Skip to main content

Program of Study

The MTS Program Handbook contains the most up-to-date information about the graduate curriculum, degree requirements, degree timeline, assistantships, and other expectations, policies, and recommendations for MTS Ph.D. students. It is designed to be a useful resource for prospective students as well as current community members. The information below is less detailed and may not reflect the most recent revisions to the program handbook.

Coursework Requirements

All students are required to fulfill the Ph.D. coursework requirements established by The Graduate School. In addition, all MTS students must take three courses: (1) a proseminar (MTS 501), in which students are introduced to key topics in the “hidden curriculum” of scholarly research careers as well as a variety of interests within MTS, primarily through different MTS faculty visiting the course; (2) a second-year practicum course focused on developing an empirical research paper for scholarly publication (MTS 503); and (3) a zero-credit course in the responsible conduct of research (MTS 519) that introduces key topics in the conduct of ethical human subjects research (and that helps us maintain compliance with several federal funding agencies). In addition to these specific courses, the program also requires students to take at least 4 letter-graded courses with MTS faculty at the 400 or 500 level. Many students complete these requirements quickly and go on to take additional courses elsewhere at Northwestern to develop topical and methodological expertise appropriate to their research interests and career goals.

Teaching Requirement

Teaching is an essential element of the education and training experience of PhD students at Northwestern. The Graduate School (TGS) at Northwestern requires that all PhD students serve in some instructional capacity for at least one academic quarter during their graduate education at Northwestern. This teaching requirement is unique to American higher education, and is an integral aspect of professional development. The financial support provided to MTS students routinely includes teaching assistantship appointments that satisfy this requirement.

Other PhD Degree Requirements

Upon completion of coursework, a set of comprehensive examinations must be successfully completed. Then a dissertation prospectus must be approved, and a completed dissertation approved. Details of these requirements, timeline expectations, and more are all provided in the MTS Program Handbook. Additional information appears on the TGS PhD degree requirements page.