Academics

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Academics

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5 College Sophomore

Academics: A lot of opportunities. It is not a trade school that just prepares you for a job. You learn how to think and become a well rounded person

4 people found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Academics: It is a great education but it also is what you make of it. Some majors are impossible while others are pretty easy. I was an average student in high school and i do fine here

3 people found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Academics: It can be stressful at times. Teachers are great and care about their students.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Academics: Option to take cool and diverse classes

5 Recent Alumnus

Academics: Best aspect of the school. Extremely high rigor, great professors. A world class university.

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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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
183
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
  • Business Administration and Management: 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

Who are the most notable alumni from this school?    Based on 13 responses

  • 24% Stephen Colbert - comedian, actor, TV host
  • 17% George R. R. Martin - author, "Game of Thrones"
  • 7% Joe Girardi - manager of the New York Yankees
  • 7% Rod Blagojevich - former Illinois governor
  • 7% Rachel Nichols - ESPN reporter
  • 7% Michael Wilbon - ESPN analyst
  • 5% Jeff Jarvis - creator of "Entertainment Weekly"
  • 2% Gordon Segal - co-founder of Crate & Barrel
  • 2% Marg Helgenberger - actress
  • 2% Mike Greenberg - ESPN host
  • 2% Samantha Harris - TV host
  • 2% Charlton Heston - actor
  • 2% David Schwimmer - actor
  • 2% Seth Meyers - comedian
  • 2% Seth Myers
  • 2% Seth Meyers
  • 2% Rahm Emmanuel
  • 2% Seth Meyers Snl
  • 0% Ben Burns - founder of "Ebony" and "Jet" magazines
  • 0% Saul Bellow - award-winning writer

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?    Based on 56 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • My Gen-Ed requirements are worthwhile and meaningful.
  • It is easy to get the classes you want.
  • The academic advisers are helpful.
  • Grading is generally consistent and fair.
  • There are a variety of interesting courses to take.
  • Students are encouraged to explore a wide range of courses and topics.
  • The workload is easy to manage.
  • There are plenty of good online course options.
  • Teaching assistants (TAs) are used effectively.
  • The course scheduling/registration process is efficient and student-friendly.
  • Classrooms/labs are up-to-date and incorporate new technologies effectively.

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements regarding the professors at this school?    Based on 54 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • Professors are approachable and helpful when needed
  • Professors are engaging and easy to understand.
  • Professors are experts in their field.
  • Professors are passionate about the topics they teach.
  • Professors care about their students' success.
  • Professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes.
  • Professors use teaching assistants (TAs) effectively.

How often do you:    Based on 10 responses

Never
Always
  • Attend class (lectures and recitation)
  • Do all of your homework
  • Do all of your assigned reading
  • Adequately study
  • Take advantage of office hours/study sessions
  • Take notes

Where did this school rank in your list of potential schools when applying?    Based on 10 responses

  • 70% This was my dream school.
  • 20% This was one of my top choices.
  • 10% This was a school I settled for (safety school).

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