Transfer Credit after Enrolling
Once you have enrolled at Northwestern, if you wish to take a class at another institution and request that Northwestern grant transfer credit, there are different processes depending upon whether you are pursuing a “study abroad” experience or simply taking class at another institution.
Process for transferring credits earned at other U.S. institutions after matriculation to Northwestern University
- Consult your advisers (college, major) before deciding to take a course for transfer credit. Obtain appropriate supporting documents, such as course descriptions or syllabi, for the course(s) you propose to take. Links to web materials are acceptable.
- Submit the Application for Credit for a Non-Northwestern Course form. The form routes electronically to appropriate approvers based on the information you submit. You must indicate which department at NU might offer a similar course in order for that department to review the proposed transfer course’s content. Secondly, you must indicate how you plan to apply the course to your degree requirements. Once the department reviews the course, the appropriate major/minor/school official(s) will determine whether the course can be applied to your requirements as you have requested. If approved by all school officials, the form will be sent to the Office of the Registrar. The form will be held—and no action taken—until steps 3 and 4 below are complete.
- Upon completion of the course, have a final, official transcript sent from the offering institution to:
Office of the Registrar
Attn: Transfer Credit
633 Clark St.
Evanston, IL 60208-1118
- Once the transcript is received and matched to the approval form, the credit will be articulated to your record. You may then view the entry on CAESAR.
Process for matriculated students seeking to take courses outside the United States
- Students must apply for permission to study abroad by the appropriate Northwestern application deadline and fulfill all Northwestern study abroad requirements.
- This applies to all terms and programs (Northwestern-sponsored, affiliated, unaffiliated and non-NU summer programs).
- International students on F1/J1 visas* seeking to take courses at foreign institutions in their countries of permanent residence/citizenship are exempt from fulfilling the above study abroad requirements. Such students should consult their International Office Adviser about potential visa considerations before finalizing plans to study in their country of residence/citizenship. They also, upon submitting an Application for Credit for a Non-Northwestern Course form, may be required to make an appointment with the Associate Director of the Study Abroad Office to determine eligibility and/or verify the foreign institution’s accreditation. These students should follow the steps outlined above to consult on-campus advisers, submit applications for credit in advance of enrolling, and after completing class(es) submit final, official transcripts to the Office of the Registrar.
*Dual citizens and other students who do not hold F1/J1 visas may seek a visa exemption from the Study Abroad Office by sending a copy of the Biographical Page in their passport for the country in which they’re seeking to study to firstname.lastname@example.org. Such students should ensure they are enrolled in a health care plan in that country; if not, they should consider purchasing NU’s HTH health insurance policy through the Office of Global Safety and Security
Transferring credit from study abroad
- Submit your study abroad program evaluation.
- Have your final, official transcript sent from your study abroad program or host institution to the Study Abroad Office or the Office of International Program Development.
- Once your study abroad program office has verified completion of your program evaluation and received your transcript, your Northwestern University transcript will be updated with eligible transfer credits from study abroad.
- Eligible transfer credits will appear on the Northwestern University transcript as general credits: Gen_Cred 1XX, which will count as elective credits.
- To articulate general credits into Northwestern courses and possibly apply some of them toward major/minor requirements, follow your school’s process for petitioning to designate general credits as something other than electives.
Converting study abroad credit to Northwestern University credit
For students on full-time study abroad, a credit conversion ratio, which is based on the total number of credits needed to earn an undergraduate degree at Northwestern University (45 units is used as the standard minimum), compared to the total number of credits needed to earn an undergraduate degree at a foreign institution (equivalent to US Bachelor’s degree), will be calculated to convert foreign credits to Northwestern units. In the example of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) used throughout Europe, which requires the completion of 180 ECTS credits (60 ECTS/year) for most undergraduate programs, the credit conversion ratio is 0.25 (45/180). A student who completes 20 ECTS credits will receive a total of 5 Northwestern units as transfer credits (Gen_Cred 1XX). In the process of calculating a credit conversion ratio, the result is rounded up to the nearest integer if it has a decimal of 0.5 or higher. Students participating in exchange programs and affiliated programs that offer direct enrollment should refer to their program page for the credit conversion ratio for their program.