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Fall Quarter 2021

Updated 6/25/21

1. Will classes be offered in person?

Northwestern’s courses and the vast majority of our services and activities will return to in-person status for the 2021-22 academic year. Based on positive feedback and outcomes during the pandemic, some select classes, mostly in our graduate programs, will remain in remote or hybrid modalities. These plans are always subject to shifting public health guidance.

2. When can students register for classes?

Here is the timeline for Fall 2021 registration for the Evanston quarters, excluding Kellogg School of Management:

  • June 2 – The preliminary Fall 2021 class schedule becomes available on CAESAR. The schedule includes course name, instructor and some meeting information. Information is subject to change.
  • July 12 – A registration hold will be placed on students who have not completed the COVID-19 Vaccination Form. Once this form is submitted, the registration hold will be removed. 
  • August 9 – Additional class details, such as class modalities and room assignments, are published in the class schedule. Students can begin putting classes in their CAESAR shopping carts.
  • August 16 & 17 – Returning undergraduates pre-register.
  • August 19 & 20, 23 & 24 – Returning graduate and undergraduate students register.
  • After September 1 – New students register.
  • September 11 – Fall Quarter bills are available.
  • October 1 – Fall Quarter payments are due.

The Feinberg School of Medicine clinical programs, Kellogg School of Management, Pritzker School of Law, and School of Professional Studies all have their own timelines. Please check with your registrar’s office for the dates.

More information can be found on the Office of the Registrar website.

3. What will on-campus housing be like?

Northwestern will provide a variety of living options and experiences. Students may review the Housing Selection Overview webpage and then select the New Student (incoming first-year or transfer) or Returning Student (currently living on campus) links to get started.

4. Will Northwestern host programs and activities outside of the classroom?

Yes. Northwestern will host in-person events. There may be indoor campus events during which masks be required more broadly.

5. Do students need to provide proof of vaccination to come to campus?

Northwestern will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the 2021-22 academic year. Faculty and staff who work on campus will also be required to be vaccinated.

Some students cannot take or are hesitant to receive the vaccine, in some cases for certain health conditions or religious reasons. These students should request an exception. All students in on-campus, for-credit programs need to complete the COVID-19 Vaccination Form to submit a COVID-19 vaccination record or to request an exception from receiving the vaccine. Students who have not been fully vaccinated or received an exception may not be able to register for Fall classes. Students should complete the COVID-19 Vaccination Form by July 11 to avoid a registration hold. Once the form is submitted, the registration hold will be removed.

International students who are unable to secure access to a vaccine approved by the FDA or WHO in their home countries will be able to request an exception due to lack of access and be signed up to be vaccinated upon arrival to campus. Additionally, international students who receive a vaccine in their home country that is not authorized in the U.S. may be eligible for an exemption following guidance from Northwestern Health Service.

Please view our Vaccination Requirement FAQs for more details.

6. Do faculty and staff need to provide proof of vaccination?

Subject to limited exceptions, Northwestern will require faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Aug. 1, 2021. Faculty and staff are expected to attest to their vaccination status here.

We understand some individuals have health conditions or sincerely held religious beliefs that prevent them from being vaccinated. We also understand that some have concerns about getting one of the available vaccines while they are under FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) status. Anyone who chooses not to receive a vaccine for any of these reasons, who is otherwise not fully vaccinated, or who fails to report their vaccination status to the University as of Aug. 1 will be considered unvaccinated.

Unvaccinated staff or faculty who work on campus are required to:

  • Complete twice-weekly COVID-19 testing on campus
  • Complete the daily Symptom Tracker application on those days when they are on campus
  • Wear a mask in all shared indoor settings

Please view our Vaccination Requirement FAQs for more details.

7. Will there be regular testing for COVID-19?

Unvaccinated students, faculty and staff are required to complete two Abbott rapid antigen tests every week. Asymptomatic testing is available for students, staff, faculty, and visitors who want an additional sense of security while spending time on campus.

8. What will happen if there is a spike or surge of cases in Evanston or on campus?

Northwestern tracks a number of internal and external metrics and offers Quarantine and Isolation Housing for undergraduate students living in residence halls, residential colleges, fraternity houses and sorority houses. If there is a spike or surge in cases specific to Northwestern, a number of steps might be taken, including:

  • Increased testing focused on the population in question
  • Changes to guidelines or policies for activities or density on campus
  • A two-week pause in campus activities, or a stay-at-home period

9. What can international students returning to the U.S. expect?

Current and future international students can find answers to common COVID-19-related questions on the Office of International Student and Scholar Services website.

10. What is the status of Northwestern’s study abroad programs?

The Global Learning Office (GLO) is reviewing program applications for study abroad. Please monitor GLO’s Frequently Asked Questions for more details.