The department is a premier research and academic department ranked among the top departments in the nation.The department is a premier research and academic department ranked among the top departments in the nation.

Graduate Study

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers only fall admissions. There are, therefore, no admissions for winter, spring, or summer quarters. The reason for that is that sequentially offered courses start in the fall of each academic year, and it is advantageous to be present for the beginning of the sequence. In addition, all financial support packages begin in the fall quarter.

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Preliminary Notes

  • Students should indicate their chosen program of study on the application form.
  • Students who are completing or who have earned BS or BA degrees, and whose ultimate degree objective is a PhD, can apply for the PhD program without having first completed a MS degree.
  • Students who are unsure about their ultimate degree objective should apply for the PhD program, and indicate on their application if they are willing to consider the MS program if not admitted to the PhD program.
  • The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering will not require nor use GRE exam results for 2024 PhD & MS admission

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Application Website

Prospective graduate students apply through ApplyWeb. The application website opens in September.

To apply to the MS in project management, please visit the MPM website. Please note: This program uses a different application.

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Due Dates

  • International and USA PhD applicants should have their completed online application and application fee electronically submitted no later than December 15, 2023.
  • The Civil and Environmental Engineering MS program has rolling admission, although we recommend applicants complete and submit their application by April 15th, 2024. MS decisions will begin being released at the end of April. You will receive notification of your admission decision approximately thirty days after submission if received after April. The hard deadline for electronic submission of completed MS applications and application fees is June 30, 2024.

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Application Materials

1. Transcript: Applicants to Northwestern University will no longer be required to mail paper copies of their transcripts during the application process. Instead, applicants will be required to upload scanned versions of their unofficial transcripts during the online application process through ApplyWeb.

Only if the applicant is admitted and decides to enroll will the student then need to submit one copy of an official transcript from every higher education institution attended. These paper copies are to be mailed directly to:

The Graduate School Admissions Office
633 Clark Street
Room 1-502
Evanston, IL

(International students see Special Notes below.)

2. Letters of Recommendation: A minimum of two recommendation letters are required. All letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically by your recommenders. In the online application process, you will provide the email addresses of your recommenders. Your recommended will then be contacted by the ApplyWeb online application system through the email address you provide on the application.

If the individual writing your letter of recommendation does not have access to submit electronically, contact department office.

3. Academic Statement:

4. Statement of Purpose: The statement should be approximately one to two pages single-spaced. In your statement be as specific as possible about the direction of your career, qualifications, research interests, and why you are choosing Northwestern.

5. TOEFL/IELTS Scores: Required for international students who did not complete a degree from an institution where the language of instruction is English. To be considered valid for Fall 2024 admissions, scores must be no older than September, 2022. Students are asked to also upload the TOEFL/IELTS test report during the online application process. Minimum score requirements are listed below.

You may also request that your scores be electronically submitted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to Northwestern University's Institution Code 1565 and Department Code 01.

6. Resume: It is highly recommended to submit a resume with the ApplyWeb application.

7. Writing Samples: We encourage students to provide abstracts from their papers or articles as a way of broadening the scope of their applications. 

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Special Notes for International Applicants

1. Transcripts: Your academic records should provide a listing, year-by-year, of all post-secondary courses taken and the grade or marks received for each one. It is helpful to have the grading scale of the institution and your rank in class when such information is available. Secondary school scores are not needed.

To be considered, all non-English documents must be accompanied by official English translations. The Graduate School accepts translations from the institution issuing the transcript, American Translators Association (ATA) certified translators, or from your consulate. You may find an ATA translator at the following website. Plain translations, notarized translations, and translations completed by someone other than a certified translator are not acceptable.

2. Internet-based TOEFL: To meet the admission requirement, a PhD applicant should score 90 or higher. MS applicants should score 85 or higher.

3. Computer-based TOEFL: To meet the admission requirement, a PhD applicant should score 233 or higher. MS applicants should score 213 or higher.

4. Paper-based TOEFL: To meet the admission requirement, a PhD applicant should score 577 or higher. MS applicants should score 550 or higher.

5. The IELTS exam: To meet the admission requirement, both MS and PhD applicants should score 7 or higher. 

Students are asked to also upload the IELTS test report during the online application process. If you do not have a score report at the time you are ready to submit your application, please immediately send a copy of your score report to when you do receive it.

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