School of Communication reduces degree requirement by 3 credits


Daniel Tian/Daily Senior Staffer

Annie May Swift Hall at 1920 Campus Dr. The Center for Communication & Public Policy in the School of Communication held the first lecture in a four-part speaker series on the intersection of communication research and public policy.

Peter Kotecki, Campus Editor

The School of Communication announced Friday that it is lowering the number of credits required to earn a degree from 45 to 42.

The change, effective immediately, comes nearly 10 months after a University task force recommended that NU reduce the credit requirement within its undergraduate schools. It applies to all students in the school, including upperclassmen.

Kerry Trotter, director of communications at the School of Communication, told The Daily in an email that the school is among the first at NU to implement the new requirement.

Weinberg senior Ashley Wood, Associated Student Government vice president for academics, said the credit reduction is an important step forward. She said she is glad the recommendation from the 2015 Faculty Task Force on the Undergraduate Academic Experience was fulfilled by the School of Communication.

“It will set the precedent that it’s possible,” Wood said.

Communication students will now need to complete 12 major requirements, 12 electives and 18 distribution courses to receive a degree, a news release said.

Communication Dean Barbara O’Keefe said three required courses were eliminated because they were seen as “out-of-step” with the school’s focus on encouraging students to engage in interdisciplinary study.

“But instead of simply eliminating those required courses, we went on to reduce the number of credits required for the degree as well,” O’Keefe said in the news release. “It was a painless way to achieve the goal set for us by the Undergraduate Task Force while we updated our major requirements.”

Wood said she hopes the other undergraduate schools will consider reducing class requirements as well. Such a change can allow students to drop classes more freely, take time off for personal reasons, focus on intensive classes or devote more time to extracurriculars they are passionate about, she said.

“There are so many ways that flexibility benefits students,” Wood said. “I think most Northwestern students will still want to take as many as they can, but when it’s beneficial to them, they will be able to have that option.”

This story has been updated to include a comment from Ashley Wood.

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