Learning and Organizational Change

Learning and Organizational Change

Learning and Organizational Change

The Learning and Organizational Change (LOC) concentration examines key concepts and ideas about formal and informal change across levels of society - for example, individuals, groups, organizations, and sectors. Students learn how to analyze and solve organizational problems across contexts. They also acquire knowledge and skills in leading, anticipating, and responding to change. This concentration draws from theoretical and empirical research and practices from disciplines as diverse as the organization and management sciences, learning sciences, sociology, psychology, economics, and design.


As a student in LOC you must complete the following:  

Total requirements—42 units 

Distribution requirements—10 units 

SESP Core—8 units 

Foundations courses—2 units  

Concentration cluster courses—5 units 

Extension courses—5 units any level, 4 units 300-level courses 

Electives—8 or fewer as needed to complete the 42-unit degree requirement 

For a in-depth breakdown of these requirements, please visit the 2022-2023 Academic Catalog or reach out to your academic advisor in the SESP Student Affairs Office. 

Real-World Practical Experience

All LOC students complete a one-quarter practicum internship for academic credit during their junior year, which allows them to use the skills and knowledge introduced in the classroom. The experience also includes conducting social science research. The program is offered year-round.

Recent LOC practicum sites have included the following:

  • Mission Measurement
  • The Cambridge Group
  • HUB International
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Evanston Township High School

Flexible Coursework

In addition to core courses in life span development, quantitative and qualitative research, and statistics, students have the flexibility to tailor the program to their own interests. Many students specialize, double major or minor while maintaining LOC as their primary focus. Classes typically encourage team projects, presentations, frequent discussions, and reflection.

Many courses include working for actual clients on real-world organizational problems. Students use their LOC knowledge to define the problem, design solutions, implement and test ideas, and evaluate the results. Clients represent a diverse array of corporations, non-profit organizations, and schools in the Chicagoland community.

Many undergraduate students also choose to participate in research projects with faculty in the School of Education and Social Policy. Faculty members conduct research on a variety of topics ranging from the distribution of leadership to the structural and cultural characteristics of knowledge sharing organizations.

After SESP

With a strong interdisciplinary understanding of forces of organizational change, learning and organizational majors are well prepared for leadership with for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Some graduates directly enter the workforce after graduation while others attend graduate school or pursue a fellowship. Graduates often pursue jobs in consulting, change management, instructional design, training or organizational development. Below are some examples of jobs and graduate degree programs that recent learning and organizational change majors have entered.


Graduate School and Fellowships

Contact Us

Student Affairs Office

School of Education and Social Policy

Walter Annenberg Hall
2120 Campus Drive, Suite 123
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/491-3790

Email: sespsao@northwestern.edu