Undergraduate Program Area

Undergraduate FAQ

Below is a list of the most commonly asked questions about the Undergraduate program at the School of Professional Studies (SPS), grouped by category. Some questions are addressed in specific sections of the website; use the Undergraduate Options list to the left to find these. If you cannot locate an answer on the website, please contact our admissions office at 312-503-2579.





Parking and Transportation

Taking Courses

Tuition, Scholarships and Financial Aid

Campus Safety


For general application instructions and deadlines visit the Admissions page.

Does the School of Professional Studies accept application fee waivers (i.e. NACAC)?
No. Applicants must pay the required application fee at the time of submission.

May coursework completed at other institutions transfer and apply to my degree at the School of Professional Studies?
The majority of undergraduate degree candidates will transfer coursework to SPS which decreases time to degree completion. Undergraduate students may satisfy up to one-half of their graduation requirements with coursework completed previously at another institution. In general, transfer credit is awarded for academic courses taken at a regionally accredited institution, passed with a grade of C (2.0) or better and similar in focus and classroom hours to courses at Northwestern University.

Will my homeschool transcript satisfy the high school transcript application requirement?
Homeschooled applicants should contact the Office of Admissions to discuss their prior secondary education.

If I attended more than one high school will I be required to submit a transcript from each school?
No, only the high school transcript stating conferral of diploma and graduation date is needed.

Is a GED Score Report sufficient to meet the high school graduation requirement or would I also need to request high school transcripts?
While not required, it is recommended that applicants submitting a GED Score Report also submit an official high school transcript if they have attended a secondary education institution.

Is the School of Professional Studies a member of the IAI (Illinois Articulation Initiative)?
We are not a member of the IAI. However, we do accept many courses in the transfer process.

Will my GPA transfer along with my courses from other institutions?
A Northwestern University GPA represents completed coursework at Northwestern and will not include your transfer GPA.

Should applicants with previous military experience submit a JST transcript?
Yes, prior military service should be indicated in a resume as well as submission of an official JST Transcript.

Do transcripts from Canadian institutions require a NACES course-by-course evaluation?
Applicants to the undergraduate program are required to have transcripts from any non-U.S. institution evaluated by a NACES member to ensure that the maximum amount of transferable credit is awarded post-admission.

Can I attend the School of Professional Studies for a second bachelor’s degree?
Prior course credits from a previously conferred bachelor’s degree are non-transferable to SPS’ undergraduate degree program. It is recommended that individuals with an earned bachelor’s degree pursue either the Post-baccalaureate or Student-at-large program. Individuals still interested in pursuing a second bachelor’s degree are encouraged to contact SPS’ Office of Admission at 312-503-2579.

Back to top


Undergraduate Admission Review

The admissions review committee reads each application fully and employs a holistic review process dedicated to determining an applicant's preparedness to meet the academic rigors of a Northwestern University education. In addition to reviewing academic records, the committee also pays close attention to other indicators of likely success at Northwestern, such as work experience, professional advancement, evidence of commitment to completing the degree and other relevant factors that demonstrate persistence and motivation.

The most successful applications will include:

  • Recent record of academic achievement at a regionally accredited institution
  • A clear statement of purpose highlighting educational and professional goals
  • Professional resume that highlights occupational experience, skills and achievements

Offers of admissions are at the discretion of the review committee and may include parameters such as limiting enrollment in the first several quarters of attendance, meeting with an academic adviser before registering and maintaining a minimum GPA.

Back to top



For general advising information visit the Student Services page

How do I make an appointment with an undergraduate adviser?
You can make an appointment for an in-person or phone advising session by contacting either of our offices at 847-491-5612. Advising by email is available for brief questions.

What are the SPS academic advising hours?
You may make an appointment Monday through Friday. Hours of appointments are between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays. Advising is available on both the Chicago and Evanston campuses.

Will I be assigned an adviser?
No, you may choose your adviser based upon location (advising is available on both campuses) or personality match.

How long is an advising session?
New students should plan to meet with an adviser for 45 minutes. Continuing students need only 20 to 30 minutes.

How often should I meet with my academic adviser?
We encourage students to meet with their adviser at least once per year. If you have more specific concerns, feel free to meet quarterly, or as often as needed.

Back to top



Does the School of Professional Studies offer career guidance and career-related advising?
SPS degree-seeking and certificate students are encouraged to discuss their career goals with their academic advisors. SPS academic advisers are available to help with job search strategies, resume review, and provide program-tailored career advice.

Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) is a comprehensive career services office on the Evanston campus that provides an extensive range of advising, programming and resources to all Northwestern University degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students. Recent alumni have access to NCA for six months post-graduation.

Back to top



Can I take a class pass /no pass?
Degree-seeking students in SPS who carry a 3.0 grade point average may request to take a course with a pass/no pass option. The course must not be in the student’s major or minor area of concentration. A minimum of 9 courses must be completed to request a pass/no pass option. A maximum of four classes taken pass/no pass are allowed in a student’s entire academic career at SPS.

What is the unit completion requirement at SPS?
Degree-seeking students who transfer to the School of Professional Studies must complete their final 12 units (courses) of coursework at Northwestern University.

How many classes are required to graduate?
Bachelor degrees at SPS require 45 units of credit.

What is a unit?
A unit of credit is equivalent to 1 class, 2-2/3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours.

What is considered “good academic standing?”
Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average in order to be classified as good standing. Students whose GPA drops below this minimum may be placed on academic probation.

Will my previously completed coursework, including online courses, transfer to my SPS program?
This depends; courses must be equivalent to the undergraduate courses offered by Northwestern University, from a regionally accredited (i.e. NCA) institution and have a final grade of C or higher. Once admitted, students will receive an admissions packet containing a detailed credit evaluation of all transferred coursework. Transfer credit is subject to the approval of the Office of the Registrar and questions may be directed to their office at onlinereg@northwestern.edu or (312) 503-6951. SPS does not evaluate transfer credit prior to being admitted.

What is the maximum amount of courses I can transfer into the undergraduate program?
Students are able to transfer in a maximum of 22.5 of the 45 courses needed to graduate.

Can I repeat a course?
Yes. You may repeat a course if you did not receive a passing grade. However, both grades will remain on your transcript.

Do you require a certain number of upper-level courses for graduation?
Yes. 14 courses at the upper (300) level must be completed to graduate.

Do I need a certain GPA in order to graduate?
Yes. You must earn a 2.0 in your major, minor and overall GPA in order to graduate.

Will my degree say “School of Professional Studies?”
No. SPS bachelor’s degrees are conferred by the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Communication at Northwestern. Your degree will say “Northwestern University.”

How long will it take for me to complete my degree?
This answer depends on how many courses you transfer and the academic load you plan to carry while at SPS. A formal credit evaluation is recommended to ascertain how many courses you will need to complete your degree. You may work with an academic adviser to determine a tentative schedule thereafter.

May I take a course at another institution and transfer it back to Northwestern University?
Yes, but you must secure permission via a successful petition.

May I take a CLEP exam and transfer it to Northwestern University?
Yes, for additional information about the CLEP exam and equivalent courses at SPS, visit our CLEP Credit Transfer Information page.

Do I need to apply for graduation?
Yes. You should complete the Graduation Application by October 1 of the academic year in which you are finishing your degree.

Back to top


Parking and Transportation

Where can I park when I come to class?
On the Evanston campus, free parking is available in most "F" Parking Lots after 4 p.m. Please refer to signs at the parking lot to be certain about availability. Do not at any time park in a reserved space. On the Chicago campus, reduced-rate (with validation) parking is available in two University garages from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. Full parking details available within Maps and Facilities information.

How can I travel between the Evanston and Chicago campuses?

The Intercampus Shuttle runs year-round, Monday through Friday, between the Evanston and Chicago campuses. The shuttle is free, but a WildCARD must be presented to board. For schedules and stops, visit the Intercampus Shuttle website.

Can I take the CTA to Northwestern?

The Evanston campus is close to the Purple Line's Davis, Foster and Noyes stops. The Foster and Noyes stops are both two and a half blocks west of Sheridan Road. The Chicago campus is closest to the Red Line's Chicago stop, which is three blocks west of Michigan Avenue. Multiple bus routes serve each campus.

Back to top


Taking Courses

Can I take courses during the day from other schools at Northwestern University?
Typically students can complete a degree by taking courses through the School of Professional Studies. However, students who are pursuing academic interests not available in SPS do have the option of daytime enrollment in other schools at Northwestern. SPS degree seeking students may petition to take up to three courses in other schools. You should have a 3.5 cumulative Northwestern grade point average, have completed 22 units of credit, with at least four at SPS. Courses in other schools should be specialized and not available in the SPS Undergraduate program. Consult with an SPS adviser about selecting daytime courses in other schools.

Who are the instructors at SPS?
Instructors come to teach at SPS from all over Northwestern University. Full-time professors, lecturers and instructors from corresponding departments at Northwestern University teach, as well as adjunct professors with academic and professional expertise.

I have to drop my class. What do I do? Where do I start?
You can change you registration status through CAESAR, including dropping a course. If you are dropping your last course, you need to submit the Change of Registration Form. Please ensure to submit it by required add/drop deadlines.

Where do I find important dates?
Important dates are located in the Important Dates web page and in the Academic Calendar.

Back to top


Tuition, Scholarships and Financial Aid

Do you offer financial aid?
Degree-seeking students may apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA and the paperwork required by Northwestern University Financial Aid. You should first review important information at the NU Financial Aid website. Students-at-large are not eligible for financial aid.

Do you offer scholarships?
Yes. Certain application deadlines and criteria apply. Learn more by visiting the Tuition and Financial Aid page, or contact SPS Student Services for more information.

How much is tuition?
Tuition information can be found on the Tuition and Financial Aid page

When is tuition due?
Tuition is due shortly after your registration. Your account and any financial aid information will be visible on CAESAR.

What if I have questions about my bill?
Contact the Office of Student Accounts at 847-491-5224 or at 312-503-8503.

Back to top

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 website.