Secondary Teaching

Secondary Teaching

Secondary Teaching

The Secondary Teaching program uses an interdisciplinary approach by combining coursework from Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (WCAS) in a chosen field — such as English, history or math — with School of Education and Social Policy courses on topics such as child and adolescent development, cultural contexts of learning, and methods of instruction.

Real-World Practical Experience

All teacher candidates complete three practical experiences before graduating. The first is a 30-hour internship with a community organization that students complete while enrolled in the Schooling in Communities course. Recent sites have included 827Chi, Youth Media, and the AVID program at Evanston Township High School.

Usually, in the fall term of senior year, students complete a 100-hour clinical observation at a junior high or high school in Chicago or the northern suburbs. That placement is typically the site for student teaching, a full-time quarter-long experience in the winter of senior year. In recent years placements have included public schools such as Taft High School, Lake View High School, Chicago Math and Science Academy, Niles West High school, and Maine East High School. Other sites include selective enrollment schools like Northside College Prep and Whitney Young Magnet High School.


Secondary Teaching students take classes in three different areas. Like most states, Illinois requires teaches to have a liberal arts background. At Northwestern, we meet most of those mandates through the distribution requirements. Additional required courses include two courses in written communication (WCAS freshman seminar courses fulfill these requirements), and an oral communication course such as public speaking or interpersonal communication.

The second area of academic work is in the subject the candidate plans to teach. Teacher candidates can be certified in one of the following areas:

After SESP

Secondary Teaching students combine their strong academic preparation, hands-on classroom experience and their passion for working with adolescents to excel at jobs as secondary school teachers. Secondary teaching graduates teach in public, private and charter schools in Illinois and out of state or work in education-related industries. Generally, graduates go on to pursue graduate degrees after a year or two or more of teaching.  In recent years, two graduates have won Fulbright Teaching Fellowships and one, a Spanish national teaching fellowship.


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