We begin accepting applications for the 2016 – 2017 academic year in September 2015.

The application deadline for the 2016 – 2017 academic year is Thursday, December 31st, 2015 at 11:59PM CST.

Application to The Graduate School at Northwestern University is accepted online only; applicants should simply submit the following components via the online application system, Apply Yourself. The French recordings can be submitted in a digital format, or CDs and cassettes can be mailed directly to the French and Italian Department.

Application materials, including electronic transmissions, must be received by the Department of French and Italian by 11:59PM CST December 31, 2015. The selection process usually lasts until mid-April. Offers of admission are made each 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 Apply Yourself website. It includes the Statement of Purpose, which is an important document in your admission dossier. The Statement of Purpose can be as long as 750 words and should give a clear sense of your motivations, intellectual interests and goals in the most specific terms possible. (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:

  • African Studies
  • Asian Studies
  • British Studies
  • Classics
  • Comparative and Historical Social Science
  • Comparative Race and Diaspora
  • Critical Studies in Theatre and Performance
  • Critical Theory
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Medieval Studies
  • Middle East and North African Studies (MENA)
  • Poetry and Poetics
  • Rhetoric and Public Culture
  • Science Studies

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

2. Application fee (nonrefundable) - 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 waived or postponed, and is not refundable.

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 Apply Yourself 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 can submit letters online via Apply Yourself. 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:

  • Providing official scores for either the TOEFL or IELTS exam. The test must be taken no more than two years before the intended quarter of entry. For the TOEFL, an applicant must score 550 or higher on the paper-based test, 233 or higher on the computer-based test, or 90 or higher on the Internet-based test. For the IELTS, an applicant must score 7.0 or higher.
  • Earning an undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year institution or equivalent, where the language of instruction is English.
  • Earning a graduate degree from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English.

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 Graduate Program Assistant. Acceptable formats include MP3 files and any files compatible with the iTunes application. Recordings made on CDs or cassette tapes can also be mailed directly to the department of French and Italian.

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