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Applications to The Graduate School at Northwestern University are accepted online only; applicants should simply submit the following components via the online application system, CollegeNet. The French recordings can be submitted in a digital format, MP3 and files compatible with the iTunes application preferred.  The selection process usually lasts until mid-April. Offers of admission are made in the spring.

Requirements for Admission

1. Application form - Application to The Graduate School at Northwestern University is accepted online only. The online application is accessible via The Graduate School website. All applicants must submit an Academic Statement and a Personal Statement.  You can find more information on what to include in these statements here (This should be written in English.).

Note: Graduate applicants to the department of French and Italian may elect to participate in the Interdisciplinary Cluster Initiative, a program designed to help graduate students during their academic career at Northwestern by fostering connections with students and faculty in other programs with whom they might have natural intellectual affinities. Interdisciplinary clusters in different areas of intellectual inquiry have been developed by faculty across schools and programs and provide a second intellectual home for incoming and current graduate students. Clusters offer their own discrete courses as well as sponsor a number of activities and events for students and faculty. Students interested in pursuing dedicated interdisciplinary study should visit for more information about the intellectual activities of these programs. Prospective students have the opportunity to select on their application to graduate school a cluster with which they would like to affiliate, though choosing a cluster is not a requirement for admission. Students may affiliate with a cluster at any point during their study at Northwestern.

Current interdisciplinary clusters are:

For further admissions information, please see The Graduate School website.

2. Application fee (non-refundable) - All applicants are required to pay an application fee. The fee (subject to change) is $95 for both US citizens and international applicants, payable by credit card only during the online application process. Your application will NOT be processed without payment of the fee. The fee cannot be postponed, and is not refundable. The Graduate School provides fee waivers on a first-come, first serve basis to eligible applicants who meet their criteria. More information about fee waivers can be found here: Application Fee Waivers.

3. Official, confidential transcripts - Official transcripts (bearing the registrar's signature and/or the institution's seal) from each post-secondary institution attended, including records from courses in any university-level institution attended abroad, should be uploaded via CollegeNet and submitted online. All documents not in English must be accompanied by official English translations. We accept translations from the institution issuing the transcript, ATA certified translators, or from your consulate. You may find an ATA translator at the following web site: Plain translations, notarized translations, and translations done by someone other than a certified translator are not acceptable. For more information, please visit

4. Three letters of recommendation - Must be sent as an electronic copy. Please note that recommenders should submit letters online via CollegeNet. Letters can be submitted in French or English.

5. Test scores - Certification of proficiency in English. All applicants whose native language is not English must certify their proficiency in the English language. An applicant may certify proficiency the following ways:

The GRE is NOT required by the Department of French and Italian. International students who have received a degree from an accredited, English-speaking institution will not be required to take the new language test (Versant) or attendant language course work.

6. French writing sample - Submit a sample of your scholarly writing in French, preferably a recent, long research paper. In the event that your French writing sample does not represent your most advanced thinking on the subject you wish to pursue in graduate school, you are welcome to submit an additional writing sample of any length in English.

7. French recording - Include a recording in French, in which you speak freely about yourself in a conversational manner (do not read a prepared text), then read a paragraph from a French text of your choice. The entire recording should not exceed five minutes. Native French speakers need not submit the recording. You may submit the recording in a digital format, via e-mail to the French and Italian Department. Acceptable formats include MP3 files and any files compatible with the iTunes application. For alternative arrangements please contact the graduate program assistant.

For more information about the Ph.D. program in French, please contact Lisa Byrnes.