PhD Program
PhD Admissions
Application Procedures

All application materials are submitted online via The Graduate School website.

Required Materials

Please fill out the online application forms completely and accurately so that we can best process your application. Use the following tips as a guide while you fill out the application.

Research Interests

  • Indicate an intended specialization. If you don't have one just write "industrial engineering".
  • If you are particularly interested in the research of one or two faculty members, put their names in the appropriate boxes in the online application.

Statement of Purpose

Your main objectives in the statement of purpose are to convince the admissions committee that you have goals that can be met by completing our PhD program, that you understand what PhD-level research in industrial engineering and management sciences is, and that you have a background that prepares you to do good research.

It is very important to describe any previous research experiences you have had.

Letters of Recommendation

You need at least two letters of recommendation. If you have done supervised research, we need to receive letters from your research supervisors. There is no recommendation form – it is up to the letter-writers to choose what to say.

Please advise your letter-writers about what information is useful for us:

  • An evaluation of the applicant's performance in research
  • A comparison of the applicant to students in PhD programs
  • An assessment of the applicant's ability to speak and write English, if the applicant is not a native speaker of English
  • Evidence based on first-hand experience

Curriculum Vitae

Focus on education and relevant work experience including jobs, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships, publications, and awards. Please give descriptions of the awards that you received.


The Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences requires transcripts from all colleges and universities at which you studied.

Please note the following:

  • Unofficial transcripts are accepted.
  • Obtain your transcripts, scan them, and submit the scanned versions online.
  • Submit transcripts from any university where you studied.

Official Standardized Test Scores

The applicant's test scores need to be sent by ETS. Copies of your test score reports should also be scanned and submitted with your online application.

Optional Materials

Writing Sample

If you have written something that would help the admissions committee to evaluate your potential to succeed as a researcher, please include it.

Examples include:

  • A published research paper
  • An undergraduate thesis
  • A term paper for a class

Diversity Statement

The online application allows you to submit a diversity statement, but it is only helpful to the PhD admissions committee in exceptional cases. There is no need to write a diversity statement unless you believe that in your case, diversity should be a positive factor considered in the admission decision.

For example, it would be helpful to receive a diversity statement from a US citizen or permanent resident who is a member of a group under-represented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Fellowship Offer Letters

If you have already received a fellowship that would support your study at Northwestern, please include a copy of the notification letter.