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Answer all of your Questions

General Program Questions

Yes! Effective Fall 2022, the MS in Communication program will be recognized as a STEM-designated degree in “Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia.”

MSC is a half-time program with 9 credits. Students with visa sponsorship enroll in additional courses to complete 11 credits to obtain full-time status.

The MSC program is a four-quarter program. Students complete the program in one academic year.

Northwestern University’s Academic Calendar can be found online. Exact dates for MSC vary year to year. Admitted Students will receive priority updates as they are available.

Students begin the program in September at the start of Fall quarter.

Custom Leadership Program (CLP) classes are held on Saturdays from 9am-5pm. Students enroll in a mix of weekday and weekend classes. Students working full-time may take the entire program on Saturdays to accommodate work schedules.

Online Leadership Program (OLP) classes are asynchronous. Students must attend live virtual practicums three (3) times a year.

MSC CLP classes are held in-person on Northwestern’s Evanston Campus.

MSC OLP classes are held online.

The MSC curriculum has been specially designed to expose students to content essential for developing skill sets communication in a one-year timeframe.

 MSC CLP students may customize their coursework through a selection of MSC Elective Courses.

Students interested in taking relevant, related coursework outside of the program may submit a request to the program. Course enrollment outside of the program is subject to program approval.

Admissions and Application Process

The MSC application fee is $40. Application fees are not refundable.

Please visit our Application Requirements page for the application deadline information.

MSC uses a holistic admissions approach that allows for each applicant’s academic and professional achievements to be considered. GPAs are evaluated as part of the larger admissions file, however, MSC does not institute a minimum GPA for admissions consideration. Each application is viewed in context with the rest of the file, including the statement of purpose, resume, and recommendations.

Standardized test scores are not required for consideration to the MSC Program. However, international students must demonstrate a strong ability to communicate and are required to submit an English proficiency score.

MSC values a diversity of experiences and backgrounds in the classroom. The MSC Custom Leadership Program (CLP) program does not require previous professional work experience. The program is designed for a wide range of experience levels, from recent graduates to senior management. The MSC Online Leadership Program (OLP) is designed for experienced professionals with management experience.

Someone who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is recognized as an international student. Students who will require immigration sponsorship from the university will be required to maintain full-time student status. Students who do not require immigration sponsorship from the university (i.e. students whose immigration status is sponsored by their employer or spouse) are personally responsible for knowing the requirements of their visa.

An English proficiency score is required for all international applicants, but may be waived for those who attended an institution where English is the primary language of instruction for all four years. MSC currently accepts the TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo to fulfill the language test requirement. Test scores are valid for two years from the date the test was taken.

MSC accepts official results from the following exams:

If you attended school outside of the United States, you must submit a course-by course verified transcript through Educational Credential Evaluators ( or World Education Services ( to our admissions office. Your application will not be complete until we receive the course by-course verified transcript.

If your test score is below the minimum (i.e. you earned a 25 test score but need a 26), you can still submit your MSC application. MSC reviews applications holistically.

Most documents should be uploaded to the online application. Materials such as transcripts, transcript evaluations, and test scores may arrive separately; however, your application will not be reviewed until the entire application is complete. Letters of recommendation are submitted to the online system directly by the recommender. Once the application is complete, qualified applicants may be invited for a personal interview with the admissions team.

No specific class prerequisites or undergraduate majors are required for admission to the MSC program. Completion of a four-year bachelor’s degree (or equivalent credentials for international students) is required prior to the start of classes.

If you are selected for an interview, please be prepared to discuss:

  • Your interest in the MSC program
  • Your perspective on your career journey
  • Communication challenges that you would like to overcome
  • Previous professional and academic experiences

After the admissions committee has reviewed your completed application, you will receive an email from the MSC program detailing your application decision. You may contact the Admissions Office at for application updates.

Acceptance Process

Admits will receive instructions to submit the $500 deposit to reserve a seat in the next cohort. The deposit is non-refundable and will be applied to the student’s tuition balance.

Once your deposit has been received, you are considered a part of the MSC program! You will start to receive communications from the program via email about opportunities to engage with the co curriculum and how to prepare for becoming a new MSC student.

If you are no longer able to attend, the Northwestern University policy states your deposit of $500 in U.S. funds is non-refundable. Please notify the MSC program office as soon as possible to discuss the next steps at

The MSC program must receive official transcripts in order for you to enroll in classes. Official transcripts are sent to us directly from the institution that awarded them. Many institutions are able to submit official transcripts electronically and may email those to

*Please do NOT send transcripts to The Graduate School, as this is a separate school at Northwestern not associated with MSC.

Anyone submitting hard copies of their transcripts may submit them in a sealed envelope from your institution to the address below:

MSC Program
2240 Campus Dr.
Suite 2-118

Evanston, IL 60208

All official transcripts must be sent to us by the date listed in the admission letter. If you have questions regarding the deadline, please reach out to

Deferment policies vary year to year depending on available seats. Requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed. Please reach out to with “Request to Defer” in the subject line along with your detailed explanation of the request.

Tuition, Fees, and Funding Options

Tuition can be found on this page.

For questions about your bill, tuition, or how to arrange payment, please visit Northwestern Student Finance, or reach out to them at

Northwestern University's MSC Program Graduation at the Alice Millar Chapel on Friday, August 11th, 2017. Photos by Jasmin Shah.

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