Curious Life Certificate

Setting your intention to be curious is the most powerful way to foster learning and healthy connection. The Curious Life Certificate allows Northwestern undergraduate students from all schools and departments to develop the skills and habits of effective self-management. Through a series of classes that directly address the self-reflection and skills needed to develop personal direction in life, students will understand the core drivers of their performance; Psychology (how you think), Biology (how you feel), and Strategy (what you do). By helping students understand the interconnected nature of these drivers and their collective impact on performance, students will gain the knowledge and experience to be curious, self-directed learners.

Why Pursue a Curious Life Certificate?

All classes in this certificate — as well as the required PRDV 200: PATH gateway course — follow the guiding principle that developing a curious mindset allows students to both set a personal direction as they leave college, and continuously monitor, adapt, and grow throughout their lives.

Who Should Enroll?

Any Northwestern undergraduate interested in augmenting their education with mindsets and tools for designing a curious life.

Curriculum and Requirements

The CLC curriculum is centered on the principles of mindfulness. The present moment is your only opportunity to show up for your life, and how you show up matters. The three channels through which you connect to your life include your emotions, your physical sensations, and your stories. Each of these channels represents one of the requirements for the certificate, along with the PATH program and Designing Your Life.

Required Courses

  • Foundational Course (PATH) 0 course creditPRDV 200: PATH
  • Your Emotions 1 course credit — PRDV 325: Emotional Intelligence 101: Managing Yourself, Maximizing Your Potential
  • Certificate Capstone 1 course credit — PRDV 300 (cross-listed as DSGN 300): Designing Your Life

Elective Courses*

Your Physical Sensations

1 course credit
Course Options:

  • PRDV 345: Whole-Body Thinking: Collaborative Problem Solving through Partner Dancing
  • PRDV 395: Yoga Foundations: Living a Life of Service, Discipline, and Joy
  • THEATRE 171: Basic Acting
  • Additional courses by petition.

Your Stories

1 course credit
Course Options:

  • PRDV 335-1: Engineering Improv I: The Art of Allowing (0.5 credit)
  • PRDV 335-2: Engineering Improv II: The Art of Application (0.5 credit)
  • SLAV 210: Russian Literature
  • ENTREP 311: Storytelling for Business
  • THEATRE 332: Art of Storytelling
  • Additional courses by petition.

*Choose one course per elective from Course Title Options

How to Enroll

Students can use the McCormick Advising System (MAS) to declare the Curious Life Certificate. Any Northwestern student can log in to MAS with their NetID and password.

Follow our guided steps to declaring the Curious Life Certificate.


Students within McCormick should contact Joe Holtgreive. Students outside McCormick should contact Bruce Ankenman.