About Us

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The School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) at Northwestern University seeks to understand and improve learning at every stage of life and in all contexts — from families and communities to schools and workplaces. And since we’re the smallest school at Northwestern, our own community is truly unique.

Nationally and internationally, the School of Education and Social Policy is known for innovation, an interdisciplinary approach and major research, as well as excellent faculty and students. With 400 undergraduates, 300 graduate students and 31 faculty, SESP offers a personal environment and active collaboration within the larger university.

The graduate school at SESP consistently ranks among the top graduate schools of education nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report. In addition, SESP is one of only a handful of top-ranked schools to have an undergraduate program. Undergraduates at SESP have the unique opportunity to pursue four engaging interdisciplinary majors.

Our Mission

To understand and improve human learning and development throughout the life span and in multiple contexts — in classrooms and schools as well as within families, in communities, in the workplace and in elective learning environments.

The SESP Difference

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Innovation

From breakthrough learning tools to pioneering policy decisions, innovation is at the heart of Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy. Changing people’s lives requires innovation. The School of Education and Social Policy distinguishes itself by focusing not only on training teachers but also more broadly on learning across the life span, in schools and beyond. In diverse and original ways, SESP explores new practices, policies and technologies to improve learning and development.

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A Close Community

As the smallest school at Northwestern, the School of Education and Social Policy cultivates an intimate and supportive community for graduate and undergraduate students. Approximately 400 undergraduates, 300 graduate students and 32 faculty members make up the close-knit SESP community. Annenberg Hall serves as the core of this community, bringing together faculty offices, classrooms, meeting spaces and advanced technology.

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Diversity of Students and Faculty

SESP students and faculty come from a wide range of backgrounds and geographical locations, offering a degree of diversity that provides a rich resource for learning. By sharing their different perspectives and skills, the SESP community is able to arrive at effective solutions for the complex problems of the 21st century.

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Interdisciplinary Approach

Interdisciplinary education helps students to make key connections and fosters inquiry. We draw faculty from multiple disciplines, including psychology, computer science, economics, sociology and statistics. In addition, each program in the School interweaves knowledge and theories from different disciplines, as in the Learning Sciences program, which blends education, psychology and computer science. SESP’s interdisciplinary programs stimulate fresh ideas by bringing together understandings from different areas.

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Influential Research

Students have the opportunity to be involved with faculty in high-caliber research that influences policy in the areas of education and social policy. Faculty at the School of Education and Social Policy conduct research that makes a difference in people’s lives. This research explores learning and development across the life span as well as social programs that affect schools, communities, children and families.