Graduate Application Process
How to apply
First please read the graduate admissions FAQ.
There are no paper application forms for either admission or financial aid.
To apply for admission to the EECS department, go to TGS (The Graduate School) website and click "Admission" and then "Apply Online"
Notes about the online application
TGS's online application form will ask you to select either the Ph.D. or M.S. option for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. If you want a Ph.D., with or without a master's degree, select the Ph.D. option. The M.S. option is for terminal masters only, and does not constitute admission to further work towards a Ph.D.
It will also ask you to enter either CS, EE or CE for the Area of Specialization. Your specialization should be chosen based on the research areas that best fit your current interests. If you need guidance, please Professor Chris Riesbeck.
Choose your research area(s) among the research divisions.
Once you complete the online application, you will receive an email message asking you to provide additional information about your GPA and specific research interests. You will be asked to select your two or three top choices among the six EECS research interest groups, based on your specific research interests. You may give more detail in your Statement of Purpose. For example, a student who would like to pursue research in "wireless networks" might select the Signals & System Group, and/or the Computer Engineering & Systems Group. Read more about the research interest groups at this link.
Before you apply online, gather the following:
- The admission materials required by TGS
- Additional (optional) supporting materials may include your resume, research papers, certificates, etc.
Please note that it is not required to send a hard-copy of your official transcripts. Instead, upload a scanned copy of it/them in PDF, along with all the other supplementary materials, into your online application.
Note that upon admission you may be required to provide the original transcript(s).
An applicant may not be admitted without a complete application. All primary and supplemental materials must be submitted to render a decision to admit; denies may be made due to incomplete applications.
M.S. applicants: Financial aid is not available in any form, including fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. However, several types of loans are available; please see the graduate admissions FAQ: "How do I apply for Financial Aid" for more information about loans for M.S. applicants.
Ph.D. applicants: We assume Ph.D. applicants require financial aid, and will therefore only admit candidates if we have support in the form of assistantships or fellowships. If you do not require financial aid from us, it is important to let us know. Include a signed letter in your supplemental materials, stating that you don't need financial aid, and briefly describe your source of funding.
In order to be appointed a TA, international applicants must take either the Test of Spoken English (TSE) and receive a score of 50 or higher or take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL IBT) and receive a score of 26 or higher on the speaking section. Applicants who want to be considered for TA support in the first year must have the TSE score before April 15 preceding the Fall quarter in which they intend to enroll. In addition, foreign applicants must get a score of at least 600 on the paper-based TOEFL test or 250 on the computer-based test in order to be appointed a TA.
Typically most students are supported as Research Assistants (RAs) on research grants and contracts. In most cases, RAs work on projects that lead to thesis or dissertation topics. Applicants with strong research experience can contact individual faculty and inform them of their interests and experience. Please be selective and contact only faculty members whose interests match your own, otherwise you do not stand a good chance of receiving a reply.
For the current academic year 2013-2014, stipends for RAs range from $22,800 to $27,600 (for twelve months) plus tuition. For students who choose summer internships outside of Northwestern University, pay will depend on the internship sponsor.
Fellowships are available for students who are exceptionally well qualified. Unlike assistantships, fellowships usually do not require the student to perform any duties. Fellowships are extremely competitive and generally applicants will need to have a cumulative score on the GRE greater than 2200 to be considered for this type of financial aid.
The monetary award varies depending on the fellowship but is generally similar to that of a research assistantship. Fellowships are awarded only for the first academic year of graduate study -- after this the students are supported by assistantships.