Application Process

NUIN Application Requirements


The deadline for applications for the Fall 2021 academic year is 11:59 pm on December 1, 2020.  All materials, including letters of recommendation, should be submitted no later than the December 1 deadline. Late applications will not be accepted. NUIN will host virtual interviews on January 28-29, February 11-12, and February 25-26.

All applicants are required to fill out the Northwestern University application through The Graduate School website. That can be found at:

Research Experience

The PhD is about doing research, and successful applicants will have had at least one solid laboratory research experience. Research need not have been in a neuroscience laboratory.


All incoming students, regardless of major or research interests, should have a solid grounding in the basic sciences (biology, chemistry, physics) and mathematics, either through formal courses or as a result of significant relevant experience.

Statement of Purpose/Personal Statement

As part of the CollegeNET online application, applicants need to submit a statement of purpose describing their unique background, experience, and motivation for pursuing a PhD in neuroscience at Northwestern. The statement should not be more than two pages, single-spaced.

The Admissions Committee is interested in what led you to pursue PhD training in neuroscience and how your research experience has prepared you for it.  Please include answers to the following questions when preparing your statement:

  1. What drew you to your field of research?
  2. What do you most enjoy about research and what do you find most challenging?
  3. What goals do you hope to achieve during training to further your career?
  4. What question in current neuroscience research is most fascinating to you? (preferably not related to your own research)

Letters of Recommendation

Each applicant is required to have three letters of recommendation. Ideally, at least one of these recommendations will be from a supervisor of research. The letters should be requested and submitted online via the CollegeNET tool. If submitting the letter this way is not possible, please have letters mailed to the NUIN Admissions Coordinator (details below).


CollegeNET gives applicants an opportunity to upload a resume. While not required, applicants are encouraged to do so.


You are required to submit one scanned copy of your transcript from each school you have attended. Scanned transcripts may be “unofficial”, for example the versions that many institutions allow students to download themselves.  If you are recommended for admission and decide to enroll, you will be required to mail one official copy of each of your transcripts to The Graduate School Admission Office as soon as the transcripts are available.  Please do not mail copies of your transcripts to The Graduate School before you have been admitted AND submitted your enrollment decision. Any transcript submitted prior to that point will not be kept and you will be required to submit those transcripts again.

Please make sure your scanned transcripts are legible before uploading them. Illegible transcripts will not be reviewed.

Standardized Tests Scores

GRE:  The general GRE test results are optional to submit for all applicants. NUIN does not require GRE score submissions. International students with degrees from non-US institutions are strongly encouraged to submit GRE scores as additional information to support the application.  If you choose to send your scores, please send them to Northwestern University via ETS code: 1565.

TOEFL or IELTS (International Students Only):  This test must be taken no more than two years before the intended quarter of entry.  The TOEFL may be waived if the applicant has completed a degree from an institution where the primary language is English. If you are in the process of earning a degree from an institution where the primary language of instruction is English, you do not need to submit a TOEFL score. However, you must earn the degree BEFORE you enroll in classes at Northwestern. If you do not earn your degree, you will not be permitted to register.

TOEFL Test Score Requirements:

  • 600 or higher on the paper-based test
  • 250 or higher on the computer-based test
  • 100 or higher on the internet based test

IELTS Test Score Requirements:   7.0 or higher

Please send your TOEFL scores to Northwestern University via ETS code: 1565.  IELTS Department Code: 01.  TOEFL iBT: Program Name or Option 99.

For the most up to date information on TOEFL requirements please visit the TGS Admissions FAQs page and the TGS Application Requirements – Test Scores page.

Writing Sample

NUIN Does not require a writing sample.

Application Fee

The application fee is $95 and must be paid via credit card at the time of application submission.  Your application will not be processed without payment of the fee.  Applicants who because of financial hardship may qualify for a waiver of the application fee can find information here.

Special Accommodations

Potential applicants to NUIN who have a disability and need special accommodations during a campus visit should let us know by contacting We will endeavor to provide the necessary accommodations and as necessary, consult with Northwestern University’s AccessibleNU office to meet the needs.  If accepted to Northwestern, AccessibleNU is available to provide possible services and accommodations to the student. The SSD office may be contacted by email at or by phone at 847-467-5530.

Additional information regarding admission procedures of The Graduate School at Northwestern University are available here: http://

For questions concerning program details and admissions, please contact