About Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies

Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies (SCS) students are part of a unique and distinguished university community. They learn in a supportive, collaborative environment in evening and online courses that enable them to balance their personal and professional lives with the pursuit of learning. Classes are taught by some of the university's most respected and talented teachers — scholars and professionals who value the diversity, energy and creativity of our students.

One of the 12 colleges and schools of Northwestern University, SCS and adult learning have been a core part of Northwestern’s mission for more than 75 years. SCS is enmeshed in many parts of the University — sharing faculty members, creating innovative programs and setting the standard for higher education for adults. SCS students become part of a university ranked 12th among the nation’s best universities by U.S. News and World Report with top medical, law and business schools, and a faculty that has made pioneering contributions to materials science, nanotechnology, economics, African studies and more.

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Our Mission

The mission of Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies (SCS) is to be the lifelong partner of adult learners who seek a superior educational experience at Northwestern University. SCS strives to be a national leader in continuing education by providing accessibility to learning and exceptional teaching to nontraditional students whose professional and personal obligations affect when and where they may achieve their educational goals. It is through academic excellence and the creation of diverse educational pathways that SCS serves the lifelong learning needs of its students.

SCS is a member of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA).

Educating Adults Since 1933

A Message From the Dean

Dean Thomas F. Gibbons

Dear Friends of SCS,

These are exciting times at Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies. Our reach was once limited by geography but today, thanks to the very best technology, our educational programs are offered to students nationally and even internationally. As we prepare for another graduation celebration and the awarding of a record number of master’s degrees, new online graduate degrees in such areas as Predictive Analytics and Integrated Marketing and Communications are bringing more and more students to SCS.

Our growth has demanded that SCS remain current and accessible in every way possible. We continue to focus on the needs of adult learners — their educational needs, career prospects and the circumstances that often challenge them while engaging in their studies. We think analytically and creatively about the modes of curriculum delivery that allow working adults to shift time and space. We blend traditional learning methods with new multimedia and utilize technology to help deliver rich and engaging course content that supports a thorough mastery of information.

We continually review and improve our program offerings, support services and internal processes to make sure we’re bringing the best value and highest quality education to our students. It is my goal to ensure that your education at SCS is a superior learning experience and our learning community is as supportive as possible to assist you in attaining your goals. That is my promise, our promise, to each of our students.

With warmest regards,

Thomas F. Gibbons,
Dean, Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies
President, University Professional & Continuing Education Association


Whether they’re earning an advanced degree, prepping for graduate school, finishing a bachelor’s degree or completing a professional development certificate, SCS students share a desire to take control of their futures by advancing their professional and academic careers. SCS students thrive in a supportive learning environment — one that accommodates the challenges faced by adult learners — and leave SCS ready to achieve their goals.

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Faculty and Staff

SCS students are taught by faculty from Northwestern’s full-time programs and the professional sector, meaning SCS students learn from the best of both the academic and the corporate worlds. SCS faculty are outspoken about the joys of working with adult students in an engaging, collaborative environment. SCS students work with teachers who are leaders in their fields and a committed staff of advisers and administrators — all in a dynamic community of learning.

Course Delivery

Courses are offered in the evening on Northwestern University’s Chicago and Evanston campuses. Most classrooms offer a state-of-the-art “smart” classroom environment that allows for a range of multimedia presentation. SCS online courses provides a flexible and convenient structure with engaging materials that students can work on at the times of day most convenient for them. Online students also have the opportunity to interact with their faculty and peers through online discussion boards.

Learn more about SCS online learning.