Applying to the M.A. Program

Applications for fall admission to the M.A. program are submitted early in the prior spring semester. To apply for admission to NIU's M.A. program in philosophy, you must complete the online Application for Admission to the Graduate School, selecting the M.A. program in philosophy as the program in which you wish to enroll. Application materials include the following:

  • Two letters of recommendation: You must supply the names and email addresses of two individuals who will write letters on your behalf. The letters should speak to your ability to succeed in a graduate-level degree program.
  • Statement of purpose: Your statement of purpose should explain why you wish to pursue an M.A. in philosophy and describe your philosophical interests. If you feel that some aspect of your application does not accurately reflect your abilities or potential as a graduate student, you should explain this.
  • Writing sample: Though we do not impose strict word limits on writing samples, an ideal length is something in the range of 10 - 20 pages. If you submit a sample significantly longer than this, please include a note on the first page directing our attention to the sections or pages on which you would like us to focus. You should send the best paper you have written on a philosophical topic. If you do not have a suitable paper on a topic in philosophy, then send us your best sample of academic writing on a topic as close to philosophy as possible.
  • Evidence of English proficiency (international students, if applicable): Applicants whose native language is not English must meet the English proficiency requirements specified in the Graduate Catalog. Evidence of English proficiency is typically provided by TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic scores. 
GRE scores are not required for admission.
  • Priority Deadline (for funding): January 15
  • Final Deadline:
    • May 1 for international students living abroad
    • July 15 for applicants residing in the U.S.

Please be aware that applications submitted after January 15 may not be eligible for full consideration for funding.

Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure that all required application materials have been submitted on time.

To check the status of your application and ensure it's complete, you can use the "Check Application Status" feature. If you encounter any issues or have concerns about your application, please reach out to one of the numbers below to speak with the Graduate School admissions officer assigned to your file.

It's important to note that while the philosophy department makes admissions decisions, the online application portal is administered by NIU's Graduate School. Therefore, the Graduate School admissions officer has the most current information regarding the status of your application.

Feel free to contact them for any assistance or clarification you may need during the application process.

Good luck with your application!

Applying for Funding

  • The Philosophy Department typically offers four or five graduate assistantships to each incoming class.

  • Each assistantship includes a tuition waiver and a stipend, which is approximately $15,300 for the 2023-2024 academic year.

  • To be considered for a graduate assistantship, you must complete and submit an Application for a Graduate Assistantship.

  • Do not include your social security number on the form.

  • Once completed and signed, you can email the form to Linda Davis at or send it by post to the Department of Philosophy at the following address:

    Department of Philosophy
    Northern Illinois University
    DeKalb, IL 60115

    To ensure full consideration for a graduate assistantship, make sure your application for admission is complete by January 15. Also, ensure that your graduate assistantship application form is emailed or postmarked by January 15 or the first business day thereafter.

  • In addition, Graduate School tuition waivers are typically available to incoming philosophy M.A. students. (For the fall 2024 admissions cycle, the department was given three such waivers.) Graduate School tuition waivers cover the portion of tuition calculated as the instructional charge during the first year of study.

For more details on costs and available funding opportunities, you can visit The Graduate School's website.

If you have any inquiries or need assistance with the application process, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at We're here to help!

Application Forms