Frequently Asked Questions

What are the important dates for application?

The deadline for submission of online applications is December 31. Northwestern hosts group visits for admitted students in March and April on the Northwestern Evanston Campus. The deadline for students to accept admissions is April 15.

My application was sent after the December 31 deadline, could it still be considered?

Applications received after December 31 may be considered until all the Fellowship/RA/TA positions are filled.

A PhD applicant may also request that her or his file be considered for a self-funded Master’s degree in the first choice fields if she/he is not admitted to the PhD Program.

Questions about the two-application process should be referred to Elizabeth Rentfro.

Can I apply online?

Yes. The admissions process requires applications to apply online through The Graduate School. All supporting documents are submitted with the online application. The supporting documents include an unofficial transcript from each university and college attended, and a photocopy of TOEFL (international applicants only if required) and GRE scores, if available. Letters of recommendation must be set up electronically with the online application. Letters of recommendation can be mailed only if they are not set up electronically.

I am an international student finishing a BS or MS program at another university in the US. Do I need to submit a TOEFL score?

No. TOEFL can be waived if you have received a BS or MS degree from a university where English is the official language of instruction.

I think I want to eventually get a Ph.D., but I might want to get a Master's degree first. Should I apply to the MS program or the PhD program?

In this situation you should apply for the PhD program. The MS program refers to students who are interested only in a terminal MS degree. The MS degree is not required for the PhD in TAM. MS students are not funded.

I already have a PhD degree. Can I apply to a PhD program at Northwestern?

A case can be made to the Graduate School if the PhD is in a different discipline.

Can I apply for admission during any quarter?

While we occasionally admit graduate students to begin in January (winter quarter) or at other times during the year, we strongly encourage students to apply for fall admission. This timing provides the most flexibility in advisor selection and advantage of fellowship consideration.

What factors are taken into account when evaluating my application?

We consider prior academic performance, research and other professional experience, GRE scores, and overall potential to pursue graduate study successfully in our department. For international students , the TOEFL score is also important. The TOEFL requirement has been changed so that PhD applicants must have 90 (233 computer-based and 577 paper-based) and MS applicants must have 80 (213 computer-based and 550 paper-based) on the Internet-based TOEFL. Journal publications are not required, but many of our admitted students have at least one scientific publication.

What happens after I am admitted?

We encourage all admitted students in the United States to visit Northwestern prior to making a decision about the offer. Most students visit during group visits in the spring. We will pay for most of the expenses associated with these visits. During the visits, students speak with faculty who are of the most interest to them, meet with our current graduate students, and learn more about our program and the Evanston/Chicago area.

As an international student, I cannot visit Northwestern prior to making my decision. How can I learn more about the program?

Questions should be directed to the TAM Director, Professor Espinosa.

When do I need to formally accept or decline an offer of admission?

The deadline is April 15, but if you make your decision earlier than that, please let us know. You accept your offer of admisson online in the application website.

How do I choose a research adviser?

The TAM Director will guide you in this regard.

Can I pre-select a research advisor prior to my arrival at Northwestern?

Yes. Contact the TAM Director for additional information.

Whom do I contact in TAM with additional questions that are not addressed here?

For administrative issues and the status of your application, contact Elizabeth Rentfro.