Application Materials

When you apply to the Graduate School, you'll submit transcripts and a statement of purpose. You'll also provide information regarding letters of recommendation. Check the information page for the graduate program you're interested in for details on additional requirements, such as a writing sample, test score or audition.

To help make the application process as smooth as possible, we encourage you to create an electronic file folder to hold your application materials. When you add a file to the folder, take care to name it appropriately. For example, save your GRE score to a file named "GRE for NIU."


You should upload a transcript and proof of degree from each college and university you've attended (except for community colleges from which you transferred courses for a four-year degree). Completed degrees must be from a regionally accredited institution or one with equivalent international recognition. Current or former NIU students do not need to send NIU transcripts if their transcripts are in the NIU portal. However, you may need to provide transcripts from all other colleges attended.

  • Failure to upload proper academic records will delay consideration of your application and incur additional costs.
  • If you're admitted, you'll be required to submit official transcripts and proof of degree.

Please note: International students should review additional information about transcripts.

Letters of Recommendation

You must provide names and email addresses of referees, people who will write letters of recommendation for you. Letters should describe your academic ability and goals, as well as your ability to succeed in your chosen program. Submit only the number of letters required for your program.

  • Ask your referees if they're willing to write a letter for you. Tell them what program you plan to apply to and the due date for the letter (the application deadline).
  • Enter the referees' names and email addresses on the application. You can then trigger emails to the referees requesting the letters. Be sure to submit your application as soon as possible after triggering the emails to your referees.
  • Make sure your referees' email addresses are not designed to block emails from unknown or unapproved senders. Services such as Sendio and Boxbe will block emails from our application system. We cannot respond to requests to be an approved sender.
  • When you apply, you must indicate if you wish to waive your right to see the letters. Some referees will only consent to write a letter if you waive your right to see it. If you plan to retain your right to read the letter, talk to your referee first.

Statement of Purpose

Your statement of purpose, or personal statement, should be approximately 250 to 750 words in length. It should outline your preparation for graduate study in your chosen field, as well as your goals for graduate school and beyond. It should also explain why you believe the program at NIU can best help you meet those goals.

Test Scores

The program you're applying to may require you to submit an unofficial copy of your GRE, GMAT or MAT score.

  • When preparing your score report for upload, be sure that your name and all scores are legible.
  • If you're admitted, you must have your test score sent to NIU from the testing center. When having your GRE score sent, use institution code 1559. NIU does not require department codes; neither does the testing center.

Please note: International students should review additional information about test scores.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae

Though not required, you may wish to submit a resume or curriculum vitae. The document should outline your education, work experience and other achievements that show your ability to complete your chosen program.

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Williston Hall 100


Northern Illinois University
1425 West Lincoln Hwy
DeKalb, IL 60115

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