What Major is Northwestern Known For?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Northwestern University arch

What Major is Northwestern Known For?

What is Northwestern University?

Northwestern University, a prestigious private research institution founded in 1851, is located in the picturesque city of Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago. The university is known for its exceptional academic offerings, rigorous research opportunities, and diverse community of scholars. For that reason, some aspiring students are learning more about what major is Northwestern known for.

With a wide array of undergraduate and graduate programs spread across its twelve schools and colleges, Northwestern provides a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment for students to do well in their chosen fields. One of the most important aspects of a successful academic experience is selecting the right major, which paves the way for future career prospects and shapes a student’s academic journey.

Northwestern’s reputation for excellence in various disciplines, including journalism, theatre and performing arts, engineering, and economics, attracts students from around the world who are eager to be a part of this dynamic academic community. Selecting the right major at Northwestern is essential for personal fulfillment and growth and instrumental in setting the foundation for a successful career in today’s highly competitive global market.

Top majors at Northwestern University


The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications is one of Northwestern University’s crowning achievements, consistently ranking as part of the top journalism schools in the US.

Established in 1921, Medill has a rich history and an outstanding reputation for producing graduates who have excelled in various media-related fields, including print and broadcast journalism, digital media, advertising, and public relations. The school’s rigorous curriculum, focus on innovation, and commitment to journalistic ethics have cemented its reputation as a leader in the field.

a female student standing in the middle of a hallway

Medill has an impressive roster of notable alumni who have significantly contributed to journalism, such as Pulitzer Prize winners, influential reporters, editors, and media executives. Some distinguished graduates include George R.R. Martin, author of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series; David Protess, an investigative journalist and human rights advocate; and Laura Jarrett, a CNN correspondent.

These alumni, as graduates from one of the top majors at Northwestern, have played a vital role in shaping the media landscape and upholding the highest standards of journalistic integrity, further cementing Medill’s reputation as a premier institution for aspiring journalists.

Theatre and Performing Arts

Another school that offers degrees in discussion when discussing what major is Northwestern known for is the University’s School of Communication. They are particularly well-regarded for their exceptional theater and performing arts education. The school’s history dates back to 1878, making it one of the oldest academic institutions dedicated to communication in the United States.

Over the years, the School of Communication has solidified its reputation as a leading incubator for talented and creative performers, playwrights, directors, designers, and other industry professionals. The school’s extensive curricular offerings, state-of-the-art facilities, and professional connections provide students with unparalleled opportunities to hone their craft and prepare for a career in the performing arts.

Northwestern’s theatre and performing arts alumni have made significant contributions and achieved considerable success in the entertainment industry. Some notable graduates include Academy Award-nominated actress Virginia Madsen, Tony Award-winning actress Heather Headley, and Emmy Award-winning actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

These alumni and countless others have had a profound impact on the world of theatre and performing arts, showcasing the outstanding education and mentorship provided by Northwestern’s School of Communication.


The McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University is another renowned academic institution known for its cutting-edge research, world-class faculty, and innovative programs.

Founded in 1909, McCormick has evolved to become a leader in engineering education, constantly adapting to the rapidly changing technological landscape. The school’s history and reputation for excellence in engineering are reflected in its commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration, groundbreaking research, and fostering a culture of curiosity and creativity among its students.

a female engineer holding a clip board

McCormick offers a diverse range of engineering disciplines that cater to its students’ varied interests and career aspirations. Some popular engineering disciplines at Northwestern include biomedical engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and civil engineering. These degrees are known by many and are considered to be the answer to what major is Northwestern known for.

These programs emphasize integrating theory and practice, equipping students with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in their chosen fields. By fostering innovation, promoting sustainability, and cultivating a community of problem-solvers, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science upholds Northwestern University’s tradition of academic excellence.


The Department of Economics, housed within the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, is another distinguished program acclaimed for its rigorous academic offerings and world-class faculty. For that reason, the department’s degrees are considered top-tier when talking about what major is Northwestern known for.

The department, which traces its roots back to the early 20th century, has established an exceptional reputation for providing students with a comprehensive understanding of economic theory and the tools required to analyze complex economic issues. With a strong emphasis on research, the Department of Economics at Northwestern fosters a challenging and intellectually stimulating environment that attracts students and scholars worldwide.

The department’s reputation is bolstered by an impressive roster of notable alumni who have made significant contributions to the field of economics, both in academia and the public sector.

Some of these distinguished graduates include Dale T. Mortensen, a Nobel Prize-winning economist known for his work in labor economics; Christina Romer, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers during President Barack Obama’s administration; and Ben Bernanke, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

These alumni, and countless others, have played a pivotal role in shaping economic thought and policy, further solidifying the Department of Economics at Northwestern University as a leading academic institution in the field.

Northwestern Interdisciplinary Programs and Research Opportunities

Kellogg School of Management

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is widely known as one of the world’s premier institutions for management education. As one of the schools that offer Northwestern Interdisciplinary Programs, since its inception in 1908, Kellogg has consistently ranked among the top business schools globally, thanks to its innovative curriculum, accomplished faculty, and a strong commitment to developing well-rounded business leaders.

The school offers a range of programs, including a full-time MBA, a part-time MBA, an executive MBA, and a variety of specialized master’s programs that cater to its students’ diverse needs and career aspirations. These programs can even be included in the discussion when learning what major is Northwestern known for.

Kellogg’s educational approach emphasizes collaboration, experiential learning, and the integration of cutting-edge research into its coursework, preparing students to tackle complex business challenges and adapt to the ever-evolving global marketplace.

The school’s impressive alumni network includes leaders in various industries, such as CEOs, entrepreneurs, and executives in top-tier organizations, further showcasing the transformative impact of a Kellogg education. The Kellogg School of Management solidifies its reputation as a leading business school and an integral part of Northwestern University’s commitment to academic excellence by fostering a culture of innovation, inclusivity, and intellectual curiosity.

Pritzker School of Law

The Pritzker School of Law at Northwestern University is among the top law schools in the United States. It is known for its rigorous academic programs, distinguished faculty, and a strong emphasis on experiential learning. Established in 1859, the school has a storied history and a sterling reputation for producing skilled, ethical, and innovative legal professionals who have significantly impacted the legal landscape.

Pritzker’s comprehensive curriculum, which includes the Juris Doctor (JD) program, joint degree programs, and a variety of specialized master’s degrees, is designed to provide students with a good foundation in legal theory while fostering practical skills through hands-on learning experiences, such as clinical programs, externships, and moot court competitions.

The school’s commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration, intellectual curiosity, and public service has attracted a diverse and accomplished student body and faculty, further enhancing its reputation for excellence. Pritzker School of Law alumni have become prominent judges, attorneys, law professors, and public servants, contributing to the school’s long-standing tradition of shaping the legal profession.

As a vital part of Northwestern University’s academic community, the Pritzker School of Law continues to uphold the highest standards of legal education and contribute to advancing justice in society.

Feinberg School of Medicine

The Feinberg School of Medicine, one of Northwestern University’s esteemed institutions, has earned a stellar reputation for its exceptional medical education, groundbreaking research, and commitment to advancing healthcare. Founded in 1859, the school has a rich history of producing compassionate, skilled, and innovative medical professionals who are dedicated to improving patient care and transforming the field of medicine.

medical students wearing scrubs looking at the camera

Feinberg’s comprehensive curriculum, which includes the Doctor of Medicine (MD), MD/PhD, and a range of specialized master’s and PhD programs, focuses on fostering an integrative approach to medical education by combining rigorous scientific training with hands-on clinical experiences. For that reason, some students choose this over the other degrees when talking about what major is Northwestern known for.

The school’s strong emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration, research opportunities, and a patient-centered approach to care prepares students to excel as physicians, researchers, and educators in the ever-evolving medical landscape.

Feinberg School of Medicine’s distinguished alumni have made significant contributions to various medical specialties, public health, and medical research, further solidifying the school’s reputation for excellence.

As an integral part of Northwestern University’s commitment to academic and research excellence, the Feinberg School of Medicine continues to be at the forefront of medical education, shaping the future of healthcare and improving the well-being of communities worldwide.

Now that you have an idea about Northwestern University, your college admissions to that university should be next on your mind. To ensure that you get into Northwestern University, you can get help with AdmissionSight. With ten years of experience with college admission experts, AdmissionSight can help you get into Northwestern University. You can talk to our experts today to get an initial consultation.


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