Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply to the program?

The program is open to all entering first-year students in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, dual-degree Bienen School of Music students, and students in the School of Communications (excluding Theatre majors). Prospective students should note that the program is specifically designed to fit with maximum efficiency into the WCAS curriculum, with all four courses fulfilling one or another WCAS requirement.  Students in the School of Communications may have conflicting commitments (either curricular or extra-curricular) which make the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program more difficult to schedule, and they should check with their advisors before electing to apply to KHSP.  Students should also be aware that KHSP classes meet from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. four days a week, and might be difficult for athletes and music-majors to schedule.  Bienen School of Music students should check with Assistant Dean Linda Garton about the scheduling of their ensemble rehearsals.

Are there any prerequisites?


What do I have to do to apply?

Admission to the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program is based on materials already in your original NU application file. We are looking for a diverse group of enthusiastic, top-notch students with broad interests, and all you need to indicate here is that you would like to be considered for admission to the program. Decisions are made by the end of May, and you will be notified either way. To apply, please fill out and submit the application form. Applications are due Sunday, May 7, 2017 by 11:59 PM.

What is the course load and how much credit will I receive for participating in the program?

Students in the program will receive credit for taking two courses in the fall, and two courses in the winter, for a total of four course credits. That means that the program will demand half of the typical first-year student's workload in the first two quarters. Students will therefore receive two grades for the program in the fall, and two again in the winter. Note that the workload and time spent in course instruction will be commensurate: with three hours of lectures and three hours of seminar meetings every week in each of the two quarters.

What WCAS requirements does the program satisfy?

The program satisfies the WCAS requirement that each student take two first-year seminars; hence students in the program do not enroll in one of the regular freshman seminars. Both the lecture courses will also count as distribution courses, one in Area IV (Historical Studies) and one in Area VI (Literature and Fine Arts). In taking this program, students will not be delayed in the completion of their degree. 

Can I apply to the program even if I plan to major in the natural or social sciences?

Yes. The program encourages applications from students from the full range of disciplinary interests, including those who are not planning to major in the humanities. But please be aware that the program demands that students enroll in two courses in the fall and two in the winter, and hence students will not have room in their schedule for the program if they are planning to take three other courses in either of those quarters (for instance, a science course + a math course + a language course). This is because the maximum recommended course-load for freshman is four courses in any given quarter.

I am pre-med; do I have room in my schedule to take the program?

The answer depends on whether you plan to take two science/math classes plus a language course in either fall or winter quarter. If so, you will not have room in your schedule. However, many pre-med students have already satisfied one or more of these requirements; either because they have received AP credit for BC calculus and thereby already met their math requirement; because they have received AP credit for Chemistry and thereby already met their Physical Chemistry requirement; because they have already satisfied their language requirement through an AP exam or other test; or because they are willing to postpone their Northwestern language requirement until their sophomore year.

Can I apply to the program if I am also applying to the NU Bioscientists Program?

Technically, students may apply both to the NU Bioscientists Program and the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program, but there is no way to be considered simultaneously for both. Students may make KHSP their first choice. If they are not accepted, they will automatically be considered for NU Bioscientists. However, acceptance into KHSP precludes further consideration for NU Bioscientists. Students listing NU Bioscientists as their first choice for a freshman seminar unfortunately cannot be considered for KHSP, owing to the timing of the respective selection processes.

Can I apply if I am admitted to a dual-degree or dual-school program?

Yes. Students can apply so long as at least one of their schools is Weinberg, even though students admitted to HPME, MMSS, or the ISP dual-degree programs do not typically enroll in fall freshman seminars. Students in the BA/BMUS dual-degree Bienen School of Music program who apply and are accepted to the Kaplan Scholars program will take the Kaplan freshman seminar courses, not the "Beautiful Things" freshman seminar. Students in dual-degree programs should be aware of potential conflicts in their course schedules. For instance, music students in orchestra should be aware that their required ensemble practices may conflict with the times of the Kaplan courses. Students should contact their school's administration to learn about possible conflicts.

How do I apply if I am in a dual-degree program?

Students in dual-degree programs should indicate their interest in joining the Kaplan program by e-mailing Tom Burke.

When will the courses meet?

Course times have been chosen so as to minimize the conflicts with other courses a student might wish to take. Classes meet in the afternoons, Monday through Thursday, from 3:30-5pm. Generally, lectures will be on Monday and Wednesday from 3:30-5pm, and seminars on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-5pm.

I am a student-athlete; can I fit the course into my schedule?

Because the fall and winter courses will both meet on Monday through Thursday afternoons from 3:30-5pm, it may be difficult for some student-athletes to enroll in the program, but check to see if the course is compatible with your practice schedule.

If I apply but do not get in, will I be disadvantaged in any way?

No. By agreement with the Dean's Office, Weinberg students who are not admitted to the Kaplan program are guaranteed to have an equal chance with all other students of getting into their next top choice for a freshman seminar. In other words, students are in no way disadvantaged in getting into a regular seminar by listing the Kaplan program as their top choice.

When will I find out whether I am admitted to the program?

Students will learn whether they have been admitted to the program in mid-June.

Do I need to maintain a certain grade average in KHSP?

No. Students are selected for KHSP based on their intellectual enthusiasm and curiosity; we are not a grade-driven program. Students are, however, expected to remain in good standing in the program, and failure to complete assignments or attend classes may be considered grounds for being discontinued after the fall quarter.

Students with questions should contact Tom Burke, Assistant Director of the Kaplan Institute.