Each School of Communication advisor holds a faculty appointment in their respective department(s), and is knowledgeable about their particular major(s). They can help with a wide range of academic services, from course planning and degree progress checks to support with time-management and study skills to being a sounding board for ideas you may have about your academic and co-curricular endeavors. They can also connect you with various university resources to help you reach your goals. While a minimum number of academic advising meetings are required, students often find it valuable to consult with their advisors more frequently. In addition to these advisors, students can work with department faculty who provide mentorship particularly in their areas of academic expertise. You are free to pick whomever you’d like as a faculty mentor, someone who perhaps shares your interests, or with whom you just feel comfortable talking. If you have any questions, feel free to contact any of the advisors.
Every major has three kinds of classes: major requirements, distribution requirements (outside the School of Communication), and electives. Roughly one third of your classes fall into each category. During Wildcat Welcome, right before you begin your Fall Quarter as a first-year student, you will have access to peer advisors, group advising, and individual advising to give you all the information you need about how to register for classes, and which classes you should take. Throughout your undergraduate studies, you will also meet with your advisor, who will review with you any remaining classes that you need in the required areas.
Placement in foreign-language courses beyond the introductory level is based on an AP exam score, a placement exam, or a combination of both. See Northwestern’s Council on Language Instruction’s helpful guidelines at cli.northwestern.edu/undergraduate/placement.html.
SoC follows the Weinberg language requirements, which can be found here: https://www.weinberg.northwestern.edu/undergraduate/degree/foreign-language-proficiency/fulfill-proficiency-requirement.html. For more information regarding a specific language program, please refer to the respective departments.
Students pursuing a BA in any SoC department and all communication studies and radio/television/film majors should take a foreign-language placement exam to determine the course level corresponding to their knowledge and previous study of the language.
Students in the communication sciences and disorders major should take the Department of Chemistry initial chemistry assessment and the Department of Mathematics summer online placement exam.
A dance placement test is offered during Wildcat Welcome for students who plan to enroll in dance classes beyond the beginner’s level.
See the Placement Exams webpage in purple prep for an overview of the online placement exams and assessments: https://www.northwestern.edu/purple-prep/academics/placement-exams.html
SoC allows up to 10 AP/IB credits to count toward distribution or elective requirements. Additional information on how these credits apply can be found in the advising registration and policies section.
In order to apply AP credit to your Northwestern record, contact the College Board and request your scores be sent to Northwestern University. Our school code is 1565. The eligible AP credit is added to your student record through an electronic process. For incoming undergraduates, requests should be sent to the College Board no later than August 1st to ensure credit is posted in time for new-student advising. If you request submission of scores after August 1st, please contact the Office of the Registrar at email@example.com to let Northwestern know your scores were sent. If you are a current student who requested submission of credit-worthy scores that are not reflected on your record, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name the scores are under and the date you made the request of the College Board.
IB results can be delivered by request via the Diploma Program Coordinator or sent directly to Northwestern depending on the time frame. Please visit www.ibo.org for additional details. IB results should be requested no later than mid-July to ensure credit is posted in time for new-student advising.
See the Office of The Registrar’s web page for more information transferring AP and IB credits; https://www.registrar.northwestern.edu/registration-graduation/transfer-and-test-credit/advanced-placement-and-international-baccalaureate-credits.html
For information on receiving other types of test credit such as European National Exams like the French Baccalaureate or GCE A-Level, please contact the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Office of Undergraduate Studies at (847) 491-7560, or bring a copy of your score report to 1922 Sheridan Road.
Fall registration for incoming transfer students will occur August 16 through 23. Appointment times will be visible on CAESAR by the prior week. Fall registration for incoming first year students will occur September 9 and 10. Appointment times will be visible in CAESAR in early August. Peer advisers can assist you with navigating CAESAR, and students will meet with academic advisors and receive guidance from peer advisers prior to registration.
The registrar’s office maintains the university academic calendar.
There are approximately 1,000 undergraduate students in SoC.
For SoC students: You can double major in Weinberg and select majors in Bienen. Double majors are not possible with other schools, such as McCormick or SESP. (That would be a 5-year dual degree program.)
To declare a double major, incoming students must wait until they are on-campus. Some majors have pre-requisites which can be found on the respective department’s website.
For all WCAS programs, call or visit the department in which you wish to add a second major or minor and make an appointment to meet with whomever advises students in that major. Students will also need to complete a WCAS major declaration form, which can be found here https://weinberg.northwestern.edu/undergraduate/major-minor/choosing-declaring.html . Some music majors are also possible to add as second majors, pending a successful audition and space in the program. Contact the Bienen School of Music Office of Student Affairs at 847-491-3818, email@example.com, or in person on the 2nd floor of the Ryan Center for Musical Arts, Room 2-115, for more information.
Non-SoC students: You cannot double major in SoC unless you are enrolled as a SoC student. (Ex: A Weinberg Political Science major cannot double major in RTVF unless they complete an interschool transfer into SoC.) Interschool transfers are not guaranteed and are dependent on approval.
It is possible to pursue a minor within SoC, which offers minors in dance, film and media studies, human communication sciences, performance studies, sound design, and theatre. Your advisor can provide details on which SoC minors are available to you, and help you make decisions about second majors and minors once you arrive on campus. For information on minors outside SoC, contact the relevant department.
Within SoC, it’s generally very easy to switch majors. The only exception is that the Theatre program is capped at 100 students, in order to keep acting classes small. Students who are interested in transferring to Theatre can request to be added to a wait list, and will be contacted if a space becomes available. Otherwise, it’s rarely a problem to transfer into a new major—even outside the School of Communication. Interschool transfers are very common at Northwestern, as students are expected to explore a variety of interests. Of course, it’s much easier to transfer majors/schools earlier in your NU career, so you have time to complete the necessary requirements for graduation—not all majors have comparable requirements so extra classes may be needed. Discussing your options with academic advisors will ensure that the transfer process goes smoothly.
The program is very evenly blended to include both theory and production. You will have ample opportunity to explore each component of the major; so, if you’re not sure which area you’d like to pursue, you have the ability to experiment to find your preference. If you are interested in theory only, and have no interest in learning production, you have the option of being a Film and Media Studies minor instead of a major, which will expose you solely to theory. To find out more, you can contact your advisor, or check out the Radio/Television/Film website.
Getting students involved in research opportunities is a major priority in the School of Communication. Currently, students can do research for course credit through research practica, in which you work in a faculty member’s research lab; independent studies, in which you conduct your own study or project under the mentorship of a faculty member; or research seminars for group research projects. Most departments also have an honors program, in which students work on a senior honors thesis, a year-long individual research project guided by a faculty member. Professors can apply for funding to hire undergraduate students to help them with their own personal research, and there are also small grants available for summer and academic-year research projects.
There are a vast array of internships available to SoC students, in a variety of different areas and industries, and you’re not limited to just the ones listed here. For more specific information, visit the Office of External Programs, Internships, and Career Services (EPICS).
For a list of some organizations relevant to SoC majors, as well as links to resources for connecting with other Northwestern student organizations, visit:
Students who graduate from SoC get jobs in virtually any field. Because all of our majors teach you critical thinking skills and help you develop intellectually, you are qualified in many different areas. The jobs you decide to accept after you graduate will be limited only by your own interests. You will also have ample opportunities to do internships, which will help you gain experience and make the career choice that’s right for you.