Before You Apply
Before you begin The Graduate School’s (TGS) Application for Admission, please review the information below.
The Graduate School's Academic Programs
To start the application process, please review TGS's Academic Programs list. Only the programs on this list are offered by TGS.
Professional degrees (i.e., the master of business administration, master of sports administration, master and doctor of music, doctor of audiology, doctor of medicine, and a variety of engineering, law, and journalism degrees) are not administered by TGS, but by these respective professional schools:
- Feinberg School of Medicine
- Kellogg School of Management
- Medill School of Journalism
- McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
- School of Communication
- School of Education and Social Policy
- School of Law
- Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music
- School of Professional Studies
If you would like to apply to a program outside of the purview of TGS, please contact these schools directly.
Admitted students must hold a U.S. bachelor’s degree — or a comparable non-U.S. degree — from a regionally accredited institution. TGS will accept applications from international students with 3-year bachelor's degrees. You may be considered for admission before you finish your undergraduate degree, but you must complete that degree before you enroll at Northwestern.
Types of Applications
If you are applying to Northwestern as a graduate student for the first time, you should use TGS's online application.
Withdrawn Students and Alumni
Students that have been admitted to TGS, but have not registered for more than two terms, will be withdrawn from the University and must apply for readmission through Student Services using the Application for Readmission. The decision to readmit a former student is at the discretion of the program. Please contact Student Services with questions.
Individuals that have already earned a degree from TGS and wish to apply to a new program must also use the Application for Readmission. The program admission office will decide which supplemental materials they wish to require. Returning graduates should NOT use the online application.
Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Program
TGS offers academically strong, motivated Northwestern University undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue a concurrent, combined bachelor’s/master's degree program. This program is restricted to Northwestern University undergraduates and is limited to certain degree programs within the University.
Bachelor's/Master's applicants do not use TGS's online application to apply. Applicants to the combined bachelor's/master's program follow a distinct application process and should consult the bachelor's/master's program page for more detailed instructions.
If you are applying for admission as a non-degree seeking student through TGS, you will need to submit TGS’s online application. If you are applying as a non-degree seeking student through The School of Professional Studies' Office of Special Students, you will not need to complete TGS's application.
Questions regarding admission (deadlines, admission requirements, application materials, application status, etc.) should be directed to your specific program. Contact information for each program is available via the Program Contact List.
Academic departments/degree programs set their own application deadlines. Please be sure to review your program’s web page to determine your department’s application deadline. Late applications are not guaranteed review and application fees cannot be refunded.
Northwestern University Admission Policy
It is the policy of Northwestern University not to discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, color religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, age, disability, citizenship, or veteran status in matters of admissions, employment, housing or services, or in the educational program or activities it operates, in accordance with civil rights legislation and University commitment. Any alleged violations of this policy or questions regarding the law with respect to nondiscrimination should be addressed to the Director of Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Labor Relations, 720 University Place, Evanston, Illinois 60208-1147; phone 847/491-7458. You can also contact the Office of the Provost, Rebecca Crown Center, Evanston, Illinois 60208-1101; phone 847/491-7041.
Applicants seeking disability accommodations should contact Services for Students with Disabilities at 847-467-5530 in Evanston or 312-503-4042 in Chicago. See the Services for Students with Disabilities website for more information.
FAQs - Admissions
Q: May I apply to more than one program?
A: You may only submit one application to TGS per academic year. Additional applications will not be reviewed and application fees will not be refunded.
Q: May I apply for admission in any academic quarter?
A: Most departments admit students to fall quarter only, although a very few will consider applications for other terms. Please consult your chosen program for its policy (see contact information provided on our Program Contact List). Keep in mind that because most financial aid awards are made to students who matriculate in the fall, funds may not be available to you if you enroll in another quarter.
Q: I want to begin my program two years from now. May I apply for admission this year and defer to next year?
A: Admission is offered for a specific program and a specific quarter of entry. Deferral is only granted with the approval of the admitting program and TGS. You may not defer for more than one year from the original quarter of admission.
Q: Where can I find statistics regarding the program to which I am applying?
A: TGS's Program Statistics page posts valuable information regarding program admission statistics, completion rates, placements, etc.
Q: I would like to take graduate-level classes at Northwestern, but I am not interested in pursuing at degree at this time? May I do this?
A. Yes, Northwestern University has two non-degree student options. For more information, please consult the Nondegree Student Status web page.
Q: Can I apply directly to a PhD program, or must I apply to study toward a master’s degree first?
A: It is important that you indicate the highest degree you are seeking from Northwestern University. Many of our programs admit only those students whose ultimate goal is the PhD. In some programs, you will earn the master’s en route to the PhD; in others, this is not considered necessary.