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Wildcat Days

On Monday, April 10, 2023, 2-4pm (Central) and Monday, April 17, 2023, 2-4 pm (Central) you will have an opportunity to learn more about the School of Communication, and meet with faculty, advisors, and staff in your department.

Welcome from the Dean

Congratulations! I am delighted to learn that you were offered admission to the School of Communication (SoC) Class of 2027.

First, I must acknowledge the extraordinary circumstances in which you’re finishing your high school journey. The disruptions you endured the last two years must have been immensely challenging, given all that was altered, delayed, and canceled. Know that I see you and commend your resilience. Consider me quite impressed at how you managed these uncertainties and still kept  focus on your important next steps.

The SoC and Northwestern, as you might imagine, have made major adjustments as well, but I’m pleased to report that our students are back to in-person classroom learning, research, media making, and performance. In fact, the lessons we learned during our pandemic-era pivots will assist us in becoming a more innovative, empathetic, inclusive, and creative community.

Amid these challenges, we continue to be a global leader in the communication arts and sciences with a commitment to representation and equity among students, faculty, and staff. The following are just some of the possible pathways available to you.

  • Robust curricular and co-curricular opportunities for students to study and practice playwriting, screenwriting, songwriting and writing for digital media. Students are empowered to create and showcase new work in collaboration with their peers, often laying the foundation for lifelong friendships and professional partnerships, which we often see at work among our successful alumni in all industries.
  • A contemporary, experience-driven liberal arts approach toward theatre, which includes theatre history, acting, music theatre, playwriting, management, theatre for young audiences, and design. Our students are encouraged to create across genres, platforms, and performance styles, and become critical thinkers about the implications of their art and voice in the professional and cultural spheres. We have expanded our curriculum to emphasize works outside of the traditional “canon,” which will give agency to actors and writers from historically underrepresented groups.
  • A dance curriculum that includes dance history, composition, and choreography. Dance majors rise to the challenges of writing, researching, and analyzing the field of dance as well as their craft through technique classes and performance opportunities. Students prepare for careers in performance, dance writing, education, choreography, dance therapy, and administration.
  • A radio/television/film (RTVF) program that supports screenwriting, documentary media, sound production, and media analysis. RTVF students explore the breadth of the field through courses that examine the history and role of media in global cultures, and receive hands-on training in creating, editing, and producing innovative media—films, computer animation, and video installations. Student work regularly wins awards in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Pre-professional research and clinical knowledge opportunities in the human communication sciences (HCS). Long regarded as one of the best programs in the country, HCS majors are entering medical and allied health fields at a time when the import and visibility of the health care profession is at an all-time high. Our students are eager researchers and budding clinicians, but also advocates who support health and communication in diverse populations.
  • An ever-evolving examination of our communication landscape. We’re living through an explosion in the digital ecology and leading the way in analyzing, innovating within, and questioning our relationship to data, media platforms, and social networks. With foundations in rhetoric, argumentation, and debate, this interdisciplinary field offers endless customization.
  • A rigorous examination of performance. Performance studies students are thoughtful researchers and practitioners of performance on stage, in protest, in politics, or beyond. The SoC is renowned in this field.
  • Our internship, research practicum, and independent study courses provide opportunities for students to engage with faculty, alumni, and leadership partners to apply what they have learned in the classroom to the real world.
  • Two new innovative undergraduate curricular opportunities: the SoC First-Year Seminar, an interdisciplinary special topics course taught by teams of faculty from across the SoC; and the SoC Senior Seminar, a culminating experience designed to help graduating students prepare for life beyond Northwestern.

This is only a taste of the opportunities you could pursue as a student here in the SoC, and barely touches on the brilliant faculty, ample resources, professional alumni connections, international pursuits, and supportive advising of which we’re so proud. More information can be found on our website. Please feel free to reach out to me or our Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Advising, Lori Barcliff Baptista, at with any questions you may have.  We look forward to welcoming you in the Fall of 2023!

Go Cats!

E. Patrick Johnson, PhD

Dean, School of Communication

Annenberg University Professor

Northwestern University

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