Academics

Location
Evanston, IL
Undergrads
8,542
Tuition
$43,779
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews

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4 Recent Alumnus

Academics: Really really hard, but rewarding once you get to upper level classes. Mixed bag in terms of quality of teaching, but the profs are all brilliant

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Academics: the psychology professors are the nicest people i have ever met and dealt with; there are plenty of research opportunities, and professors/TAs make themselves very available

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Academics: top-notch education and research institution, 'nuff said

4 College Sophomore

Academics: The advisors are really helpful, the professors are SO knowledgable and have real experience to bring to the classroom. I've had nothing but good experiences with professors in my major.

5 College Sophomore

Academics: I love the academic rigor here. I think the professors and TAs push you hard but they also want to help you do well. There isn't too much competition between students. The workload is heavy but not unmanageable.

1 person found this useful Report
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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 17th
    Most Flexible Curriculums
  • 20th
    Best Course Variety
  • 70th
    Best Use of Teaching Assistants
  • 76th
    Smartest Professors
  • 116th
    Best Technology in the Classroom

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Shayna Starr
Hometown
Houston, Texas
Major
Journalism
Grad Year
2014
View all previous student authors

Academics at Northwestern are what you make of them. The key is to take advantage of the multitude of resources available to you. Northwestern is known to have top-rated professors who are experts in their fields. NU chemistry and economics professors are Nobel laureates, the theatre and film departments made up of actors and directors, and the journalism school boasts professors who have written for some of the most prominent publications in the country. No matter what you study, though, you will be learning from the best of the best. Most of the professors do research and teach, so you know that they are very invested in their subjects, and for the most part, in you, as well. Go to office hours and engage with your professors. They will be more than happy to help, and they usually make an effort to know your name, something that can make a 100-plus lecture class feel a bit more personal.

Don’t be fooled, though: Northwestern is an extremely fast-paced academic environment. Because the University operates on the quarter system, students have three sets of classes each year: fall quarter, which is from September to December, winter quarter from January to March, and spring quarter from March to June. Classes are only 10 weeks long, which means that midterms sometimes come around before you even know what the class is about! If you stay on top of your work, though, the quarter system opens up possibilities for you to take more classes each year and have more flexibility for study abroad or internships. And if you just hate a distro (distribution) class, it's over before you know it!

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
7:1
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
1,341
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
237
Total FT Faculty
2,291
Faculty with Terminal Degree
100%
Average Faculty Salary
$124,709
Full-Time Retention Rate
96%
Graduation Rate
93%
Programs/Majors Offered
180
Academic/Career Counseling?
Yes
Remedial Services?
No
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 students: 73%
  • 20 to 49 students: 20%
  • 50 or more students: 7%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: No
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: Yes
Life Experience Credits: No
Undergraduate Schools/Divisions
  • Bienen School of Music
  • Kellogg School of Management
  • McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
  • School of Communication
  • School of Continuing Studies
  • School of Education and Social Policy
  • Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
Degrees Awarded
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Certificate
  • Doctorate - Professional practice
  • Doctorate - Research/scholarship
  • Master's degree
  • Post-bachelor's certificate
  • Post-master's certificate
Most Popular Majors
  • Economics and Econometrics: 2%
  • Finance, General: 3%
  • Management Science: 3%
  • Marketing/Marketing Management, General: 3%
Graduation Requirements
  • Arts/fine arts
  • English (including composition)
  • Foreign languages
  • Humanities
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences (biological or physical)
  • Social science
Special Study Options
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher certification (below the postsecondary level)
  • Weekend/evening college
Other Academic Offerings
  • Accelerated program
  • Cooperative education program
  • Double major
  • Honors program
  • Independent study
  • Internships
  • Liberal arts/career combination
  • Student-designed major
Online Courses
Northwestern offers a few online master's programs through its School of Continuing Studies.
Best Places to Study
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Deering Library
  • The Lakefill (when it's nice out)
  • Norris University Center
  • University Library
Tips to Succeed
  • Buy a warm winter coat, unless you want to freeze during the winter.
  • Diversify, but don't get overinvolved in activities. Remember that college is also for fun-not just networking!
  • Don't drink too much.
  • Get to know your fellow students.
  • Make friends quickly-cliques form fast and are rigid.
  • Talk to your professors.
Did You Know?
  • Chemistry professor Chad Mirkin was named the most cited chemist in the world by "Science Watch" in 2009.
  • Professor Dale Mortensen won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2010.
  • "Primal Scream," where students all over campus scream their lungs out to relieve stress, occurs at 9 p.m., the Sunday of finals week each quarter. You don't know how crazy this is until your studying is interrupted by people bursting into shrieks all around you, whether you're in the library or in your dorm's lounge.

Student Polls

Rate your school's academic environment on the following topics    Based on 55 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Academic advisers
  • Class availability
  • Consistency in grading
  • Course subject variety
  • Curriculum flexibility
  • Gen-Ed requirements
  • Manageability of workload
  • Online course options
  • Quality of teaching assistants (TAs)
  • Scheduling/registration process
  • Technology in the classroom

Rate your school's professors on the following topics    Based on 53 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Accessibility
  • Communication skills
  • General knowledge
  • Interest in class subjects
  • Interest in students
  • Time spent in classroom
  • Use of teaching assistants

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