Leadership and Organization Behavior

Frequently Asked Questions

Academic Information

What are the advantages of the LOB program?

  • A high-achieving community of learners: students who enter the program each fall take courses together in a cohort, creating a community of working professionals who bring commitment and drive to their college studies.
  • Leadership focus for professional advancement: providing a strong focus on leadership, the program emphasizes the strategies and problem-solving skills students need to move ahead in their professions.
  • Predictable, year-round schedule: during the academic year, course meetings are scheduled on alternating Saturdays so that students may plan their schedule months in advance and take two courses per term. In the summer and outside of the cohort, students are encouraged to take additional courses toward their degree.
  • Innovative, interactive courses: each course in the program is based on a best-practice model for adult education. Both classroom experiences and online components stress interactive learning, teamwork and project-based curricula. Instructors function as facilitators, mentors, and learning coaches, ensuring a high degree of interaction with students.
  • Flexible structure to meet individual needs: students can work with an adviser to take more or fewer courses as needed, as well as College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests to speed their degree process. 

What is a “blended learning” program?
Blended learning refers to a mix of on-campus classroom-based instruction and online learning, as illustrated by the following weekly schedules for Fall 2014:

ORG BEH 307 Leadership Principles and Practice ENGLISH 205 Writing Seminar: Business Communication
Classroom Meetings
Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9
Saturday, 9:00 am to 12:00 p.m.
Classroom Meetings
Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9
Saturday, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Online Sessions and Collaborative Work
Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10
To be arranged by students and instructor
Online Sessions and Collaborative Work
Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10
To be arranged by students and instructor


How can I determine if the LOB program is right for me?

This program may be right for you if:

  • You are self-starter who can be relied upon to set your goals and find a way to achieve them
  • You enjoy working collaboratively on projects that require a sustained effort
  • You are comfortable in a collaborative learning process
  • You are adept with technology in the workplace

Who teaches the courses?
LOB courses are taught by Northwestern SPS faculty who have extensive business and academic credentials. The program emphasizes interactive learning and balances theory with application. 

What distinguishes the Leadership and Organization Behavior program from your traditional organization behavior major?
The Leadership and Organization Behavior program has a predetermined curriculum; students complete the same set of courses to fulfill the requirements of the major. This ensures that students share the same body of knowledge in the program and enables instructors to integrate new content with what has been previously introduced. In LOB, elective courses within the major are chosen with a focus on the skills and knowledge needed for leadership positions.

Also, LOB includes other courses needed to fulfill graduation requirements, all of which are coordinated to enhance the major. In the first term, students take Business Communication while simultaneously taking and integrating ideas from the Leadership course. Students fulfill a humanities requirement by taking a Business Ethics course, while they meet a science and formal studies requirement by taking a course on Information Systems. Finally, in the final, fall quarter of the two-and-a-half year program, LOB culminates in Leadership and Literature, a course that fulfills a graduation requirement while enabling students to synthesize what they have learned about leadership throughout the program.

What careers are available to those who major in organization behavior?
Advances in the behavioral study of organizations, communication theory and psychology have broadened the discipline and have expanded its relevance to wide variety of careers. Students who have majored in organization behavior can be found working in hospital administration, marketing management, nonprofit administration, human resource leadership, information technology, and as leaders in in corporate and non-profit industries.

Program Information

How many credits are required to complete the program?
To receive a degree from Northwestern University, students must complete 45 units of credit. A unit is a measure of academic credit at NU: each SPS course is worth one unit of credit. Students ordinarily may transfer in up to half of the units needed for graduation, which is equivalent to 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of credit. There will be some variation in the amount of credit transferred in, depending on how previous coursework aligns with the curriculum at NU.

Your cohort plan shows a maximum credit of 19 units. How do I earn the additional credits that I will need to graduate?
The LOB program provides all courses necessary to complete the major as well as a significant portion of graduation requirements. To meet the 45 unit requirement for graduation, some students will need to complete additional courses, which can be taken after the completion of the LOB curriculum or as additional courses while within the cohort. Also, many LOB students take College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests to earn additional academic credit. Many students should be able to complete their degree program within two years and two quarters after they start.

Will my degree be conferred through the School of Professional Studies? What will my diploma read?
Students who satisfy all graduation requirements will be awarded a degree by the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University. The School of Professional Studies works closely with the Weinberg to ensure that SPS academic standards adhere to the high quality and rigor required for a Northwestern University degree.

How many classes can I take per quarter?
Students will typically take two courses per quarter including summer. Students may petition to take a third course in a quarter, that course being chosen from non-LOB offerings, to speed their progress towards their degree.

If I want to speed up my progress, can I pursue full-time study, especially as I get closer to the degree?
Once students have a proven track record in the program, they may take an additional course per quarter. We recommend that such decisions be made in consultation with an academic adviser, who can assist in planning an appropriate course load.

Where and when do classes meet?
LOB classes are held on the Northwestern Chicago campus. Parking is available, and all locations are easily accessible by public transportation. Each course meets on the same alternating Saturdays during the term. For example, for the Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 both LOB courses meet on Saturday; one meets in the morning from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and the other in the afternoon from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. The outside of class portion of the course for Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, would be a combination of real-time online sessions and discussions. During the summer, classes meet on Saturdays in a 5-week intensive format. 

Can I transfer credit to take the place of courses in the LOB program?
Students who have taken comparable courses before enrolling in the LOB program may transfer up to four courses within the program. Admitted students will receive a credit evaluation outlining courses transferred into major requirements and courses transferred into general degree requirements.

Does the School of Professional Studies offer career placement assistance for graduates?
All LOB students are encouraged to meet with an SPS academic and career adviser to discuss their goals and to make use of SPS career resources and Northwestern University Career Advancement.

Admission Information

How can I apply for admission to the Leadership and Organization Behavior program?
Complete the online application for admission and select Organizational Behavior: Leadership and Organization Behavior as the intended major. You will also need to submit official transcripts from high school and all previously attended colleges and universities, a personal statement, a current professional resume and a $50 application fee.

What kind of professional experience is required for admission?
Candidates for the LOB program should have five to seven years of professional experience in a leadership position or a goal of moving into a leadership or managerial role. The collective professional experience of students in the cohort is a crucial component of the LOB program. Outside of class experiences, LOB students apply what they are learning to their own work.

How much previous college credit should I have completed prior to admission?
Applicants should have completed one to two years of college coursework (30-60 semester hours or 45-90 quarter hours). Transfer credit is accepted in these areas: social science, science, business, communication studies, information systems and humanities. Vocational and technical credits generally are not transferrable. Students with less than one a year of college coursework but with substantial professional experience may still apply.