Application Process

Application Process

Follow these steps to apply to Northwestern's Master of Science in Education program:


1. 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. In order to make the visa process run as smoothly as possible, 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.

2. Essays/statement of purpose

  1. In How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi writes, “The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.’” React to this idea—what resonates with you? What does not? What does this mean for educators?
  2. Please describe an experience you had as a learner. What did you learn, and how did you learn it? What role did you and others play in that experience? How does this experience inform your understanding about how learning happens?
  3. Please discuss your experience working with your target age group (children, adolescents, adults) in an educational setting, either formal or informal. What did you notice about the age group you were working with? What did you notice about yourself? How are these observations connected to your interest in joining the MSEd program? If you don’t have any experience working with your target age group (either formally or informally), tell us why you want to do so, and why you think you will be successful?
  4. There are many different ways to engage in education or to design for learning. Why have you chosen to apply to the MSEd Program at Northwestern? What do you think makes the program a good fit for you at this time? How do you hope your time at Northwestern will advance your professional or academic career?
  • In How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi writes, “The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.’” React to this idea—what resonates with you? What does not? What does this mean for educators?
  • There are many different ways to engage in education or to design for learning. Why have you chosen to apply to the MSEd Program at Northwestern as a non-degree student? What do you think makes the program a good fit for you at this time? How do you hope your time at Northwestern will advance your professional or academic career?

3. 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 msedapply@northwestern.edu 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 msedapply@northwestern.edu.

4. Resume

  • Please use PDF format.
  • Applicants to the Teacher Leadership concentration must have at least three years of teaching experience.
  • Previous education course work or experience is not required for applicants to the Elementary or Secondary Teaching concentrations, but it will be considered.

5. $100 nonrefundable application fee

  • 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 msedapply@northwestern.edu.

Additional Steps

  • 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).
  • Applicants to the Teacher Leadership concentration should submit at least one letter of recommendation from a principal or department chair.
  • 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.
  • The primary pathway (recommended) for initial licensure candidates includes 18 months of coursework spanning six academic quarters (Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarters in consecutive years, with no classes in Summer Quarter).
  • For those who have already satisfied all or most of their content area licensure requirements prior to applying to the MSEd program, an intensive one-year pathway exists: 12 months of coursework spanning four academic quarters (Summer Quarter through Spring Quarter, with no breaks). If it is your intention to pursue this intensive one-year path, in addition to submitting the application for admission, you should also submit a clinical experiences application for field placements (engaged practicum and student teaching). The clinical experiences application should be submitted no later than December 15. Please note that field placements are extremely competitive; if you are admitted to the program for the intensive pathway, you are advised to commit as soon as possible in order to secure a field placement.
  • It is possible to be admitted to the program on the primary (6-quarter) pathway but not for the intensive (4-quarter) pathway.
  • You can learn about and register for the OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) at www.languagetesting.com.
  • Be sure to request scores based on the ACTFL scale. You must receive a score of Advanced Low or higher in order to be considered for the MSEd Program. Scores should be submitted to our office at 618 Garrett Place, Evanston, IL 60208.
  • If you have any questions about the OPI, please e-mail our admissions coordinator at msedapply@northwestern.edu.
  • 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.
  • International applicants may request a waiver of the TOEFL/IELTS requirement if English is their native language, they earned a four-year degree from a college or university in the US or other English-speaking country, or they have lived in an English-speaking country for several years and speak English on a daily basis.
  • 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. However, it is to your advantage to include a paper copy of your score report in your application materials. This will aid us in verifying your scores quickly, should there be any delay in receiving the official report, and to identify any errors in the electronic report.
  • For more information about the TOEFL, visit www.toeflgoanywhere.org. Be sure to submit scores to code 3115 Northwestern U MS PROG EDUC (not 1565 NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY).
  • For more information about the IELTS, visit www.ielts.org/en-us. Be sure to submit scores to our office at 618 Garrett Place, Evanston, IL 60208.
  • You can learn about and register for the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) at www.takethegre.com.
  • 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 msedapply@northwestern.edu.

Apply Online

Contact Us

Master of Science in Education School of Education & Social Policy

618 Garrett Place
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/467-1458

Email: msedprogram@northwestern.edu