International Students

Instructions for Admission as an International Student


After completing the Application for Admission and three letters of recommendation, all applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. must fulfill the following requirements and submit the following additional documentation by February 1, prior to the Fall of anticipated enrollment.

1. Affidavit of Annual Financial Support – to be completed and returned to the Office of Admission. Download Form

2. Financial Responsibilities Form – to be completed and returned to the Office of Admission. Download Form

3. Letter of Endorsement from home church or denomination – This letter should indicate that the church or denomination believes that enrollment at a graduate theological institution is a needed factor in the applicant’s future ministry.  This endorsement must be specific, identifying the type of ministry and position of leadership the applicant will assume upon completion of study at Northern.  The letter should also indicate that there is mutual understanding and expectation between the applicant and the home church or denomination that the applicant will return to the home country to minister with the applicant’s own people immediately upon completion of the degree.

4. Language proficiency – All applicants who are non-native speakers of English and have received their education outside the United States are required to demonstrate English language proficiency.  The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is the preferred way to demonstrate English language proficiency.  Only those applicants who score 550 or better on the paper-based exam, or 213 or better on the computer-based exam, will normally be considered for unrestricted admission to a full course of study.  Information for TOEFL exams is available by writing the Educational Testing Service, Box 899, Princeton, NJ 08540, U.S.A.  Northern’s institutional code number is: 1558.  Information is also available on the TOEFL web site:

5. Notarized English translation of university level course work – International applicants must submit a notarized English translation of the official transcripts of courses taken on the university level.  A professional academic translator should perform this translation.  A description of the programs and requirements of the institution from which they received their education should accompany these transcripts.  As a graduate professional school, Northern Seminary requires each applicant to hold a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution.  In most cases applicants will be required to have their academic work evaluated by the World Education Services (WES) or a similar organization such as Education Credential Evaluators (ECE) to establish U.S. education equivalency. Additional information about WES can be found here:  Information about ECE can be found here:  Students work directly with one of these credential evaluating agencies.  When the agency has completed the evaluation, they will send a full transcript report to Northern Seminary.

6. Application for Form I-20 – Issued by Northern only after receipt of all required forms and financial documentation. To be completed and returned to the Office of Admission. Download Form

Application Deadline: February 1 prior to the Fall of intended enrollment.

Additional Information for International Students

  1. International students must begin studies during a Fall quarter.
  2. International students are required to submit to Northern Seminary a $2000 deposit for return air-fare, and a $3000 cost of living deposit by August 1, prior to the fall quarter of intended enrollment.
  3. International students are expected to arrive on campus by August 15, preceding the Fall quarter of first enrollment.  This allows adequate time for transition and orientation to the U.S., Northern Seminary, campus life, the climate of the Midwest, and for timely registration of children for public school enrollment.  The local school year for children usually begins during the last week of August.
  4. Each student is responsible for arranging adequate care for their family in the home country during their absence.  Students should not plan to financially support the family at home while attending seminary.
  5. It is expected that International students will return home immediately upon completion of the course of study at Northern.

All documents should be sent to:

Office of Admissions
Northern Seminary
410 Warrenville Rd, Suite 300
Lisle, IL 60532

Phone: (630) 620-2180

FAX: (630) 620-2190