Department of Geological Sciences
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Applying to the Graduate Program

Proceed Directly to Web-Based Application Form

Financial Support

The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences guarantees all of its Ph.D. students full financial support as long as they make satisfactory progress towards the completion of their degrees. The EPS aid package includes a tuition scholarship, stipend, and Northwestern student health insurance. Additional support is also available for field research and travel to conferences and professional meetings. Major sources of aid for first-year sudents are University Fellowships and, to a lesser extent, research and teaching assistantships.

Desired Background

Students needn't have an undergraduate degree in geology to enter our program. Because the Earth and planetary sciences are increasingly interdisciplinary, we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in such varied disciplines as physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, computer science, mathematics, applied mathematics, and geology. A strong foundation in math and science is a prerequisite for admission.

The Application

To apply to the Graduate Program in Earth and Planetary Sciences, students must complete the web-based application form and submit the following additional materials:

  • Application Fee of $75
  • Official transcripts for each undergraduate and graduate institution attended
  • At least two letters of recommendation
  • GRE (General Record Examination) Scores for the general test only

Additional Requirements for Foreign Applicants: Foreign applicants from countries in which English is not the native language must certify their English proficiency in one of the following ways:

  • By providing acceptable Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. The test must be taken no more than two years before the intended quarter of entry. To qualify for admission, students must earn a minimum score of 577 on the paper-based TOEFL, a 233 on the computer version, a 90 on the internet test, or a 7.0 on the IELTS. To qualify for teaching assistantships, foreign students must also pass the Test of Spoken English(TSE), often taken in the first year of graduate study.
  • By earning an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited four-year institution (or equivalent), where the language of instruction is English.
  • By earning a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution where the language of instruction is English.


Prospective students must submit their applications by December 31st to be guaranteed consideration for the full range of financial aid (fellowships, research and teaching assistantships).

  • Apply
  • Request Information from the Department

If you are interested in receiving information on graduate studies in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Northwestern University, please email us at eps"at" In your message, please indicate your area of interest and include your postal and email addresses.



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