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Frequently Asked Questions

When can I begin the Medill journalism program?

You may apply for entry in the summer (June start) or fall (September start) quarter, depending on which specialization you choose.

How long is the MSJ program?

Northwestern University is on a quarter, not semester, system. Each quarter is 10 weeks long with a break between quarters. The graduate journalism program is four quarters long, which is roughly 12 months. Students who elect to undertake Medill's Global Residency program or a second capstone project are enrolled for five quarters.

Is the Medill MSJ program STEM certified?

Yes, Medill’s Master of Science in Journalism is a STEM degree. For eligibility and additional details on the STEM OPT extension for F-1 International Students, please visit Northwestern’s Office of International Student Services. Medill’s CIP code is 09.0702.

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.

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.

What if 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 a copy to 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 our review of a file without test scores.

Official test scores must be sent directly to Medill from ETS or GMAC.

  • Medill’s GRE code: 1699
  • Medill’s GMAT code: 6WZ-XH-66

Is there a minimum TOEFL or IELTS or Duolingo score required?

No. We review applications holistically, and the TOEFL or IELTS or Duolingo score is just one of several criteria we consider for admission.

Does Medill accept transfer credits from another graduate program?

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.

Does Medill allow students to defer their enrollment?

Deferrals are intended to assist you if you encounter unexpected changes in your life or work situations that make it difficult or impossible to start at Medill in the quarter for which you were admitted. To defer enrollment, you should send a written request via email to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Your request should include your reasons for seeking the deferral.

If the deferral is approved, you will need to submit a $500 enrollment deposit. This deposit will hold your place in a future class. This enrollment deposit will not be refunded if you do not ultimately enroll at Medill.

If you received a merit-based scholarship for the 2022-2023 school year, you will not be able to transfer that scholarship to the 2023-2024 school year. Instead, we will reevaluate you for a merit-based scholarship in early 2023 and will notify you at that time if we are able to offer you a merit-based scholarship for the 2023-2024 school year. You are welcome to submit additional documentation such as an updated resume for scholarship consideration in early 2023.

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.

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. Learn more about financial aid.

Does Northwestern provide any housing for graduate students?

The Graduate Housing Office has a graduate-student residence in Evanston called Engelhart Hall. Engelhart is located about four blocks from Fisk Hall and the 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. For more information, visit the Northwestern off-campus housing webpage.

Whom do I talk to about receiving accommodations?

AccessibleNU serves, supports and empowers Northwestern students with disabilities by ensuring equal access to fully participate in academic programming and all other facets of university life. For more information about receiving accommodations, please visit AccessibleNU’s website.