Resources for SPS Graduate Students

Explore this page for useful administrative and support information for Northwestern University School of Professional Studies master's degree students. If you do not find what you need here, you can browse the graduate program FAQ page for answers to commonly asked questions. The SPS Student Services web pages also offer helpful information as well as direct contact information for the advising team.



Important Dates


Academic Calendar

The academic calendar lists important dates such as application, registration, and drop deadlines, as well as thesis submissions and holidays.


Archived academic calendars from previous years can be found here.




Learning Studios

Skills-building online tutorials

SPS Learning Studios are self-paced, self-directed and individualized online tutorials to support SPS students and assist in student success. These Studios are optional, non-credit, and zero-tuition courses housed in Canvas, with no registration requirements in Caesar. Enrollment in such Studios will not be reflected on your transcript. While other students will be completing the studio at the same time as you, there are no required discussions or group activities. However, there may be an optional, web conference conducted weekly by an instructor for any students who have questions about the material.

As you begin the studio, use the pre-test to identify the areas where you need to improve your skills. You also have an option to select those lessons that address specific questions or gaps in your knowledge that you have already identified.

Your work in this studio will not be graded or evaluated by an instructor or teaching assistant. Instead, you will evaluate your understanding of the material by completing a set of recommended exercises followed by a quiz at the end of each lesson.


SQL Learning Studio

The online SQL Learning Studio is a hands-on experience that covers beginner concepts and methods of SQL for students enrolled in graduate and professional career programs at Northwestern University's School of Professional Studies. In this learning studio, you will learn about the relational model, database table design, and how to query tables to build reports using Structured Query Language (SQL).

This learning studio is required for students to complete as part of MSDS 420 Database Systems. If you complete this before enrolling in 420, remember to take screenshots where directed to later submit as part of your 420 coursework.




Python Learning Studio

The online Python Learning Studio covers beginner concepts and methods of Python programming for incoming students enrolled in graduate and professional career programs at Northwestern University School of Professional Studies. This course is an introduction to the Python programming environment and not an introduction to programming with Python.

At the end of the Python Learning Studio, you will be able to load and install Python packages, perform data analysis using pandas, and perform statistical analysis using NumPy and data visualization using matplotlib/seaborn.



Academic Integrity Learning Studio

 The Academic Integrity Learning Studio is designed to provide students with a multi-faceted perspective on academic integrity as an ethical concept, as well as pragmatic skills in identifying academic integrity standards and violations. The workshop will cover University policy and standards regarding academic integrity, including the use of technology such as Turnitin, and outline the process for responding to suspected violations. By the end of this workshop, students will be familiar with strategies for creating a culture of academic integrity as they engage with University coursework.

This course is suitable for learners at all levels of experience. Whether you have recently completed your undergraduate degree or been out of the classroom for a while or have never written a paper in a U.S. academic context, mastery of this self-paced workshop will provide you with critical skills to help you succeed in SPS courses.



R Learning Studio

The online R Learning Studio covers beginner concepts and methods of R programming for incoming students enrolled in graduate and professional career programs at Northwestern University's School of Professional Studies.

At the end of the R Learning Studio, you will be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of R Studio software, loading and installing R packages, data mining, handling strings and dates, statistical packages, and much more. There are separate modules labeled MPPA 405 that are specific to the R approach and textbook that MPPA students will use.



Go Learning Studio

The Go Learning Studio will provide an orientation to Go Programming Language for incoming students enrolled in graduate and professional career programs at Northwestern University School of Professional Studies.  This self-paced course covers system installs and setup on your local machine before progressing to basics for package development, database interaction, concurrency, and web application development. It is recommended that all MSDS students have some familiarity with Go. Many courses in the Data Engineering specialization have Go as the primary language. The Go Learning Studio is especially important for MSDS 431-DL Data Engineering with Go and MSDS 432-DL Foundations of Data Engineering


Microeconomics Learning Studio

The Microeconomics Learning Studio covers basic concepts and methods in microeconomics as an introduction or refresher for incoming students enrolled in SPS programs.

At the end of this learning studio, students will be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of concepts and methods in areas of choice and scarcity, supply and demand, elasticity, market structures, public goods, externalities, price controls, and uncertainty.

This workshop is designed to enhance your skill set and boost your proficiency to master microeconomics concepts through innovative, independent learning. Mastery of this self-paced workshop will provide you with the skills to help you succeed in your SPS microeconomics course. Concepts include:

  • Basic microeconomics diagrams and models, and how to interpret them.
  • Choice and scarcity, and how the microeconomics concepts of opportunity cost(s), sunk cost(s), and marginal thinking play into choice and scarcity as seen in charts, graphs, math, and models.
  • Supply and demand, and elasticity of supply and demand as seen conceptually and in graphing, math, and modeling applications.
  • General and specific firm behavior as seen in the math completed for cost tables.
  • The organization of goods and industry, and the corresponding economics of the public sector, as seen in charts, graphs, math, and models.​
ENROLL in microeconomics


Student Academic Catalog

The Graduate Student Academic Catalog is your guide to your SPS graduate program of study and Northwestern University. It will provide you with information about various practical aspects of graduate life and is intended to help you navigate through your program and its administrative procedures. The handbook is your reference tool for a wide range of student concerns, from course registration to your culminating project. In many cases, it is the quickest path to an answer. If, after consulting the handbook, you still have questions or unresolved issues, please contact your Academic and Career Adviser.


In addition to the policies contained in the SPS Graduate Student Academic Catalog, you are also expected to be familiar with University-enacted rules and regulations, which are found in the Northwestern University Student Handbook.




Curriculum Archive

Access archived curricula here.  For curricula after the 2019–20 academic year, please see the Academic Catalog.




For New Students

Technical Requirements for Online Students

Graduate students enrolled in Distance Learning programs should refer to the following page for the system requirements and technical information related to their academic program.

WildCARD: Northwestern Student ID

Once admitted, students are able to obtain a WildCARD student identification card, which provides access to computer labs, library facilities and University services.

  • On-campus students can visit the WildCARD offices in Evanston and Chicago to obtain a WildCARD.
  • Online students who are not in close proximity to the WildCARD offices may use the process below to obtain a WildCARD:

1. Upload a digital photograph of yourself (NetID required, Internet Explorer recommended)

2. Mail a notarized copy of your driver’s license, state ID or passport to:

Northwestern University
School of Professional Studies
339 E. Chicago Ave, 6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
attn: WildCARD

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