Pregraduate Specialized Studies

Create a custom course of study to prepare for graduate school, professional school and PhD programs. Students develop a specialized academic plan of four to eight courses that capitalizes on their backgrounds and perfectly suits their academic goals, guided by the admissions requirements of their graduate programs of interest. Courses within this specialized studies program can be grouped within a single subject or built across subject areas for interdisciplinary study. Students will have the opportunity to strengthen their academic transcript, show recent academic success and secure current letters of recommendation from NU faculty. This certificate is a credential that will enable students to stand out in their application for advanced study.


Students interested in pursuing specialized study for professional or career advancement should explore the Specialized Studies for Career Advancement post-baccalaureate program.


Program Details and Areas of Study

Program Details

Time to Completion
  • Two quarters to two years, based on your goals and number of courses
  • Courses are available on Northwestern's Evanston and Chicago campuses
  • Evening and Saturday courses
  • When applying, choose Specialized Studies as Certificate Program


Areas of Study

Collaborate with an adviser to create a specialized program of study comprised of SPS undergraduate courses in multiple subjects to meet specific academic goals. Academic subjects include:

  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chinese
  • Communication Studies
  • Economics
  • English 
  • French
  • History
  • Information Systems
  • Journalism
  • Mathematics
  • Organization Behavior
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Radio/TV/Film
  • Sociology
  • Spanish


Specialized studies can also be an ideal means of preparation for law school and master’s programs in education.

Law School Preparation

Coursework at SPS provides the opportunity to develop strong writing and verbal communication skills, an understanding of society and human nature, and critical and creative thinking skills—all assets for the study of law. Students can lay the groundwork for law school by completing courses in subjects such as English, history, political science, communication studies and psychology. Working with an adviser, students develop a program of study that is geared toward their specific academic needs and that will augment their application to law school.

Education Master's Preparation

Based on their specific needs, students can take general education courses to prepare for graduate study in elementary or secondary while satisfying some teacher certification requirements. In Illinois, the requirements for certification are determined by the certifying institution. Career changers interested in a secondary education graduate program will need to satisfy the course equivalents of a major, which, in many cases, can be fulfilled through a self-designed program. Both course equivalent and general education requirements should be confirmed before selecting courses for a Pregraduate program.


Pregraduate Study Courses

Explore all undergraduate courses for descriptions, schedules, and locations. Classes are held on Northwestern's Evanston or downtown Chicago campuses, or online, and meet once weekly in the evening or on Saturdays.


Pregraduate Study Tuition

Post-baccalaureate students at Northwestern's School of Professional Studies pay per course. For more information about financial obligations and tuition, please visit the Tuition page.


Admission for Pregraduate Study

In addition to completing an online application, you'll also need to submit a few supplemental materials. A list of requirements for admission including application deadlines and tips on how to apply can be found on the Admission page.

Pregraduate Study Registration Information

Whether you're a first-time registrant or current and returning student, all students register using our online student registration and records systems. Important information about registering for courses at SPS, including registration timelines and adding or dropping courses in which you are already enrolled, can be found on the Registration Information page.

Find out more about the Pregraduate Study