New Agreement Creates Path to Northwestern University Bachelor’s Degree for Oakton College Students

Oakton College and Northwestern University School of Professional Studies formalized the Early Admission and Transfer Agreement.
Des Plaines (Aug. 31, 2023) - Northwestern University and Oakton College have formalized a partnership that creates a clear path for Oakton College students to earn a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University School of Professional Studies. Leaders from Oakton and Northwestern signed the Early Admission and Transfer Agreement — the first such agreement between Northwestern and a community college — during a ceremony, Aug. 31.

“We are very excited and grateful to enter this new historic partnership with Northwestern University,” said Oakton President Joianne L. Smith, Ph.D. “Oakton’s diverse student body includes a large number of post-traditional, adult students, many of whom attend college part-time. This agreement will allow many of these students to pursue their goals by creating a path to earn a bachelor’s degree through the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies part-time programs.”

"The Northwestern University School of Professional Studies is embarking on its first articulation agreement, a partnership that will benefit Oakton, Northwestern and, most importantly, the students we serve,” Northwestern Provost Kathleen Hagerty said. “We look forward to working closely with these students as they pursue their academic dreams.”

The Early Admission and Transfer Agreement creates clear guidelines for Oakton students about what Oakton courses are transferable to Northwestern to complete their bachelor’s degree. Oakton students who complete at least 24 transferable semester credits or an A.A. or A.S. degree and meet minimum GPA requirements can apply for early admission to bachelor’s degree programs offered by the School of Professional Studies. Enrollment and academic advisors from Northwestern and Oakton will work with prospective and admitted students while they are completing their associate degrees to facilitate transfers to align with students' goals.

“This agreement underscores SPS’s commitment to collaborate with Oakton College to serve adult students. Our shared dedication to serving working professionals aligns perfectly with the goals of this partnership,” said Northwestern School of Professional Studies Dean Thomas Gibbons. “We're particularly excited about the potential for our online undergraduate degree programs to benefit Oakton's adult learners. Our programs have been designed to cater to the unique needs of those managing multiple responsibilities, making them an appealing option for Oakton's diverse student body.”

Northwestern University School of Professional Studies offers part-time degree programs online and on its Chicago campus — tailored for the busy schedules of professionals. More than 6,000 students enroll in credit courses at Oakton each year, about two-thirds of which attend classes part-time. According to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois leads the nation in bachelor’s degree completion rates among community college students who transfer to four-year colleges. This agreement enhances Oakton’s ability to provide students with access to a high-quality Northwestern education.

To learn more about Oakton College, including the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies Early Admission and Transfer Agreement, visit Oakton's website.