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SCS Calendar Change Will Increase Collaboration

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June 7, 2005

The School of Continuing Studies (SCS) will change its academic calendar from the semester system to the quarter system, starting in the fall.

Provost Lawrence B. Dumas said, “SCS now has a calendar which will materially enhance opportunities for collaboration between SCS and other parts of the University.

"Changing the academic calendar was a major undertaking, which required the cooperation of both the academic and administrative arms of the University.”  

This change will improve the educational experience for all SCS students, said Dean Thomas F. Gibbons, including:

• Faster progress toward a degree in most programs. A student starting at SCS in the fall, taking two classes per quarter and one during Summer Session, could finish a year and a half sooner than under the semester system. A student who starts under the quarter system may complete the 45 units (courses) needed to graduate in 6.5 years.

• No loss of credits. All work done previously at SCS, or that has been accepted as transfer credit, will be converted into "units" under the quarter system. The full value of the work completed will be reflected in the conversion.

• A minimal cost change of plus or minus 1 percent. The tuition per term will be reduced to enable the total cost of the degree to be consistent with costs under the semester system.

• Closer alignment of SCS programs to "day-school" counterparts. All undergraduate degrees, majors, minors and courses have been reviewed and updated to conform to the high standards of Northwestern. Department chairs, program directors and deans have assisted in this review to ensure that programs meet the University’s standard of excellence.

• Greater involvement of University faculty. It will be easier to increase the involvement of day-school faculty. New faculty members have been recruited, and new quarter-course ideas have been submitted.

• Better access to University facilities and services. The University infrastructure -- including the libraries, bookstores, cafeterias and intercampus shuttles -- are designed to serve a population on the quarter schedule.

SCS offers three undergraduate degrees. Two of these are in collaboration with and conferred by the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences -- Bachelor of Philosophy (Bphil) and Bachelor of Science in General Studies (BSGS).

The other is Bachelor of Philosophy in Communication (BphilCom) -- in collaboration with and conferred by the School of Communication.

Six master’s degrees are offered: Computer Information Systems (conferred by the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science); Creative Writing, Liberal Studies, Literature, and Public Policy and Administration (conferred by the Graduate School); and Sports Administration, starting this fall (conferred by SCS).

Majors are offered in 19 fields, and courses are offered in 24 subjects, ranging from accounting to theatre. SCS also offers professional graduate courses and credit and non-credit professional development courses.