Graduate Student-at-Large In-person

Graduate Student-at-Large: Business

Frequently Asked Questions

The associate director of the Graduate Student-at-Large: Business program plans a quarterly GSALB to MBA student panel, inviting current MBA students from Booth who started as GSALB students to talk about their academic journeys from GSALB to MBA candidates, and how they compiled their work experience and academic training towards successful graduate school applications to Chicago Booth. Current GSALB and GSAL students are invited to attend and learn from these Booth students.

The associate director of GSALB and her team work closely with the admissions team at Booth and seamlessly support students ready to apply to the MBA program after their GSALB tenure. They also work closely with students undecided about next steps, and collaboratively with the Booth Admissions Team, help students solidify their professional plans, be they to continue on in GSALB or to pursue other academic pathways.

Why are students interested in the Graduate Student-at-Large: Business program?

Students enrolled in the GSALB program can preview courses at Chicago Booth School of Business before applying to the MBA program. Students may also experience the academic rigor of the quarter system at the Chicago Booth School of Business, as well as build professional relationships with faculty and classmates who will include MBA and PhD students in business, as well as students from other graduate divisions or professional programs at the University of Chicago. Faculty teaching the particular business course will not differentiate between an MBA student at Booth and a GSALB student at Grahamand hold all participating students to the same standards. GSALB students who are academically successful may transfer up to three Business School courses (taken in the GSALB program) directly to the MBA program (once they have successfully been granted admission into the MBA program). Students who wish to progress on to different MBA or graduate programs elsewhere may also transfer courses taken in the GSALB program as appropriate.

What is the difference between the Graduate Student-at-Large: Business and Graduate Student-At-Large programs?

GSALB students can only take graduate business courses at the Chicago Booth School of Business, whereas GSAL students take courses across the campus. GSALB students pay a different tuition rate for Chicago Booth School of Business courses than GSAL students taking courses across the campus. Both programs result in University of Chicago transcripts with grades.

Do GSALB students take courses full-time or part-time?

GSALB students may take up to three Chicago Booth School of Business courses and be in full-time student status. GSALB students may take courses in the evening or during the weekend, at the downtown Gleacher Center or during the weekday at the Hyde Park campus. Most GSALB students work full-time and take one or two courses part-time at the downtown University of Chicago Gleacher Center campus.

Do GSALB take courses with full-time and part-time Chicago Booth School of Business students besides other graduate students from different disciplines?

Yes. GSALB students take courses with both full-time and part-time Chicago Booth School of Business students, as well as other master’s and PhD students, at the University of Chicago and are held to similar rigorous academic standards as all University of Chicago students. 

Please note that GSALB students may not take courses toward the Master’s in Management or Master’s in Finance at Chicago Booth—only courses within the traditional MBA track are allowable.

How many Business School courses, taken as a GSALB student, may be transferred to a Chicago Booth School of Business program?

If you choose to apply to and are granted admission into Chicago Booth School of Business, up to three business school courses may be transferred into the Booth MBA program. Please note that there is a five-year time frame to complete your MBA and time for completion of the MBA begins with your first GSALB course. For example, if you took two courses in Spring 2014 then did not apply to Chicago Booth until Autumn 2017 and were admitted, these courses would not be able to transfer into the MBA program because they will be considered too old. If you want your GSALB courses to be counted towards your Booth MBA (up to three may be transferred), you must be vigilant about the five-year time-to-completion deadline.

Will I get a degree from this program?

No, the Graduate Student-at-Large: Business program is a non-degree program. You will receive an official University of Chicago transcript, which lists the courses you have taken.

Where are classes held?

Most courses are offered on the main Hyde Park campus with the exception of a few programs which are offered in downtown Chicago at either the Gleacher Center or NBC Tower.

Are COVID-19 vaccinations required to return to campus?

The University announced that it will no longer require students to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to be on campus. The most up-to-date information about returning to campus may be found on the GoForward website.

Are international students allowed to apply to GSALB?

Yes. A select few international students may apply to GSALB and enroll for business courses at Chicago Booth School of Business on a full-time basis. GSALB International students taking Booth courses must pay the Booth tuition fee and be enrolled full-time, usually in three Booth classes. As a GSALB International student, you will hold a J-1 student visa for one quarter and will be enrolled in full-time (300 credits, three courses) studies at Chicago Booth. Seats in Booth courses will not be reserved for international students and are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more about GSALB International.

Are international students allowed to apply to Returning Scholars Business?

No. Returning Scholars Business program is not available to international students.

Do you accept international transcripts?

Yes. International transcripts must be submitted in English. If your transcripts are in another language, you will need to provide an English translation.

How many courses can I take per quarter?

International students needing the J1 student visa from the GSALB International Program have to be registered for 300 credits in the one quarter they are in the United States, and this is usually three courses.

Once I apply, am I obligated to take a class this quarter?

International students on J1 visas are obligated to complete their studies within the one quarter they are for. They may defer to the next quarter, pending approval from the Program Director of the GSALB International Program.

What academic credentials must I already have to apply to the GSALB program?

All applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Do I need to have taken certain math courses to be admitted?

It is not a requirement, but we have found that most successful GSALB applicants have taken a few basic college level quant courses (pre-calculus, calculus, statistics) to aid them with the rigor of the Booth curriculum.

Do you require GRE or GMAT scores?


Do you require TOEFL score for International Students?

Yes, for international students planning to take graduate business courses through GSAL, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of international applicants (those who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents). The TOEFL may be waived if the applicant is a native of or studied in full-time status for at least one academic year within the last five years in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or English-medium universities in Canada or South Africa. Students who studied in English in other countries, for example, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc., are not exempt from the English language requirement. Please check with the Office of International Affairs for more details.

How competitive is the GSALB program?

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements and are unable to work with the GSALB Associate Director to find satisfactory provisional admission plans will not be granted admission to the GSALB program.

My undergraduate performance wasn’t as strong as it could have been, but I’ve been building a good professional track record. Should I still apply?

Yes, you should definitely apply. We review each application holistically in order to gauge an applicant’s probability of success in the program. Students are invited to interview so you can contextualize your undergraduate performance and make a cohesive plan with the Associate Director about next steps in your academic journey.

What is the admissions process?

GSALB applicants apply online during all four quarters of the academic year at the University of Chicago. After applications are reviewed, applicants moving towards the next round in the admissions process are invited for an in-person or telephone interview with the associate director or members of her admissions team. This is the opportunity for applicants to ask questions and solidify goals and objectives for participating in the GSALB program.

When will I find out if I was admitted?

GSALB students will be notified during the interview whether they are admitted or denied.

What sort of students accept admission to the GSALB program?

Most GSALB students work full-time, have three to ten years of work experience, and pursue the GSALB program as part-time students, taking courses during the evening or weekend at the campus downtown. GSALB students come from different industry sectors, including finance, general management, consulting, investing banking and management, technology, private equity, health care management, entrepreneurship, and other areas. Domestic GSALB students and international GSAL students taking Business School courses have gone on to successfully apply to the MBA program at Chicago Booth School of Business. Many have also gone on to apply to and gain admission to other professional or graduate master's and PhD Programs in other fields like public policy, public administration, data analytics, and in the social sciences and other fields, both in the United States and overseas.

How many courses can I take per quarter?

Domestic students can take up to two courses per quarter. In exceptional cases, students may register for three courses per quarter with the approval of the program director. Students who wish to take more than two courses in a single school or department must receive departmental approval prior to registration. International students have to be registered for 300 credits every quarter (usually three courses) to be in full-time status, which is a requirement for the J1 visa.

Once I apply, am I obligated to take a class this quarter?

No. You can be active in our system for up to four quarters without enrolling in a course. If you decide to take a class in a subsequent quarter, please contact our office three weeks prior to the quarter start date. International students on J1 visas are obligated to complete their studies or must contact the Associate Director and Dean of Students for assistance if they are unable to continue their studies.

Must I pass all of my courses? What happens if I fail one?

GSALB students must always be in good academic standing and two C-grades will result in academic probation. Students on academic probation must work closely with the Associate Director and/or Dean of Students to improve academic grades. Continued failure to improve will result in non-enrollment and possible termination from the GSAL program.

I am applying to a graduate degree program at the University of Chicago; will these classes transfer? How many classes will transfer?

University of Chicago degree programs will generally accept up to three classes to transfer. This varies by program and school, so we suggest that you contact the department’s graduate studies advisor for specific details. However, we can confirm that Chicago Booth will accept three classes to transfer from our program into the MBA program.

As a GSALB student, will I have access to the libraries and athletic facilities?

No. As a GSALB student, you do not pay the University’s mandated Student Life Fee, so you will not have access. However, if you would like an ID card, you can get one from the ID Privileges Office at the Regenstein Library on the Hyde Park campus.

Will I have an academic and graduate school advisor?

Yes, the Associate Director and her team of advisors are experienced in academic student success and will work with you to explore suitable courses, meet and converse with faculty, conduct research and student engagement activities, help with graduate school applications (including seeking faculty for letters of recommendation), and help you manage your work-life balance.

Where are classes held?

Evening and weekend courses will be held at the Gleacher Center downtown. All business courses held during the day will take place at the Harper Center on the Hyde Park campus.

I was accepted last year to GSALB, but never took a class. Do I need to reapply to take a class this quarter?

No. If less than four quarters have elapsed since you were accepted or last took a course, you just need to contact the office three weeks prior to the quarter start date to renew your status. After four quarters of non-registration, we require an updated candidate statement and resume for your status to be reinstated.

Can GSALB students access the Harper Center or Gleacher center during non-business hours?

No. Booth facilities are only available to non-Booth students during regular business hours.

Can GSALB students reserve study rooms at the Harper Center or Gleacher Center?

No. Non-Booth students are not permitted to reserve study group rooms. However, non-Booth students are permitted to use the study rooms provided the room has been reserved by a Booth student and a Booth student is present during its use.

Can GSALB students use the computer labs at the Harper Center or Gleacher Center?

Yes. Non-Booth students can use Booth computer labs after official enrollment. A CNet ID and password are required to access computers and printers.

Are federal student loans or financial aid available to GSAL/RSB students?

No. Federal programs release funds only for students enrolled in degree programs. However, the Student Loan Administration office can assist GSALB & RSB students in securing alternative loans.

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