Transfer Credit Policies
Review transfer credit policies, find out which courses do not transfer and find school specific policies.
- A national or regional accrediting body must accredit the offering institution if it is US-based; consult the institution's catalog to confirm that it is accredited. Foreign institutions must be recognized as institutions of higher education by the appropriate ministry of education or other governmental agency.
- Only courses with a grade of C or better are accepted in transfer (see School-Based policies for additional information for SESP students).
- Transfer credit accepted from another institution is reflected on the Northwestern University transcript with a grade of "T", not the actual grade received at the other institution. The "T" (Transfer) grade is not used in calculating the Northwestern GPA.
- No transfer of credit is allowed for grades of P (Pass), S (Satisfactory), or similar non-quality grades. Exception: given the widespread and abrupt changes to instruction and institutional practices as a result of the global pandemic, credit earned during the winter, spring, and summer 2020 terms with grades of pass/satisfactory/credit, assuming all other transfer policies are met, will be eligible for transfer articulation.
- Work must be in a curricular area generally recognized for credit at Northwestern. Transfer credit will not be awarded for coursework not offered within our undergraduate program (ex: nutrition and wellness, fashion, agriculture, sports or physical education related classes, etc.)
- Students may not register concurrently at Northwestern and at another institution and receive transfer credit for work taken at the other institution unless permission is granted in advance by the office of the dean of their schools. This applies to traditional and online or blended-format courses.
One unit of Northwestern credit will be granted for a course that carries two or three semester hours or three or four quarter hours of credit, or the equivalent, at the sponsoring institution. If a course from a sponsoring institution is below these minimums, but is equivalent to a Northwestern course carrying .34 or .5 units, the appropriate Northwestern course and credit may be assigned.
- Final, official transcripts from the offering institution are the appropriate mechanism for reporting completion of a course to Northwestern. Such transcripts must bear the signature and/or seal of the issuing official. Official transcripts must be written in English and contain the institution’s name, the student’s name, dates of term(s) attended, title of each class taken, grades earned and academic credit system for each class (if applicable).
Undergraduate students who wish to transfer post-secondary courses completed outside the United States should request an evaluation by Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) and submit the report to the Office of the Registrar at Northwestern. ECE reports describe the level of the student’s academic work and the accreditation and credit system of the institution and inform the degree to which courses taken abroad may transfer to Northwestern University.
- Students hoping to earn credit for foreign national exams or any courses taken after enrolling at Northwestern (except Northwestern-affiliated study abroad programs and Northwestern Suggested Unaffiliated Summer Programs) must request an ECE evaluation of their records be sent to Northwestern as part of the transfer review process.
- Incoming undergraduate students who wish to transfer post-secondary courses completed outside the United States should request evaluation from ECE. The report will enable transfer credit evaluators to make articulation decisions quickly and accurately.
- Students must contact ECE directly to 1) request the review and 2) request that the resulting evaluation be sent to transfer credit evaluators in the Northwestern Office of the Registrar.
- The Undergraduate Registration Requirement (URR) specifies the minimum number of units of credit a student must earn at Northwestern; it thus limits the amount of non-Northwestern credit that may be counted toward a Northwestern degree.
For example, a student entering as a freshman in a four-year degree program must be registered at Northwestern for at least 9 quarters and complete courses worth at least 32 units of credit at the University.
For purposes of the URR, being “registered at Northwestern” for a quarter means that the student is registered for and completes Northwestern course work worth at least two units of credit during that quarter and that the course work is under the supervision of the Northwestern faculty.
More details can be found on the Undergraduate Registration Requirement Summary page.
The following courses do not transfer:
- Courses for which credit was granted by institutional or CLEP examination rather than course attendance.
- Courses worth less than three quarter hours or two semester hours.
- Courses that an applicant has audited, repeated or failed.
- English as a Second Language courses.
- Work in a curricular area generally not recognized for credit at Northwestern.
- Any course work completed during a deferral period.
Two-year or community college credit
Northwestern University's colleges and schools have specific policies on granting credit for courses taken at a two-year or community college after matriculation at Northwestern:
- Bienen, Communication, and McCormick - Credit accepted with approval.
- Medill - No credit accepted after sophomore year.
- SESP - Credit accepted with approval and B-grade or higher.
- Weinberg - No credit accepted toward a Weinberg degree. In addition, students in other schools may not count such courses toward a Weinberg major or minor.
Weinberg College requirements
Credit earned at other domestic institutions after matriculation at Northwestern may not be applied towards the Weinberg College distribution requirements or the foreign language requirement.
Credit earned at foreign institutions by international (F1/J1) students after matriculation at Northwestern may not be applied towards the Weinberg College distribution requirements.
Students approved to study abroad by the Study Abroad Office may be authorized to apply some credits earned at foreign institutions toward the Weinberg College distribution requirements.
Courses that are to be applied toward a Weinberg College major or minor must have the prior approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies or designated adviser in that department or program.
School of Communication requirements
Transfer credits are not permitted to apply for those major requirements that must be taken in the major department. Transfer credits may be approved (by petition) to count towards courses required in SoC. Courses in the major department may also be accepted as elective credit.
Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
Transfer credit cannot be applied to the journalism major. Transfer credit may apply toward foundational disciplines, the language requirement, and other areas of study (pending approval from those disciplines.