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Legal Studies Major Applications are now open!

We are pleased to announce that
Legal Studies Major Applications are now open!

If interested in applying to the major, please complete the online application form
and submit to by Monday, February 3rd!

Our applications are only open once a year, so don’t delay!

For more information about the major, visit our website.



Announcing SummerFest 2020!

Start dreaming about warm summer days on cold winter nights! It all begins at SummerFest, which introduces students to Northwestern resources that can help them meet their summer goals through programs, jobs, and grants. Some opportunities would allow you to enjoy Evanston and Chicago when the weather is great. Others are focused on more distant domestic and international locations. Some are entirely portable if you have a place in mind, whether it’s your hometown or a destination on your bucket list. To make things easy, we’re bringing resources to residential areas over two days: Tuesday, January 14, 12-3pm in Shepard Hall; Wednesday, January 15, 7-9pm in 560 Lincoln. (Click the links to see details on the event pages.) Drop in for 15 minutes. Stay for an hour. Oh, and did we mention that you can get a draft of your resume reviewed by staff from Northwestern Career Advancement?

What can I accomplish at SummerFest?

  • Learn about summer opportunities and funding options
  • Start planning for applications due in winter or spring
  • Find out about ways to earn degree credit this summer

Who will be at SummerFest?

  • Advisers representing multiple Northwestern offices and programs
  • Students sharing insights from recent summer experiences
  • orthwestern Career Advancement reviewing resume drafts and offering summer advice

What should I bring to SummerFest?

  • An open mind about what you might do with your summer
  • A draft of your resume if you want professional feedback
  • Your appetite for summery snacks like ice cream treats and freshly popped popcorn
  • Friends, because you’ll be doing them a favor

Current list of participants:

  • Global Learning Abroad: Summer Study Abroad Opportunities, including Buffett’s Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI)
  • Center for Civic Engagement: Engage Chicago
  • Northwestern Career Advancement: Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP)
  • Undergraduate Financial Aid: Summer Financial Aid, Study Abroad, & Work-Study
  • Office of External Programs, Internships, & Career Services (EPICS): School of Communication Internship Program
  • Office of Fellowships: Funding for Summer Research, Study Abroad, and Public Service
  • German Department: Summer Internships, Scholarships & Programs
  • Health Professions Advising: Pre-Med & Pre-Health Summer Strategies
  • Center for Talent Development: Paid Summer Internships at Summer Camp for the Gifted
  • SummerNU: Summer Session 2020
  • Office of Undergraduate Research: Undergraduate Language Grants, Undergraduate Research Grants, and Undergraduate Research Assistant Program
  • Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISS): Planning for Summer Work
  • Global Health Studies: Summer Global Health Research Opportunities
  • Northwestern Hillel: Hillel Summer Programs

Winter Break 2019-2020 Work-Study Position Available in the Student Resource Center

Are you eligible for Work Study, and looking for extra work over winter break?

The SoC Student Resource Center is has work study positions available for students who will be in the Evanston area for finals week and winter break. Continuing to work a few hours during winter and spring quarters, as well as longer hours during spring break, is also possibility.


Clerical Aide 2, SoC Undergraduate Office. 

Students work at the front desk answering phones, making appointments, filing and doing other light clerical tasks. Also help with assembling reports, putting together materials for students, and preparing for student events. 


Must be an NU undergraduate student with a Federal Work-Study allotment for the 2019-20 academic year.

Familiarity with MS Office (especially word and excel), previous experience answering phones for a busy office, filing experience, ability to multitask and take initiative.

Please email a resume, cover letter, number of allotment hours that can be worked each week, and schedule of available work hours to

PAY RATE: $12.00/hr

CONTACT NAME: Jeanette A Ortiz


Course Update: Computing Everywhere Winter 2020!

You already know that software, data and algorithms are everywhere today. Have you ever wondered how they work? Or wanted to know more about programming, so you could feel smarter talking to an engineer/coder on a project or in a job interview?

This winter, check out COMM ST 159 Computing Everywhere, a zero-credit seminar with 5 weeks of evening (choose Tuesdays at Willard or Wednesdays at Shepard, 7-9 pm) workshops aimed at all NU students without a technical background.

Wait, zero credits? Right. It’ll show up as a class on your transcript and you’ll be graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis based on your attendance. No graded homework or exams. Show up and participate, and you’ll get a ‘satisfactory’. 

What are the topics? This winter, topics include:  understanding automation scripts, data and computational journalism, working with cloud computing, artificial intelligence and social network analysis.

It’s really just 5 weeks? Yup, the course will meet once per week, for 2 hours per session during the first 5 weeks of the quarter. You pick the Tuesday or Wednesday section. Then it’s done and you’ll have more time for midterms and projects and whatever else comes up. That’s it!

Do I need to be a programmer? No. If you can write code, you know too much for this course. It’s designed for beginners.

Will I become a programmer? Probably not after just this seminar, but you’ll be in great shape to start learning to code on your own or take more courses! 

Sounds cool, but next quarter I’m already really busy with 18 courses, studying abroad, doing 4 internships, etc.  What do I do? We will offer this in the spring too, with an updated list of topics each quarter. We will also offer it in different formats sometimes. Watch for more info on our web site and in your inbox! 

What if I’ve already taken it once? You can do it again, up to six times! No problem.

How do I sign up? Register for COMM ST 159 in CAESAR as you would for any course. Because it’s zero credits, it won’t increase your credit count, tuition, etc..

Have more questions? Check out the web site or contact Jeremy Birnholtz (, course coordinator.

Research position with OTV Open Television Project

Project title: Open TV Exhibition Data Project
Faculty name:
Christian Aymar
School and Department: SOC, Communication Studies

Faculty Bio: Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian is an associate professor of communication studies at Northwestern University interested in creative industries and cultural studies. His first book, Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television on New York University Press, argues the web brought innovation to television by opening development to independent producers. His work has been published in numerous academic journals, including The International Journal of Communication, Television & New Media, Cinema Journal, Continuum, and Transformative Works and Cultures. He has juried television and video for the Peabody Awards, Gotham Awards, and Tribeca Film Festival, among others.

Project synopsis: My work asks how new technologies and industry practices shape culture, focusing on the politics of representation as TV transitions from the network era to the networked, or digital, era. To explore the possibility of representing complex identities online and in Hollywood I needed to create my own data set because of systemic inequalities across media sectors.

OTV | Open Television — — is a platform distributing TV pilots and series by queer, trans and cis-women and artists of color. This research project investigates how independent organizations can challenge television series development to be more inclusive as it explores the possibilities for community-based arts in the digital age. The OTV platform functions as a television network from the bottom-up, using web distribution to incubate local, emerging artists and propel their careers. OTV empowers this diverse set of creatives by producing and distributing original indie series by and about artists. It is designed it as an intervention in television, film, online video and art practices and industries. The experiment tests the entire process of developing original programming, mining small-scale context for the rich data it can provide: financing, production, marketing, exhibition, and distribution.

This URAP project focuses on how OTV programs circulate online and in cities, or how programs are exhibited and received. This involves basic audience and textual analysis to determine what themes and frames are most often used and seen as most valuable for representations of historically marginalized communities.

Description of the RA position: Student(s) will be working with a broad of range of data sets related to the exhibition of television and video projects distributed online and in Chicago by my project OTV | Open Television. Primarily students will be coding and organizing data, for example: categorizing websites that embed our projects by target audience; coding the social media profiles of individual OTV projects by post type and style; mapping local, national and global screenings of OTV projects; coding interviews with local and national exhibition partners by theme.

Position Expectations: Students will work with the faculty member and a doctoral student but will work on their own time. A doctoral student will offer basic training after the faculty member provides an overview of each discreet project and task. Deadlines will generally be flexible so long as tasks are concluded within a reasonable time so research can progress. Students will have biweekly meetings with the faculty member to go over work completed and get feedback on their performance.

Students will become familiar with basic Excel and the backend of social media websites.

Time Requirements: Students will receive regular feedback through biweekly meetings with the faculty member via video chat or in-person at the faculty’s office. I respect students’ time, allowing for flexibility on deadlines so they are not over-stressed.

Applicant Prerequisites: No prior experience is required as these tasks are less technical and more exercises in basic critical thinking necessary for all undergraduates to have. Students who can show a solid work ethic and who are detail oriented will be preferred. I will be reaching out to listservs from the departments of Radio/TV/Film, Statistics and Communication Studies to reach students interested in creative industries and data. This has proven effective in the past.  Candidates will be evaluated based on their interest in the topics, including: television and other arts, social media & other modes of reception, community engagement or marketing, intersectionality (race, gender, sexuality, class, etc.) as it relates to working with data sets.

Students can apply here:

Winter Medill courses with seats for non-majors

JOUR 372-0 International Journalism: South Africa
Taught by Prof. Doug Foster
MW 10am-11:50am, Fisk 309

January 2020 marks three decades since the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. His release, and the negotiations that followed, ushered in an effort to flesh out the vision of establishing a “nonracial,” egalitarian, anti-sexist, and non-homophobic society on the southern tip of Africa. Those were ambitions clearly articulated in the Constitution promulgated in 1996 and which are, quite visibly, undergoing an extreme stress test in the context of a contracting global economy and corruption. This course covers the contemporary history of South Africa with a special focus on the role of media in one of the world’s newest constitutional democracies. Speaking directly with journalists, publishers, executive producers and media executives we’ll explore the state of independent journalism. The course is required for journalism students who have applied for the Residency Program in South Africa, but it is not limited to them. Global public health students and engineering students headed for internships and study in the country often find it useful. It’s open, as well, to any student interested in considering the steps a journalist might take in preparing herself for an international assignment. The course is also a workshop, in effect, for discussion of ethical considerations in doing journalism across lines of nationality, class, culture, language, ethnicity, race, and other considerations. 

Required Materials:
After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Douglas Foster [Liveright: 2020]- $20
What If There Were No Whites in South Africa, Ferial Haffajee [Picador Africa:2015] $20 



JOUR 383-0 Health and Science Reporting
Taught by Prof. Patti Wolter
W 9am-11:50am, Fisk 206

Health and Science Reporting teaches students both how to think about science writing and how to write about science and medicine. In this combination writing workshop and seminar we will read some of the best of the best science and health journalism; meet with expert scientists on campus; and meet the editors and writers from leading scientific journals and publications. Students will learn what makes good science writing, how to find sources, how to evaluate information and how to sort out science from pseudo-science. Assignments will include critiques of science coverage in newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the Web, science/health/medicine journal rewrites, news briefs, an in-depth narrative story on a science topic of students’ own choosing, and an opportunity to write live copy for a science magazine or website.   

Required Materials:
Access to laptop or other word processing equipment  



JOUR 390-0 section 24: The Vote
Taught by Prof. Jack Doppelt
Th 12pm-2:50pm

The discussion seminar course will explore the calculated efforts to ensure that political power in the U.S. stays in the hands of those in power against all demographic odds and projections. It is often said, particularly now, that the right to vote is what keeps the United States from descending into autocracy or one-party rule. Yet, the right to vote is not protected directly in the Constitution, and American history is filled with examples of successful ways for those in power, at both national and local levels, to keep and entrench their power by manipulating THE VOTE. A core purpose of the course is to brief students on how this has been done in the U.S. and to prepare them to know it when they see it and to report on it or otherwise address it. 

 Among the topics we will cover are: 

  • The Vote, the Constitution and its Amendments, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the end of the Voting Rights Act: Origins and traditions throughout the U.S. that have limited the vote to property-owning white men until the 15th Amendment in 1870; denied generations of women the right to vote until the 19th Amendment 50 years later in 1920; and ended in 2013 the Voting Rights Act protections against racial discrimination in voting that were enacted 48 years earlier in 1965. 
  • Immigration and demographics: Selective limits and bans on lawful migration into the U.S. and on naturalizations have reduced the numbers and types of people allowed to enter and stay in the country and become citizens who can vote.  
  • Voter suppression: Techniques used by states, ostensibly to address potential vote fraud, such as disqualifying felons and ex-felons from voting, poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses and other Jim Crow laws; requiring photo IDs; purging voter rolls when registered voters don’t vote in consecutive elections; using unverified crosscheck lists to create the impression of illegal duplicate voting; limiting early voting;  closing targeted polling places, all of which tend to disproportionately impact minorities, African-American communities, lower-income residents, majority-Hispanic districts, and senior citizens; and the Supreme Court decisions in Bush v. Gore (2000) and Rucho v. Common Cause (2019). 
  • Voter registration, turnout and non-voters: The predictable limits that have produced a nation in which voting tends to include only about 60% of the voting eligible population for presidential elections, about 40% for midterm elections, and about 25% in municipal elections. 
  • Census: Every ten years, the census bureau does its most intensive count of the U.S. population. The data is used to draw district boundaries for the purposes of determining Congressional and state legislative maps. One issue for this coming 2020 census is the citizenship question, which the Supreme Court recently addressed in U.S. Commerce Dept. v. New York (2019) and which we will dissect to understand the relationship between the census, demographic reality and elections to come. 
  • Redistricting, gerrymandering and the Electoral College: It is legal for politicians to draw district boundaries for partisan political purposes, but not for racial reasons. That distinction was recently reinforced in Rucho v. Common Cause (2019), with the Supreme Court deciding 5-4 that intended political fixes should continue to be legal. One consequence of political gerrymandering is it allows for those in power who draw and approve the redistricting maps to further entrench their political ideologies and parties. 
  • The Russians are coming: They came, they saw and they corrupted. Why stop now and have others, from other countries to domestic disrupters, learned the art and tricks of social media saturation? 

Each week, we will approach these recurring phenomena through four lenses:  

  • Historical: We will revisit the roots and recurrences in the evolution of voting trends and strategies. 
  • Legal: We will extract and examine the prevailing legislation, legal cases, and principles that guide or dictate election laws and results. 
  • Global: We will be mindful of how the U.S. is similar to and different from other countries. 
  • Happenin’: We will bring it all together by scoping out and analyzing current controversies to be better positioned to anticipate and fight back against brazen efforts to perpetuate power and thwart democratic representation and values. 

JOUR 390-0 section 26 Framed: Media and the Marginalized

Taught by Prof. Chris Benson
MW 11am-12:20pm, Fisk 311

Stereotypes.  Coded language.  Unconscious bias.  How do these concepts factor into the media search for truth?  How might they stand in the way of public understanding of social difference?  Clearly, the media affect the way we see one another across social boundaries established by such characteristics as race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality.  How do the perspectives formed by this “mediated reality” ultimately affect our decisions on public policy in such areas as political participation, equal rights and criminal justice?  These and other considerations are central to professional journalism responsibility and enlightened public choice making.  Without question, the media are vital to the effective operation of our democratic system by providing information that should be free of the kind of bias that can distort the public participation process.   


Through discussion of principles of media professionalism and ethics, and an examination of some of the hot topics featured in today’s headlines, this course will set a framework for recognizing and analyzing media narrative framing, as well as the representation of traditionally marginalized groups within that narrative frame.  Ultimately, we will develop a deeper appreciation of media responsibility.  Just as important, we will expand our sense of media literacy in considering a path forward—whether as professional journalists, or engaged citizens—as we navigate the challenging terrain of an increasingly diverse society, one in which we all can appreciate the value of social difference and multiple perspectives. 

Here is the link to your preview of Winter Quarter 2020 Classes. *

Here is the link to your preview of Winter Quarter 2020 Classes. *

Please remember this course listing is provided as a snapshot of classes that might be of interest to you as an SoC student and is not meant to substitute for the listings in CAESAR or consultation with your advisor.  In fact, there are often changes made on the CAESAR listings right up until registration and sometimes even after. Additionally, not all pre-requisites have been listed for all classes because some course descriptions have not yet been posted. So, take a look and see what interests you and then make sure to check the CAESAR listings to confirm class details. Classes are scheduled to go live on CAESAR on Monday, November 4th, 2019.

As always, if you have questions about your own degree progress or whether a class will count toward your major, minor, certificate or other additional program, make sure to check with your advisor. The Undergraduate Advising tab at the top left of the Spotlight blog page  will take you to their email address and contact information which is listed by major.

Don’t forget: Pre-Registration for Winter Quarter 2020 begins on Monday, November 11th at 8:00 am and ends Thursday, November 14th at 5:15 pm. Pre-registration and registration appointment times will be listed on your personal CAESAR account on Friday, November 8th, 2019.  Regular Registration begins the week of November 18th, 2019.

* If  you click on the bookmark icon in the upper left corner of the pdf, you can easily navigate course topics.  In addition, there is a link to the Searchable CAESAR class descriptions archive at the top of the page and contact information for all departments in the subject banner line. 

Have fun!

Northwestern Juniors and Seniors – from all colleges and departments – consider joining IEMS 365: Analytics for Social Good

Winter 2020… IEMS 365: Analytics for Social Good

Tues/Thurs 3:30 -4:50

Professor Karen Smilowitz
Industrial Engineering & Management Sciences

This university-wide course in humanitarian and non-profit logistics explores the challenges and opportunities of achieving social good in the age of analytics. Students work on interdisciplinary teams on a series of case studies that range in topic from advanced technology for disaster response and preparedness to improved decision-making frameworks for community-based health care providers. To assist in the understanding of these complex settings, the course will include guest speakers from local and national organizations, including the Manager of Operations Analysis and Disaster Dispatch at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.  We will be partnering with Evanston Skokie Public School District 65 again this year.

Registration is by brief application to ensure a broad range of student backgrounds.  The application deadline is November 4th – click here: