Undergraduate Program Area

Degree Requirements

SPS programs lead to one of three Northwestern University bachelor’s degrees. Two of the degrees—the bachelor of philosophy (BPhil) and the bachelor of science in general studies (BSGS)—are conferred by the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. The third degree, the bachelor of philosophy in communication (BPhilCom), is conferred by the School of Communication. The BPhilCom is an interdisciplinary professional degree. The degree is awarded to those students who major in Communication Studies, Communication Systems, or Radio/Television/Film. Some majors offer a choice of the BPhil or the BSGS degree. The primary difference is that the BPhil degree has a modern language requirement.

Bachelor of Philosophy

To earn the BPhil degree, students must complete a total of 45 units (courses), including a writing requirement, two years of study in a foreign language (or demonstration of equivalent foreign language proficiency), distribution requirements, a major and electives. Foreign language proficiency may be demonstrated by completion of a second-year language sequence with a grade of C or better at an accredited college or university. Minors are optional.

Courses Units Earned
English 111 or 205 and 113 2
Modern Foreign Language 6
Humanities 4
Science 4
Social Sciences 4
Major Requirements 10-22
Electives Up to 15
Total 45

Bachelor of Science in General Studies

For the BSGS degree, students must complete 45 units, including a writing requirement, distribution requirements, a major and electives. Minors are optional.

Courses Units Earned
English 111 or 205 and 113 2
Humanities 4
Science 4
Social Sciences 4
Major Requirements 10-20
Electives Up to 21
Total 45

Bachelor of Philosophy in Communication

To earn the BPhilCom degree, students must complete a total of 45 units, including a writing requirement, distribution requirements, a major and electives. Minors are optional.

Courses Units Earned
English 111 or 205 1
English 113 or Perf St 103 1
Humanities 3
Psychology 3
Science 3
Social Sciences 3
Major Requirements 10-20
Electives Up to 21
Total 45

About the Writing Requirement

The writing requirement ensures that all students can meet the rigorous writing demands of courses in all disciplines. Transfer and performance-based admission students must fulfill the writing requirement through one of two options:


Option 1: Complete an English composition course at SPS.

Demonstrate successfully completion of English 111 or 205. A grade of C or higher is required. 


Option 2: Successfully appeal the writing requirement.

Students who believe they have the writing skills necessary for university-level research and analytical papers may appeal the SPS writing requirement. Submit a letter of appeal and two college/university research papers written during previous studies or at SPS. Following the review of the appeal, students will receive an email reporting the results, followed by a letter. Send appeal materials to:


Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs
School of Professional Studies
Northwestern University
339 East Chicago Avenue, 6th floor
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Appeal materials must be submitted by the quarter deadline before entry.

About the Distribution Requirements

Students complete course work in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences to obtain a broad experience in the liberal arts. Courses that satisfy these distribution requirements include the following areas:


Humanities

Art history, classics, comparative literary studies, English literature, foreign languages (up to two units), history, music history, philosophy, religion, and some courses in African American studies, foreign languages with literature, gender studies, performance studies, radio/television/film, Slavic languages and literature and theatre.


Sciences

Astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, earth and planetary sciences, engineering, geography, information systems, mathematics, physics and some courses in anthropology, communication sciences and disorders, psychology, radio/television/film and statistics.


Social Sciences

Anthropology, economics, history, linguistics, political science, sociology, and some courses in African American studies, communication sciences and disorders, gender studies, psychology and statistics.


Note about business courses: No more than 11 total units of business courses may be may be applied toward a degree. Business courses consist of accounting, advertising, business law, finance, marketing and organization behavior courses. Courses in information systems and economics are not subject to the 11-unit limit.