Humanities, BSGS

Curriculum

Within the scope of the humanities major, students explore related disciplines, including art history, English, history, and philosophy, to develop cultural literacy and analytical, interpretive, communication, and research skills that can be applied to complex problems and issues. In curriculum taught by Northwestern University faculty, humanities disciplines are equally represented in the core courses, while research and methods courses foster engagement with key texts, scholarly sources, and academic inquiry. Advanced elective courses offer the opportunity to emphasize certain academic subjects and to engage in exploring others including African American studies, classics, music history, philosophy, religious studies, theatre studies, and film/media studies.

The bachelor's degree requirements are 45 units total and include distribution, writing, and elective courses, and the major requirements.

Humanities Major Requirements

Course Title
Core Courses
Art History
One 200-level ART_HIST course
English
One 200-level ENGLISH course
History
HISTORY 250-AGlobal History: Early Modern to Modern Transition
HISTORY 250-BGlobal History: Modern World
Philosophy
PHIL 110-CNIntroduction to Philosophy
Research/Methods Courses
ENGLISH 300-CNSeminar in Reading and Interpretation
Research Seminar
One of the following:
Undergraduate Seminar
Research Seminar for Literature Majors
Trailer Seminar
Electives
Six 300-level courses in English, history, art history, classics, comparative literary studies, philosophy, or religious studies 1

Degree Requirements

SPS programs lead to one of three Northwestern University bachelor’s degrees: the bachelor of philosophy (BPhil), the bachelor of science in general studies (BSGS), and the bachelor of philosophy in communication (BPhilCom), which is conferred by the School of Communication.

The bachelor of philosophy (BPhil) and the bachelor of science in general studies (BSGS) degrees are conferred by the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. The primary difference between the two degrees is that the BPhil includes a modern language requirement. Some majors offer a choice of the BPhil or the BSGS degree.

Bachelor of Science in General Studies

To earn the BSGS degree, students must complete 45 units, including a writing requirement, distribution requirements, a major, and electives. Minors are optional.

Courses Units Earned
English 111 or 205 and 113 2
Humanities 4
Science 4
Social Sciences 4
Major Requirements 10-20
Electives Up to 21
Total 45

About the Writing Requirement

The writing requirement ensures that all students can meet the rigorous writing demands of courses in all disciplines. Transfer and performance-based admission students must fulfill the writing requirement through one of two options:

Option 1: Complete an English composition course at SPS.

Demonstrate successfully completion of English 111 or 205. A grade of C or higher is required. 

Option 2: Successfully appeal the writing requirement.

Students who believe they have the writing skills necessary for university-level research and analytical papers may appeal the SPS writing requirement. Submit a letter of appeal and two college/university research papers written during previous studies or at SPS. Following the review of the appeal, students will receive an email reporting the results, followed by a letter. Send appeal materials to:

Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs
School of Professional Studies
Northwestern University
339 East Chicago Avenue, 6th floor
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Appeal materials must be submitted by the quarter deadline before entry.

About the Distribution Requirements

Students complete course work in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences to obtain a broad experience in the liberal arts. Courses that satisfy these distribution requirements include the following areas:

Humanities

Art history, classics, comparative literary studies, English literature, foreign languages (up to two units), history, music history, philosophy, religion, and some courses in African American studies, foreign languages with literature, gender studies, performance studies, radio/television/film, and theatre.

Sciences

Astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, earth and planetary sciences, engineering, geography, information systems, mathematics, physics and some courses in anthropology, communication sciences and disorders, psychology, radio/television/film and statistics.

Social Sciences

Anthropology, economics, history, linguistics, political science, sociology, and some courses in African American studies, communication sciences and disorders, gender studies, psychology and statistics.