Take Courses as a Student-at-large

Students who enroll in SPS undergraduate courses and are not seeking a certificate or degree at SPS are considered students-at-large. Enrolling in SPS undergraduate courses as a student-at-large is an excellent way to experience what returning to school is like before committing or applying to a program. 

Students-at-large may enroll in SPS undergraduate on-campus and online courses for credit, or may audit SPS undergraduate courses that allow auditing (see course schedule and descriptions for audit details). 

Application and registration procedures differ from those for prospective students applying directly to a degree or certificate program. Details for applying and registering for courses as a student-at-large are outlined below.


Applying and 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.

Student-at-large registration requests are accepted for the fall, winter, and spring terms. To initiate registration as a student-at-large, submit a registration request:

Student-at-large Registration Request

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


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

2024–25 Academic Year

  • Tuition per unit: $2,200
  • Technology fee for online (-DL) courses: $130
  • Audit fee per unit: $1,100 (some courses may not be audited) 

Registering for Courses

1. After completing the initial student-at-large registration request, choose your courses from the Undergraduate course schedule 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 confirm@northwestern.edu. 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 confirm@northwestern.edu.

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.

For assistance with registering for courses,  please contact the SPS Registrar's Office at onlinereg@northwestern.edu or 312-503-6951.

Student-at-Large FAQs

Do students-at-large have access to academic and career advisers?
Yes, students-at-large can contact an adviser by emailing sps-sal@northwestern.edu.

Can a student-at-large take daytime courses in other schools at Northwestern?
No, this option is only available to degree-seeking students in SPS. 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. For more information, see the Non-degree Special Student web pages for details specific to NDSS 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 sps-sal@northwestern.edu about taking undergraduate SPS courses as a student-at-large.

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