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Applying to NIU

If you intend to apply as a non-degree seeking student (student-at-large), you must read important information about applying before getting started.

To apply online: Go to CollegeNet's website.

Time to apply: If you have carefully prepared to apply, you can submit a complete application dossier within about 15 minutes.

Cost to apply: Degree-seeking application is $60. Student-at-Large application is $10. 

Learn More

We encourage you to explore our master’s or doctoral programs of study to find the one that best fits your academic preparation and professional goals. Follow the links on the program webpages to learn more about curriculum, requirements and faculty.

Read our Tips for Applying page. It has important information about the application process and how to gather the correct documents before applying.


Graduate admission decisions are made upon the recommendation of the faculty in the program of study to which you apply. The Graduate School coordinates the admission process, but admission recommendations are made by faculty in your intended program of study.

As you prepare to begin your application, refer to the tips below:

  • Carefully read the description of the master’s or doctoral program of study to which you intend to apply. Explore the links on that page to learn more about the curriculum, faculty and application requirements. Contact information for the program office appears on those pages.
  • Read our Tips for Applying page which has even more detailed information about how to apply.
  • Know the deadline by which all application materials must be received. Many of the deadlines are set and enforced by the program to which you are applying.
  • Be sure that your statement of purpose outlines your preparation for graduate study in the field, as well as your goals for graduate study and beyond. It should also explain why you believe the program at NIU can best help you meet those goals.
  • Finalize your resume/curriculum vitae. No program requires a resume/cv. But many applicants want to submit one, so you will have an opportunity to upload your resume/cv during the application process.
  • Communicate with individuals who you will ask to write letters of recommendation. Make certain that they are willing to write a letter that addresses your preparation for graduate study, your ability to succeed in the specific program and your goals. Tell your referees when you will begin the application and the date by which their recommendation must be received. As part of your application, letters of recommendation must be uploaded by your referee via CollegeNet. Referees will be contacted by CollegeNet.
  • Gather your transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (except U.S. community colleges from which you transferred credit to a prior degree) and proof of degree. If you are an international student, learn more about transcripts and proof of degree requirements. As you apply, you can upload an unofficial copy of your university/college records. If you are admitted, we require receipt of official transcripts and proof of degree. Official transcripts and proof of degree must be mailed; you can mail them at any time. But you must upload copies of the documents as part of the application process.
  • Collect your required test scores (GRE, GMAT, or MAT and TOEFL or IELTS).
  • Students who received a degree outside of the U.S., New Zealand, Austria, and the United Kingdom are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores, unless they indicate that they are also seeking admission to the Intensive English Program at ELS-DeKalb. During the application process, you can upload a student copy of your test scores. If you are admitted, we require test scores received directly from the testing agency. You can have those sent at any time during the application process, but you must upload unofficial copies to submit the application.
  • Some programs require that you submit additional supporting materials along with your application. You can learn more about those requirements on the master's and doctoral program pages. Those supporting materials (except art portfolios and music auditions) must be uploaded during the application process.
  • Read the File Upload Requirements so your materials are in the correct format.

Apply Now

Apply Online

U.S. Postal Service Mailing Address

The Graduate School
Northern Illinois University
1425 West Lincoln Highway
DeKalb, Illinois 60115

If using a courier:

The Graduate School
Northern Illinois University
180 Stadium Drive
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828

Campus Safety

NIU provides information regarding campus security, personal and fire safety, including topics such as: crime prevention, emergency response procedures and crime reporting policies, in addition to crime and fire statistics for the most recent three calendar years.

Get more information about campus security safety in the Annual Security Report. Contact the University Police and Public Safety Department at 815-753-9628 to receive a hard copy. To receive a hard copy of the Annual Fire Safety Report contact the Environmental Health & Safety department at 815-753-0404.