Master of Science (M.S.)


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 your application materials have been received.

Program Options and Credit Hour Requirements

Before the end of your first semester, you must decide whether you 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

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 your 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, in addition to the thesis defense.

Nonthesis Option

Submit a written request to the graduate committee before the end of your first semester of study to obtain formal written approval. You must pass a comprehensive examination in your final semester.