Master Degree Program


Submit an application to the graduate school. If you are interested in a graduate assistantship, download and complete the assistantship application form and submit it to the graduate program director via e-mail or standard postal delivery. You are encouraged to contact the faculty member(s) with whom you intend to work, to discuss research opportunities and ensure that the faculty member is accepting new students into their research group.

Admission decisions are made continuously, but the department graduate committee will not review applications until all portions of the application have been submitted. Check with the graduate school to ensure that all of their application materials have been received.

We places equal weight on each of the three main components of the application:

  • GRE scores
  • GPA
  • Letters of Recommendation

High GRE scores can potentially offset a lower than normal GPA and excellent letters of recommendation can compensate for lower GRE scores. Admitted students typically have verbal and quantitative GRE scores above 152, GPAs above 3.0 and very good letters of recommendation.

Program Options and Credit Hour Requirements

Before the end of their first semester, you must decide whether they will pursue one of two program options. There are different requirements for each of these options. Regardless of which option you choose, you must complete 34 credit hours of graduate coursework with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Additionally, you must take 25 of the 34 credit hours in our department. With approval of the dean of the graduate school and our graduate committee, you may use a combined total of up to 15 credit hours earned as a student-at-large at NIU, as a student at another institution or credit earned in NIU courses taught outside the U.S.

Thesis Option

In this program option, you will design and conduct an original research project that will be summarized in a written thesis.

  • You may use up to 6 credit hours of thesis research to meet the 34 credit hour requirement.
  • You must meet annually with their thesis committee and present a report of your progress through the program.
  • You will prepare and deliver a public colloquium explaining the design and results of your original research. This colloquium is in addition to the student’s thesis defense.

Nonthesis Option

to pursue this option, submit a written request to the graduate committee before the end of their first semester of study to obtain formal written approval.

  • You must pass a comprehensive examination in their final semester.