Application Procedure

1. Explore the program

Applicants should familiarize themselves with our graduate program to make sure it is a good fit.

  • Study courses offered by the Department of Anthropology and related departments to ascertain the availability of courses in your desired specializations. Bear in mind that not all courses are offered every year.
  • Review the interests and strengths of our graduate faculty advisors and committee members, particularly those in your specific subfield.

2. Apply to The Graduate School at Northwestern

Applicants must be admitted to The Graduate School before they can be enrolled in the Department of Anthropology.

You apply online through The Graduate School website. About the online application:

  • You will use the online application to submit required and optional supplemental materials.
  • You may access the online application as many times as necessary before submission.
  • Using the same PIN and User ID, you will also use the online application to view your admission decision. 

Review The Graduate School website for:

3. Provide supplemental materials

The Department relies on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a personal Statement of Purpose in making choices for admission and financial aid.

GRE scores

GRE scores are required for admission whether or not you are seeking financial aid. Please note that:

  • The GRE must be taken no more than five years prior to the intended quarter of entry.
  • Scores must come directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS), using our ETS institution code of 1565.
  • To ensure that test scores are received in a timely manner, you are encouraged to take the test at least three months before the department's December 15th application deadline.

For more details on GRE scores, visit the Graduate School’s Test Scores webpage.

TOEFL scores

Students whose first language is not English must take the TOEFL examination, and to score 550 or higher on the paper-based test, 213 or higher on the computer-based test, or 90 or higher on the internet based test.

To submit your score:

  • ETS must send TOEFL scores to The Graduate School using our ETS institution code of 1565.
  • Applicants taking the paper-based TOEFL should reference department code 01. This will ensure that the TOEFL scores are sent to The Graduate School and not the undergraduate college. 
  • To ensure that test scores are received in a timely manner, you are encouraged to take the test at least three months before the department's December 15th application deadline.

Letters of recommendation

The Graduate School requires a minimum of two letters of recommendation. The Graduate School's and the Department’s admission committees are interested in recommendation letters from those who are most able to assess your academic and research abilities in areas related to your field of study.

Official transcripts

While completing your online application, you will be required to submit one scanned copy of your transcript or academic record from each school you have attended. For more details on transcript requirements, visit the Graduate School’s Transcripts webpage.

Statement of Purpose

The required Statement of Purpose is a brief statement of career plans. Read tips for preparing your Statement of Purpose.

Optional materials

Students who have relevant writing samples and/or a curriculum vita are encouraged to submit them.

Please note: The video interview is an existing feature of the Online CollegeNET Application System and NOT required for the PhD Application in Anthropology.

Any materials submitted in support of an application become property of The Graduate School and cannot be released for other purposes or returned.

Additional questions?

Prospective students may direct any further questions about our program or the application process to Tracy Tohtz.