Transferring to Northwestern
- Am I eligible to apply?
If you enrolled in college study after secondary school graduation, you must apply as a transfer student.
In order to apply as a transfer student you must have completed one full academic year (24 semester hours or 36 quarter hours) at a postsecondary institution.
You must be in good standing and eligible to continue studies at your most recent institution.
- How do I apply?
The deadline for transfer applications is March 15 for fall quarter matriculation only.
- Common Application (additional "Why Northwestern" written response encouraged) or Coalition Application
- Official secondary school transcript(s) noting graduation (Common Application Secondary School Report completed by a high school counselor is not required)
- Official university transcript(s)
- College report
- Academic evaluation
- Required standardized test scores
- Nonrefundable application fee ($75)
In addition, we recommend that you include additional test scores, such as SAT Subject Test results, if available. Please note that Bienen School of Music applicants are required to audition.
- Will I receive credit for classes taken at other colleges or universities?
The official evaluation of your credits will be made by Northwestern's Registrar's Office. Once a transfer applicant has been accepted, the Office of Undergraduate Admission will initiate the process of credit evaluation. Since this evaluation may not be mailed to you before your tuition deposit is due, you should review the following guidelines to better understand how your previous courses will be appraised:
- When college or university degree requirements are expressed in hours, Northwestern transfer credit will be determined by multiplying the ration of acceptable hours completed to the total number of hours required for graduation at your previous college or university by 45, the number of hours required for Northwestern graduation. (Acceptable credit hours for transfer / Total hours required to graduate) x 45 = Northwestern units of credit.
- Courses acceptable for credit must be comparable to courses at Northwestern and in comparable University departments (as listed in our course catalog).
- The following courses do not transfer:
- Courses completed at an unaccredited college or university.
- Physical education or hygiene courses.
- No more than three applied music courses (except applicants to the Bienen School of Music)
- Courses for which credit was granted by institutional examination rather than course attendance
- Courses worth less than three quarter hours or two semester hours.
- Credit granted through CLEP examinations.
- Courses that an applicant has audited, repeated or failed.
- English as a Second Language courses.
- Journalism courses (Medill students only).
- In nearly all areas, credit will be given for CEEB Advanced Placement Examination scores of "4" or "5," or higher-level International Baccalaureate results of "5" or higher. You must arrange to have your scores sent to Northwestern.
- Students in a foreign university degree program receive credit only for examinations administered by that university (i.e., the Vordiplom awarded by German universities at the end of two years/four semesters).
- If you are transferring to the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences with sophomore standing or higher, your foreign language proficiency requirement will be satisfied if you have earned a score of "4" or "5" on an Advanced Placement Examination in a foreign language, or a grade of C or better in the final term of a second-year language course at a previous college.
- Grades and cumulative grade point averages do not transfer to Northwestern.
- May I apply to any school or department at Northwestern?
Transfer applicants may apply to most departments at Northwestern's undergraduate schools.
- The School of Communication: Theatre department spaces are only occasionally available.
- The Bienen School of Music: Contact the Bienen School of Music to inquire if a vacancy exists in your performance area and to schedule an audition.
- What test scores are required?
All transfer applicants are required to submit scores from either the SAT or ACT; the writing scores from either exam are optional. We accept scores from both the new and old SAT.
Any SAT Subject Test scores, AP, or IB scores can also be sent as part of the application but these scores are not a required for a complete application.
- Am I eligible for financial aid?
Transfer applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to apply for financial aid in the form of grants, loans and part-time employment.
Financial aid is awarded on the basis of need, but is dependent upon availability of funds. Northwestern grant assistance is generally not available to transfer students during their first year at the University.
To apply for financial assistance, you must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) and the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Financial Aid Profile. For best consideration and to ensure the notification at the time of your admission decision, you should apply for financial aid at least one month prior to your application deadline. Only independent or self-supporting students (as defined by the eligibility guidelines for federal aid programs) may file these forms without parental information.
For more information please refer to our Tuition and Aid section.
- When will I be notified of Northwestern's decision?
Decisions are made on a rolling basis after the application deadline. Northwestern will not review your application for admission until we have received all required admission items.
- Who is admitted to Northwestern?Admission to Northwestern is highly competitive. Typically, under 15% of transfer applicants are admitted each year. Strong applicants have completed course work across the full range of the liberal arts and sciences courses and maintained a B average.
- May I reapply if I wasn't accepted earlier?
Applicants who previously applied to Northwestern and received an admission decision must wait one academic year before being reconsidered.
- May I defer my enrollment?
Northwestern does not consider deferral requests from admitted transfer students.
- Does Northwestern have registration requirements?
For a bachelor’s degree, Northwestern requires that students enrolling as a transfer student complete a minimum of 6 quarters and 23 units earned at Northwestern University.
Northwestern uses a course definition in which each course equals one unit of credit. The full-time course load consists of four units per quarter or 12 units per academic year. Between 45 and 48 units are required for graduation, depending on the Northwestern undergraduate school.
- Is housing available for transfer students?
University housing is available for transfer students. Rooms in residence halls are provided based on availability. If admitted without housing, you must pay your nonrefundable tuition deposit before the Undergraduate Housing Office can place your name on Northwestern's housing waiting list or before our off-campus housing office can act as a resource for additional housing options.
- I am a foreign national living outside the U.S.: should I apply as a transfer student?
International transfer applicants should follow directions specifically for international students.