Skip to main content

Name or Gender Change

Name change

University policy states that a student's primary name in the student database must be identical to the name on the Social Security card (for US citizens or permanent residents) or passport (for international students). The registrar’s office for the student’s school or program will process name change requests for current students who are US citizens or permanent residents and who provide appropriate documentation. Students who hold an F1 or J1 visa must contact the International Office to request a name change. Once a student separates from the University, their names are not changed except in situations where the student’s identity or safety could be compromised by the presence of a previous name on University documents.

The following information is required for a name or gender change:

Once this documentation has been presented to the registrar’s office, please allow a minimum of 48 hours for the change to take effect.

Filing application

Email the application for change of name to nu-studentrecords@northwestern.edu 
Please do not include Social Security number on any documents.

Current active students will receive a link to a SAFER folder in Box to upload the required documents. Use of this SAFER folder requires MFA sign in. Alumni & non-active students will receive a zoom meeting invite to present the required documents.

For students who are not able to submit documents through the SAFER folder or a zoom meeting, fax (847-491-8458 to the Evanston Registrar) or mail (633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208) is acceptable; all documents submitted via fax or mail must be notarized to ensure the person’s identity is verified. Requests received by fax or mail might take up to 2 weeks for processing. Electronic submission is not allowed due to the sensitive nature of private demographic information.

Preferred name

Current students can use CAESAR to record a “preferred” first and/or middle name, a name the student wishes to be commonly known by, if different from their “primary” (official) first name. Students’ surnames must remain consistent between primary and preferred names to facilitate accessing the correct student’s record when providing services.*  In order to record preferred first or middle names, students should navigate to the Profile tile in CAESAR. Preferred names are displayed on Instructor Class Rosters, Instructor Grade Rosters, Course Management System (Canvas), and the Northwestern Online Directory.

*Current students who believe they have a compelling need to request an exception to this policy, so that they may use a preferred surname, should contact nu-studentrecords@northwestern.edu to do so.  Use the subject line “Preferred Surname” and in the message, include your full/legal name, the preferred surname, student ID number, academic program and the reasons a preferred surname is important to your experience at Northwestern.

Please note: the “primary” name is the official name reported to Northwestern at the time of application and appears on transcripts, the Wildcard, and any documentation involving financial aid, visa or SEVIS documentation or student accounts. Students must continue to use their primary names when conducting official University business. It is important to know that the primary name can only be changed by visiting the registrar responsible for their program and requesting a formal name change (see above). In addition, changing primary or preferred names after the NU email address has been created will not automatically change the address that appears in the NU Online Directory. Students should contact NUIT for inquiries about email addresses.

Gender change

Current students who change gender on legal documents may request their University records be changed to reflect that by filing an application for change of demographic Information and providing government-issued documentation such as a driver’s license or passport displaying the new gender. Students who are in gender transition or no longer identify with their birth or legal gender may request their University records be changed to reflect a U or unknown gender, using the same form. No additional documentation is required for this request.