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Northwestern University

Interdisciplinary Thinking for a Complex World

College graduates today face an increasingly complex world filled with challenges and opportunities. New information technologies produce torrents of data that require thoughtful analysis and interpretation. Shifting demographics and political realities inspire novel forms of artistic expression but also ignite intercultural conflict. And emerging questions about how we as a species should live in sustainable relationship with other natural systems on our planet and beyond increasingly demand our attention. 

Our goal

In Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, we are reimagining the traditional arts and sciences education in ways that will prepare you for success in just such a complicated world. We envision the College as a kind of multidisciplinary commons, a shared meeting place for people and ideas from across all of the University’s departments and schools. Our goal is to develop students with a Northwestern Mindset – a flexible, adaptable view of the world that seeks to understand the pressing issues of today and transform them into the promising new opportunities of tomorrow. 

Your Northwestern Mindset

So what does our new take on the traditional arts and sciences education mean for you?


Analyze and use data

Data science has become a cornerstone of our interdisciplinary curriculum. Our students develop skills in quantitative reasoning, statistical analysis, and computational modeling – invaluable tools that can bring clarity and understanding to complex issues.  


Question cultural assumptions

Today, the need for deep intercultural understanding is essential. You will develop insight into the social, economic, and political assumptions that underlie your worldview and explore the distinctive social structures, ideologies, and cultural expression produced by local and global cultures.


Study our bond with nature

One of the more enduring challenges we face as a species is how to conceive of our position in and with nature. As a student in the College, you can take courses that explore your place within the natural hierarchy and our constantly evolving relationship with our environment and other living systems. 

Intellectual diversity

The hallmark of our distinctive educational model is diversity in all of its manifestations. We are committed to maintaining and enhancing the breadth and depth of our course offerings and to ensuring the intellectual and experiential diversity of our faculty and students. In short, we believe that diversity is an essential value that lies at the heart of our community and one that needs to be actively encouraged and pursued. 

Our graduates

See where our interdisciplinary approach has taken our alumni.

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