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School of Communication

The SoC faculty and staff look forward to welcoming you this fall and helping you get off to a great start at Northwestern. During the summer, SoC will email you information about your major. Visit SoC’s undergraduate advising website, where you can find links to academic and advising resources, a glimpse into life as an SoC student, and information on cocurricular opportunities. The SoC new student survey will be made available in mid-July; please complete it by August 15.

If you have any questions before Wildcat Welcome in September, please email or call the SoC Office of Undergraduate Programs and Advising at 847-491-7214. Associate dean Lori Barcliff Baptista leads the SoC academic advising team. Names and contact information for SoC advisors are available on SoC's undergraduate advising website.


SoC academic advisors will host virtual individual and group advising meetings with new students on September 2 and 3. Students will learn about opportunities in SoC and receive guidance on choosing fall classes. 

Fall Quarter Course Registration

Academic advising and fall quarter registration occur within the Purple Prep period, prior to students arriving to campus. The advising opportunities mentioned above will fully prepare students for fall quarter course registration on September 9 or 10. You will also participate in a virtual peer adviser group meeting in early September for additional support. Learn what a peer adviser is and when you’ll hear from them.

Your registration appointment day and time will be announced in late July. You share an appointment time with your peer adviser group, allowing your PA and a school staff member to virtually support your group during your registration block. More information regarding advising and registration, along with when you can begin looking at available courses, will be released in August’s Purple Prep email. School of Communication students will learn in July how to begin putting together a draft schedule in preparation for the academic advising meeting

Placement Exams and Assessments

See the placement exams webpage for information on when and how to take online placement exams and assessments offered during the summer.

Students pursuing a BA in any SoC department and students majoring in communication studies or  radio/television/film have a foreign language requirement to fulfill. Students in these groups who are not at a beginning level and who do not have a qualifying AP exam score should take a foreign-language placement exam to determine the course level corresponding to their knowledge and previous study of the language. Additional information about language placement is available at

SoC students who may need to take chemistry at Northwestern—including premed students and those majoring in human communication sciences—should complete the Department of Chemistry initial assessment and the Department of Mathematics placement exam.

A dance placement evaluation is offered online for students who plan to enroll in ballet, jazz, and modern dance classes beyond the beginner’s level. This evaluation will take place online and will close on July 12. Staff will send results to students by email on July 19.  Students may email questions to Caitlin H. Robb at and find more information on the main placement exams page.

SoC Degree Requirements

All students must earn at least 42 credits to complete a bachelor’s degree in SoC. Most courses count for one full credit each. Each SoC major has distinct course requirements, but all require 18 distribution requirements (courses outside the major) that fall into three areas:

Most students will enroll in a combination of major and distribution courses each quarter, and a typical full-time course load is three or four full-credit classes each quarter.