Credit-bearing, honors-level courses for middle-school students.  Engage in three 9-week online sessions with two to three face-to-face meet ups every quarter.  Focus your curiosity by delving into a topic of interest and learn alongside like-minded peers.



Explore exciting topics beyond the core curriculum through a 9-week online course that includes two face-to-face weekends at Northwestern University. Experience meaningful hands-on work and in-person activities cultivating higher-level thinking and creative problem solving skills. 


Online Learning CivicHybrid PageBlock

Online Learning CivicHybrid PageBlock


Through online instruction and a 4-day in-person service-learning weekend students will have access to rigorous and purposeful academic content related to important social issues and connect with peers who share their passions and interest in making change. 

Course Details

Hybrid courses combine in-person instruction with an online learning environment.  These “blended” courses offer the flexibility to complete a course while meeting face-to-face for hands-on experiences.

CTD's Hybrids take many forms.  There are stand-alone Hybrids, which consist of 9-week online courses with two weekends of face-to-face activities; Weekend Hybrids, which are credit-bearing, high school level honors courses that span three, 9-week online sessions and which include several Saturday meet-ups over the year; and our Civic Education Project Hybrid, which combines online study and research with a 4-day in-person service-learning opportunity.  

Some hybrid courses are for enrichment purposes, some offer high school credit, while others offer service learning hours.  These courses are ideal for motivated and independent learners with busy schedules.

Students should anticipate 3-5 hours of online course work each week.


Application Process

The Hybrid Programs at CTD welcomes applications from returning applicants as well as new score and portfolio applicants. Before beginning the online application, determine which type of applicant you are based on the descriptions below.

Returning Applicant

You are a returning applicant if you are in grade 6 through 12 and you meet both of the following criteria:  

  • You have successfully completed a CTD course through the Weekend Enrichment Program, Summer Program or Online Program at the Emerald Tier, within the previous twenty-four months. 
  • You are now applying for an Online Hybrid course with the same qualifying subject area (Verbal, Math or Science) you used to qualify for a CTD course you previously completed. 

New Scores Applicant
You are a new scores applicant if you are grade 6 through 12 and you meet any one of the following criteria:


  • You have never attended any CTD program and you have qualifying grade-level test scores (Verbal, Math or Science) for your desired course that are no more than two years old.
  • You have previously attended a course with the Summer Program, or Online Program, but you are now applying for a course with a different qualifying subject area (Verbal, Math or Science) and you have qualifying grade-level test scores. 
  • You have participated in above grade-level testing such as the PSAT™8/9 test taken in grades 3, 4, 5, or 6, the ACT® or SAT® test taken in grades 6, 7 or 8 (NUMATS) within the past two years.




New Portfolio Applicant
You are a portfolio applicant if you are in grade 6 through 12 and the following is applicable to you: 

  • You do not have qualifying test scores because you have either:

              1) never taken a nationally normed standardized achievement     test 


             2) taken this type of test but not achieved a qualifying score

An Admission Portfolio includes the following documents: 

  • Required: one teacher recommendation form indicating that the student is performing 1½ to 2 years above grade level in the subject area of the course to which the student is applying (Home-school students may submit two teacher recommendations from non-family member adults who can speak to their capabilities in lieu of a teacher recommendation. Family members may not submit teacher recommendations for students); 
  • Required: most recent school report card indicating exceptional performance in the subject area of the Online Honors Elective course to which the student is applying; 
  • If available: most recent state testing report (e.g. NWEA/MAP); or any results of a grade-level test such as PSAT™8/9 taken in middle school.


To qualify for Emerald Tier Hybrid Courses students must be in grade 5 through 12 and must also provide one of the following:

  • Achievement of a score of 90thpercentile or higher on a nationally normed grade-level assessment in the required qualifying subject area (Verbal, Math or Science) for the desired course.
  • Successful past completion of a CTD course, with the same qualifying subject area (Verbal, Math or Science) within the past two years.
  • Submission of a portfolio application, consisting of a teacher recommendation and the student’s most recent report card demonstrating that the student is performing exceptionally well in the qualifying subject area.
  • Participation in above grade-level testing such as the PSAT™8/9 test taken in grades 3, 4, 5, or 6, the ACT® or SAT® test taken in grades 6, 7 or 8 (NUMATS) within the last two years.

Requests for Grade Advancement/Acceleration: CTD course content is advanced or grade-level accelerated, as reflected in course descriptions and the standard admission requirements. Though course content is advanced, students can engage with intellectual peers who are also age- or grade-level peers. Therefore, most students should apply for courses aligned to the grade-level in which they are currently enrolled. Still, for some students demonstrating a need for an even higher level of instruction than CTD’s advanced and accelerated courses already provide, further acceleration may be an option. Visit the Requesting and Accelerated Placement web page for more information about the process, timeline, and required materials.

Fees, Withdrawals and Financial Aid


Tuition varies depending on specific courses. 

Withdrawal Policy

  • Requests for withdrawals and refunds must be made in writing no later than ten days before the course start date*. E-mail requests should be sent to CTD-admissions@northwestern.edu.
  • Withdrawals are subject to a processing fee of $60.
  • Withdrawals that occur within ten days, but before the first day of the course start date are refunded 50% of the tuition, less the processing fee.
  • There are no refunds made after the course begins.
  • Refunds may take up to eight weeks to appear in the account from which they were paid depending on the type of account and the billing cycle.

Financial Aid

CTD offers need-based financial aid awarded as requests are received. Families are encouraged to apply early because the amount of aid available is limited. Please see the Financial Aid page for details. 

  • The deadline to complete a financial aid application for Hybrid programs is two-weeks before the program begins.  However, financial aid is limited and financial aid applications should be completed as soon as possible.
  • You will recieve the FACTS application link in your application confirmation email once the 60 dollar tuition deposit is paid and the application is submitted.
  • It is imperative that you complete the financial aid application as soon as possible as it may take FACTS up to ten days to process your information.
  • Beginning in August of 2019, CTD has one FACTS application link for all 2019-2020 programs.  It is no longer necessary to attach different program links to your FACTS account if applying to multiple programs for the 2019-2020 academic year.
  • If you previously completed a FACTS application for the 2018-2019 academic year for CTD, you must still attach the 2019-2020 FACTS application to your FACTS account.  You will be able to link your FACTS account to this new FACTS information.  You may need to update financial information.
  • If you experience difficulties with the FACTS process please call the FACTS helpline at 866-412-4637.

Weekend-Hybrid Details

Weekend-Hybrid courses are Honors level courses that combine 9 weeks of online instruction with 2-3 face-to-face class sessions on Saturday morning.  Weekend-Hybrid courses run for three consecutive quarters, Fall, Winter and Spring.  Courses must be taken sequentially.  All three courses must be successfully taken in order to earn two semesters of high school credit.

In-person classes will take place on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. Exact location will be sent to enrolled students.

Fall 2019 session runs September 28-November 16; meet up dates are 10/5, 10/26 and 11/17.

Winter 2020 session runs January 18-March 7; meet up dates are 1/25, 2/15, and 3/7.

Spring 2020 session runs April 11-May 16; meet up dates are 4/18 and May 9.

Civic-Hybrid Details

Civic-Hybrid courses are online courses with a 4-day in-person service-learning weekend scheduled near the end of the session. Courses are designed to provide students with meaningful, hands-on service opportunities, connection to other students who share their passions and interest in community building, and access to rigorous and purposeful academic content related to important social problems. 

See complete program details including a sample schedule and syllabus here.  

Enrichment-Hybrid Details

Copyright 2014 Northwestern University Center for Talent Development