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Online Undergraduate Certificate Programs

Resources and FAQs

Below is a list of the most commonly asked questions about the SPS online undergraduate certificate programs, grouped by category. If you cannot locate an answer on the website, prospective students can contact an admission adviser. Current students should contact the SPS academic advising team.


Admission      |       Advising       |       Credits          
Taking Courses       |       Tuition & Financial Aid       |       Campus Safety



For general application instructions and deadlines visit the Admission page.

Will SPS issue me a student visa upon acceptance into a certificate or degree program?
International students currently in the U.S. on other types of visas may not require a student visa if their current visa permits part-time study (e.g. L-1B, L-2, H-1B, or H-4). If you are in the U.S. on a visa other than an F-1 or J-1 visa, please speak with your visa sponsor to confirm you ability to enroll and study at SPS.

SPS does not process I-20 or DS-2019 forms. Our certificate and degree programs are designed as part-time programs for working professionals and cannot be used to maintain legal status in the United States.

I have taken courses at other colleges. Will credit coursework completed at other institutions transfer and apply to an undergraduate certificate program?
Courses from an institution other than Northwestern University may not be transferred to satisfy requirements.

How can I apply for an undergraduate certificate program?
Students who wish to pursue one of the undergraduate certificate programs at Northwestern University School of Professional Studies apply for admission using the certificate program application. Please view the Admission page for information.

When should I apply?
The School of Professional Studies accepts applications on a rolling basis; meaning you can apply for any term. Please view the Admission page for application deadline information. Some undergraduate certificate programs have a specific start term, which will be noted on the overview page for each program.

What is the difference between an undergraduate certificate program and completing courses as a student-at-large?
As a certificate student, you will have access to all the amenities of being a Northwestern University student. As a student-at-large you are considered a visiting student and would not have access to student services.

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For general advising information visit the Student Services page.

How do I make an appointment with an adviser? Will an adviser contact me?
Contact the academic advising team or the adviser for your program by email for assistance or to schedule an appointment. Advising is available virtually and on both the Chicago and Evanston campuses.

Where can I find specific resume and career help?
SPS certificate students are encouraged to discuss their career goals with their academic advisers, who are available to help with job search strategies, resume review, and provide program-tailored career advice.

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 more often.

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Can I take a class pass /no pass?
Courses that are audited or taken with the pass/ no credit option may not be applied toward an online undergraduate certificate program. Online undergraduate courses may not be audited.

I have completed a bachelor's degree at SPS. Can I apply those courses toward an undergraduate certificate program?
No. Credits earned for a bachelor's degree at SPS may not be applied retroactively toward certificate program requirements.

I have completed courses as a student-at-large at SPS. Can I apply those courses toward an undergraduate certificate program?
Yes. If you have completed up to two courses as a student-at-large, you may apply for an undergraduate certificate program and request that those courses be included in the program. If you complete additional courses (beyond two) as a student-at-large and want to apply those to a certificate program, a petition to the Student Affairs Committee requesting an exception to policy should be submitted.

What is considered “good academic standing?”
Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average in order to be classified as good standing.

Will my certificate coursework transfer to an SPS bachelor’s degree program?
Students can apply to an SPS undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree program while enrolled in the certificate program ​and, if admitted, transfer the four certificate courses into the degree program as elective credit. Contact an admission advisor to learn more.

Will my coursework transfer to another school?
Only the other institution can make that decision.

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.

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Taking Courses

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 teach, as well as adjunct professors with academic and professional expertise.

I have to drop my course. 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. Be sure to submit it by required add/drop deadlines. See the Academic Calendar for dates and deadlines, the SPS Undergraduate Academic Catalog for the full course drop policy, and contact the SPS Office of the Registrar for details.

Where do I find important dates and deadlines?
The academic calendar can be found at the Important Dates page.

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Tuition and Financial Aid

Do you offer financial aid?
Undergraduate certificate students are not eligible for federal financial aid.

How much is tuition?
Tuition information can be found on the Tuition 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.

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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.

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View the current SPS academic calendar, including quarter dates and registration and drop deadlines:


The Student Handbook is your guide to your SPS program of study and Northwestern University. It will provide you with information for expectations and resources as a student, and is intended to help you navigate through your program and its administrative procedures. The handbook is your reference tool for a wide range of student concerns, from course registration to completing your program. In many cases, it is the quickest path to an answer. 


If you still have questions or unresolved issues after consulting the handbook, please contact your Academic Adviser

In addition to the policies contained in the SPS Student Handbook, you are also expected to be familiar with University-enacted rules and regulations, which are found in the Northwestern University Student Handbook.

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