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How to Apply

We review applications holistically. When reviewing an application, we are looking for candidates who can make a strong case why they want to pursue Learning Sciences at Northwestern. Relevant experience is helpful, but not necessary. Career changers are welcome. If you are a career changer, we would like to understand what brought about that change.

Learn and Lead with Purpose. Your future in education starts here.

Matriculated and Non-Matriculated Options

You may apply to the program as a matriculated or non-matriculated student. Matriculated students are candidates for the master's degree. Non-matriculated students are not yet candidates for the master's degree but may take up to four courses before they must apply to matriculate. Because of visa requirements, all international students must apply for the matriculated status.

Application Deadlines

Priority Deadline
(Highly encouraged for those seeking student visas, MSEd fellowships, graduate housing, and campus jobs.)
January 10, 2025 Fall 2025 Early March
Regular Deadline April 11, 2025 Fall 2025 Late May
Late Deadline (Subject to space and availability) July 31, 2025 Fall 2025 Within 3-4 weeks after all materials are received.

Please see Northwestern University’s quarterly academic calendar for quarter start dates.

Application Instructions

All applications are submitted online. Supplemental materials such as transcripts and test scores should be submitted directly to the MSEd Program. We will not receive materials sent to The Graduate School. Please expand each of the accordions below to learn about the portions of the application.

Application Process

Online application form

  • Under "Program and Degree," select "Master of Science in Education Program." 
  • Under "Type of Application," select "Matriculated" or "Non-Matriculated" as appropriate. 
  • Due to visa requirements, all international applicants must apply for the "matriculated" status. It is important that the name you supply on your application for admission match the name of your passport exactly. In addition, the address you supply on your application must be a street address–it cannot be a Post Office box. 
  • You will upload your resume directly into the application; you do not need to retype it. 

Essays/statement of purpose

  1. Education systems aim to create opportunities for all students to learn, grow, build community, and gain knowledge and skills that lead to fulfilling, meaningful lives. However, those systems sometimes fall short of delivering on these promises. Research has shown that the educational system produces (sometimes drastically) divergent outcomes for different populations of students. In this essay, please reflect on your own experiences as a student and/or in your professional life within the educational system. Where have you experienced or observed the promises that education can provide? Where have you experienced or observed inequalities surfacing in the educational system? What impact has this had on your decision to pursue a graduate program in education? (1-2 pages, double spaced) 
  2. Please describe your educational goals. What do you plan to do with your degree from Northwestern University? Please highlight how your prior experiences working with students (children, adolescents, and/or adults) are connected to your future professional goals related to education. If you don't have any related experience (either formal or informal) please tell us how you arrived at the decision to pursue a professional program in education. Explain why you believe that Northwestern’s program, in particular, is a good fit for you to reach your goals. (1-2 pages, double spaced.)

Official transcripts

  • Only unopened envelopes or official secure electronic transcripts are accepted. 
    Include all undergraduate and graduate institutions you've attended, even if you did not earn a degree from that institution. 
  • If your name is different from the name that appears on your transcript (due to marriage or other reasons), please notify our admissions coordinator via e-mail at to ensure that your transcripts are filed with your application. 
  • If you earned your undergraduate degree from an institution outside the United States, you must submit your transcripts for a course-by-course evaluation to an approved transcript evaluation service. A list of approved services is available on the ISBE website under the header "International Resources." You must have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited US institution to be eligible for the MSEd Program. 
  • All hard-copy transcripts (or transcript evaluations) should be sent to this address: 
    Master of Science in Education 
    Attention: Admissions 
    618 Garrett Place 
    Evanston, IL 60208 
  • All secure electronic transcripts should be sent to

TOEFL/IELTS (International applicants only)

  • International applicants must provide official TOEFL or IELTS scores. You must receive a score of 100 or higher on the TOEFL iBT or 7.5 or higher on the IELTS in order to be considered for the MSEd Program. 
  • If English is a native language, please indicate this directly in the application, and we will waive the TOEFL/IELTS requirement.
  • If English is not a native language, but you speak, read, and write with near-native fluency and wish to request a waiver of the TOEFL/IELTS requirement, please reach out to the MSEd Program directly to schedule an interview with program staff. Please be aware that waiver requests will only be granted in exceptional cases. You should leave yourself enough time to take the test in the case that the waiver is not granted.
  • If submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores, the test results must come directly from the testing service. Personal copies are not considered official, nor are "attested" or notarized copies. 
  • For more information about the TOEFL, visit their official site. Be sure to submit scores to code 3115 Northwestern U MS PROG EDUC (not 1565 NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY). 
  • For more information about the IELTS, visit their official site. Be sure to submit scores to our office at 618 Garrett Place, Evanston, IL 60208.


  • In most cases, the application process does not include an interview. However, in some instances, the admissions team may require additional information from an applicant, and this may occur in the context of an interview. If needed, the admissions team will reach out individually to schedule an interview on one of the dates below. No preparation is required or expected.
  • For applicants who submit by the priority deadline (January 10th), the admissions team will hold interviews (if needed) February 5th – 7th.
  • For applicants who submit by the regular deadline (April 11th), the admissions team will hold interviews (if needed) May 7th – 9th.
  • Applicants who submit by the late deadline (July 31st) should expect to work with the admissions team to schedule interviews (if needed) according to their availability.

GRE (optional)

  • The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is optional. 
  • You can learn about and register for the GRE at 
  • Be sure to submit scores to code 3115 Northwestern U MS PROG EDUC (not 1565 NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY). 
  • If you have any questions about the GRE, please e-mail our admissions coordinator at

Letters of recommendation (matriculated applications only)

  • One letter must be an academic recommendation from an instructor at the college level or above whose course you took. 
  • The second letter of recommendation may either be academic or professional. A professional letter should come from someone who has supervised you in a workplace setting (co-workers are not acceptable). 
  • Letters of recommendation are submitted through the online application system. When you start your application, you will need to enter the names and contact information for your recommenders. We will then contact the recommenders with instructions for submitting the letter of recommendation and supplementary materials. 
  • It is generally a good idea to contact your recommenders in advance to tell them about your career aspirations and why you are applying to the program.

Application fee

  • A $100 nonrefundable application fee must be paid by credit card through the online application system before the application is submitted. 
  • Applicants may request to waive the application fee on the basis of significant financial hardship. To request the fee waiver, send a message detailing why you need to request the waiver to our admissions coordinator at 

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