Graduate Studies Admissions

How to Apply

To apply, please submit all application materials to the NIU Graduate School’s application system.

When the applicant's admission file is complete in the Graduate School, it is forwarded to the department for evaluation. All decisions about admission to graduate degree programs offered in English are made by the director of graduate studies upon recommendation by the Admissions and Standards Subcommittee of the Graduate Studies Committee. Prospective students will be notified of admissions decisions by the NIU Graduate School.

 

Application Deadlines

All application materials must be received by the deadline below to ensure priority consideration.

New students seeking funding through a graduate assistantship should apply by February 1 (assistantships are ordinarily given for fall admission only). Applications for graduate assistantships should be submitted to the department.

MA and PhD Application Deadlines
Fall admission Spring admission Summer admission
Priority consideration
(To be eligible for graduate assistantship funding)
February 1 -- --
U.S. students April 15 October 10 April 15
International students March 15 September 15 --

 

Admissions Requirements

Our requirements are designed to assure students accepted into the M.A. and Ph.D. programs that they are likely to succeed in their degree work.

The department ordinarily expects the following:

M.A. degree:

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • Minimum English course GPA of 3.2
  • Minimum verbal GRE score of 156
  • Minimum GRE score in writing of 4.5
  • Two letters of recommendation from professors

Ph.D. degree:

  • Minimum graduate GPA of 3.2
  • Minimum verbal GRE score of 160
  • Minimum GRE score in writing of 4.5
  • Three letters of recommendation from professors
  • A sample of academic writing

The Admissions Subcommittee of the department's Graduate Studies Committee examines and weighs student's credentials in light of the requirements listed above, balancing each requirement with the others in order to estimate the potential for success that the "package" suggests. Excellent letters of recommendation, for example, may compensate for slightly insufficient GRE scores, or strong GRE scores may compensate for a slightly insufficient GPA.

M.A. degree

  • Minimum verbal GRE score of 156 and written GRE score of 4.5
  • Two credible, current letters of recommendation that speak specifically about the applicant's ability, surmised or witnessed, within an English-speaking environment
  • TOEFL IBT score of at least 80 (with a spoken score of 26) or PBT score of at least 550, or IELTS scores of 8 (speaking) and 63.5 (composite.

Ph.D. degree

  • Minimum verbal GRE score of 160 and written GRE score of 4.5
  • Three credible, current letters of recommendation that speak specifically about the applicant's ability, surmised or witnessed, within an English-speaking environment
  • TOEFL IBT score of at least 80 ( with a spoken score of 26) or PBT score of at least 550, or IELTS scores of 8 (speaking) and 6.5 (composite).
  • A writing sample, preferably of academic writing

A student may wish to take graduate courses without being formally admitted to a graduate degree program and may do so as a Student-at-Large (SAL). A student who matriculates as a Student-at-Large is subject to the regulations specified in the Graduate Catalog.

A Student-at-Large should seek advice from the director of graduate studies and may register for courses in the English department. Registration for graduate courses, however, in no way implies admission to the Graduate School.

The Graduate School maintains SAL files until a student formally applies and is admitted to a degree program. Ordinarily, no more than a total of 15 transfer and SAL graduate hours may be applied toward a graduate degree. None of them will count toward a formal program of study for a degree unless approved by the director of graduate studies.

Contact us

Northern Illinois University
Department of English
Reavis Hall, Room 215
DeKalb, IL 60115

815-753-0611
815-753-0606 (Fax)