Application Process

Applications are due December 1 each year for the following fall. For example, for entrance in Fall 2018, the deadline is December 1, 2018.

Entrance Requirements

The following minimum coursework requirements must be met prior to enrollment in the program:

  • One year of Biology
  • One semester of Statistics AND one semester of Organic Chemistry, Genetics, OR Ecology

Scholastic Record (Test Scores and GPA)

The PBC Program looks for appropriate preparation for advanced study. The following are suggested minimum scores, and are not absolutely required. All aspects of the application are considered:

  • GPA: 3.0
  • GRE test scores for applicants applying to Fall quarter 2018 may not be older than September 1, 2013.
  • GRE (general): 160 verbal/148 quantitative/4.5 analytical writing
  • TOEFL: 577 (paper-based); 233 (computer-based); 90 (internet-based)
  • TOEFL test scores for applicants applying to Fall quarter 2018 may not be older than September 1, 2016.

For more information, please see The Graduate School's application requirements.

Application Process

The Graduate School requires that all applicants submit their materials online through The Graduate School website. The application fee for 2018-2019 is $95 for both domestic and international applications.

Completed applications should contain the following materials:

  1. Completed electronic Graduate School application form, including a personal statement. The personal statement should not exceed 2 pages and should address:
    • Why you want to pursue a graduate degree
    • Why you want to pursue a graduate degree in the Northwestern/Chicago Botanic Garden Program
    • Your research interests and faculty members with whom you might like to work
    • Information you think is relevant with regard to your past experiences and future goals
  2. Official transcripts from all academic institutions attended (additional information for international students). Unofficial transcripts can be accepted for review, but if accepted into the program, you will be required to submit an official transcript.
  3. Two letters of recommendation from individuals who are familiar with your academic and research achievements.
  4. General GRE scores. These may be waived if you already have a graduate degree in the sciences.
  5. For applicants whose native language is not English, you must also submit TOEFL scores that are less than two years old.
  6. Current resume or CV.
  7. As students are required to present the results of original research in the form of a written thesis to a faculty committee as part of completion of the degree, it is highly recommended that students contact faculty with whom they may be interested in working. Read about faculty research.

GRE transcripts and letters of recommendation should be included in your application. For more information on the application process, please see The Graduate School website.

Financial Aid

All PhD students accepted into the program will be offered complete tuition remission, a competitive living stipend, and health insurance for five years. This will be provided as a combination of fellowships and assistantships.

Students who are interested in applying for student loans to supplement any financial awards made by Northwestern are advised to go read The Graduate School's information on student loans. For additional information on financial aid please visit the Financial Aid section of the Graduate School website.