A-Z Index

Steps Toward a Graduate Degree


Identify Your Program of Interest

Start by exploring Northwest's graduate programs to determine which are a good fit for your goals. If you have questions about specific program details, contact the Graduate School to request more information.


Apply for Admission

Before applying, check out admission requirements and application deadlines for your specific program of interest. When ready, complete and submit a Graduate Application


Register for Classes once admitted

A member of the graduate faculty of your department will serve as the major advisor. Your advisor can assist you with finding available courses to register for each term.

Online Professional student will be auto-enrolled for their first Semester.


Application for Graduate Degree

Beginning of final semester or beginning of semester prior to final semester (if within 6 hours of completion of degree):

  • The Final Application for Graduate degree may be submitted online through the Secure Area of your CatPAWS. During the final semester, or in the semester  prior to completion of your degree, students should submit the Graduation Application with the Graduate Office during first three weeks of the semester (fall and spring). For summer, file applications during the first week of the semester.
    • IF NEW CERTIFICATION IS INVOLVED, see the Director of Certification.
    • Comprehensive Assessment - Students must have been admitted to candidacy to be eligible and must have at least a 3.0 GPA in all course work and in the major. If you are in the GIST program or earning certification, it is recommended that you take and pass the PRAXIS the semester prior to taking the comprehensive exam and/or the semester prior to graduation.  
  • Accessing the Online Graduation Application
    1. Visit CatPAWS and log into the 'Secure Area' with your Northwest Network Account username and password.
    2. Click on the 'Student' tab.
    3. Select 'Student Records'.
    4. Select 'Apply for Graduation'.

Comprehensive Assessment

Take the comprehensive examination or present portfolio evaluation, as determined by the department. Students will be notified by their program director of comprehensive final dates.


Thesis or Scholarly Research

Thesis or scholarly paper (original) due in Graduate Office by prearranged date. Thesis guidelines are available online or in the Graduate Office.


Research Component

The Research Component Form View Word Document is required for research other than a thesis or Scholarly paper. Form must be filed with the Graduate Office no later than the term of degree completion.


Resolve Fees and Holds

During last semester of graduate study:

Check with Graduate Office to ensure records are complete. Pay degree completion fee to the Office of Student Account Services. This fee must be paid whether or not the student participates in commencement ceremony. The current fee is stated on the Final Application for Comprehensive Assessment and Graduate Degree.


Prepare for Commencement

Prior to commencement:

  • A schedule of commencement activities will be e-mailed from the Registrar's Office. Included will be the form and instructions for ordering cap, gown, and hood, if attending commencement exercises. Contact the Office of Career Services at 660.562.1250 for assistance with research and application to internships, graduate schools or employment opportunities.