About Northwestern University School of Professional Studies

Northwestern University School of Professional Studies (SPS) students are part of a unique and distinguished university community. They learn in a supportive, collaborative environment in evening and online courses that enable them to balance their personal and professional lives with the pursuit of learning. Classes are taught by some of the university's most respected and talented teachers — scholars and professionals who value the diversity, energy and creativity of our students.

One of the 12 colleges and schools of Northwestern University, SPS and adult learning have been a core part of Northwestern’s mission for more than 80 years. SPS is enmeshed in many parts of the University — sharing faculty members, creating innovative programs and setting the standard for higher education for adults. SPS students become part of a university ranked 12th among the nation’s best universities by U.S. News and World Report with top medical, law and business schools, and a faculty that has made pioneering contributions to materials science, nanotechnology, economics, African studies and more.

Follow our activity at Beyond339, a collection of news and stories from the SPS community.

Our Mission

The mission of the School of Professional Studies (SPS) is to provide a superior Northwestern education to outstanding students whose academic pursuits must be balanced with professional or personal commitments. SPS strives to be a national leader in continuing and professional education by providing innovative learning opportunities that serve the lifelong learning needs of its students.

SPS is a member of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA).

The SPS Graduate Perspective

A Message From the Dean

Dean Thomas F. Gibbons

Dear Friends of SPS,

These are exciting times in higher education. Adult students are now keenly aware of the value of advanced education and are changing the face of higher education. Technology that has drastically altered course delivery methods — removing constraints of time and place — continues to evolve and provide robust learning experiences.
Our school has changed, too, evolving beyond our original focus of helping adult and non-traditional students complete their undergraduate studies. We're still deeply committed to that goal, but we have widened our scope to include a broad range of programs that support the needs of working professionals to enhance their skills and take on new challenges and we have greatly expanded our reach and now deliver high-quality programs to professionals across the U.S. and around the world.
But amid these dramatic changes, our goal remains the same — delivering the highest quality education in a dynamic, supportive learning environment. That is my promise, our promise, to each of our students.

With best regards,

Thomas F. Gibbons,
Dean, Northwestern University School of Professional Studies


Whether they’re earning an advanced degree, prepping for graduate school, finishing a bachelor’s degree or completing a professional development certificate, SPS students share a desire to take control of their futures by advancing their professional and academic careers. SPS students thrive in a supportive learning environment — one that accommodates the challenges faced by adult learners — and leave SPS ready to achieve their goals.

View student stories:

Faculty and Staff

SPS students are taught by faculty from Northwestern’s full-time programs and the professional sector, meaning SPS students learn from the best of both the academic and the corporate worlds. SPS faculty are outspoken about the joys of working with adult students in an engaging, collaborative environment. SPS students work with teachers who are leaders in their fields and a committed staff of advisers and administrators — all in a dynamic community of learning.

Course Delivery

Courses are offered in the evening on Northwestern University’s Chicago and Evanston campuses. Most classrooms offer a state-of-the-art “smart” classroom environment that allows for a range of multimedia presentation. SPS online courses provides a flexible and convenient structure with engaging materials that students can work on at the times of day most convenient for them. Online students also have the opportunity to interact with their faculty and peers through online discussion boards.

Learn more about SPS online learning.