Privacy & Disclosures
This catalog for the academic year beginning in Fall 2020 contains University regulations and information about the programs and courses offered by the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; School of Communication; School of Education and Social Policy; Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science; Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications; and Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music and about cross-school undergraduate programs.
Failure to read this catalog does not excuse a student from knowing and complying with its content.
Northwestern University reserves the right to change without notice any statement in this catalog concerning, but not limited to, rules, policies, tuition, fees, curricula, and courses. In exceptional circumstances, Northwestern University reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to waive any documentation normally required for admission. It also reserves the right to admit or deny a student admission whenever it believes that it has sufficient evidence for the decision.
Student Expectations and COVID-19 Code of Conduct
Northwestern University is excited, yet cautious, about welcoming students back. The highest priority for the University is the well-being of our Wildcat community. Northwestern has developed the following expectations for all enrolled students who return to campus or participate in any University program (even remotely). Northwestern University may modify these expectations at any time as guidance from federal, state, and local governments and/or the University evolves. Substantive modifications will be communicated to you. As a reminder, in addition to the expectations set forth below, all students are expected to follow policies applicable to students, including those contained in the Student Handbook or your specific academic program.
To be eligible to enroll, students must agree to the following:
- I will regularly monitor the University’s guidelines related to COVID-19 on the COVID-19 site and stay updated on any guidance provided by the University.
- While on campus I will abide by any additional safety or hygiene standards recommended by Northwestern, the Illinois Department of Public Health, or the CDC, including standards regarding social distancing, limiting gatherings, hand washing and sanitizing, and cleaning shared surfaces.
- I will wear a mask or face covering in all public and shared environments on campus and whenever required by the University, unless I have a medical condition that restricts my ability to do so. I understand that the face covering must meet guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Northwestern's guidance.
- I understand that I may be asked to submit to COVID-19 testing and will comply with COVID-19 testing recommendations.
- I will cooperate with any contact tracing efforts by the University.
- I will perform and document any self-monitoring or self-screening of health symptoms that the University asks me to complete, including monitoring my personal health daily and reporting any conditions as required by the University.
- I will participate in any additional health screening required by the University.
- I will immediately report any exposure to COVID-19 to Northwestern University Health Service or to any other offices/functions required by Northwestern and will not participate in in-person activities until I am cleared by the University.
- I will follow the University's guidance on self-isolation and/or quarantining, including self-isolation for individuals who have traveled outside of the United States within the last 14 days.
- I recognize that individuals with the following conditions may have a higher risk from COVID-19 infection: age 65 or older, HIV, asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes, serious heart condition, chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis, severe obesity, immunocompromised, and certain pregnancy related conditions.
- If I will be residing in University housing, I will review the Expectations for Undergraduate Residents During COVID-19 and/or the Expectations for Graduate Residents During COVID-19 and follow the expectations set forth therein.
- I will complete training programs related to COVID-19 provided by the University.
I have read and understand this summary of expectations, and agree to follow all Northwestern University guidelines related to reducing the spread of COVID-19. If I do not follow these expectations, I may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct or my dean’s office for follow up. I understand these expectations may change given the evolving nature of the pandemic. I further understand that if I have questions, I can raise them with the appropriate University office.
I understand and acknowledge that while Northwestern is continuing to clean, sanitize, and engage in social distancing and other best practices, and that Northwestern is continuing to follow the guidance of public health officials to help prevent the contracting or spread of COVID-19, much of the nature of the COVID-19 virus is still unknown (including potential long term health effects), and Northwestern cannot control risks associated with COVID-19 or guarantee that the campus (including any building) is free of the virus, or that I or my belongings will not be exposed to COVID-19, and that such exposure may result in illness and/or a disruption to my student experience.
I understand and acknowledge that Northwestern may need to make sudden changes to the campus environment, which may also impact my experience.
I understand and acknowledge that the University hopes that at least some instruction and activities will take place in person in the upcoming term. However, the majority of courses will be delivered remotely and in-person course delivery is dependent upon evolving health guidelines and space availability. Accordingly, some or all instruction for all or part of the term may be delivered remotely, activities may be cancelled or postponed, and courses with in-person components may shift to online delivery at some point. The University and its schools and units may also adjust other features of the academic experience, like course offerings and grading. Such changes will be communicated to students by the University, their school, or program. Tuition and fees will not be refunded or prorated in these circumstances. Tuition and fees also will not be refunded or prorated if I choose to participate in courses offered remotely.
I understand and acknowledge that I have informed awareness of these risks and share the responsibility for minimizing risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19 to myself and others, and that I am voluntarily resuming my academic program. If I decline the option to resume my academic program, I understand that I am making that decision voluntarily and understand any programmatic or financial implications of that decision. If I have questions about this, I will contact my academic program.
If I’m a student with a disability in need of a reasonable accommodation, I understand I should contact AccessibleNU to go through the accommodation process.
All enrolled students must acknowledge via CAESAR that they read and understood this statement and agreed to the terms set forth above.
Access to Student Records
Students’ rights under FERPA include
- Inspect and review their educational records at Northwestern University
- Request an amendment of their records to ensure that the records are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of privacy or other rights
- Consent to release or to restrict disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their educational records, except under certain limited circumstances when, by law, consent is not required
- File a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Northwestern University to comply with FERPA requirements
The University’s Use of Email
Email is the University’s mechanism for official communication with students, and Northwestern has the right to expect that students will read official email in a timely fashion.
All students are assigned a “u.northwestern.edu” address that is maintained in the University email directory. Northwestern provides a convenient mechanism for students who want to forward email from the University address to another email address of their choice, but students assume the risk of forwarding email. Failure to receive or read University communication that was sent to the “u.northwestern.edu” address does not absolve a student from knowing and complying with the content of the communication.
Faculty may use email for communicating with students registered in their classes so that all students will be able to comply with course requirements.
Requirement to Provide Emergency Information
For the safety and security of our students, Northwestern requires all new students to provide the following emergency information in our student information system, CAESAR and confirm it annually:
- Emergency Notification Phone Number (required): A phone number where the student themselves can be reached in the event of a campus emergency – most likely a cell phone number. The University will send recorded voice and text messages to this number if necessary.
- Current / Local Address (required): Where we can find the student in the event of a local emergency.
- Emergency contact (required): Someone who can make medical decisions on the student's behalf.
- Missing Person Contact (optional): The best person for the University to contact if we believe the student to be missing.
Students must enter, update or confirm the three pieces of required emergency information by the deadline (usually in mid-September) each year to avoid a registration hold. Registration holds prevent students from registering for classes or changing registration until the required three data elements are up to date.
Northwestern University does not discriminate or permit discrimination by any member of its community against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, citizenship status, veteran status, genetic information, reproductive health decision making, or any other classification protected by law in matters of admissions, employment, housing, or services or in the educational programs or activities it operates. Harassment, whether verbal, physical, or visual, that is based on any of these characteristics is a form of discrimination. Further prohibited by law is discrimination against any employee and/or job applicant who chooses to inquire about, discuss, or disclose their own compensation or the compensation of another employee or applicant.
Northwestern University complies with federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination based on the protected categories listed above, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX requires educational institutions, such as Northwestern, to prohibit discrimination based on sex (including sexual harassment) in the University’s educational programs and activities, including in matters of employment and admissions. In addition, Northwestern provides reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants, students, and employees with disabilities and to individuals who are pregnant.
Any alleged violations of this policy or questions with respect to nondiscrimination or reasonable accommodations should be directed to:
Northwestern’s Office of Equity
1800 Sherman Avenue, Suite 4-500
Evanston, Illinois 60208
Questions specific to sex discrimination (including sexual misconduct and sexual harassment) should be directed to:
Northwestern’s Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Equity
1800 Sherman Avenue, Suite 4-500
Evanston, Illinois 60208
A person may also file a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights regarding an alleged violation of Title IX by visiting www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html or calling 800-421-3481. Inquiries about the application of Title IX to Northwestern may be referred to Northwestern’s Title IX Coordinator, the United States Department of Education’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, or both.