The admissions process for the HSIP has three main steps:
- Complete the Northwestern University Graduate School online application
- Ensure the required supplemental information is submitted
- Interview upon invitation
The application for Fall 2017 (Summer 2017 - HQPS) is now closed. The application for Fall 2018 (Summer 2018 - HQPS) will open in September.
All supporting documents should be submitted in PDF (digital) format with the application. Please scan hard copies and convert other files to PDF. If an applicant finds this submission format is not feasible, he or she may contact the program to request alternative arrangements.
The online application is accessed via the TGS admissions portal. Where requested on the form, applicants should indicate the application is for the Health Sciences Integrated PhD Program (program code H01PH). The application fee is $95, which must be paid by credit card.
**IMPORTANT** If you plan to apply for the Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety Track, you must indicate that you are applying for Summer quarter on your online application. Coursework for this track begins in July.
The online application includes the following sections:
- Statement of Purpose (required): The statement of purpose is an opportunity for applicants to introduce themselves to the admissions committee and state their reasons for seeking a PhD at Northwestern University. Applicants should briefly outline their background, education, and any research experience. They should also describe their research interests. They may identify potential faculty they would like to work with, which can be helpful in determining their research fit within the Northwestern community. The statement of purpose should be no more than 750 words.
- Academic Background: Applicants must list all post-secondary institutions attended. This includes community colleges, studies abroad, and current registrations whether or not in a degree program. We understand that many institutions do not use a 4.0 GPA system, especially international institutions. Therefore, applicants may leave that section blank. The admissions committee is more concerned with the individual courses taken and the applicant’s performance in these courses which are itemized on the transcripts.
- Transcripts: Applicants will be required to upload a scanned copy of all their transcripts. Please follow The Graduate School guidelines for submission of transcripts.
- Curriculum Vitae (CV): Applicants should upload their CV online. We encourage applicants to list all research papers on their CV with Web links to these papers.
- Writing Sample: Applicants should include a research paper (30-page maximum) with their application. One paper may be uploaded in the online application. Please note: papers submitted by mail or e-mail will not be uploaded into the application.
- Diversity Statement (optional): For applicants who choose to explain how they would contribute to the diversity of the community of scholars at Northwestern University.
Following the submission of the online application form, several outstanding items may remain. Applicants can view the status of these items using the application tracking page made available upon application submission. Other required information includes:
- Official Test Scores: Official GRE scores should be sent from the testing agency directly to The Graduate School. Northwestern University's ETS code is 1565. Test scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are accepted if taken within the last five (5) years. The online application also provides fields to self-report GRE scores.
- Three Letters of Recommendation (confidential): All letters must be submitted online. Northwestern does not provide evaluation forms for recommenders. It is preferred to have letters from professors or instructors who are familiar with the applicant's work at an advanced level and who can provide information about their potential for success as a doctoral student. The professor should describe the nature of the academic relationship. If the applicants collaborated on a research project or thesis, the professor could address the quality of the work produced – technical and writing skills, research methods used, data analysis, originality, depth of research undertaken, questions/problems raised, contribution to the field, etc.
Letters from employers are also accepted. It is preferred if they can address the applicant’s academic abilities or provide some insight on character and working style: ability to work on their own, self-starter, complete a project on time, etc. These are qualities needed by doctoral students. If any research or data analysis were conducted, this should be mentioned in the letter.
- Certification of Proficiency in English (if applicable): All applicants whose native language is NOT English must certify their proficiency in the English language. An applicant may certify proficiency in one of two ways:
A. Providing official scores for either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The test must be taken no more than two years before the intended quarter of entry. To be considered for admission, an applicant's TOEFL score must be 600 or higher on the paper-based exam, 250 or higher on the computer-based exam, or 100 or higher on the Internet-based exam. IELTS test takers should score 7.0 or higher. Northwestern does not require the Test of Spoken English (TSE).
B. Earning an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English. This degree must be awarded BEFORE the student enrolls in doctoral classes in the upcoming quarter at Northwestern. In this case, the applicant will have satisfied the English proficiency requirement. Applicants should include any TOEFL or IELTS scores they have in the online application, even if test scores have expired.
The program will initiate interviews for candidates who are being strongly considered for admission or for candidates for whom additional information is needed during the last two weeks of January. An applicant cannot request an interview. The program will contact the applicant to arrange an interview.
Admission offers will be on a rolling basis throughout February and March with final notification to all applicants by March 15th. Once applicants are recommended for admission and decide to enroll, they will be required to mail one official copy of each transcript to The Graduate School Admission Office. All transcripts should be sent in sealed, unopened envelopes, directly from the issuing institution.
4. How we evaluate applications
The Health Sciences Integrated Program evaluates applicants for admission based on the entire application package. Our goal is to identify and offer admission to those individuals with potential for success in graduate school and beyond. To this end, we carefully examine each applicant's academic achievement and research experiences.
The evaluation necessarily begins with numerical qualifications such as undergraduate and Masters GPAs, GRE scores, and TOEFL scores for foreign students. Although there are no minimum scores required, entering classes typically have an average GPA of 3.5 (ranging from 3.0 to 4.0), and average GRE scores of 75% Verbal and 75% Quantitative. In addition to the cumulative GPA, the admissions committee looks most closely for success in previous coursework.
Beyond these numerical scores, our admissions committee places great emphasis on quality research experience, strong letters of support from research and/or academic mentors and colleagues, and a personal statement that indicates an appreciation of the research enterprise and a dedication to graduate training. Successful applicants are able to communicate a clear understanding of their own research experiences both in writing (personal statement included with application) and orally (during interviews).