Welcome New Graduate Students

Congratulations on your admission to pursue graduate study at Northwestern University and the McCormick School of Engineering! We are thrilled you will soon join the Wildcat community and other whole-brain™ engineers here at McCormick.

As you prepare to begin your studies, please review this page of helpful information for incoming graduate students.

You will also find information through The Graduate School and individual academic departments. If you have any questions, please contact Bruce A. Lindvall, Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies, at 847-491-4547 or via email.

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Each academic department has its own orientations, but you have several in common:

  • The Graduate School orientation for all new MS and PhD students: September 18, 2014 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall
  • McCormick’s new student luncheon: Noon on September 17, 2014
  • New international student orientation: September 10, 2014

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Registering for Classes

During your departmental orientation you will meet with an adviser and register for classes.

Registration officially begins for new students on September 18 at 8:30 a.m.

The last day they may register is September 29.

View the CAESAR Course Registration System

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The WildCARD is Northwestern’s multi-purpose student identification card.

As soon as you arrive on campus, please go to the WildCARD Office in Norris Center. There you will have your picture taken and receive your WildCARD.

WildCARD Office Hours (Evanston)

Summer office hours
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
Monday through Friday

During the first two weeks of each quarter
Office remains open until 6:30 p.m.
Monday through Thursday

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CTA U-Passes

Your WildCARD picture is also used for your CTA U-Pass, your discounted public transit card. Your U-Pass is generated at least a week after your picture is taken for the WildCARD.

U-Pass costs are covered for full-time MS and PhD students by the activity fees paid each quarter. Using your U-Pass, no additional fees are required to board CTA public transportation buses and trains. It does not apply to Metra or Pace transit systems.

Pick Up Your U-Pass

Each fall quarter, there is only one day to pick up a new U-Pass in the main lobby of the Tech Building, the home of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

If your WildCARD picture has not been produced at least a week prior to that day, you will not have a U-Pass on the first distribution day in Tech. The following week you can pick up your U-Pass from Norris Center.

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Public Transportation

Chicago and Evanston share an excellent public transportation system. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) runs trains and buses through both cities.

While having a car is also an option, Northwestern students do not need one.

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Information on graduate student housing is available through the Graduate Housing Office. If you are interested in on-campus housing, be sure to apply early, since graduate housing options such as Engelhart Apartments fill up quickly.


Many students choose to live off campus. You may reach out to other incoming students if you are interested in finding a roommate. Contact Bruce Lindvall for more information. Northwestern’s Director of Off-Campus Life, Anthony C. Kirchmeier, can also assist you with off-campus housing questions.

Get information about living off-campus

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International Students

Those students requiring a visa should visit the Northwestern International Office website for information about application deadlines and requirements. If you have visa questions, please contact the International Office by telephone (847-491-5613) or by email at

Visit McCormick’s International Students page for additional resources.

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Entrance Health Requirements

Newly enrolled Northwestern students are required to follow the admission health requirements of Northwestern or a hold will be placed on their fall registration.

Students should complete the Admission Health Record for Non-Healthcare Students.

If you have questions, please review the Health Requirement Frequently Asked Questions, call Health Service (Evanston Campus) at 847-491-2203, or send an email to Lisa Teel at

Health Insurance and Medical Clinic

Northwestern University requires that all full-time students have health insurance.

There are separate regulations for U.S./permanent resident students and international students. For instance, international students must enroll in the Northwestern student plan; whereas, U.S./permanent residents can choose a private insurance plan that is comparable with Northwestern’s plan.

For routine medical care, students should use the Northwestern medical clinic where students receive medical services through Health Service.

Additional information is available through The Graduate School and the Student Health Insurance Office.

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Computing at Northwestern

NetID and email

All Northwestern students are provided with a unique electronic identity or NetID that they will use to access a variety of services and resources online.

Get information about activating and using your NetID

Once your NetID is activated you will be provided with a Northwestern-hosted email account. 

Get information about using your Northwestern email

Northwestern Information Technology (NUIT)

NUIT serves as Northwestern's central information technology organization, providing support for computers, telephones, multimedia equipment, and the networks that connect them.

Computer recommendations include:

  • What sort of personal computer do you need in the campus environment?
  • What should you consider when purchasing a new system?

View and download Northwestern University's computer recommendations.

Social Media Groups

Students often create social media groups on platforms such as Facebook to stay connected with fellow graduate students at Northwestern. Contact Bruce Lindvall for more information about currently active groups for your class.