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Frequently Asked Questions

What do 1XX or 2XX next to a course subject mean on my transfer credit evaluation?

General department credit at the 100 or 200 level (MATH 2XX or SPANISH 2XX, for example) is awarded for a course, in a subject taught at Northwestern, but that does not closely match any course offered at Northwestern.

Will I be able to apply any of my transferred courses toward a major or minor?

You will have to be approved for a course substitution by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (for WCAS majors and minors) or your school adviser. Be prepared to submit course descriptions and syllabi for review. Also, be aware that some departments have rules on how transfer credit may be used to fulfill major/minor requirements or limits on how many transfer courses may be applied toward a major or minor requirements.

Will I be able to apply any of my transfer courses toward my distribution requirements?

Most likely yes, though some schools may have some restrictions. Review your school’s approved list of distribution courses and contact your school adviser or Weinberg College Adviser if you believe that any of your transferred courses should be counted toward one of your distribution areas.

Why does my transfer credit evaluation list “GEN_CRED”?

General credit “GEN_CRED 1XX” is awarded to adjust your prior institution’s credit to Northwestern’s unit system and are not representative of a specific course. As a result, these units cannot be reviewed for specific NU course credit. General credits count toward your total number of units required for your degree but they cannot be applied toward any specific degree requirements unless adviser approval is given.

Why did I receive fewer transfer units for my spring term than my fall term when I took the same amount of credit hours?

Northwestern uses a formula to convert prior institution credits to NU units. This formula is cumulative and we do not evaluate each semester separately. This practice, along with our policy of rounding to the closest whole number, may often result in the formula appearing to grant more units for the fall term than for spring. In almost all cases this results in the student receiving fewer “GEN CRED” units which are residual units from the conversion formula and no student should expect to lose credit for an actual course they took.

Example: Fall: 15 fall credits x 45 (graduation requirement for WCAS)/120 (graduation requirement for prior school) = 5.6 (or 6 per rounding policy) NU units. However, Fall + Spring: 30 x 45/120 = 11.25 (or 11 per rounding policy) NU units.

Can I receive more than one unit of transfer credit for one of my courses?

Generally, no. While most transfer courses do mathematically earn more than one unit of credit (usually a fraction more), transfer courses are only eligible to receive one articulation, or course number, and all remainder credit is counted together in the formula and posted as additional units of “GEN_CRED 1XX”. The only exception to this rule are Northwestern yearlong sequence courses determined equivalent to two semester courses at some other institutions and which take three quarters to complete at Northwestern. This mostly applies to language and science sequence courses (FRENCH 111-1, 111-2, 111-3, for example).

Can I retake a course at Northwestern for which I have been awarded transfer or test credit?

If you were awarded transfer credit for a specific course (MATH 220, for example), you may not retake that course for credit. If you do register for it and successfully complete it, credit will be voided for the transferred course.

I took some college courses while I was still in high school. Can those transfer?

Any college level courses completed prior to your high school graduation are evaluated separately. For more details on the process, please review our Transfer credit guidelines for incoming freshmen.

Can I earn credit for my AP/IB exams?

Please consult our Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Exams webpage for more information on our credit award policy. AP and IB scores will begin being reviewed and posted to CAESAR in early to mid-August. You can expect to see your scores posted to your record at some point after that.

What if my AP or IB scores aren't appearing on my record in CAESAR?

AP and IB scores will begin being reviewed and posted to CAESAR in early to mid-August. If you do not see your scores posted by the end of the month, please contact nu-transfer-credit@northwestern.edu for further assistance. If your AP scores are not appearing on your record in CAESAR, please provide a screenshot of your order page from College Board as a part of your inquiry. Thank you.

Questions about transfer credit?

Email us at nu-transfer-credit@northwestern.edu or call 847-467-0663.