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Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our program. We hope you find this list comprehensive and informative, but we invite you to contact us for additional information.

 Is financial support available?

Yes. All students who are admitted are offered full tuition coverage and a stipend and continue to receive both the tuition coverage and stipend as long as they progress satisfactorily through the program.

 What is the current stipend?

The stipend for 2023-2024 is $38,508. In 2023-2024, there is an additional one-time $1,000 payment after arrival in September as a moving allowance, and a one-time $999 allowance toward a computer purchase.

 Is health insurance provided?

Yes. The cost of the Northwestern student health insurance premium is provided for all Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Graduate Training Program in Life Sciences (DGP) students who select this coverage.

 Does the DGP conduct applicant interviews?

Yes. The DGP selects approximately 120 applicants to interview.  All interviews for the 2024 admissions season will be virtual.  We hope to be able to offer an in-person visit to admitted applicants in March.  Please check back for more updates.

 Does the DGP interview international applicants?

Yes. International applicants will be eligible for interviews and admission if selected by the admissions committee. 

 How many students does DGP matriculate each year?

The typical incoming class will be 30 to 35 students.

 What is the application deadline?

December 1. Applications after this deadline will be accepted only with DGP permission for extremely extenuating circumstances.

 Do I need to take the GRE exam?

No, the GRE test is not required. You may submit GRE scores if you feel it will help your application.  International students from non-US institutions are encouraged to submit GRE scores. If you do choose to submit scores, they should be sent from ETS to The Graduate School, using code 1565. No department code is needed.

 Is there a minimum GPA required for admissions?

No. All application materials are considered as a whole. Recent entering classes have had an average GPA of 3.5. In evaluating applicants, the program places greatest emphasis on research experience(s) and letters of recommendation from research advisers.  DGP uses holistic review for all applications, and each application is thoroughly considered.

 Is the TOEFL required for foreign applicants?

Yes. The Northwestern University Graduate School requires 90 or above on the internet test for admission to the university. IELTS scores (7.0 or higher) can be used in place of TOEFL. The DGP cannot waive this requirement except for applicants with undergraduate or graduate degrees from institutions in the United States or institutions where English is the language of instruction. The Graduate School evaluates universities (not individual programs) to see if they qualify for a TEOFL waiver.  If your institution's language of instruction was English, please email with the name of your institution to find out if it has already been evaluated.  If it has not, we will ask you for further documentation to aid The Graduate School's evaluation.

 Do I need to have an advisor chosen or know what type of research I want to do when I start?

No, you do not need to have a faculty member accept you into their lab while applying for the program, nor do you need to commit to a particular research area. Lab rotations and courses during your first year will give you an opportunity to explore different types of research before you have to select your dissertation lab and project.  

 Can I start in winter or spring quarter?

No. The program only admits students for the fall of each year. However, matriculating DGP students may work in research labs during the summer prior to registration in the fall.

 Does DGP offer a master's degree?

No, only the PhD program is offered.

 Does Northwestern offer fee waivers?

Please see here for information about eligibility for a fee waiver from The Graduate School.  You must meet the eligibility requirements to obtain a fee waiver, including being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.  DGP does not offer additional waivers to students who do not meet the eligibility requirements.

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