Student Status Issues
Transfer and international students, and students planning to graduate early or study abroad during their senior year, should be aware of the following Northwestern guidelines and policies before studying abroad.
Be sure to review the Undergraduate Registration Requirement (URR) carefully. Consult with ULA, your academic advisers, and/or the Office of the Registrar if you are concerned about meeting the URR and studying abroad.
International students on F1/J1 visas, as well as dual citizens not on J1/F1 visas, who are seeking to enroll independently in courses at foreign institutions in their countries of permanent residence/citizenship may be exempt from applying for permission to study abroad by the study abroad application deadlines. Refer to the Registrar’s Office site for information about transfer credit processes and contact Karey Fuhs at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If it is determined that you are eligible for the “home country exemption,” you must:
- Consult with your academic advisers regarding your academic plans.
- Consult with the International Office regarding your visa status (as necessary).
- Make all of your own arrangements for your study as a visiting student, rather than as a study abroad student. ULA is not able to provide any adviser or home university certifications, nor can we advise you regarding course selection.
- Submit an Application for Credit for a Non-Northwestern Course Form for each course you expect to take by the end of the quarter prior to the start of your coursework abroad. Mark “yes” to the question, “I am a student with a F1 or J1 visa planning to study outside of the U.S. in my country of permanent residence/citizenship (or have obtained a visa exemption from the Study Abroad Office).” By marking “yes” to this question, your forms will be routed to ULA to verify that you have indeed received the “home country exemption” before the form is then routed for academic approval. You should submit these forms prior to study.
- Make sure that you are registered in a health care plan during your studies, since you may not be eligible for GeoBlue Global Health Insurance through Northwestern. For more information, visit the study abroad health insurance section or the Office of Global Safety and Security site.
Students Planning to Graduate Early
If you hope to study abroad and graduate early, you need to review your plans with your academic advisers and 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
Refer to the Registrar’s Office website for information about preparing for graduation.
Please note that it can take 2-4 months for Northwestern to receive your official transcript from your study abroad program and for transfer credit to appear on your Northwestern transcript. If you are studying abroad during your final quarter at Northwestern, this will likely delay your actual date of graduation. Be sure to review the Office of the Registrar's graduation deadlines, and complete the credit transfer process as soon as possible after your return to campus. Contact your academic advisers and/or the Office of the Registrar with any questions.
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.
- As noted above, it can take around 2-4 months for study abroad transcripts to arrive at Northwestern and additional time for credits to be posted and applied towards your degree program, which will likely 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 email@example.com) 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.