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Student Status Issues

Certain students should be aware of the following Northwestern policies before studying abroad:

Transfer students

Your ability to study abroad depends on your Undergraduate Registration Requirement. As part of the application process, you will meet with the Office of the Registrar to determine your eligibility to study abroad.

Students planning to graduate early

If you hope to study abroad and graduate early, you need to review your plans with your degree auditor in the Office of the Registrar before going abroad. Whether or not you can do both depends on a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • The amount of time you have spent taking classes full-time on Northwestern’s campus
  • Whether you are getting a single or double degree
  • Whether or not you received AP credit
  • Your study abroad program and term(s), and the time it takes for Northwestern to receive your study abroad transcript

See the Northwestern University Undergraduate Catalog for details on the university enrollment requirement, the Undergraduate Residence Requirement, and the graduation requirements in your school.  To review your plans in light of your overall career at Northwestern, contact the Office of the Registrar at 847-491-5234 to make an appointment with your degree auditor.

Students studying abroad during their final NU quarter

It is possible to study abroad during your final quarter at Northwestern, but keep the following important issues in mind:

  • You must stay in contact with your degree auditor before and while you are abroad to discuss the timeline of your graduation and the process for receiving your diploma.
  • It can take around two months for study abroad transcripts to arrive at Northwestern and additional time for credits to be posted and applied towards your degree program, which may delay your actual date of graduation. In the past, some seniors who studied abroad during the winter/spring quarters have not received their diplomas until early fall, even though they may have been eligible to "walk" at graduation in June.
  • Some programs do not end until after Northwestern's quarter is over, and you are required to complete all courses, coursework, and final assessments on-site. If your program does not end until after Northwestern’s graduation, you cannot return early to walk. 
  • Students planning to return to the U.S. to walk with their fellow graduating classmates may experience difficulty obtaining tickets to the graduation ceremony while abroad. Contact the Office of Special Events (847-491-3600 or commencement@northwestern.edu) for further details. 
  • If you are hoping to apply to graduate schools for the term immediately following your study abroad program and Northwestern graduation, make sure your graduate schools understand that your final diploma and transcript from Northwestern may not be available until for some time.

International Students

Studying anywhere outside the United States – including your home country – is considered study abroad!

Carefully review the application process and submit your application on time. Note that retroactive requests for study abroad credit of any kind, during any term, will not be accepted.

If you are currently receiving Northwestern financial aid, carefully review the financial aid policies regarding international aid for study abroad.

Consult with Northwestern's International Office (847-491-5613 or intoff@northwestern.edu) about your plans to ensure that your U.S. visa status will not be affected.