Program Overview:

Take a Course as a Student-at-large

Students who are not seeking a certificate or degree at SPS are considered students-at-large. Enrolling in an SPS undergraduate-level course or courses as a student-at-large is an excellent way to experience what returning to school is really like before making the commitment to a program. Students-at-large may take SPS undergraduate evening/Saturday courses for credit, or audit SPS undergraduate courses for which auditing is permitted. The application and registration procedures differ slightly from those for prospective students applying directly to a degree or certificate program. Details for applying and enrolling as a student-at-large are outlined below. 

Students-at-large who register for undergraduate SPS evening or weekend courses are not to be confused with Non-degree Special Students (NDSS), who enroll in daytime courses in other schools in Northwestern University. Qualified individuals who demonstrate a need for certain Northwestern daytime courses during the academic year may apply to enroll as Non-Degree Special Students through the Office of Summer Session and Special Programs. Visit the Non-degree Special Student website for details about the tuition rates and application process specific to NDSS students.

Admission Requirements

To attend SPS as a student-at-large, you must have a high school diploma and be in good academic standing at the last institution you attended. If English is not your native language, a minimum TOEFL score of 600 on the paper-based test or 100 on the internet-based test, or an IELTS exam score of 7.0 or higher is acceptable for English proficiency. Upon registering for class, you may be asked to submit proof of these two requirements.

For questions about student-at-large enrollment and the status of your registration request, please contact the Registrar's Office at or 312-503-6951.


Undergraduate students pay per course. Each course is equivalent to one unit unless otherwise specified in the course description.

  • 2017–18 tuition per unit: $1,850
  • Audit fee per unit: $925*

Some courses may not be audited. Additional fees are required for some courses, including a technology fee for online courses. Refer to individual course descriptions within the course schedule for this information.

Students-at-large are not eligible for financial aid or scholarships.

How to Register as a Student-at-large

1. Choose your courses and calculate your tuition from the information above. See the Undergraduate program academic calendar for registration dates for each quarter.

2. Log in to CAESAR using the NetID and activation code that will be sent to you by email within 48 hours.

3. Make a tuition deposit in CAESAR. See the instructions for making a payment on CAESAR. Northwestern University School of Professional Studies requires students to pay 60% tuition plus 100% of fees at the time of registration. Northwestern employees must pay 100% tuition plus 100% of fees minus their benefits at the time of registration.

4. You will receive a confirmation email once you have made your payment. Once you receive it, forward the email to After SPS receives your payment confirmation or proof of payment, you will be activated in CAESAR. This means that you will have access to use CAESAR to enroll in your selected course(s). Students cannot be activated to register for courses in CAESAR without first making a tuition payment. If you do not receive your payment confirmation email within 48 hours, email

5. You will receive another email confirmation notifying you once you are activated in CAESAR and can register for courses. See the instructions for adding courses.

Academic Rigor

Students-at-large must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA. If a student's GPA falls below 2.0, the student is placed on academic probation. Students with X or F grades may not register for the next term without the consent of the Student Affairs Committee. Failure to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress may result in probation or dismissal.

Applying for Degree-Seeking Status at SPS

Courses taken as a student-at-large may be applied toward an SPS bachelor's degree. Students-at-large who wish to change their status to degree-seeking must submit the online application before enrolling in their fifth SPS course.

Student-at-large FAQ

Do students-at-large have access to academic and career advisors?
No, but students-at-large can use online career resources available to students in SPS.

Can a student-at-large take daytime courses in other schools at Northwestern?
No, this option is only available to degree-seeking students.

I already have earned a degree from another institution. Can I enroll as a student-at-large?
Yes, students-at-large may enroll in SPS undergraduate courses for credit, or audit SPS undergraduate courses for which auditing is permitted. Grades earned as a student-at-large will be calculated in the the student's overall GPA.

Additional questions? Email about taking undergraduate SPS courses as a student-at-large.