Northwestern University, located in Evanston, Illinois, is a highly ranked research university with a focus on the natural sciences. While Northwestern is well-regarded and offers many individual online courses, it’s online program offerings are sorely lacking.
Northwestern blurs the line between on-campus programs and online programs by offering many hybrid or blended programs that require both on-campus and online components.
These programs can make it difficult to tell at-a-glance if the entire program can be completed online or if you’ll need to attend on-campus courses at some point as well.
Make sure you read each program description carefully and don’t hesitate to complete a contact form to confirm with a Northwestern admissions adviser whether or not the entire program can be completed online.
- Number of online programs available: 25 programs offered entirely online
- Number of degrees/certificates available: 9 Master’s Degree programs and 16 Certificate programs offered entirely online
- Cost information: varies by program. A Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications will cost $60,645, while a Master’s in Sports Administration will cost around $42,000. Check the program details for the tuition amounts for each specific program.
- Overall acceptance rate: 8.9%
- Overall graduation rate: 94%
Northwestern University’s Online Programs
Information accurate as of Jan. 12, 2020.
Art and Design
Northwestern University does not currently offer any art and design programs online.
The only business program Northwestern currently offers entirely online is a Pregraduate Business Administration Certificate.
To complete the certificate online, you’ll need to complete five courses in the fields of accounting, finance, math, marketing, and organizational behavior. If you were to complete the program on-campus, you could choose from additional electives, including economics and statistics.
The fee is $1,984 per unit, plus a $120 technology fee for online courses. However, Northwestern’s website does not provide information on the number of units for each course or the expected time to completion.
Northwestern offers only one engineering program online: the Master of Science in Executive Management for Design and Construction (EMDC).
The program, which covers six core courses plus six electives, can be completed in two years at a part-time pace. Each course costs $4,686, for a total of $56,232.
Admissions are offered quarterly (excluding summer sessions). Fall quarter starts Aug. 15, winter starts Nov. 15, and spring starts Feb. 15.
Health and Nursing
Northwestern University does not currently offer any health and nursing programs online.
Northwestern University does not currently offer any law programs online.
The School of Professional Studies is Northwestern’s strength in terms of online course offerings.
You can choose from seven entirely online Master’s Degree programs (in areas like data science, health analytics, public policy) and 16 online certificate programs (in areas like accounting, business administration, and leadership).
There are also interesting, hard-to-find professional studies programs at Northwestern. For example, you can get a Master’s Degree in sports administration or a certificate in museum studies or sports communication.
Northwestern University does not currently offer any science programs online.
Northwestern University does not currently offer any social sciences programs online.
Northwestern University Financial Aid: How Do I Pay for My Degree?
- Federal and state grants are a popular financial aid option at Northwestern, with 20% of the class of 2023 receiving Pell Grants.
- Northwestern awarded $190 million to undergraduates for the 2018/19 year in the form of scholarships.
- Federal work-study programs allow students to work part-time in return for reduced education costs.
- Student Loans are a final option, keeping in mind that you will need to pay back the amount you borrow plus interest.
Northwestern University Admissions: What Do I Need to Know Before Applying?
Because the schools within Northwestern operate so independently, the admissions process varies slightly by the program.
In general, you will need to complete and submit an application, along with transcripts, recommendations, relevant test scores, and a resume or two. Some schools, like the Medill School of Journalism, also require a resume and an admissions interview.
All schools also require an application fee of up to $100. Deadlines for applications vary greatly by program. Please check the program details for your chosen program to confirm the application deadlines.
Northwestern University FAQ
If you live in Northern Illinois and enjoy combining online learning with on-campus learning, Northwestern may be a good fit for you.
But if you’re looking for an entirely online experience, you’d need to fall within a fairly small group for Northwestern to meet your needs.
There are several online options for earning online certificates in business/professional studies, but only about nine Master’s Degree programs between the School of Professional Studies, the Medill School of Journalism, and the McCormick School of Engineering. If these programs don’t fit your educational goals, Northwestern is not the right fit for you.
You can transfer credits from another accredited school, but there are several conditions.
First, you must receive a “C” or better (pass/fail classes don’t transfer).
Then, the course must be equivalent to Northwestern’s course. And you must have invested time in the course (courses that you tested out of don’t transfer).
Finally, courses that you repeated will not transfer. Please read through the complete Transfer Credit Policies for all the details on transferring credits from another school.
International students are welcome to attend Northwestern, whether on-campus or online. International transcripts must be evaluated by a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation (NACES).
International students for whom English is not the first language are also required to submit proof of English proficiency.
To meet this requirement, you can submit TOEFL results with a score of 100 or higher (on the Internet-based exam) or IELTS results with a score of seven or higher.
Northwestern participates in the VA educational benefits programs, including the Montgomery GI Bill, Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and Yellow Ribbon Program.
Northwestern also offers an on-campus Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program with full-ride scholarships to promising students who are interested in pursuing leadership positions in the U.S. Navy.
The online college experience at Northwestern varies greatly by program. Each school within the university developed its own online curriculum, so the course materials will be different from one school to the next.
In general, most programs are group-paced, keeping an entire cohort at the same learning speed as they work through the curriculum together.
You’ll have access to recorded lectures, textbooks (either physical or digital), and online exams. You’ll also be able to discuss the material with other students and the course instructor via online discussion boards.
The Bottom Line
Northwestern is a campus-first university. While the university does offer many courses online, it offers relatively few complete programs online.
There are no online undergraduate degree options and the online certificate options are limited to the fields of business and professional studies (which all fall under the School of Professional Studies).
Online Master’s Degrees are minimal as well. You can choose from seven Professional Studies programs, Integrated Marketing Communications from the Medill School of Journalism, or Executive Management for Design and Construction from the McCormick School of Engineering.
If you’re looking for an online certificate or degree program that falls outside of these narrow offerings, you’ll want to look elsewhere.