SESP Changes Degree Requirements

SESP Changes Degree Requirements

Group photoNorthwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) is lowering the number of credits required to earn a degree from 45 to 42, in part to give students more flexibility to complete their coursework.

The change will go into effect in the 2017-18 academic year. Current students who will be enrolled next year may choose to complete the 42-credit requirement, according to Susan Olson, assistant dean for student affairs.

In an interview with the Daily Northwestern, SESP Dean Penelope Peterson said the School has a higher proportion of first-generation and Pell Grant-eligible students than any other undergraduate school at Northwestern. Peterson said the change gives students who receive financial aid more options.

“One of the things we’re concerned about is the fact that many students who are first-generation and/or come from under-resourced schools don’t come in with as many AP credits as students do who come from private schools and schools with good resources,” Peterson told the Daily.

The change follows a recommendation from the University’s Faculty Task Force on the Undergraduate Academic Experience. SESP is the second school to implement the new requirement this academic year. In November, the School of Communication reduced its requirement to 42 credits.

 “We’re also sympathetic to the issues that the task force raised, that students are feeling a lot of stress with the large number of courses they have to take each quarter and the fact that if you’re on financial aid, in order to finish since you only get 12 quarters of tuition paid, that you have to really take a full load every quarter,’” Peterson told the Daily.

For students in Human Development and Psychological Services, Learning and Organizational Change, Learning Sciences, and Social Policy, the concentration will be reduced from 18 to 16 units and the electives will be reduced from 9 to 8 units. 

For Secondary Teaching students, the writing requirement has been removed from the distros and Social Contexts of Education, TEACH ED 302, will double count as an Ethics and Values Distribution.

A brief presentation and Q & A session will be held at 5 p.m. on May 9 at the Pre-Registration Pizza and New Student Welcome Dinner in the SESP Student Affairs Office.  Please RSVP to attend.


Frequently Asked Questions: SESP Credit Change

Q: Does this affect double counting?
A: No, you can still count up to three courses between your concentration classes and your distros. Three courses between your concentration requirements and a second major, two courses with your concentration and a minor, and one class between your concentration and a certificate. See the SESP Handbook for more info about double counting.

Q: Can I opt to reduce my concentration by not taking a required course?
A: No. All of the required courses are the same. The two classes that were removed from HDPS, LOC, LS and SOC POL are from the interdisciplinary approved courses.

Q: I am going abroad. Will this affect me?
A: Yes! Many students take 300 level concentration classes abroad. Because you will need one less 300 level approved concentration class, you may want to focus on taking a distro abroad.

Q: Does this affect how AP credit is counted?
A: No, SESP standards for accepting AP/IB credit are still the same.

Q: Can I get out of taking statistics?
A: Nope

Q: I’m a senior, can I drop a class and do the new requirements?
A: No, current seniors graduating in June are not eligible for the new requirements. If you are a senior graduating in August or December, please make an appointment with your advisor to discuss if you are eligible.

Q: Does this affect the number of courses I can take without being charged extra?
A: No, you can still take up to 5.5 credits per quarter for no additional charge.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 5/30/17