Northwestern Graduate School

September 18, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Northwestern Graduate School

The Graduate School at Northwestern University, commonly referred to simply as TGS, is a graduate school that focuses on the liberal arts and sciences. The Graduate School has campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar, in addition to its main location in Evanston, Illinois, and confers advanced degrees in a total of seventy different fields of study.

The Graduate School was initially established in 1910 by the Board of Trustees of the University. One of the ten Graduate and Professional schools that make up Northwestern University is called the Northwestern Graduate School. As a consequence of this, professional degrees are not granted by The Graduate School but rather by the schools at Northwestern that specialize in the respective fields.

These schools include the Feinberg School of Medicine, the Kellogg School of Management, the Medill School of Journalism, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the School of Communication, the School of Education and Social Policy, the Pritzker School of Law, the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, and the School of Professional Studies.

Through the provision of centralized support and services to the whole graduate community, the Graduate School contributes to the enhancement of Northwestern University’s academic excellence as well as its reputation.

Three students studying in the grass.

The mission of the Northwestern Graduate School is to advocate for high-quality opportunities for graduate and advanced education; to cultivate an environment that is healthy, inclusive, and equitable; and to connect graduate students and postdoctoral trainees with communities that are supportive of them and with opportunities for engagement.

How to get into Northwestern Graduate School?

How to get into Northwestern Graduate School? The Graduate School confers doctoral and master’s degrees in excess of seventy-five different fields of study. Interdisciplinary certificates and clusters are offered by the Northwestern Graduate School, and they provide extra possibilities to connect with students and teachers who are not affiliated with your field.

Students who wish to be admitted must hold either a bachelor’s degree from the United States or one that is equivalent to another country. degree = Obtained from an Educational Institution That Has Been Accredited Regionally. Applications from international students who have completed a bachelor’s degree program in three years will be considered by TGS.

The Northwestern Graduate School will examine your application for admission even if you have not yet completed your undergraduate degree; nevertheless, you will be required to do so before you may enroll there.

Group of students studying in the stairs of a building.

There may be additional prerequisites for admission that differ from program to program at the Northwestern Graduate School. Please be sure to study the website of the program to which you are applying in order to obtain comprehensive data regarding the admission requirements and the application deadlines.

To apply to The Graduate School (TGS), in general, you will be needed to submit the following information:

  • Complete and submit an application via the website.
  • Use a credit card to pay the application cost, which can be done online.
  • You are required to submit a Statement of Purpose.
  • Publish your high school or college transcript online.
  • Submit your test scores (if required by your admitting program).
  • You will need to upload between two and three letters of recommendation.

Northwestern Graduate School Requirements

What are the needed Northwestern Graduate School requirements for admission? During each application cycle, which begins the first week of September, TGS will only accept applications that are submitted online. However, you are not required to finish the online application in a single session if you choose to.

You are free to log in at any time to make changes to the information you provided in your application. Remember that once you have sent in your application for a job online, you will not be able to make any changes to it.

Application Fee

To apply for admission, you are required to pay the application cost, which may only be done so using a credit card. The non-refundable application cost is $95 and can be found here. Free application fee exemptions are made available on a first-come, first-served basis by The Graduate School (TGS) to candidates who are eligible and who meet the requirements.

Statement of Purpose

When filling out the online application, each applicant will be requested to upload a Statement of Purpose as part of the process. The following should be included in the description of your purpose in your Statement of Purpose:

  • The reason(s) for your decision to pursue graduate education, including your goals and objectives.
  • Any unique research interests that you have as well as any relevant qualifications.
  • The reason(s) for your decision to submit an application to Northwestern University.

Before submitting the online application, the Statement of Purpose needs to be uploaded into the application itself. Your statement should be between one and two pages long, and it should be single-spaced throughout unless the rules for your department suggest otherwise.


During the process of submitting your application online, you will be needed to upload one scanned copy of your transcript or academic record from each of the schools that you have attended in the past. The application process does not require any official hard copies or digital copies to be submitted. In order to complete the enrollment procedure, applicants who have been recommended for admission and who choose to enroll are the only ones required to produce official transcripts.

When uploading your transcripts, please keep the following in mind and make any necessary adjustments:

  • Do not send official transcripts to Northwestern University unless you have first been admitted there and then intend to enroll there. The university will not review any official transcripts that have been submitted before an admission offer has been extended.
  • Make sure your scanned transcripts are legible. The transcripts that are illegible will not be evaluated.
  • If you have any transcripts in a language other than English, please also submit an authoritative translation into English.
  • If any fraudulent behavior or discrepancies are discovered between the uploaded and official transcript(s), the student’s admission to Northwestern University will be immediately revoked, and they may also be dismissed from the university.
  • In the event that you are offered enrollment at The Graduate School (TGS) and want to go through with the process, you will be required to provide one official copy of each of your transcripts to the Admission Office of The Graduate School (TGS).
  • Personal copies of transcripts delivered to our office will not be accepted under any circumstances. Transcripts must be sent in by the issuing institution directly in order to be considered official.

Test Scores

You might be required to take one of the following examinations in order to be accepted into the program that you have chosen.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The results of the GRE test are sometimes required by certain departments. To learn more about the criteria for your program, you can check out their website.

  • The Educational Testing Service is the only organization that may validate official test scores, and those scores must be obtained no more than five years before the anticipated quarter of entry (ETS). For instance, GRE scores must be no older than September 2018 in order to be deemed eligible for entrance consideration for the Fall 2023 semester.
  • In order to have your GRE scores sent to The Graduate School (TGS), please make sure that ETS uses our institution code of 1565 when sending them. This comprises applicants who are interested in enrolling in one of Kellogg’s doctorate programs. We ask that you refrain from using the Kellogg code. This is a code that can only be used for the MBA.
  • In addition, when you are completing your application online, you will be required to scan and upload a copy of your score report (if you happen to have this document on hand). This version that was submitted is not considered to be “official,” and it will only be utilized for the purposes of a preliminary evaluation up until the point where your official results have been received from ETS.

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

You have the option of substituting the results of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) for the results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) if you are applying to a Ph.D. program at the Kellogg School of Management. The institutional code for this test is 6WZ-3J-54, and it will transfer your findings directly to Kellogg. Please ensure that you only use this code when registering for the GMAT. Kellogg will not receive the findings you have obtained if they are not transmitted to the given code.

Unidentified student writing in his desk.

During the process of completing your application online, you will also be required to scan and upload a copy of your score report (if you happen to have this document on hand). This version that was submitted is not considered “official,” and it will only be utilized for the purposes of a preliminary evaluation until such time as your official scores from the GMAT have been received.


The majority of international applicants are required to submit test scores from either the TOEFL or the IELTS. You can find out more information regarding the specific requirements of your program by visiting their website. To be eligible for financial support as teaching or graduate assistant, students who have been accepted to PhD or MFA programs will have to demonstrate that they have the necessary level of English proficiency required by The Graduate School.


The Educational Testing Service is the only organization that may validate official test results, which must be taken no more than two years before the anticipated quarter of entry (ETS). For instance, in order for TOEFL results to be considered legitimate for admission in the Fall of 2023, they must be any older than September 2021.

Participants in an exam may receive a request from ETS to select the “department” to which they would like their scores to be forwarded. Even though you are required to select the department that is most closely related to the program for which you are applying, this information will not go towards the scoring of your application.

In order to fulfill this criterion, TGS will acknowledge and accept the submission of TOEFL test scores through their at-home testing service. Because of the effects of COVID-19, testing facilities must remain closed, thus you will not have access to this option during that time. Please let the program that you have applied to know if you are unable to finish a TOEFL or IELTS exam if you are unable to do so. The Office of Admission and Recruitment at TGS will collaborate directly with particular programs and departments to provide applicants with personalized counseling.

DuoLingo and TOEFL Essentials are not acceptable for use with TGS.


The official tallies can’t be taken more than two years in advance of the quarter that’s being planned. IELTS scores, for instance, cannot be more than one year old as of September 2021 in order to be considered legitimate for admission in the Fall of 2023.

During the process of completing your application online, you will also be required to scan and upload a copy of your score report (if you happen to have this document on hand). This version that was submitted is not considered “official,” and it will only be utilized for the purposes of a preliminary review until such time as your official scores from IELTS have been received.

The electronic format of the exam is one that can be submitted to the Graduate School. When signing up for the exam, candidates should indicate that they are taking it through Northwestern University – The Graduate School. Doing so will guarantee that we are notified of their final scores.

Letters of Recommendation

The admissions committees of The Graduate School (TGS) are interested in receiving letters of recommendation from individuals who are in the best position to evaluate your academic and research abilities in fields that are relevant to your intended area of study. The process of evaluation places a significant emphasis on reference letters; therefore, you should select your recommenders with care.

When looking for a recommender, you should pay considerable consideration to the following questions:

  • Does the faculty of the program that you are applying to know the people who wrote your letters of recommendation?
  • Will they provide you with recommendations that are objective and well-considered?
  • Are they able to comment on your academic research and achievements as well as your potential to continue your education in graduate school?

A minimum of two letters of recommendation are required to be submitted to TGS. Because there is a possibility that certain departments will require more than two letters, please check the website for your particular program to determine whether or not additional letters are required.

What is a Good GRE Score?

What is a Good GRE Score? The fact that standardized examinations can have a substantial influence on your life can make taking them a stressful experience. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is essential since it helps determine which graduate programs you may be accepted into.

Unidentified person writing in a paper.

If you don’t do well on the GRE, you might have to settle for a program that you’re not as enthusiastic about as an alternative if you want to get into the school that you want to attend.

Most standardized examinations, including the GRE, do not employ the letter grading scale or the scale ranging from 0% to 100% which is common practice among students. Because of this, it may be difficult to determine whether or not your score is satisfactory.

Because of the odd nature of the grading structure, it can be difficult to determine what constitutes a decent score on the GRE. On a standard exam, a score of 130, along with any additional credit earned, would be considered excellent performance. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) has a minimum score requirement of 130.

You are in luck because ETS occasionally publishes data that includes average test scores in addition to scoring percentiles, both of which you can use to evaluate how well you have performed.

The GRE was taken by approximately 1.64 million persons between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2019, inclusive. The following is the typical score on the GRE:

  • The score for verbal reasoning was 150.37.
  • The numerical reasoning score is 153.39.
  • Critical Thinking in Writing: 3.58

If you achieve a score that is higher than these values, you can have a degree of confidence in the fact that you have outperformed the average score on the GRE.

However, if you have your sights set on enrolling in a prestigious graduate school, you could get the impression that you need to do more than just outperform the other applicants.

Researching the programs that interest you will give you an idea of the goal GRE score that you should strive to get. Many educational institutions provide information about the average GRE score of their incoming class on their websites. Although receiving a score that is higher than the program’s average will not ensure that you will be accepted into the program of your choice, it certainly won’t hinder your chances either.

Northwestern Graduate School Acceptance Rate

What is the current Northwestern Graduate School acceptance rate? It is anticipated that the total acceptance rate for Northwestern University’s Graduate School will be approximately 9.1% for the School Year 2021-2022.

Group of students answering a test in a room.

Each year, a large number of students submit applications to the Northwestern Graduate School. The level of competition to enter this famous school is at an all-time high, and it has only continued to rise over the past few years. The Graduate School at Northwestern received 19,022 applications for their Class of 2021-2022, and they admitted 5,309 of those applicants.

Want to learn more about getting into Northwestern Graduate School? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process, including our athletic recruitment program.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.


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