FAQ

  1. Can I use a paper application instead of the on-line application?
  2. What is the application deadline?
  3. Do you ever accept late applications?
  4. Do I need a Master's degree to apply for a Ph.D. in English at Northwestern?
  5. Does the English Department require the GRE English Literature Subject Test?
  6. What is the last date by which I can take the GRE and still make the Ph.D. admission deadline?
  7. What kind of financial aid does your department provide?
  8. How long should the writing sample be?
  9. How many recommendations do I need? And should these recommendations appear on special forms?
  10. When will I be notified about a decision?
  11. When should I visit campus?
  12. Do you have a part-time and/or correspondence Master's degree program?
  13. Does your department offer a Master's in Fine Arts in Creative Writing?
  14. Am I required to take the TOEFL or IELTS exams? Are any applicants exempt?

  1. Can I use a paper application instead of the on-line application?
  2. No. The Graduate School and English Department accept only online applications submitted through the ApplyYourself online application system. Paper applications are no longer available, and as such, we are unable to fulfill requests to mail them to prospective students.

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  3. What is the application deadline?
  4. For the Ph.D. program:

    The deadline for Fall matriculation in the following year is listed on the How to Apply page.

    For the Master's program:

    Applications will only be considered for matriculation in the following Fall quarter. However, we will be reviewing applications on a semi-rolling basis, based on when the application has been submitted. Our admisisons committee will be reviewing files, and issuing admissions decisions, after the following dates:

    • November 1st of the current academic year
    • February 1st of the year of intended matriculation
    • April 1st of the year of intended matriculation

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  5. Do you ever accept late applications?
  6. The time constraints of the admissions season make it impossible for us to accept or review late applications.

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  7. Do I need a Master's degree to apply for a Ph.D. in English at Northwestern?
  8. No, a Master's Degree is not a prerequisite for admission into our Ph.D. program.

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  9. Does the English Department require the GRE English Literature Subject Test?
  10. Whether you are applying to the Ph.D. or Master's Program, we require only your official scores from the general GRE. The subject exam remains optional.

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  11. What is the last date by which I can take the GRE and still make the Ph.D. admission deadline?
  12. We strongly advise applicants to take the test no later than in October. When applicants take the GRE in November or later, Northwestern sometimes receive the results after the deadline.

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  13. What kind of financial aid does your department provide?
  14. We receive as many as 350 applications for the Ph.D. program each year, and admit only those to whom we can offer full funding. We look for an entering class of 6 to 8 Ph.D. students. As long as students remain in good academic standing, funding is provided for total of 57 months, including four 3-month summer research fellowships, three 9-month academic years of funding as a graduate assistant, and two 9-month academic years of fellowship funding (with no remunerative work required).

    We are unable to offer to Master's students financial aid of any kind, whether in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships, or research fellowships.

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  15. How long should the writing sample be?
  16. 12 to 25 pages. If you wish, these may take the form of two short writing samples. Part of a Master's thesis or Honor's thesis is also acceptable. Applicants should not send creative writing papers, and though we don't require their submission to be directly pertinent to their intended field(s) of study, the paper must be on a literary topic and include scholarly citations.

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  17. How many recommendations do I need? And should these recommendations appear on special forms?
  18. Two are required and three are recommended. All letters of recommendation must be submitted online through the ApplyYourself application system.

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  19. When will I be notified about a decision?
  20. Notification of Ph.D. decisions will normally occur in early to mid February. Decisions for the M.A. program vary, but we aim for 4-6 weeks after each application submission deadline (November 1st, February 1st, and April 1st).

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  21. When should I visit campus?
  22. Prospective students are welcome to visit campus informally and to stop by the department for general information. Because admission into our program is highly competitive, however, we ask that prospective students wait until admissions decisions have been made before making formal visits to meet with faculty and current graduate students. In March, we invite admitted doctoral students to attend a Visiting Weekend, during which they meet with faculty and current graduate students, tour the department, and sit in on graduate seminars. There are no formal visits for prospective Master's students.

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  23. Do you have a part-time and/or correspondence Master's degree program?
  24. Our graduate degree programs require full-time enrollment and residency. The School of Continuing Studies offers part-time Master's programs in Literature, in Creative Writing, and in Liberal Studies.

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  25. Does your department offer a Master's in Fine Arts in Creative Writing?
  26. No, the English Department does not offer a graduate program in creative writing. However, the School of Continuing Studies offers a part-time Master's in Creative Writing.

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  27. Am I required to take the TOEFL or IELTS exams? Are any applicants exempt?
  28. An applicant will be considered exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement if they can certify their proficiency in English in one of the following ways :

    • Providing transcripts verifying an undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year institution or equivalent, where the language of instruction is English.
    • Providing transcripts verifying a graduate degree from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English.

    Only an unofficial transcript will be required at the time of application. Students choosing to matriculate must submit official copies of the transcript verifying this information.

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    Any other questions?

    We welcome you to contact the Graduate Program Assistant with any further questions you may have at grad-english@northwestern.edu

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Upcoming Event

LNCC Speaker Series: Pamela Gilbert
October 9, 20145:00 PM - 7:00 PM

November 18, 2013