Academics: AND is in our DNA

If you’re like Northwestern students, then you know what it means to have multiple interests, talents, and pursuits. Our undergraduates don’t settle for “or.” They think and collaborate across disciplines, draw connections that lead to unlikely discoveries, and combine areas of study to tailor their education to their own set of interests.

This culture of “And” is due in large part to Northwestern’s particular combination of six undergraduate schools (arts & sciences; engineering; communication; journalism; education & social policy; and music), 200+ programs of study, 4,700+ undergraduate courses, and a quarter system that affords students three versus two academic terms to fulfill degree requirements and explore elective courses.

Factor in a diverse campus community that eagerly and deeply engages these opportunities, plus dedicated and knowledgeable advisors in each of the six schools, and you can imagine the one-of-a-kind educational directions our undergraduates pursue here. 

Undergraduate opportunities: Connecting classroom and world

A Northwestern education takes place at the intersections between interdisciplinary coursework, campus activities, collaborative research, and global engagement. Our people, our setting, and our resources will deeply enrich your experiences here, empowering you to take any direction you choose.

Our people include 8,000 undergraduates from all 50 states and more than 80 countries, 1,200 full-time faculty, and a worldwide network of hundreds of thousands of alumni. Our setting in Evanston, IL, combines a beautiful lakeside campus with a vibrant surrounding college town and one of the world’s great cities, Chicago, just a few miles south. Students are required to live on campus for two years, and in addition to their residential communities, they make close connections via campus affinity groups and more than 500 student organizations. Resources span $350 million in annual funding for undergraduate research, more than 150 sponsored and affiliated study abroad programs, and internship opportunities in every industry across the globe.

Campus culture: A tradition of spirit; a spirit of innovation

Founded in 1851, Northwestern has strong traditions that unite our students, faculty, staff, and alumni with a fierce spirit of Purple Pride. We are a member of the Big Ten athletics conference, and the University community rallies behind our Division 1 Wildcats sports teams.

Alongside our strong sense of tradition is a spirit of innovation that thrives in our labs, libraries, research centers, stages, entrepreneurship hubs, observatories, and more. In recent years we’ve launched The Garage, an innovation incubator; built a brand new sailing center and performance complex; acquired a $100 million gift for new global initiatives; opened a satellite space in San Francisco; and renovated campus classrooms. New residential spaces and a lakeside athletics complex are also slated for construction.  

Admissions website & campus visits

Please visit for more about our undergraduate programs, as well as ways to visit our campus.

You can also explore Northwestern via our Virtual Tour.

Information for first-year applicants

Application deadlines:
Early Decision
  • Application due date: November 1

  • Admission decision by: mid-December

Note: Early Decision is a binding program through which candidates apply with the understanding that they will attend Northwestern if admitted.

Regular Decision
  • Application due date: January 3

  • Admission decision by: late March

  • Student-reply deadline: May 1

Please visit our website for Transfer admission deadlines and requirements, and for additional details about applying as an international student.

Required First-year application materials:
  • Coalition Application

  • Official secondary school transcript and school report

  • Counselor recommendation

  • At least one teacher recommendation

  • SAT or ACT scores are OPTIONAL for 2021-22 cycle, for more details see our FAQ

  • International applicants whose first/primary language is not English or whose secondary schooling has not been in English: official English language proficiency scores from one of three English proficiency exams: Duolingo English Test, IELTS/IELTS Indicator, or TOEFL/TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition. (TOEFL ITP Plus for China Solution is not accepted)
  • Nonrefundable application fee of $75 or fee waiver

  • Early Decision agreement (Early Decision applicants ONLY)

  • Mid-year transcript (Regular Decision applicants and Early Decision admits ONLY)

  • Music audition/and or portfolio materials (School of Music applicants only)

Financial aid:

We are deeply committed to making a Northwestern education possible for students from all financial backgrounds. Our review process is need-blind for all applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, which means we evaluate applications without regard to a student’s ability to pay the cost of tuition. All of our financial aid is need-based, and we meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students.    

To further increase college access and success, we award loan-free financial aid packages to all families who qualify for need-based aid. This means that students graduate with minimal debt and maximum freedom to pursue meaningful jobs without concern for high loan payments. 

Financial aid stats & links:

We encourage you to visit our website for more information about Northwestern's financial aid initiatives

Additional information