International Non-degree Special Student

Self-sponsored international students (not part of any official exchange program) who wish to attend Northwestern University as Non-degree Special Students may enter the US in F-1 status provided they have been admitted to a full-time program or course of study (3 or more courses per quarter).

Application Policies

  • Non-degree Special Students are held to the same admissions standards as regular degree candidates. Therefore, a well-conceived statement of purpose and official transcripts of prior study are required as part of the application.
  • Applications will be reviewed only after the NDSS Office has received a completed application and all supplemental application materials.
  • All materials must be received by the respective deadline in order to be considered. Applications received after the deadline will be considered for the following term, if the applicant so requests. If the applicant is accepted, a formal letter of acceptance, registration materials and information on how to request your visa will be mailed within two to three weeks.
  • Northwestern University policy does not allow course auditing.
  • The NDSS Program is for enrollment in undergraduate courses only.

Application Materials

  • International Non-degree Special Student Application
  • Statement of purpose stating clearly why you wish to attend Northwestern as a NDSS (maximum one page typed, double-spaced).
  • Official university transcripts in the language in which they were issued, bearing the stamp or seal of the issuing department or faculty.
  • Certified English translations of transcripts, bearing the stamp or seal of the issuing department or faculty (applicants may not certify their own translation).
  • Official proof of English language proficiency:
    TOEFL, IELTS, and DET are accepted. Scores must be equivalent to a TOEFL score report showing a score of 600 (paper version), 250 (computer version), or 100 (Internet version) or higher. Scores are valid for two years.

Pleases send application materials to:

International Application Deadlines for the 2022–23 Academic Year

Quarter Application Deadline
Fall (classes begin Tuesday, September 20, 2022) July 22, 2022
Winter (classes begin Tuesday, January 3, 2023) October 14, 2022
Spring (classes begin Tuesday, March 28, 2023) January 13, 2023

Tuition and Fees

The 2022-23 full time tuition for Non-Degree Special Students is *$20,797/quarter for enrollment in 3 to 5.5 courses (units of credit). Certain courses that are worth more than one credit unit are indicated as such in the quarterly class schedule. Students may also be responsible for applicable student fees. Rates are subject to change without notice, and increases should be expected in subsequent years. Please visit the Student Finance website for updated tuition and fee rates.

International students must enroll as full-time students (three or more courses/credit units per quarter).

Health Insurance

ALL visiting international students are required to have health insurance throughout the duration of their studies at Northwestern University, either through the Office of Risk Management or an alternative insurer that meets or exceeds minimum requirements.

Participation in the Northwestern’s Visiting Scholar Plan (VSP) is mandatory unless visiting scholars are able to provide evidence of coverage that meets the University’s minimum requirements and a waiver is filed and approved with the Office of Risk Management. The cost of the plan, along with further details can be found here.

Entrance Health Requirements

Prior to arrival on campus, international students must also submit an Admission Health Record Form to prove that they meet the entrance health requirements mandated by Illinois law and Northwestern University. Please visit the Northwestern Health Services website for links to frequently asked questions concerning the entrance health requirements and to access necessary forms.


The quarterly class schedule and course descriptions are available on the Office of the Registrar's website.

Students may also visit the website of the department offering the course(s) in which they are interested in enrolling. Contact information is available from the Northwestern University department directory.

Please note: Not all Northwestern courses are available to visiting/NDSS students: Northwestern undergraduates have priority in registration, course prerequisites must be met, and individual departments have final approval. Please check the department website, course description, or ask the NDSS Office.

 Course auditing is not allowed through the NDSS Program.

Admitted Students

Admitted NDSS will receive a detailed information packet and registration information via email.

Admission into the NDSS Program is for a maximum of three consecutive quarters as long as adequate grades are maintained.

Resources for International Students

Northwestern University's International Office provides information about visa, housing, meal plans, health services, travel, banking and pre-arrival information. All international students are required to register with the International Office upon arrival to Northwestern University. Please contact:

International Office
Northwestern University
630 Dartmouth Place
Evanston, IL 60208-4190

Phone: 847-491-5613

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