Semester Online

The Semester Online Consortium disbanded in August 2014. The information below is intended to help students who participated in the program during the 2013-14 academic year when classes were offered.

Northwestern University was a member of the Semester Online Consortium , a group of world-class universities partnering to make quality for-credit courses available to our own undergraduate students and to students around the country and the world. Unlike many online courses, those taught through Semester Online featured small, weekly, online, face-to-face classes taught by university faculty, but offered the flexibility of taking a class “at NU” or at any of our partner schools from anywhere in the world.

Students who visited Northwestern through Semester Online

If you need a transcript of your Northwestern work via Semester Online please visit our online transcript ordering page.

Please note that Northwestern University uses the unit, not the hour or semester hour as the measure of credit granted. Each Semester Online class taught awarded 1.0 unit of Northwestern credit, our standard credit amount. Since these courses were taught on the semester calendar, this 1.0 unit of credit equals 3.00 semester hours.

If you have further questions about your enrollment, grades, or transcripts at Northwestern please peruse the rest of our website or contact

Northwestern Students who took Semester Online courses


Semester Online courses bear the same credit as other NU classes, 1.0 unit of credit.


Semester Online courses, even those taught by Northwestern faculty, were offered on a 16 week semester calendar. The following table shows how these semesters aligned with NU quarters:

NU Quarter

Semester Online Semester

Approximate Semester Online Term Dates



Late August –Early December



Mid-January – Early May



Early June – Early August

Cost, Financial Aid, and Billing

The cost for Semester Online courses was the same for Northwestern students as any other courses taken while at Northwestern. Students were billed by Northwestern in the same way and at the same rates as usual. Standard tuition amounts can be found on the Northwestern University Student Financial Services website.

Financial aid was also available and most often be dispersed in the same way for Semester Online courses as it was for any other coursework taken while at Northwestern. Contact your financial aid office if you have questions.

Semester Online courses counted toward the total number of units in a given term. For example, if you took 2 winter quarter classes (making you a part time student) and added one Semester Online spring semester course, you were enrolled in 3.0 units and considered and billed as a full time student. Conversely, if you took 1 spring quarter course and one summer Semester Online course, you were a part time student (total of 2.0 units), and billed at the part time rate.

Semester Online Courses and Your NU Record

How Courses…

Non-NU Semester Online Courses

NU-taught Semester Online Courses

Appear on your transcript during the term

Enrollment in a placeholder course, SEM_ONLN 200-0, titled “Semester Online Coursework.” This course is not graded.

Enrollment in a Semester Online version of a regular NU course, e.g., IMC 300-SN. This course is graded like any other.

Appear on your transcript after the term

As transfer credit. Upon confirmation from the offering school that you earned a “C” grade or better, NU articulates transfer credit for you.

Same as above. Counts as regular NU credit.

Grades appear on the NU transcript

They do not.

They do.

Count in the GPA

They do not.

They do.

Count toward the URR as NU coursework

They do not.

They do.

Count toward particular degree requirements

As determined by your school or department.

Per your school/major/minor’s usual guidelines for the same course taught on campus

Appear on other transcripts

The offering university maintains your official transcript for this non-NU coursework. For example, applications for graduate school will require a transcript from the offering university.

They do not.

Applying Semester Online Courses to your NU Degree

The following are the types of transfer articulation for Semester Online courses:

Option 1: Analogous to an NU course. The material is very similar to something we teach at NU and thus may be articulated as a specific NU course number, e.g., MATH 224-0. The course may be used to fulfill any requirements the on-ground course would fulfill.

Option 2: Similar to NU courses. The material is similar to what we might teach at the 100, 200 or 300-level, but has no direct match at NU, e.g., MATH 2XX. Your school/major/minor, etc. will decide how and whether this course will fulfill particular requirements.

Option 3: NU course credit. When Northwestern faculty teach an Semester Online course no transfer articulation is necessary. The course will count in the same way toward NU requirements as it would if it were taught on campus.

Option 4:  No credit.  NU students may not register for Semester Online courses for which they cannot receive NU credit.