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First-Year Focus

Hello and Welcome, Northwestern Class of 2028!

We invite you to apply to the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program, a unique first-year opportunity at Northwestern’s Kaplan Humanities Institute to work closely with a small team of the university’s top faculty and stellar teachers.  

Students accepted into the competitive Kaplan Scholars Program participate in an innovative exploration of the humanities via two intensive courses in fall of the first year. Designed especially for program participants, the Humanities in the World lecture course and the small coordinated College Seminar are team-taught by award-winning professors drawn from different departments. Through these linked courses, Kaplan Scholars take up a broad humanistic theme that traverses the boundaries of academic disciplines—as well as those of geography, culture, and historical periods—and integrate a variety of intellectual methods to refine their critical reading and writing skills; confront the works of great authors and artists; attend special performances and field trips; and examine how artists, thinkers, and ordinary citizens alike have contributed to the central role played by the humanities in our world.

With a focus on discussion, critical reading, writing, and analysis, Kaplan Scholars learn to contemplate difficult issues, to form complex opinions, to argue for important values, and to discriminate among competing forms of evidence. The program is an intensive preparation for the broadest possible range of pursuits, no matter what your intended major or field of study. Kaplan regularly accepts students from every discipline—from chemistry to philosophy, economics to art history.

The Teachers 

Our team of four faculty is brought together from different departments across the humanities. You can meet them in our Kaplan Scholars Instructors page.

Field Research Trips

Kaplan Scholars classes include an overnight field research excursion (varying from 1-3 nights within the contiguous U.S.) as part their fall quarter course work. All costs for these excursions—including transportation, hotel, and meals—are paid for directly by the Kaplan Institute.


Students accepted into the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program are invited to move in three days early and participate in special pre-orientation programming! Kaplan Scholars Pre-Orientation is designed to foster student engagement and experiential learning with some of the best cultural programs on offer in the area. It's a great opportunity to begin participating in Kaplan's intellectual conversations and to start developing friendships with fellow Kaplan Scholars. 

Application and Admissions 

Incoming first-year students apply for admission to the Kaplan Scholars program based on materials already in their original Northwestern application file. We are looking for a diverse group of enthusiastic, top-notch students with broad interests, and all you need to do to apply is indicate that you would like to be considered for admission to the program.

For full details

Please visit the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program page!


Why should you apply to the Kaplan Humanities Scholars program? These Fall 2023 Kaplan Scholars tell you what they loved most about the program!