Professional Development Program Area

Professional Development Certificates FAQ

Find answers to commonly answered questions regarding the Professional Development program area at SPS.

Registration and Payment

Is there an admissions process to become enrolled in the certificate programs?
There is no formal admissions process for any Professional Development program, except:

Can I enroll in individual courses without having to complete the program?
Yes. Students who plan on earning a certificate should move through the program in the recommended order, but classes may also be taken individually and out of sequence.

What is the enrollment deadline?
We recommend that you register as early as possible, at least one week before the course begins. If a course has reached enrollment capacity, we reserve the right to to refuse your registration. Some courses have firm registration registration deadlines due to pre-class tasks, and last minute registration will not be allowed.

Is there a cancellation policy/fee?
The University reserves the right to cancel classes due to insufficient enrollments, instructor illness, severe weather or natural disaster. In the event of cancellation due to insufficient enrollment, registrants will be notified immediately and all fees will be returned.  

Student-generated cancellations must be reported by dropping the class in CAESAR (course registration system). In order to receive a complete refund, students must have dropped the course in CAESAR before the first meeting of the course. Please note that no refunds will be issued after the class begins. If you cancel, you may apply for a waiver using our online Student Affairs Petition Form (requires NetID and password).

Books, Materials and Instructors

Are course materials included in the cost of the tuition?
Please see the individual course listing for more information. Some courses include course materials in the price of tuition, while others require students to purchase books or materials separately. 

Where can I purchase books and materials?
Textbooks and/or required course materials will be posted with the course offering information. Students may purchase books at any retailer.

Who are the instructors that teach in the program?
Our instructors are experienced professionals from the Chicago area. Instructors work as a team to develop and deliver a dynamic classroom experience. For instructor biographical information, please see the course listings.  

How do I get in touch with my instructor?
All registered students will have access to Canvas where they can contact fellow students in the class as well as the instructor. Students can also use the Northwestern University Directory to locate instructor contact information.

What if I need to miss a class?
The instructor may determine his or her policy regarding attendance in class. As a general guide, the Office of Professional Development will allow a student to miss one class without penalty, provided that the student coordinates with his or her instructor to make up missed work. For courses that consist of four or fewer sessions, a student should not miss any classes.

Completion of Your Program

How do I get my Certificate of Completion?
Within three months following the completion of your final course, complete the Program Completion - PDP/Post-baccalaureate form on the left side of the page listed under Undergraduate Forms. **Please note: you must use a web browser other than Chrome and Java in order to successfully open the form. If you are unable to complete the online form, please submit the Program Completion Form (PDF format) to the SPS Registrar's Office via fax (312-503-4727) or via postal mail:

Northwestern University School of Professional Studies
Registrar's Office, Attn. PDP
Wieboldt Hall, Sixth Floor
339 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-3008

Per Northwestern University policy, we cannot accept the Program Completion PDF form via email. Please allow four to six weeks for processing and mailing of certificates.

I submitted my completion form and have not received my certificate. Who should I contact?
Contact the SPS Registrar's Office directly at 312-503-4727 at

Campus Safety

Where can I find a copy of Northwestern's Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics?

As provided by the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990, now known as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, you are entitled to request and receive a copy of Northwestern University's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. This Report includes statistics for the previous 3 years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Northwestern University; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus. The Report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies on drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, fire safety and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this Report by contacting the Northwestern University Police Department Deputy Chief at 847-491-3256. The Report can also be accessed and printed from the University Police.