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Northwestern University

Get ahead. Explore. Enjoy.

College students, high school students and those seeking professional development or personal enrichment will find many ways to get ahead, explore, enjoy and learn this summer.

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Visiting Students

Non-degree Special Students

Properly qualified persons who demonstrate a need for certain Northwestern day-school courses may apply as Non-degree Special Students (NDSS) through the Office of Special Students. While enrollment as a Non-degree Special Student does not constitute admission to a Northwestern degree program, and credit earned as a NDSS may not necessarily count toward a Northwestern degree, NDSS are granted academic credit for successfully completed courses which may be transferable to other institutions.

Enrollment Policies

Courses available to Non-degree Special Students may be offered by the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the McCormick School of Engineering, the Bienen School of Music, the School of Communication, the School of Education and Social Policy, and the Medill School of Journalism.
  • Admission as a NDSS does not guarantee enrollment in all courses, as Northwestern undergraduates have priority in registration.
  • NDSS may only register during the Change of Registration period (the first week of classes of each term) and it is recommended that they have alternate courses in mind should their first choice of classes be closed by this time.
  • NDSS may not enroll in any 399 or 499 independent study courses.
  • NDSS registration may be restricted in certain schools or departments.

Matriculation Policies

  • Matriculation is allowed for no more than three consecutive quarters.
  • NDSS are matriculated as undergraduates even if they take graduate level courses. As such, NDSS earn undergraduate credit for successfully completed courses.
  • Prospective students who intend to eventually apply to or transfer credits earned as a NDSS to a Northwestern graduate program should consult the Graduate School about applying as a Non-degree Special Student within the purview of the Graduate School, rather than through the Office of Special Students.

Coursework not available to Non-degree Special Students

  • NDSS admitted through the Office of Special Students are not able to enroll in courses offered through the Feinberg School of Medicine, Kellogg School of Management, School of Law, or graduate programs in the School of Continuing Studies.
  • Students who wish to enroll in courses offered by these schools or programs should consult the appropriate admissions office regarding any available non-degree study options.
  • NDSS are not to be confused with Students-at-large in the School of Continuing Studies, who register for undergraduate SCS evening courses. A student cannot enroll as an SCS student-at-large and a Non-degree Special Student during the same quarter.
  • SCS students who are working to complete degrees must petition the Student Affairs Committee for permission to take courses in the day-school.

Categories of Non-degree Special Students

All prospective and admitted Non-degree Special Students are responsible for knowledge of the information on this web site. Lack of such knowledge will not provide a basis for exceptions to the policies and procedures of the Office of Special Students. Non-degree Special Students are subject to the policies and procedures required for all Northwestern University students, including but not limited to academic integrity, registration policies, and applicable student fees.

U.S. Non-degree Students

Students who have previously earned a bachelor's or master's degree.
Students enrolled at another school who wish to attend NU before returning to their home university.
Students who have some college credit but have not completed a degree or attended college recently.

International Non-degree Students

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.

International students who are not part of a formal Northwestern University International Exchange Program.

Health Insurance for International Students
ALL International Students enrolled at Northwestern University must purchase the University sponsored health insurance plan from Aetna Student Health. In order to waive the Aetna Plan, students must show proof of health insurance that meets the following Northwestern University standards:

  1. It must provide $500,000 per claim in coverage for in- and outpatient treatment;
  2. It must not require more than $2,000 out-of-pocket per year;
  3. It must provide coverage for 40 outpatient mental health visits per year; and
  4. It must cover ALL pre-existing conditions.

Health insurance that does not meet these standards will not be accepted and the student will be enrolled in the Aetna Plan. There are NO exceptions to this policy.

Former Northwestern Students

  • Northwestern graduates
  • Students who did not complete a degree at NU