highly competitive. UChicago does not offer an ESL program for summer students. All students participating in this program are expected to be fluent in academic English, and there is no ESL support provided as part of this program.

  • Applicants are invited to submit scores from any English proficiency examination they believe represents their English language ability. Applicants who choose to submit English proficiency scores may share either official or self-reported scores. Any applicants who provides self-reported scores may be required to submit official score reports if they are admitted and choose to enroll in the program.
  • If an applicant feels as though mastery of the English language is already represented throughout the application, then they are not required to submit formal exam scores for this particular program. For the application, if you do not have any test scores to report, then please enter 555 for the section that requests Duolingo test scores and today’s date under "Test Scores" in order to submit the application.

Costs & Fees

The application fee is automatically waived for any applicant who selects any Enrichment Program as their first choice.

Selected students will be expected to pay a one-time, non-refundable $1,000 program fee. This fee covers housing, dining, and confirms a student’s enrollment in the Emerging World Leaders Summer Program. Students will need to have their own health insurance and will need to provide their own roundtrip transportation, including airfare, to and from campus.

Some financial assistance is available. Students who require financial assistance for roundtrip transportation to and from campus may apply for additional funding by completing the Financial Aid Application as part of the Summer Session application. Participants who are awarded financial assistance for roundtrip transportation will also receive a waiver of the program fee.

Program Dates 

July 14-19, 2024

  • Arrive on campus: Sun. Jul. 14
  • First session: Mon. Jul. 15
  • Closing session: Fri. Jul. 19
  • Move-out: Fri. Jul. 19