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Frequently Asked Questions

General Program Questions

The MSHC program takes four quarters to complete, approximately one year. Classes begin in September for Fall quarter, and many graduate in August, Summer quarter. 

Students may take up to five years to complete their masters degree. 

Classes are on Saturdays, approximately 9 am – 4 pm, one day per week. 

Over the summer, students who choose the practicum option will meet for class on occasional weeknights in addition to regular Saturday classes.

Students begin the MSHC program in Fall Quarter.

Classes are held on the downtown Chicago Northwestern campus.

Yes, students are welcome to register for courses outside of the MSHC program. However, those courses will not count towards degree progress and are not included in MSHC tuition.

Full time student status is defined by the number of credits for which you are registered in each quarter. In general, domestic students are registered for 2.25 credits per quarter. International students are registered for at least three credits per quarter to maintain student visa status. Full time students are registered for three or more credits per quarter.

  • Financial Aid: Domestic students who take at least two credits per quarter are eligible for federal financial aid and student loan deferrals.
  • International Office: International students who are on F-1 visas must take three credits during the fall, winter, and spring quarters to be considered “full time” by the international office and to retain their visa eligibility.

No. We are currently busy serving our masters students!

Admissions and Application Process

Round 1 Deadline:  January 17, 2022
Round 2 Deadline: March 21, 2022
Round 3 Deadline: June 6, 2022

Admission is competitive, and space is limited; therefore applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

For visa purposes, international applicants should apply by the third round.

No. The following items must be uploaded for you to submit: a statement of purpose, unofficial transcripts, resume and contact information of the two (2) recommenders.

Your application will not be reviewed until the entire application checklist is complete. Qualified applicants will be invited for a personal interview with the admissions committee currently over Zoom.

No. However, a TOEFL score is required for international applicants who earned their degree in a language other than English.

Someone who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is recognized as an international student. Students who will require visa sponsorship from the university will be required to maintain full-time student status. For the MSHC Program, this means taking an additional class during each quarter of study with exception to the last.

These students will be billed at the international student rate. 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. In the case that a student’s visa allows for part-time study, this student may be recognized by the university as an international student but be billed at the part-time/domestic rate for the program. These students should share this information with the program office prior to enrollment.

Application review is holistic and undergraduate performance is evaluated as one piece among many in the larger admissions file, thus MSHC does not institute a minimum GPA. Each application is viewed in context with the rest of the file, including the statement of purpose, resume, and recommendations, and interview.

There are no specific class prerequisites for the program. Completion of a four-year bachelors degree (or equivalent credentials for international students) is required prior to the start of classes. 

The MSHC program does not favor specific undergraduate majors. Our students have diverse academic backgrounds that bring unique perspectives in the classroom.

No. This program is designed for a wide range of experience levels, from recent graduates to senior management. However, professional experience is beneficial when contributing to classroom discussions.

Please be prepared to discuss your interest in the program, professional and/or academic accomplishments, problems in healthcare you would like to help solve, and your career goals.

After the admissions committee has reviewed your completed application, you will receive an email detailing your application decision. You may contact the Admissions Office at healthcomm@northwestern.edu for interim updates. 

Please contact Admissions at healthcomm@northwestern.edu to withdraw your application.

Tuition, Fees, & Funding Options

Please visit the tuition page for more information.

Applicants are responsible for managing their own financial aid process; the program office does not facilitate funding. Although MSHC is a part-time program, students have full-time financial aid abilities. 

MSHC students have several options for funding, including self-funding, federal loans, employer funding, military programs, scholarship awards, and fellowship awards. See tuition + fees for more information.

Graduating Northwestern seniors wishing to begin immediate graduate study are eligible and encouraged to apply. Please note that upon graduation, students are no longer eligible for undergraduate financial aid and upon transferring to the graduate program all eligibility for undergraduate aid is terminated. Students should contact Northwestern University’s Student Financial Services Office to determine eligibility for federal graduate loans. Additionally, recent NU graduates will be considered for merit-based grants offered by the MS in Health Communication program.

Admitted students are notified of a merit scholarship in their official admit letter. Applicants are also eligible to apply for the FAFSA.  Once your FAFSA application is complete, it will be sent to NU’s financial aid office.  They will notify the program if you are eligible for more financial aid.