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Grades, GPA and Transcripts

The University policy regarding study abroad grades specifies that:

  • For most programs, study abroad grades will *not* appear on your Northwestern University official transcript or figure into your cumulative GPA.
  • You must take study abroad courses for a letter grade (pass/fail is not permitted) and earn a C or above in order to be eligible to transfer credit back to Northwestern.

Exceptions: Students on the following Northwestern programs are enrolled in regular Northwestern courses (i.e. courses with Northwestern course numbers and the "-SA" designation), so all courses and grades appear on the Northwestern transcript and are figured into their GPA.

Transcript recording procedures

  • The name of your program or university will be noted on your Northwestern University official transcript.
  • If a grade of C- or lower was earned, or a course was taken pass/fail, the Northwestern transcript will note "0" credit and an accompanying statement will be posted stating: "Study Abroad Course: No credit given for non-transferable grade."
  • If a course worth less than 2 semester credits was taken, the Northwestern transcript will note "0" credit and an accompanying statement will be posted stating: "Study Abroad Course: No credit given for non-transferable semester hour."
  • If other types of non-transferable courses were taken (see Choosing Courses for more on non-transferrable courses), the Northwestern transcript will note "0" credit and an accompanying statement will be posted indicating that no credit was given for the non-transferable course or subject.
  • Courses that are transferred to your record are recorded initially as 100-level general elective credit (GEN_LA 1XX). If approved by your department or school as specific credit, courses may be denoted as either:
    • General departmental credit (e.g. PHIL 1XX, denoting general Philosophy credit at the 100 level), or
    • Northwestern-equivalent courses (e.g. PHIL 110-0, Intro to Philosophy or ECON 311, Intermediate Macroeconomics)

Graduate schools and GPAs

While grades from most coursework completed abroad do not affect the Northwestern GPA, it is important to remember that graduate schools (including medical, business, and law schools) generally instruct applicants to provide study abroad transcripts and then recalculate GPAs so that they include the study abroad grades.

Official copies of your study abroad transcript

Contact your study abroad provider (e.g., Arcadia University, IES Abroad, SIT, LSE, etc.) for an official copy of your study abroad transcript. Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the Northwestern University Office of the Registrar cannot release or issue one.

We recommend that you request multiple official transcripts for future use from your study abroad program soon after completing the program. You are welcome to request an unofficial copy of your study abroad transcript from the Northwestern Study Abroad Office at any time.