Join a thriving community of students, faculty, and staff eager to take leadership roles and gain experience in and out of class.Join a thriving community of students, faculty, and staff eager to take leadership roles and gain experience in and out of class.

Graduate Study
Financial Aid, Assistantships, and Fellowships

Jump to a Section

Financial Aid

MS applicants: Financial aid is not available in any form, including fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. However, several types of loans are available. Please see the Graduate Admissions FAQ for more information about loans for MS applicants.

PhD applicants: We assume PhD applicants require financial aid, and will therefore only admit candidates if we have support in the form of assistantships or fellowships. If you do not require financial aid from us, it is important to let us know. Include a signed letter in your supplemental materials, stating that you don't need financial aid, and briefly describe your source of funding. Student loan info can be found here.

Return to Top

Teaching Assistantships

In order to be appointed a TA, international applicants must take either take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL IBT) and receive a score of 26 or higher on the speaking section or take the VERSANT test administered at Northwestern and score 64 or higher. Applicants who want to be considered for TA support in the first year must have the TOEFL score before April 15 preceding the fall quarter in which they intend to enroll.

Return to Top

Research Assistantships

Typically most students are supported as research assistants (RAs) on research grants and contracts. In most cases, RAs work on projects that lead to thesis or dissertation topics. Applicants with strong research experience can contact individual faculty members and inform them of their interests and experience. Please be selective and contact only faculty members whose interests match your own, otherwise you do not stand a good chance of receiving a reply.

Please contact us to learn more about the range of stipend amounts for the current year.

Return to Top


Fellowships are available for students who are exceptionally well qualified. Unlike assistantships, fellowships usually do not require the student to perform any duties. Fellowships are extremely competitive and generally applicants will need to demonstrate exceptional performance in academic work and standardized tests.

The monetary award varies depending on the fellowship but is generally similar to that of a research assistantship.