Frequently Asked Questions

 Are there any info sessions I can attend for more information?
Yes! Please register below in order to attend.

Yes. This year, we will start hosting Virtual Info Sessions via Zoom starting in July. In order to attend, please make sure to register to receive Zoom details.

 Are there any changes to HSIP admission requirements due to COVID-19?

The upcoming 2022-2023 admissions cycle will not require the GRE. However, at this time, English Proficiency Certification (TOEFL, IELTS or a previous degree from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English and approved by The Graduate School) are still required for the upcoming admissions season.

We are constantly monitoring the situation with COVID-19 and are aware of changes to test requirements. Currently, the TOEFL have transitioned to online, proctored at-home tests with exception of China and Iran. Please refer to the official ETS website for regional and the most up-to-date information regarding any changes to test taking. If you are unable to take the TOEFL (if required), we recommend waiting until they are available in your area as they are still a necessary component for the admissions process.

 Is HSIP a full-time or part-time program?

HSIP is a full-time doctoral program only.

 Can I continue working a full-time job as a student?

No. HSIP will only allow relevant part-time work approved by your adviser, the director and The Graduate School for up to 20 hours per week. Permission to work (PTW) forms must be filled out for any new position and filled out before work begins.

 Am I able to transfer equivalent graduate courses?

No. While you can waive certain program requirements with adviser approval, you still need to take the nine (9) credit minimum of classes under The Graduate School (TGS) in order to graduate. This includes any coursework taken at Northwestern. Example: If you have already taken an introductory Biostatistic course and would like to have the requirement waived, you must consult with your adviser on taking an equivalent or higher level course in its place.

 Is there a teaching requirement for the program?

Yes. Students are required to be a teaching assistant (TA) for at least one (1) quarter.

 Is the TOEFL required for foreign applicants?

Yes. English Proficiency Certification (TOEFL, IELTS or a previous degree from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English and approved by The Graduate School) are still required for the upcoming admissions season.

TGS requires a minimum TOEFL score of 600 on the written test, 250 on the computer-based test or 100 on the internet test for admission to the university. Applicants may also take the IELTS. HSIP cannot waive this requirement except for applicants with undergraduate or graduate degrees from accredited institutions where English is the language of instruction and the institution must be approved by TGS.

 How can I verify if my previous degree was from a TOEFL/IELTS exempt institution?

The Graduate School (TGS) has a frequently updated list of accredited, English-speaking institutions that are TOEFL/IELTS exempt. Please send an inquiry to the HSIP Inbox ( to verify if your institution counts toward a TOEFL/IELTS waiver. If your institution is not approved by TGS, you must submit either a TOEFL or IELTS scores.

 Do you accept the Duolingo English Test (DET)?

No. At this time, The Graduate School does not accept DET.

 Will you accept a TOEFL/IELTS score from "X" years ago?

HSIP can only accept valid TOEFL/IELTS scores for the English Proficiency Certification requirement if you did not earn a previous degree from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English and the institution must be approved by The Graduate School. Because English proficiency may change from when exams are taken, we cannot accept expired scores passed their validity period. Please refer to either the TOEFL or IELTS website for more information.

 What counts as a writing sample?

Writing samples must be research papers no longer than the 30 page maximum and only submitted via the online application portal. Any papers submitted by mail or email will not be considered.  

Examples include the following: published/unpublished research papers, co-authored research with your contribution to the work designated, manuscripts (can be in-progress), grants and previous undergraduate/graduate research projects.

 If I apply to the HSIP program, can I get financial support?

Yes, all students who are admitted are offered full tuition coverage, a stipend and paid coverage in the Northwestern University student health service and insurance plan. HSIP students continue to receive both the tuition coverage and stipend as long as they progress satisfactorily through the program. The stipend for 2022-23 is $35,196.

 Is health insurance provided?

p>Yes, the cost of the Northwestern University student health insurance plan is provided for all HSIP students. More information can be found on the Student Health Insurance page.

 Does HSIP conduct applicant interviews?

Yes, HSIP interviews all applicants to the program including all dual degree applicants (MD/PhD, JD/PhD). Information regarding applicant interviews for the 2022-2023 admissions cycle: TBD.

 Can I apply online?

Yes, The Graduate School uses a secure online application site. First, review the application instructions.

 What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline is Dec. 1, 11:59 p.m. US-Central Standard Time for all program tracks (HQPS, HBMI, HSOR, SSH). All required materials are due, including letters of recommendations and English Proficiency Certification. It is the applicant's responsibility to make sure all materials are in by the deadline.

 Can I obtain a paper application?

No. Northwestern, no longer issues paper applications.

 Are there special forms for my recommendation letter writers to use?

Letters of recommendations (LORs) should be submitted via the online application portal. No additional form is needed. Recommenders are the only ones allowed to upload LORs as applicants are required to waive access to view them.

 Do I need to take the GRE exam?

The upcoming 2022-2023 admissions cycle will not require the GRE.

 Do you have a cutoff for GPA?

We do not eliminate applicants from consideration solely on the basis of their GPA. Students in entering classes typically have an average undergraduate GPA between 3.2 and 4.0.

 Do you offer application fee waivers?

The Graduate School are in charge of application fee waivers and not the HSIP program. Please refer to the instructions listed on their site.

 After acceptance into the program, does HSIP provide additional resources to assist with English proficiency?

Yes. HSIP has partnered with Northwestern University's English department to offer free, non-credit resources for graduate students that can be provided in-person or remotely.

 Do I need to know what type of research I want to do when I start?

No, courses and other experiences during your first year will give you an opportunity to explore many types of research before you have to select your dissertation project.

 Can I start in winter or spring quarters?

No, HSIP generally admits students to begin Fall Quarter each year. The only exception is for those wishing to pursue the Healthcare Quality & Patient Safety (HQPS) track as they matriculate into the Summer Quarter as required courses begin in July.

 Does HSIP offer a master's degree?

No, we only offer a PhD.

 Do you need a master’s degree in order to apply to the HSIP program?

No, although it may be helpful especially for applicants that did not have undergraduate research experience, a master's degree is not required to apply.

 Does HSIP support dual-degree programs?

Yes. If a student is interested in a dual-degree program (i.e. MD/PhDJD/PhD, approved master’s degrees within The Graduate School), you must be accepted into both programs.

 Does HSIP have a directory to see which faculty member's research matches my interests or work?