School of Professional Studies

Scholarships and Grants

SPS actively seeks funding to help students further their education. Please see descriptions, application requirements, and eligibility requirements below for each scholarship.

All scholarships — with the exception of the University Circle Scholarship — require that students submit financial aid forms. To begin the scholarship application process, students must visit the Chicago Office of Financial Aid to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the University Aid Application. We strongly recommend all award recipients schedule a meeting with the Financial Aid Office to discuss the impact of the award on aid and debt levels.

Students may apply each term, unless otherwise indicated. Tuition grants must be used at SPS during the term for which they are awarded, and toward courses that satisfy applicant's degree requirements. Historically, funding for qualified individuals does not exceed three courses per academic year. Preference will be given to students who have not previously received a scholarship or grant award.

Please note that recommendation requirements have changed. A recent academic recommendation is required.

If you have questions about the scholarship process or about the status of your scholarship application, please send an email to spsscholarships@northwestern.edu.

Scholarship and Grant Application Deadlines

SPS Scholarship applications are accepted quarterly*, Scholarship applications and all required materials and must be submitted by the following deadlines:
Fall quarter: September 1
Winter quarter: December 1
Spring quarter: March 1
Summer quarter: June 1

* Applications for the University Circle Scholarship are accepted annually, with an application deadline of March 1.
* Applications for the Graduate Global Health Fieldwork is bi-annual, with application deadlines of December 1 and June 1

Scholarship Application and Recommendation forms

The application and recommendation forms are in fillable PDF documents, and Adobe Reader is recommended to access them.  If you need to download a free copy of Adobe Reader, please visit the Adobe Acrobat Reader page.

Applicants
Click here to access the SPS Scholarship Application. Applicants can use a single application to apply for multiple scholarship in each application cycle. Applicants who apply for multiple scholarships only need only secure one academic recommendation via the SPS Scholarship Recommendation form.

Recommenders
Click here to access the SPS Scholarship Recommendation form. Recommendations must be sent directly to SPS at spsscholarships@northwestern.edu from the recommender’s university email account.

Note: If you experience technical difficulties while completing the application or recommendation, please print the form, complete it manually, and scan or send a clear picture of the completed form to spsscholarships@northwestern.edu.

Undergraduate Osher Reentry Scholarship

The Bernard Osher Foundation Reentry Scholarship is available to newly admitted and continuing undergraduate degree-seeking students who demonstrate both strong academic achievement and financial need. Based on available funds, the maximum annual award toward tuition is $5,000. Preferred applicants are between the ages of 25 and 50 and must have reentered higher education after a cumulative interruption of five years or more.

Tuition grants must be used at SPS during the term for which they are awarded towards courses that satisfy applicants’ degree requirements. Students may apply each term and reapply annually.

New and continuing undergraduate, degree-seeking students are eligible to apply. Applicants must meet these criteria:

  • Be pursuing their first undergraduate degree
  • Have reentered higher education after a cumulative interruption of five years or more
  • Current student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher at SPS
  • Transfer students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher from all previously attended institutions.
  • Submit an completed SPS Scholarship Application
  • Submit the SPS Scholarship Essay (detailed in the SPS Scholarship Application form)
  • Secure an academic recommendation from a recent instructor. Recommendation is detailed in the SPS Scholarship Recommendation Form by the instructor and sent to spsscholarships@northwestern.edu from the instructor's university email address.
  • Demonstrate financial need as determined by having completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Undergraduate Continuing Student Scholarship

Outstanding continuing, undergraduate SPS students, who demonstrate both academic achievement and financial need, are eligible to apply for the Continuing Student Scholarship. Recipients receive a tuition grant for up to three courses at SPS, based on available funds.

Applicants must have completed at least four SPS courses to be eligible and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 from SPS. Tuition grants must be used at SPS during the term for which they are awarded towards courses that satisfy applicants’ degree requirements. Students may apply each term and reapply annually. Preference will be given to students who have not previously received a scholarship award.

Admitted undergraduate, degree-seeking students are eligible to apply. Applicants must meet these criteria:

  • Have completed at least four courses at SPS
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher at SPS
  • Submit an completed SPS Scholarship Application
  • Submit the SPS Scholarship Essay (detailed in the SPS Scholarship Application form)
  • Secure an academic recommendation from a recent instructor. Recommendation is detailed in the SPS Scholarship Recommendation Form by the instructor and sent to spsscholarships@northwestern.edu from the instructor's university email address.
  • Demonstrate financial need as determined by having completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Undergraduate Transfer Student Scholarship

This scholarship rewards outstanding transfer applicants for success in previous academic study. Scholarship recipients receive a one-time tuition grant for up to three courses at SPS, based on available funds. Transfer student applicants who were recently admitted through transfer admission are eligible to apply. Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 from all previously attended institutions.

Tuition grants must be used at SPS during the term for which they are awarded towards courses that satisfy applicants’ degree requirements.

Newly admitted undergraduate, degree-seeking students who have transferred to SPS from another institution are eligible to apply. Applicants must meet these criteria:

  • Be a transfer student with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher from all previously attended institutions
  • Submit an completed SPS Scholarship Application
  • Submit the SPS Scholarship Essay (detailed in the SPS Scholarship Application form)
  • Secure an academic recommendation from a recent instructor. Recommendation is detailed in the SPS Scholarship Recommendation Form by the instructor and sent to spsscholarships@northwestern.edu from the instructor's university email address.
  • Demonstrate financial need as determined by having completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Undergraduate Unemployed Student Scholarship

This scholarship was created for admitted undergraduate degree-seeking students who have recently, involuntarily lost their employment. Scholarship recipients receive a tuition grant for up to three courses at SPS, based on available funds. Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 from SPS.

Tuition grants must be used at SPS during the term for which they are awarded towards courses that satisfy applicants’ degree requirements. Students may apply each term.

Admitted undergraduate, degree-seeking students are eligible to apply. Applicants must meet these criteria:

  • Have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher at SPS
  • Have experienced a recent loss of employment within the last 12 months (demonstrated by letter of separation from previous employer or proof of unemployment)
  • Submit an completed SPS Scholarship Application
  • Submit the SPS Scholarship Essay (detailed in the SPS Scholarship Application form)
  • Secure an academic recommendation from a recent instructor. Recommendation is detailed in the SPS Scholarship Recommendation Form by the instructor and sent to spsscholarships@northwestern.edu from the instructor's university email address.
  • Demonstrate financial need as determined by having completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Graduate Global Health Fieldwork Scholarship

The SPS Global Health Fieldwork scholarship provides funding to MSGH students to partially support fieldwork abroad in resource-limited areas as part of program practicum requirements. Scholarships will be awarded to students who demonstrate academic merit, financial need, and a serious commitment to social justice and the communities served by their project. To be eligible for a scholarship, students must meet the following criteria:
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Submit an SPS Scholarship Application
  • Submit an SPS Recommendation Form from a core MSGH instructor
  • Submit an essay describing an ideal project you can pursue in your field highlighting collaboration and partnership with the local host. Include term in which travel is intended.
  • Demonstrate financial need as determined by the application for financial aid (FAFSA). (International Students do not need to complete FAFSA)

Scholarship applications will be awarded twice a year and must be submitted by the following deadlines:
Winter quarter: December 1
Summer quarter: June 1

Students who wish to be considered for such an award should forward their SPS Scholarship Application for the Global Health Fieldwork Scholarship to the SPS Scholarship Committee at spsscholarships@northwestern.edu, and submit one academic recommendation from a program instructor via the SPS Scholarship Recommendation Form (form must be sent to SPS directly by recommender from university email address), by the Scholarship and Grant Application Deadlines above. Students are eligible to receive this award once over the course of their graduate career at SPS.

Please Note: Scholarship recipients are expected to keep a project journal or blog, which will be used as part of a fieldwork report submitted to MSGH program assistant director at the completion of fieldwork.

Graduate Literature Scholarship

This scholarship will cover the cost of tuition for one unit of graduate credit for students pursuing literary studies in a SPS Literature course in order to augment their graduate program of study. It will be awarded to students based on academic merit, financial need and the relevance of the course in question to their pursuit of their academic, personal, and professional goals. Students are eligible to receive this award once over the course of their graduate career at SPS. Students who wish to be considered for such an award should forward their SPS Scholarship Application for the Literature Scholarship to the SPS Scholarship Committee at spsscholarships@northwestern.edu, and submit one academic recommendation via the SPS Scholarship Recommendation Form (form must be sent to SPS directly by recommender), following the Scholarship and Grant Application Deadlines above.

Northwestern University Circle Scholarship - for Northwestern Employees

For 100 years, the University Circle has promoted fellowship and friendship among the women of Northwestern University. The University Circle established a tuition scholarship program in 2005 to assist university employees enrolled in SPS further their career opportunities. The scholarship is funded by donations from University Circle members as well as the public.

Applicants must be pursuing a credit-bearing credential, in good academic standing with a minimum “B” average, and have been employed by Northwestern University for more than one year. The University Circle scholarship is awarded once per year and has an annual application deadline of March 1.

Complete University Circle scholarship guidelines can be found at www.northwestern.edu/university-circle/scholarship.

Additional Scholarship Opportunities

External Scholarship Resources

Many SPS students have been successful in the past in pursuing sources of financial support that are external to SPS and Northwestern University.  We encourage students to pursue options available to them. 

Some of those options include:

  • Alpha Sigma Lambda Student Scholarship - Founded at Northwestern in 1945, Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society is the oldest and largest chapter-based honor society for full-and part-time adult students pursuing an undergraduate degree. The Alpha Sigma Lambda society recognizes those dedicated adult students who achieve and maintain high scholastic standards. Students do not have to be a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda chapter to apply, and continuing undergraduate students are eligible to apply. Students must have completed 9 units of graded coursework at SPS, achieved a grade point average of 3.2, and demonstrate a financial need for assistance to complete their degree. Complete Alpha Sigma Lambda student scholarship guidelines can be found at https://www.alphasigmalambda.org/scholarships/.  Application packets must be submitted by no later than April 22.
  • Private Illinois Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship - In support of the organization’s mission to increase community college awareness of private colleges and universities in the state of Illinois, Private Illinois Colleges and Universities (PICU) grants a minimum of two scholarships per term - one $1000 and one $500 award - to community college transfer students looking to achieve their educational goals.  More information on the scholarship, including submission deadlines for the PICU Scholarship Application, is available on the PICU website.