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Our FAQ comes in three sections below. Admissions, International applications, and Funding. If your questions aren’t answered here, please contact us.


If I don’t have a MA, can I still be admitted to the doctoral program?

Yes. Students admitted to the MTS program without a master’s degree (or with a master’s degree in an unrelated discipline) complete their MA as part of their preparation for the doctorate.

What are the minimum GPA and GRE scores required for admission?

There is no minimum GPA or GRE score required for admission to MTS. Admissions decisions are based upon a holistic assessment of the entire application.

Average GPA and GRE scores of admitted students vary slightly from year to year. Please see The Graduate School’s website for more on these scores:

What institution and department codes should I use for the GRE and TOEFL?

The institution code for Northwestern University is 1565 for both exams. No department code is needed for the GRE. For the TOEFL, use 99 (“department not listed”).

Please note that official GRE scores are optional.

Can I attend part-time?

No. We only admit students who can attend full-time.

Can I take courses only in the  evening, on weekends, or during the summer?

No. We only admit students who can attend full-time.

Can I start the program during the winter or spring terms rather than in the fall term?

No. Because we admit graduate students as a cohort, students can only begin their studies in the fall term.

Beyond scores, what do you look for in a graduate application?

Our admissions committee evaluates applications in terms of applicant’s scholarly potential, record of accomplishments and skills suitable to the proposed program of study, and alignment of research interests with those of prospective faculty mentors. The Media, Technology, and Society program, like many doctoral programs relies heavily on mentorship and apprenticeship pedagogy. As such, we seek to identify potential students whose interests fit well with what current faculty teach, study, and know. Students should investigate faculty research and indicate why they believe they would be a good fit in the program in their personal statement.

Where do I find out more about degree requirements, timelines, milestones, and the curriculum?

Take a look at our program handbook.

When do you accept applications?

Our deadline for applications is December 1.

How do I apply?

The university uses an online application system. You may access that system through The Graduate School’s website: In that system, you will be required to enter an academic statement, a personal statement, the names of faculty with whom you would like to study,  your transcripts, your writing sample, your TOEFL scores, and identify 2 or 3 recommenders who will upload letters of recommendation. Please see the program website for detailed information on application requirements. You may also submit a cluster statement if applicable (see for more information). You may optionally submit your GRE scores.

Must recommendation writers submit their recommendations online?


How many students do you admit per year?

This has varied from year to year. You can see the statistics on our admissions at:

Can I receive paper copies of information about the graduate program?

No. Because of duplicating and mailing costs, we no longer provide paper copies of information.

Can I receive a paper copy of an application form?

No. The Graduate School at Northwestern University only accepts online applications.

What do Communication graduate students do with their degrees?

Students who graduate from our program generally go on to hold academic jobs. About a quarter of our students go into professional research jobs in think tanks, research firms, and internet companies. For our placements, please see:

The application fee is expensive, and I don’t want to apply if my chances aren’t good. Can you look at my resume and tell me if you think I should apply?

We receive hundreds of requests, so regrettably we cannot individually assess an applicant’s chances. If you feel strongly about your qualifications, we encourage you to apply.

The application fee is expensive, can I request a waiver?

The Graduate School manages the application process and invites fee waiver requests. Some prospective students may also be eligible for the FreeApp program offered through the Big Ten Academic Alliance (see the link for details and deadlines).

What other graduate programs are affiliated with Communication Studies at Northwestern?

May I schedule a campus visit?

Selected applicants who are being considered for admission to the MTS program are invited to visit campus in late February or early March.

Whom should I contact with questions about the graduate program in Media, Technology, & Society?

You can direct all questions about the graduate program to the program email account (

International Applications

Are all international student applicants required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or MET scores?

Yes with two exceptions: if English is not the applicant’s native language or if the applicant holds a BA or MA from an English-speaking institution. For more on this requirement, see The Graduate School’s website: We also accept IELTS or Michigan English Test scores in lieu of the TOEFL scores.

I’m an international student, but I don’t have a visa yet. What can I do?

You must first be offered admission by the University before any visa processing work can begin. Please read details on the Northwestern University International Office page.

Are international students eligible to receive funding?

Yes. All students who matriculate in the MTS program receive guaranteed funding support. Enrolled students must meet the English proficiency requirements set by The Graduate School (TGS) as a condition of receiving funding through assistantships. Please see the TGS proficiency requirements for more information.


How many of the graduate students in the department receive funding?

All of them. Students are funded for 5 years. Please see the TGS pages on graduate student funding for additional information about stipends, tax implications, and more.

How do I apply for financial aid?

There is no separate financial aid application. All students are offered funding that includes support for the full amount of tuition as well as a stipend and health insurance for 5 years.

Do you offer additional funding for Ph.D. student to conduct research, attend conferences, etc.?

Yes. Details are in our program handbook.