Quick Facts and FAQs

Quick Facts

  • Medill enrolls approximately 260 incoming graduate students each year in journalism and integrated marketing communications.
  • Students come from all over the U.S. and 14 other countries.
  • Medill's incoming graduate journalism students begin in the Fall and Summer quarters.
  • Medill's 15,000+ alumni work in news media and marketing organizations around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is it preferable to have some work experience before applying?

Work experience is not required. However, it is preferable to have some exposure to your chosen field. This can be accomplished through a combination of coursework, undergraduate activities, internships and/or full-time or part-time work experience.


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If I applied before and was denied admission, may I reapply?

Yes. If you applied to a graduate program at Medill within the past two years, you may reapply by submitting a new essay, an updated resume, an additional letter of recommendation from a person who did not previously write one for you, and any additional transcripts of academic work you completed since you last applied. An interview is required of all reapplicants.


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Does Medill allow students to defer their enrollment?

Yes. Deferral requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Deferrals are intended to assist admitted students who encounter unexpected changes in their life or work situations that make it difficult or impossible to matriculate at Medill in the quarter for which they were admitted.

An admitted student seeking to defer enrollment must send a written request (email is OK) to the Office of Graduate Admissions. The request should include the reasons for seeking the deferral. If the deferral is approved, the student must submit a second $500 nonrefundable deferral deposit, in addition to the original $500 nonrefundable tuition deposit, in order to hold a place in a future class. Both deposits will be applied toward tuition upon enrollment; however, neither will be refunded if the student does not enroll.

If you have a question about whether your situation would qualify for a deferral, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions.

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Does Medill accept transfer credits?

No. In some cases entering students may be granted a waiver for a course that would substantially replicate prior graduate-level coursework or equivalent professional work experience. However, students granted such waivers must still complete the required number of credits at Medill for their degree program. Waivers do not shorten the time it takes to earn a degree.


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What kind of career assistance does Medill provide to its students and graduates?

Please contact Medill's Career Services office for information on resources available to Medill students and alumni.


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What percentage of students receive financial aid?

Approximately 80 percent of all students enrolled at Medill receive some financial assistance in a combination of loans, grants, scholarships and/or federal work study if eligible. Medill admits students regardless of their ability to pay.


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Does Northwestern provide any housing for graduate students?

Yes. Northwestern’s Graduate Housing Office has a graduate-student residence in Evanston called Engelhart Hall. Engelhart is located about four blocks from Fisk Hall and McCormick Foundation Center and offers studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.

Off-campus housing is available throughout Evanston and Chicago. Graduate students seeking to live off campus are responsible for arranging their own housing.


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Will it hurt or help my chances by applying to start in one quarter over another?

No. We review applications and make a decision independent of which quarter you apply. Keep in mind that you can indicate only one quarter on your application.

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What is the average GPA/GRE/GMAT score of admitted students?

The Office of Admissions does not have a stated minimum score. We pursue a holistic review of applicants and consider many items including your work experience, prior academics, essays, recommendations and demonstration of success.

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When can I begin the MSJ program?

Graduate journalism students may apply for entry in the Summer (June start) or Fall (September start) quarter. Please note that if you are applying for a MSJ specialization, these start in specific quarters.

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How long is the MSJ program?

The graduate journalism program requires four quarters (12 months). Students who elect to do Medill's Global Residency program, Washington, D.C., program or a second capstone project are enrolled for five quarters.

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I haven’t taken the GRE or GMAT…

You will probably receive your unofficial test scores (test-taker copy) before we receive your official scores. These usually reach us around three weeks after you take the test. If you have received your test scores, indicate them in the space provided for self-reported scores in the online application. If you don't have your scores by the time you apply, email MedillGraduateAdmissions@northwestern.edu a copy of them to us as soon as you receive them. Scores sent this way are unofficial, but they will enable us to start reviewing your file. We cannot complete reviewing a file without test scores.

Official test scores must be sent directly to Medill from ETS or GMAC. Our GRE code is 1699, and our GMAT code is 6WZ-XH-66.

You may request a waiver of the GRE and GMAT requirement if:

  • You are a current degree-seeking Northwestern University student or degree-holding Northwestern University alumnus/a;
  • You have 5 or more years of full-time professional work experience in marketing or a closely related field;
  • You are an approved dual degree applicant currently attending Nanyang Technological University;
  • You are an approved dual degree applicant currently attending Peking University.

You can request this waiver in the Test Information section of the application. If you request a waiver, Medill may still recommend that you take the GRE or GMAT if we think it will allow us to give better consideration to your application. Please email MedillGraduateAdmissions@northwestern.edu if you have questions about your eligibility for a waiver.

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Can I borrow enough to cover other school-related expenses?

Yes. Eligible students may use federal financial aid to pay for school-related expenses, which include books, supplies and the required computer equipment and software. A cost of attendance budget can be found on the Financial Aid for Admitted Students web page on the Medill website.

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