FAQ

MSLOC Program
How competitive is the MSLOC program?
How long does it take to complete the program?
Do you offer a distance learning option?
Do you offer a PhD?
Why is the MSLOC program housed within Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy (SESP)?

Application & Admissions
When can I be admitted into the program?
What is the admission process?
May I submit my application early?
Do you grant deferrals?
When will I be notified about a decision?
What is the application fee?
Do I have to take the GRE or GMAT?
What is the interview like?
May I sit in on a class before I decide to apply?
Do I have to submit all application materials at the same time?
Where should I mail my school transcripts and test scores?
May I transfer course credit earned at another university into the MSLOC program?

Courses and Classroom
May I take any course I want in any order?
When do classes meet?
How many students are in a class?
How much time should I plan for classes and coursework?

Alternative Schedule Option
Are there any specific computer requirements for students to participate in this option?
Where is Evanston, Illinois?
Where will I stay during the on-campus sessions? Will MSLOC make hotel arrangements?
Is parking available on campus?
Are the alternative schedule courses any different from courses for full-time and part-time students?
Why are the on-campus sessions part of this option, vs. just offering a distance learning program?
How much coursework is required outside the on-campus classroom meeting sessions?
What are the tuition and fees for the alternative schedule option?
What additional costs should I anticipate?

Finances and Tuition
What are tuition and fees for the program?
What financial aid is available?

Contact
Whom may I contact if I have more questions?

MSLOC Program
How competitive is the MSLOC program?
Approximately 70 students are in the MSLOC program, and we expect to admit only 20 to 25 students each year. To determine whether this program is a fit for you, read our website to learn about the typical backgrounds of our students and the types of jobs our alumni select. The MSLOC program is fairly unique among graduate program offerings. In this distinctive program, we see the expertise areas of knowledge, learning and change when integrated together as powerful levers for effecting organizational transformation.
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How long does it take to complete the program?
Program duration depends on the number of classes taken each term and the sequencing of the classes according to their availability. These are typical timeframes:
  • Full-time (15 courses): 3 courses per quarter X 5 terms = 1 year, 3 months (Note: Full-time students often choose summer internships and may or may not take classes during the summer.)
  • Part-time (15 courses): 1-2 courses per quarter X 10 terms = approximately 2 years, 6 months
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Do you offer a distance learning option?
Our part-time alternative schedule option combines distance learning with on-campus classroom meetings delivered in full-day sessions over consecutive days. Each on-campus session is between two and six days in duration. The part-time alternative schedule choice is a great option if you live outside of the Chicago area or if you live locally but your work or personal schedule precludes attending regular weekly evening classes.
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Do you offer a PhD?
Not at this time.
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Why is the MSLOC program housed within Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy (SESP)?
The mission of SESP is to understand and improve learning communities — schools and classrooms, workplace settings, families and neighborhoods — to study lifelong learning and to improve lives through policy. Within the MSLOC program, we are involved in the workplace and adult learning elements of SESP’s "learning across the life span" mission. SESP’s expertise in applied cognition, the innovative design of learning environments and human development principles gives us a deep theoretical base to draw from as well as a distinction in the marketplace. Back to top



Application and Admissions
When can I be admitted into the program?
Each year we establish two admissions dates: January and June (see Applications Deadlines for current dates). The January admission date is for applicants intending to enter the program as a full, part-time or Graduate Certificate student in the spring quarter (classes begin in late March). We also accept applications in January for early admission to fall quarter (classes start in September) for full time and part-time students. The June admissions date is for applicants intending to enter the fall quarter.

If you plan to attend full-time and seek U.S.-sponsored student loans, the January application deadline is recommended. Recent legislation has limited the total amount of funds available for loans, and disbursements are first-come, first-served. Once you are admitted, you can apply for a loan, and if you are approved, you will be able to specify when you are ready to use it. You are eligible for U.S.-sponsored student loans only if you plan to attend full-time (full-time is defined by the government as two or more courses per term of study). International students are not eligible for U.S.-sponsored loans.

If you are an international student, you may start the MSLOC program only in the fall. Plan to apply by the January admissions deadline to ensure that you have time to receive your U.S. F-1 Student Visa. The International Office requires up to three weeks in order to generate an I-20 once they have the completed ISVDR form. For more information on the admissions process for international students, visit the Northwestern University International Office.
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What is the admission process?
We have a batch admissions process. At the end of the each deadline, the admission committee will review the completed application and revert with the results within four to six weeks.
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May I submit my application early?
Some applicants want to know if they can submit their application significantly in advance of the due date to aid with relocation or career planning. The answer is yes. We’ll keep you posted on any changes or new initiatives that occur between that time and when you begin the program.
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Do you grant deferrals?
Yes, we do. Once applicants have been formally accepted and before they begin their program, they may request a deferral, which allows them to begin at a later date. The nonrefundable deposit is still required for deferrals.
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When will I be notified about a decision?
Once we’ve received all your application materials and conducted your interview, the admissions committee will review the application portfolio and make a recommendation to the dean of the School of Education and Social Policy. A hard-copy letter and accompanying e-mail will be sent to you stating the outcome of our decision. Typically, you can expect a written notification in three to four weeks after our receipt of all of your application materials.
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What is the application fee?
A nonrefundable $100 fee is required for application processing. This fee is required of all applicants, both degree and non-degree, including students who apply to transfer from non-degree to degree status. An online credit card payment is required at the time you submit your online application.
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Do I have to take the GRE or GMAT?
We currently do not require the GRE or GMAT as long as your prior educational history and GPA reflect strong academic performance (at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA from each institution you attended). Typically, GRE scores of admitted students are above 600 on both the Verbal and Quantitative sections. Analytical Writing scores are generally 5 or above on the 6-point scale.

We require several essays as an additional indicator of capability. We're interested in what conclusions you’ve drawn about specific observations you make in your professional life and how you process these observations. We focus on how you communicate what you’ve learned and how you share your knowledge with others.
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What is the interview like?
Consider the interview to be a dialogue — we are interested in learning more about the work you’ve done, your interests and passions, why you think this program is a fit for you and what it is you’ll be able to contribute to our community of learners. In addition, we want to provide you with a chance to ask us questions and understand more about us. The interview can be conducted in person or over the phone.
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May I sit in on a class before I decide to apply?
Yes! Attending a class is a great way to get a feel for what the MSLOC program is all about and to meet some faculty and current students. Contact us at 847/491-7376 or via e-mail if you would like to arrange a visit.
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Do I have to submit all application materials at the same time?
Don't wait until your transcripts have arrived before submitting your online application. Submit your application as soon as you have completed all the components in the application itself. Once we see you have submitted your application, this triggers us to look for your letters of recommendation (degree only) and transcripts, and to alert you should we not receive them in a timely manner. We also recommend that you keep us informed on when we might expect additional materials from you. You can e-mail our department assistant with any questions or alerts.
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Where should I mail my school transcripts and test scores?
Send your materials to this address:
MSLOC Program
Annenberg Hall, Room 137
Northwestern University
2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
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May I transfer course credit earned at another university into the MSLOC program?
Only credits earned from another graduate program within Northwestern University may be transferred to count as electives. The program director will evaluate the eligibility of credits submitted for transfer, up to a total of three. Courses taken as part of another degree that has been completed cannot be transferred. Courses taken at another institution after a student matriculates into the MSLOC program cannot be transferred. Students are not permitted to transfer courses that were earned through either correspondence or distance education.
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Courses & Classroom
May I take any course I want in any order?
An early activity for all new students is development of a program plan in conjunction with an academic adviser. You have a lot of flexibility in how you design your course sequence, but there are some basic requirements we have put in place to support your learning experience.

All students starting in the fall term are required to take MSLOC Foundations as one of their first courses. Resident students entering in the spring term must take MSLOC Foundations during the immediately following fall term. This class is a half-credit course designed to acquaint new students with the concepts and models that will form the basis for the rest of their program. Because this course is completed in half-credits and extends throughout the year, students are encouraged to take an additional MSLOC core course during the fall term.

As for the rest of the curriculum, most MSLOC core classes are offered twice each academic year -- once in the evening schedule format (one evening class session per week for 10 weeks) and once in the alternative schedule format (combines distance learning with on-campus classroom meetings delivered in full-day sessions over consecutive days). MSLOC electives and electives taken within other Northwestern programs (e.g., Kellogg) may be available only during a certain term or open to only a limited number of students. Each school at Northwestern has different policies and practices for enrolling in elective courses.
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When do classes meet?
This depends in part on the schedule option you choose as for your primary program plan.

For full-time and part-time evening students, most classes are held one night per week, Monday through Thursday, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Classes and events are occasionally held on Friday evenings or Saturdays. Group work is a large component of class deliverables, and members choose when to convene. Northwestern is on a quarterly system, and terms extend 10 weeks (eight weeks in summer).

For our alternative schedule option, class sessions are divided into distance learning/virtual sessions and on-campus residency sessions. Each on-campus residency session is between two and six days in duration. Several residency sessions include weekend class sessions. See alternative schedule option for a sample program plan and residency dates.
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How many students are in a class?
Our classes typically have 25 to 35 students. Classes are constructed to be highly experiential and dialogue-intensive. Be prepared to participate, raise critical questions, and share your ideas and learning.
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How much time should I plan for classes and coursework?
In addition to the three hours of class contact time each weekly session, plan for 9 to 12 hours of preparation time per week (depending on the class and your familiarity with the topic areas). Preparation includes reading, assignment preparation and meeting with colleagues on team projects.

For our alternative schedule (hybrid) option, on-campus classroom time is compressed into consecutive full-day sessions but course work requirements will extend over a full academic quarter (10 weeks). You should expect to be required to complete 9 to 12 hours of independent study time and/or project assignment time per week prior to and after each scheduled on-campus session. Coursework will include intensive reading and writing assignments, attending virtual lectures, participating in online discussion forums, completing team projects or individual lab work, and completing assessments and tests.
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Alternative Schedule (Hybrid) Option

Are there any specific computer requirements for students to participate in the program?
Yes. Students must have a laptop computer and access to a high-speed Internet connection. See NUIT recommendations for laptop hardware and operating system configurations.
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Where is Evanston, Illinois?
Evanston is bordered by the City of Chicago (to the south) and Lake Michigan (to the east). Northwestern's Evanston campus is approximately 12 miles from downtown Chicago.
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Where will I stay during the on-campus sessions? Will the MSLOC program make hotel arrangements?
The MSLOC program will arrange for discounted group rates at a hotel within walking distance of campus. All hotel reservations and transactions, however, are the responsibility of individual students. You may also make overnight stay arrangments at a location of your own choosing, but we recommend you carefully consider travel time to and from campus.
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Is parking available on campus?
Parking on campus is very limited during the daytime and requires a for-fee permit available through Northwestern University Police. We strongly recommend that MSLOC students arrange for accommodations within walking distance of campus or use public transportation.
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Are the alternative schedule option courses any different from the on-campus MSLOC courses for full-time and part-time students?
Each course in the alternative schedule option is part of our MSLOC curriculum. Content is the same for any MSLOC students who take these courses, no matter which scheduling alternative they pursue (full-time, part-time or alternative delivery schedule).
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Why are the on-campus sessions part of this option, vs. just offering a distance learning program?
Our alternative schedule option is designed specifically to provide a scheduling option without sacrificing the important distinctions of our program's learning environment: academic rigor combined with community, collaboration and learning by doing. The combination of on-campus classroom sessions with online, virtual collaboration tools is an integral part of this design.

In our view, learning communities based exclusively in online environments are different than learning communities that include online elements but whose members have forged relationships through face-to-face learning experiences and projects. We believe it is important for organizational learning and change leaders to understand and experience how these face-to-face social factors influence trust, community building, learning and the capability to change. But it is also just as important to understand how (and when) technology can effectively enhance and extend these capabilities. Like our full-time and part-time MSLOC students, you will experience this dynamic as part of the way we have designed the program.
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How much course work is required outside the on-campus classroom meeting sessions? What kind of course work?
Although on-campus classroom time is compressed into consecutive full-day sessions, coursework requirements will extend over a full academic quarter (10 weeks). You should expect to be required to complete 12 to 15 hours of independent study time and/or project assignment time per week prior to and after each scheduled on-campus session.

Course work will include intensive reading and writing assignments, attending virtual lectures, participating in online discussion forums, completing team projects or individual lab work, and completing assessments and tests.
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What are the tuition and fees for the alternative schedule option?
Alternative schedule option students pay the same tuition as all MSLOC students, plus an alternative schedule fee to underwrite breakfast, lunch and dinner expenses for students during full-day on-campus sessions. For current fee details, see Tuition and Financial Aid.
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What additional costs should I anticipate?
Transportation and lodging expenses for each on-campus session are the responsibility of each student (meals, however, will be provided for each full-day campus session). Additional expenses for books, course materials and related items are the same for all MSLOC students. For details on these items, see Tuition and Financial Aid.
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Finances and Tuition

What are tuition and fees for the program?
See Tuition and Financial Aid for current tuition, fees and anticipated expenses for attending the MSLOC Program.

What financial aid is available?
Financial aid is available to students in the form of loans. Students will work with the Financial Aid Office to complete the appropriate forms and determine eligibility. To ensure timely receipt of financial aid, students should submit The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible after January 1 for the upcoming year. The FAFSA is available from many libraries and financial aid offices or by calling 1-800-4FED-AID or visiting the website. The application for financial aid is due as soon as, but not before, students have been admitted to the program.

Students who are enrolled in two courses or more may be eligible for one or more federal or Northwestern loan programs. Most admitted students are eligible for student loans equal to the full cost of attendance. If you are interested in financial aid to help cover the costs of attendance, you can find the necessary forms and information on how to get started at The Graduate School's website. Back to top



Contact
Whom may I contact if I have more questions?
You can speak with an academic adviser who can help you determine whether this is the right program for you by sending an e-mail, or by calling 847/491-7376. We can also connect you with current students and alumni who can answer your questions and provide their perspectives.
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