Public Policy and Administration

Graduate Study Preparation

The four-week Graduate Studies Preparation Program is designed to help international students adjust to American culture and to teach the academic and communication skills – such as critical thinking, English pronunciation, and effective oral presentation – necessary for admitted students to succeed in Northwestern University professional graduate programs. 

This program is part of the overall course of study for international students admitted to the MA in Public Policy & Administration Program.


This program is currently pending U.S. federal agency approval and expected to launch in late 2019. Submit your contact information below to receive additional information about the program and to be notified when the application for admission is open.


Listening & Conversation Skills

More than just the words used, effective communication combines a set of skills including nonverbal communication, engaged listening, and managing stress and emotions. Students will enhance their listening and conversational skills for personal and professional communication.

Presentation Skills

Students will develop the delivery skills, organizational structure, and confidence needed to give an effective presentation in English. Faculty will help students evaluate individual problem areas, provide extensive feedback, and provide tools and techniques for successful presentations, such as: speaking clearly, gathering resource material, preparing and speaking from notes, and the appropriate use of visual aids. 

Critical Thinking, Case Studies & Reading Strategies

Students will build discussion skills and a broad professional vocabulary through selected case readings. An emphasis will be given to the reading process and effective practices that aid students’ comprehension, vocabulary, critical thinking, studying, and writing. Through case study readings, students will also learn how to identify and define problems, develop techniques for organizing information, and understand different methods for building and analyzing arguments. 

Cross Cultural Communications & Pronunciation

Students will explore American values and their origins, compare American beliefs, and learn verbal and non-verbal communication patterns, relationships, and customs. Students will also learn to interpret the communicative behavior of fellow students and to explain how conversational and classroom behavior differs from culture and culture. Listening, comprehension and oral skills will improve by practicing pronunciation. Students will also focus on formulating effective ways to build vocabulary.

Academic Writing & Academic Integrity

Students will practice American academic writing and researching techniques and review Northwestern academic integrity standards. Writing assignments will help students to think and write more clearly and refine writing processes through generating ideas, drafting, and peer evaluation. Students will learn how to effectively use the work of others in writing, including use of sources and citation methods.