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Are you…

  • an undergraduate student at Northwestern University?
  • a high school student thinking about where to go to college?
  • interested and strong in mathematics and data analysis?
  • thinking about a career — or a graduate program — in business, law or economics?

Northwestern University and the Kellogg School of Management have partnered to create the Certificate Program for Undergraduates, an elite, four-course academic program for undergraduate students that offers early exposure to — and preparation for — careers in consulting, financial services and other data-driven professions.

Students enrolled in the program may choose between two four-course certificates: the Financial Economics Certificate or the Managerial Analytics Certificate. Both tracks help students improve their critical thinking skills, business acumen and understanding of strategic models that are used in a wide range of industries and occupations. Certificate Program students remain in the Northwestern University school in which they are enrolled (e.g., Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science), taking the four Certificate courses in addition to those required by their schools and majors.

True to the Kellogg School’s academic model, the Certificate Program teaches you how to turn business theory into practice. Through cases studies and exposure to topical business scenarios, Kellogg's esteemed faculty members show you how to use academic models to solve real-world problems. These lessons build upon your solid educational grounding at Northwestern University.

About the Certificate Program for undergraduates

Founded in 2007, the Kellogg Certificate Program for Undergraduates is a specialized and highly selective program that prepares undergraduate students at Northwestern University for analytical roles at various types of organizations or graduate/professional programs in a variety of academic areas, including business, law, and economics. The program is designed for students who excel in mathematics and other quantitative subjects.

Taught by faculty from the Kellogg School, the program offers two certificates that focus on building skills within the framework of a business environment and developing the mathematically-based analytical tools and models needed to make business decisions.

The program is designed to complement and build upon Northwestern University’s world-class liberal arts education and highly regarded engineering curriculum. Students who graduate from Northwestern with this certificate have a strong grounding in liberal arts and specialized skills in business. This multifaceted training prepares them to embrace new challenges in their careers and beyond.

The program is open to Northwestern students or all majors who have strengths in mathematics and related analytical subjects. Students admitted to the program begin in the spring quarter of their sophomore or junior year.

In addition to the four certificate courses, students in the program must complete several prerequisite and corequisite courses in advanced calculus and linear algebra, economics, probability, and statistics.

Students enrolled in the program retain their declared academic majors and remain in the school in which they are enrolled. Upon successful completion of the program, they are recognized with the certificate on their transcript from Northwestern University.

Learning environment

The Certificate Program for Undergraduates offers a unique and advantageous learning environment. Some of the highlights of this learning environment include:

The program’s academic rigor

Like Kellogg MBA students, students in the Certificate Program are held to high academic standards. Both certificates engage you in challenging, advanced coursework that helps prepare you for the demands of the business world.

Emphasis on collaboration and teamwork

Both inside and outside the classroom, you are encouraged to collaborate as a team — a hallmark of the Kellogg School’s MBA programs.

A community of like-minded students

The program attracts students with similar academic and career interests, which in turn creates a rich community and robust learning environment.

State-of-the-art facility

As a student in the Certificate Program you enjoy special 24/7 access to a state-of-the-art facility at 555 Clark St. on the Northwestern University campus. This facility features two large classrooms, a welcoming student lounge and several study group rooms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to the program

  • The 2024 application will open in mid-November during Fall Quarter 2023. Decision letters will be sent in February.
  • No. We do not accept applications from high school seniors or from students enrolled at other universities. You must be currently enrolled at NU as a degree-seeking undergraduate student in order to apply.
  • No. Both certificates are open to all Northwestern undergraduates who fulfill the prerequisite courses, regardless of their school or major. We encourage all qualified students who are interested and believe that the program will contribute to their education and career goals to apply.
  • No. You must choose one certificate. If you are unsure about which certificate you prefer, you may want to read the course descriptions for each as well as the "Compare Certificates" chart.
  • You should complete the prerequisite courses in Calculus and Microeconomics prior to the winter quarter of the year in which you apply to the program. In other words, grades from all of the prerequisite courses should be available for review by the end of fall quarter and available for review in January. One prerequisite course may be taken during winter quarter of the application year. You are encouraged to take as many of the corequisite courses as possible prior to applying, but many students will continue to take the corequisite courses after entering the program. Regardless of whether you apply to the program as a sophomore or junior, you are encouraged to work towards completion of the corequisite courses during their sophomore and junior years. All corequisite courses must be completed within one year of starting the program.

    Find out more about Prerequisites and Corequisites
  • Yes. However, scheduling particular courses during your senior year may be challenging, due to time constraints. Prospective students should note that program courses are offered only once per academic year, and the quarter, day and time during which they are offered can vary from year to year. Additionally, if you plan to apply during your junior year you should focus on completing corequisites during your sophomore and junior year. Some of the program corequisites are prerequisites for certain courses, and students entering the program in the spring of their junior year will struggle to complete all of the program courses and corequisites in one year. About 70% of Certificate Program students applied as sophomores, and the rest as juniors.
  • Yes, as long as you are currently enrolled at Northwestern when you apply for the Program. (You cannot apply to the program the same time you apply to Northwestern.) If you took one or more Certificate Program prerequisite courses at your previous university, we will count it as long as Northwestern gave you transfer credit for it.
  • Applications are due during winter quarter. Admission decisions, which are based on fall quarter grades, are made during winter quarter. If you are accepted you must begin the program in the spring.
  • No. We do not defer admission offers, except in unusual circumstances.
  • Both the Financial Economics Certificate and Managerial Analytics Certificate accept approximately 50 students per year.
  • It is most helpful to us if your recommender addresses more than your grades, also talking about things like your work ethic and other qualities that affect both your academic performance and the likelihood of your success in the CPU.

Admission criteria

  • Successful applicants perform at a high level academically, particularly in analytical and quantitative subjects. We review applicants' complete academic transcripts, with special emphasis on the more recent grades. Also of special interest is the student's GPA in the Certificate Program prerequisite courses. Certificate Program students typically received a “B” or better in their prerequisite and related courses. We look for overall academic accomplishment, recognizing that taking more challenging courses can have an impact on grades, as can special circumstances students may encounter at a given time.
  • You are required to have a combined 3.0 average among all Certificate Program prerequisite courses in order to apply. It is acceptable to receive below a “B” in any individual prerequisite course, but the average of these courses must be 3.0 or higher in order to be considered for admission.

About the certificate

  • No. Certificate programs at Northwestern University are not considered academic majors or minors, and students remain in their home schools.
  • In general, no, although depending on the school, department or program, some certificate courses may count towards certain distribution requirements. Specific questions about this should be addressed with your academic adviser and/or department chair.
  • You may earn only one certificate. However, students who have successfully completed one certificate may take courses in the other on a space-available basis.
  • Yes. The certificate is noted on your transcript upon successful completion of the four certificate courses and graduation from Northwestern University. You must earn at least a "B" average in the four courses in order to earn the certificate.
  • While the curriculum is comprised of MBA level courses, this program is not a substitute for an MBA. If you are interested in an MBA, you may choose to apply for the Kellogg Future Leaders (KFL) Deferred Enrollment MBA program during your final year of undergraduate study.
  • Yes. The certificate is not designed to prepare you for graduate school but is certainly able to supplement core major curriculum and can give you a sense of what to expect in the Kellogg classroom. Each year, a handful of Certificate students pursue graduate degrees, including master's, doctoral, medical, and law programs.

Completing the program

  • Yes. One of the benefits of participating in the program is collaborating with your fellow Certificate Program students. Starting together as a group promotes development of the cohort.

    You should note that CPU courses are offered only once per academic year, and the quarter, day and time during which they are offered can vary from year to year. As a result, it is prudent for you to take as many courses as possible during your junior year in the program in order to avoid potential scheduling conflicts during your senior year.
  • No. The courses do not need to be completed in one year, but the first certificate course (Principles of Finance), must be taken in the spring. At this time, the other three CPU courses may be taken in any order. As noted in the question above, however, we encourage you to complete the remaining CPU courses during your junior year to avoid scheduling conflicts during your senior year, as the course schedule varies year to year.


  • Yes. However, in your first year in the program, you must be on campus during spring quarter in order to take the required first course. You may study abroad during any other quarter or during the summer.
  • Courses are taught by Kellogg School faculty. In addition, senior Kellogg School faculty members and deans participate in the program design, administration and evaluation.
  • Yes. Each student is provided with an Orientation Handbook that provides all the information.
  • Yes. Your gift will help us continue to support the student and alumni programming and activities. Make a gift.
  • Many Kellogg professors employ Certificate Program students as Research Assistants. As RAs, students work closely with the professor and can be involved in many interesting aspects of the research.

    Also, you may seek out a Kellogg professor to advise you on a research project of your own design, either as a separate project or, if allowed by your major department, as your senior honors thesis.
  • While Northwestern does not offer an undergraduate business degree or major, the Kellogg Certificate Program is just one of several rigorous academic programs that cover different aspects of the business world. Read more.

Contact us about the Certificate Program for undergraduate students

Certificate Program for Undergraduates
Kellogg School of Management
Amanda Stasinski
Program Director, Certificate Program for Undergraduates
Kellogg School of Management
Kellogg School of Management
555 Clark Street, Lower Level
Evanston, IL 60208-2800