Frequently Asked Questions

Who is admitted to NU-Q?

Admission to NU-Q is highly competitive. Typically, one-third of applicants are admitted each year. Students with strong academic records are encouraged to apply. Successful candidates have maintained strong grades in a very rigorous selection of courses along with strong evidence of spoken and written English.

Several members of our admission committee review each application carefully. Seeking information beyond school transcripts and test scores; we take into account your involvement outside the classroom as profiled in an activity chart, and read your essays to get a better sense of your interests, thought processes, and writing ability. Recommendations from secondary school teachers and counselors add additional perspective to your achievements.

What are the minimum test scores required for admission?

Northwestern University in Qatar does not have score minimums – every applicant is evaluated on a variety of criteria.

For the SAT and ACT, the most competitive applicants will have strong scores in all sections of the exams. While there is no fixed minimum, the test does help to determine the level of mastery in the areas covered in the SAT or ACT. We also highly encourage, but do not require, the SAT II Subject Tests. Because the NU-Q curriculum requires a sophisticated command of spoken and written English, the most competitive students who sit for TOEFL or IELTS will have scores of 104 or better on the internet based test (600 or better on the paper-based TOEFL, 250 or better on the computer based TOEFL), and scores of 7.5 or better on the IELTS.

We do admit students with scores below these competitive ranges. However, it is recommended for students with scores far below these ranges to take time to improve their English language skills before applying.

With the launch of a redesigned SAT exam in 2016, NU-Q will no longer require nor review the Optional Essay as part of scores submitted from the new SAT or existing ACT.

Does NU-Q prefer to receive results from one test rather than another? (SAT vs. ACT)

No. NU-Q welcomes submissions from either the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT, or both, as part of an applicant’s overall admissions application.

Will NU-Q accept both the current and redesigned versions of the SAT?

Either version will be accepted for the fall 2017 admissions application.

If I took the “old” SAT prior to spring 2016 and will also take the “redesigned” SAT, which scores should I send to NU-Q? Will NU-Q “superscore” my results?

Students can choose to send one or both scores to NU-Q. The redesigned SAT is a different test than the previous version. A numerical score on one test will not be equivalent to the same numerical score on the other. If a student sends scores for both versions of the SAT, NU-Q will not “superscore” area scores across both tests.

Can I be waived from taking the TOEFL or IELTS?

Applicants whose primary language is not English or whose secondary school curriculum has not been in English must submit exam results from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Use Northwestern school code 5945 to direct your TOEFL scores to us; if you are taking the IELTS, request that the scores be sent electronically to us. These scores should not be more than two years old.

Eligibility of TOEFL/IELTS Waiver:

Applicants are eligible for an automatic TOEFL/IELTS waiver if one of the following conditions are applicable:

  1. Based on native language status: This applies for applicants who are native English speakers and have completed their studies in English.
  2. Based on testing performance: This applies for applicants who earned a score of:
    • SAT: 600 or more in BOTH the Critical Reading and Writing components
    • ACT: 26 or more in BOTH English and Reading components

Note: The Office of Admissions reserves the right to deny requests for waiver based on a thorough review of your completed waiver form and application materials. NU-Q also does not accept scores from other English proficiency exams, including the TOEFL Institutional Testing Program (ITP).

What happens if I take the SAT, ACT or TOEFL tests late and have to submit the scores after the February 1 application deadline?

You may submit test scores after the February 1 application deadline but all test scores must be received by March 1. Applications without these test scores will not be considered complete.

How do I register for TOEFL, IELTS, SAT or ACT exams in Qatar?

For registration, please refer to the testing agencies' respective websites: TOEFLIELTSSATACT. Test schedules for Qatar for applicants residing in Qatar, you may also take the ACT-R T administered by HBKU. Schedules are available through Qatar Foundation.

What classes do you recommend I take in preparation for Northwestern University in Qatar?

The best high school preparation for our broad based programs we recommend students entering complete a minimum of 16 courses (or the equivalent in your school system) in the following academic areas:

  • English: 4 full-year courses
  • Foreign or native language: a minimum of 2 full-year courses of one foreign language; or 4 full-year course in your native language
  • History and social science: a minimum of 2 full-year courses
  • Laboratory science: a minimum of 2 full-year courses
  • Mathematics: a minimum of 3 full-year courses
  • Additional subjects: 1-3 full-year courses in the academic areas listed above
I am currently in my AS-level of studies; does NU-Q require me to have A-Levels?

The admissions committee is seeking students with the most demanding secondary school preparation. Thus, we require 7 IGCSE, four AS-level courses and 3 A-level when applying. We highly recommend, when possible, that students apply after completing their AS year to remain competitive in the applicant pool. We do not encourage applicants with only AS qualifications to apply especially if the A-Level year is available at the school.

Will I receive credit for Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate and other exams?

Northwestern awards credit in nearly all areas for Advanced Placement (AP) examination scores of "5" and for International Baccalaureate (IB) higher-level examination results of "6" or higher. In addition, results of the Baccalaureate, A-levels and other university entrance examinations will be evaluated on an individual basis for the possible award of up to one full year of academic credit.

Does NU-Q only accept documents in English?

Yes. Applicants whose credentials are not in English must provide NU-Q with a certified English translation of their original transcripts. Applicants may use transcript translation service including in your country of residence.

Does NU-Q provide interviews for interested students?

Admissions interviews are not required but encouraged. Please contact the admissions office if you would like to schedule an interview. Please note that interviews are not a significant component of the application review process. Therefore, students who do not have the chance interview are not penalized or given a disadvantage in the application review process.