Is ND right for me?


Thank you for asking, and for your interest in graduate studies at Notre Dame.  The best advice I can give is to talk to graduate students currently studying in the program to which you are considering applying. Their experience with faculty, coursework, and navigating advanced studies within a specific departmental environment will provide you with the best insight about whether ND is the right choice for you. As to describing the Grad School culture, overall I would call it engaging. But, again, current students would be your best guide. If you want to email our Program Director, Mimi Beck, she can connect you with students in the program you are considering. She can be reached at

Q: LGBT and Non-Christian Life at ND

I would like to know how life at Notre Dame is for LGBT students, allies, and Non-Christians.

Thank you for asking. Regarding LGBT students and allies, last year the university published, “Beloved Friends and Allies: A Pastoral Plan for the Support and Holistic Development of GLBTQ and Heterosexual Students at the University of Notre Dame” As a result of this plan, a new undergrad student organization has been formed, PrismND, and a new Assistant Director of LGBTQ initiatives named. I encourage you to be in touch with Ms. Doyle with any further specific questions you may have.

Regarding Non-Christians, approximately 29% of ND graduate students are non-Christian. And according to a recent survey of Graduate Student Life their levels of satisfaction with overall academic experience, sense of community, and quality of life do not differ significantly from that of Christian graduate students.

Q: South Bend Weather


We recently received a question asking the average temperature in Boston. Since Notre Dame is almost 900 miles west of Boston, it felt a bit like a Monty Python character asking for completely random and irrelevant information… “what is the average airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” On further investigation, however, it was interesting to note that the two cities have remarkably similar annual temperatures. Though we get a lot more snow!

You can view and compare climates in South Bend and across the globe at

Q: A List of Companies Offering Internships?


I am a foreign student from the Netherlands. I want to perform an internship in the USA, in specific in South Bend if possible.

my study major is mechanical engineering, with the minors Production engineering and Thermodynamical Engineering.

I don’t know if you students have to perform an internship.

I want to know if you have a kind of database of company’s offering intern positions.

The period of my internship would be from February 2014 up to June/July 2014. It must be 720 working hours.

could any of you help me with some kind of list containing interesting company’s for a internship?

With kindly regards.

Jorn Nijenhuis




Thank you for asking, Jorn.

Graduate students in Mechanical Engineering at Notre Dame are not required to complete any external internships, so there is no specific list of intern positions.  The website for Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering<> can help you see the areas of research being done here, as well as faculty members working on specific projects.

Q: Do I need an Indiana driver’s license?


I am an incoming graduate student from out of state. Do I need to get an Indiana driver’s license and vehicle registration? Thanks!



According to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, only those who claim legal residency must obtain an Indiana driver’s license or vehicle registration.  As stated on their website:

For the purposes of obtaining a driver’s license, learner’s permit, or identification card, the following persons living in Indiana solely for any of the following reasons are not considered to be residents of Indiana:

  • Educational purposes
  • Active duty in the Armed Forces
  • Temporary employment

If you plan to become a legal resident of the state of Indiana you can learn more about obtaining your license and registration online at:

Incoming Grad Students & Social Media

Many incoming students have inquired about how to connect with other students before their arrival on campus, and how to find prospective roommates.  Here are a few helpful hints and resources:


GSU Facebook Page
The Graduate School Facebook Page
Notre Dame Graduate Student Life Facebook Page 

  • Connect with other grad students, learn about events on campus and get recommendations for fun things in Michiana.
  • Add Notre Dame to your education/timeline, and Facebook can help you find others at Notre Dame.
  • Many academic departments, programs and institutes have their own Facebook pages, too, so network to your heart’s content!

Other Online Resources

GSU on Twitter
GSU Website
Links to Student Services
Off Campus Resources

Call for Help!

If all else fails, the administrative assistant in your academic program is often your best ally in solving problems and finding information.  Pick up the phone, go old-school, and give them a jingle!  You can find a listing of all graduate programs with contact information at

Things I Wish I Knew: A Letter to Incoming Students

I graduate in one week with a MA in Peace Studies from Notre Dame. The two-year program has provided amazing opportunities to grow intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Yet, there are things I wish I knew before coming to the program. I hope they help you in your journey as an incoming student.

  1. Your department or cohort is who you will spend the majority of your time with. The downside is that you do not have as many opportunities to get to know others in different departments. The upside is that you often become very close to those in your program. For an extrovert like me, I tried to overcome this by attending events for graduate students and meeting undergrads at football games and other campus-sponsored events. I also happened to have a few classes with undergrads and enjoyed conversation over coffee and lunch. Additionally, I contacted different professors, faculty, and administrators who I thought would be interesting to get to know and asked them out for coffee.
  2. Sometimes you will feel overwhelmed by the amount of readings, assignments, and papers you have to do. During my first semester, my professors assigned about 500-700 pages of readings each week. Remember to take a deep breath and prioritize your to-do items. Eventually you’ll develop tactics to manage your assignments.
  3. There are a lot of free events, lectures, activities, and food giveaways on campus. I discovered this fairly quickly upon arrival, but think it is important to share. Notre Dame brings in amazing speakers, ranging from Heads of State to activists. While you may be tempted to skip out on certain events because you have a lot of work, consider attending some of these each year. It is also a great way to meet other people and take a break from work.
  4. There are a lot of wonderful resources on campus-from the Rec Sports fitness facilities to the Hesburgh Library and the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures (CSLC). Take advantage of the resources they offer, from kickboxing class and Kung Fu, to foreign language support.
  5. Notre Dame offers a variety of funding opportunities for research and presenting at conferences. Although MA students are not eligible for the same opportunities as Ph.D. students, I was able to secure funding to present at conferences in Italy and Spain. Consider looking at the Graduate School, Nanovic Institute, Institute for Scholarship and Liberal Studies (ISLA), and your home department.
  6. While academics are an important part of your grad school experience, don’t forget to enjoy your time on campus. Because Notre Dame’s academic programs are rigorous, it’s easy to focus all of your attention on maintaining a high GPA. While there is nothing wrong with striving for academic excellence, remember to keep things in perspective. You will develop life-long friends, be mentored by amazing faculty, and get to spend several years at one of the foremost universities in the nation. Remember to enjoy the sun after all the snow has finally fallen, meet new friends, and grow as a person.

Enjoy your time learning, growing, and experiencing all the wonderful opportunities Notre Dame offers.

Go Irish!

Tamara Shaya

If I am not Catholic, what are my options for prayer and worship?

Interfaith ResourcesThere are many congregations, communities, temples, mosques, and synagogues in the South Bend and Michiana area. The Office of Campus Ministry maintains a listing of services, locations, contact information, and even ride-sharing opportunities for every faith tradition. They also offer several opportunities for inter-denominational prayer and inter-faith dialogue throughout the year including weekly Zen meditation and an inter-faith prayer room located on the first floor of the Coleman-Morse Center.  Visit their website at

Does it really snow much in South Bend?

Riley Hall snowmanYES! Get good boots!

The South Bend area averages 81.8″ of snow per year, with much of that total coming from lake effect snow squalls off nearby Lake Michigan. The most likely month for heavy snow is January, though snow depth on the ground at any one time rarely exceeds 10″. Winter temperatures reach their lowest point in January, averaging 23.3 degrees Fahrenheit during the month. During the winter months, the daytime average highs are just over 30 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lows averaging 16.1 degrees Fahrenheit.

Source: National Weather Service