Admissions FAQs

Here you will find answers to common questions that we receive about the admissions process. If your question is not answered below, please feel free to contact us.

You may also be interested in general FAQs about the program itself.

View Program FAQs


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When does the application open?

The application for the 2017-18 academic year opens on September 1, 2017.

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What is the Application deadline?

  • Recommended Submission Deadline - February 15, 2018
  • Final Deadline for Receiving All Application Materials - April 30, 2018 11:59pm

For the best chance of admission, ALL application materials should be submitted before recommended submission deadline. We will review all applications received before the recommended deadline and begin sending out admissions decisions shortly thereafter. Admissions decisions will continue to be sent out through the end of May. Applications received between the recommended deadline and the final deadline may not receive consideration if the program is full.

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How much is the application fee?

The application fee is $75 (non-refundable).

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Can I apply to the MSAI program if I don’t have a degree in Computer Science?

The academic requirement (CS degree or related) is meant to be a guideline. Someone who has been working as a developer for a substantial amount of time will probably have those skills as well. We consider applicants from a wide range of academic disciplines and interests; applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Please note that candidates are expected to have a strong quantitative and IT background before entering the program.

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Is the GRE or GMAT required to apply to the MSAI program?

The MSAI program requires the GRE for admission.

We require applicants to submit an unofficial GRE score report during the application process; these score reports may be uploaded directly to the online application system. We will accept downloaded or scanned PDF copies or a screenshot of your unofficial score report. You may access your unofficial GRE score report from your account on the ETS website.

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What is the average GRE score for students admitted to MSAI?

Though there is no formal GRE cut off score, applicants who have submitted their scores in the past have typically ranked high in both verbal and quantitative reasoning.

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What is the ETS code for the GRE?

If you have already submitted your GRE score via the online application system, you do not need to send an official score report during the application process. However, if you choose to send official scores as well, please use the ETS code 2601 for the GRE. If you submit your score using the "Northwestern University" code, we will not receive your score at our office.

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Are TOEFL/IELTS scores required upon applying to MSAI?

MSAI requires TOEFL or IELTS scores for international applicants who have not had English as their primary language of instruction (we require proof of instruction in English from international universities). Our Institutional code for TOEFL is C038 and our minimum score considered is 100 for TOEFL; for the IELTS, 7.5.

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Can international students enroll in the MS in Artificial Intelligence program?

The MS in Artificial Intelligence program has applied to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for authority to issues visas to international students. We expect a response from DHS in late summer, early fall.

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Do I need to provide an official transcript?

Northwestern applicants are required to upload transcripts (scanned copies will be sufficient) for each university they have attended. Admitted students who plan to matriculate will be asked to provide official, university-sealed transcripts.

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Can I apply for Spring enrollment in MSAI?

Currently, we only accept fall enrollment in each academic year. Our curriculum was created as an intensive, 15-month time frame, which allows for collaboration between members of the cohort. We do not accept spring applications at this time.

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Does every MSAI applicant have an admissions interview?

Not all MSAI applicants will be invited to interview. Only applicants offered final admission consideration will be contacted for an admission interview. International applicants are interviewed via Skype.

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Does MSAI offer deferment or conditional enrollment?

MSAI does not offer formal deferment or conditional enrollment.

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If I am admitted, will I need to pay a deposit to secure my seat in the program?

Yes. There will be a $500 deposit required to confirm your intent to enroll. The deposit will be applied towards your first tuition bill. Instructions to make the deposit will be included in your admission materials.

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Is there any funding offered through the program?

The MSAI program does not directly provide any fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships or scholarships. Students who enroll in the MSAI program will be eligible for financial aid (generally student loans) through the Evanston Office of Graduate Financial Aid. Questions regarding financial aid for the MSAI program should be directed to the Evanston Office of Graduate Financial Aid at

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What do I need to know/what skills should I have to be successful in the program if admitted?

Students should already know how to program and have working knowledge of the complexity associated with different algorithmic approaches.  Programming skills are absolutely essential. Successful applicants will either possess programming experience at the time of applying (two years as developers), or be actively engaged in learning to program (e.g., enrolled in a Udacity course in full stack programming). Additionally, a solid understanding complexity is important.

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I have more questions about MSAI or about my application. Whom do I contact?

Prospective students are invited to email MSAI. You may also call us during our office hours (Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. CT) at 847-467-7527.

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