Graduate Study
Application Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: The information provided on this page is for applicants applying to programs offered through The Graduate School at Northwestern University.

Applicants to the following programs offered directly through the McCormick School of Engineering, should refer to their program's website for application instructions as they vary by program: Master of Science in Artificial IntelligenceMaster of Science in Biotechnology, Master of Science in Energy and SustainabilityMaster of Science in Machine Learning and Data Science, Executive Management for Design and Construction, Master of Science in Information Technology, Master of Engineering Management, The MMM Program, Master of Product Design and Development Management, Master of Project Management, and Master of Science in Robotics.

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How do I apply to graduate school at McCormick?

Northwestern University uses the CollegeNET link for graduate school applications. Please refer to your individual program for specific application requirements. Note that certain graduate programs at McCormick such as the part-time masters programs have a separate application process and do not use Apply Yourself.

The application website typically opens in early September for the following academic year. Applicants can set up an account, work on the application periodically, save their work, and then submit the application by the respective deadline. See our Application Checklist for required materials.

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When are applications due?

Applications are due by midnight on the day of the deadline.

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When are decisions made?

Admission decisions are made after the deadlines, from mid-January until early April.

Admitted PhD applicants have until April 15 to accept or reject the offer of admission.

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Do I need to provide an official transcript?

Northwestern applicants are required to upload transcripts for each university they have attended with their online application. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. Failing to upload each transcript will block the submission of the application.

Only admitted students who plan to matriculate will be asked to submit official transcripts.

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What should be included in my statement of purpose?

Applicants must submit a statement of purpose with their online application. This should include a brief overview of your research experiences (more detail should be placed in your resume or CV) as well as your reason for attending graduate school.

Share your passion for what you want to do with respect to your research. Take time to connect yourself with several faculty members and their research.

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How many letters of recommendation do I need?

The Northwestern graduate school application has space for three recommenders.

McCormick departments require either two or three recommendations; please refer to each department’s admission section for their requirements.

You should line up at least three recommenders ahead of time. Recommenders should be enthusiastic and supportive of your graduate application.

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Do I need to submit a CV?

In most cases a resume or CV is optional, but applicants are strongly encouraged to submit one. This is your only opportunity to tell us in detail about your research experiences, leadership activities as an undergraduate, and other activities related to your future graduate studies.

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Do I need to take the GRE?

The GRE is not required for 2023 admissions for any McCormick MS programs or PhD programs offered by The Graduate School. Please do not include your GRE scores with your online application.

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Will the department interview me?

Interviews on campus are not part of the admission process. Some departments will do phone or Skype interviews.

Admitted students are invited to campus after admission and before the April 15 deadline. We pay the costs of your travel to Northwestern.

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I am an international student. How do I prove my English proficiency?

Several options are available for applicants to prove their proficiency in English:

  • Applicants may submit a TOEFL score of 90 for all PhD admissions or 80 for MS admissions (some departments require a score of 90 for MS admissions).
  • Applicants may also provide an IELTS score; 7.0 is required.
  • Applicants may also use the completion of a BS or MS degree where English is the language of instruction at the university as proof of proficiency.

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How will I learn of the department’s decision?

Upon the receipt of your application, you will receive an email from The Graduate School letting you know that your application has been received. You will also been given the link to a website where you can check on the status of your application.

For further inquiries about your application materials and application status, please contact Elizabeth Rentfro, Business Administrator, Office of the Dean.

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