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Back at Northwestern: Transferring Course Credit

Each school's credit transfer policy and other credit requirements/restrictions are explained to students before they study abroad and during advising sessions, the application process and pre-departure orientation meetings.

General elective credit

Courses taken abroad will transfer to Northwestern as general elective credit as long as the eligibility requirements are met and only after the following steps are completed:

  1. Students submit a study abroad program evaluation
  2. The Study Abroad Office receives and forwards the student's study abroad transcript to the Office of the Registrar.

Major, minor and/or distribution credit

Students who would like to apply study abroad credit toward a major, minor, and/or distribution requirement will follow their school's credit transfer policy.

  • Generally, students will need to meet with departmental advisers if they wish to use study abroad credits to fulfill specific requirements and often must submit syllabi, course descriptions and/or final projects for review. 
  • Students who are seeking credit from a department outside of their school will need to follow the respective school's transfer policy to do so. For example, a SESP student with a second major in history will need to follow the WCAS transfer process to request that a study abroad course in history count toward a major requirement.
  • Read about credit transfer eligibility for internships and service learning completed abroad.

Study abroad before Northwestern

Students who wish to transfer study abroad credit earned before matriculation into Northwestern should contact the Office of the Registrar directly.

NO Retroactive study abroad credit policy AND PRE-MATRICULATION study abroad credit

Students cannot petition retroactively for credit for study abroad undertaken while at Northwestern. All students who wish to earn credit for coursework completed outside the United States must apply through the Northwestern Study Abroad Office by the appropriate deadline.

Only international students on F1/J1 visas 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. They must, however, submit approved credit transfer forms by the end of the quarter prior to the start of their coursework abroad.  Dual citizens and other students not on J1/F1 visas may be eligible to seek a visa exemption and follow submit those forms rather than applying for permission to study abroad. Refer to the Non-Northwestern University Credit Transfer Policy for Undergraduates for more information.

  • Students seeking this exemption should consult with Northwestern's International Office (847-491-5613 or about potential impacts on their U.S. visa status. If they need to be registered at Northwestern while away to maintain their status, they will be required to apply for permission to study abroad and pay the Northwestern Study Abroad Administrative Fee for the appropriate term(s).
  • If they are currently receiving Northwestern financial aid, they should carefully review the financial aid policies regarding international aid for study abroad.

Transfer students who studied abroad while at their former university and incoming first-year students who studied abroad at the university level prior to matriculation may be eligible to seek pre-matriculation study abroad credit through the Office of the Registrar.