Undergraduate Registration Requirement

The Undergraduate Registration Requirement (URR) applies to students seeking a bachelor’s degree and must be completed in addition to the degree requirements established by the school faculties. Each school specifies a minimum number of units of credit needed for a bachelor’s degree (42 or more, depending on the degree and school). The URR specifies the number of quarters a student must be registered at Northwestern and how much credit must be earned at Northwestern. It is predicated on the principle that when a student receives a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, the majority of the student’s academic work is completed at the University.

For the purposes of the URR, the following definitions apply:

  • Being “registered at Northwestern” for a quarter means that during that quarter the student is registered for and completes Northwestern coursework worth at least 2 full units of credit under the supervision of Northwestern faculty members. Eligible coursework includes, for instance, the practicum in the School of Education and Social Policy and the Journalism Residency in the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. It does not include the Walter P. Murphy Cooperative Engineering Education Program or most study abroad credits (see exception below).
  • For counting number of quarters, a credit-bearing course is considered completed if a student receives any of the following grades: A, B, C (including pluses and minuses), D, F, P, N, X, Y, K, or W. Courses in which the student receives an NR are not included. The NR is an administrative notation rather than a grade.
  • Only credits earned (not just attempted) count toward the minimum units of credit needed. Thus, only courses in which the student receives an A, B, C (including pluses and minuses), D, or P are included.

The provisions of the URR are as follows:

  • A student entering as a first-year student in a four-year degree program must be registered at Northwestern for at least 9 quarters and earn credit for courses worth at least 32 units at the University.
  • A student entering as a first-year student and completing a dual bachelor’s degree program involving two schools must be registered at Northwestern for at least 11 quarters and earn credit for courses worth at least 42 units at the University. See the Dual Bachelor's Degrees section for information on approved dual bachelor’s degree programs. This provision does not apply to students completing two BS degrees within McCormick; see Options & Support in McCormick for the specific requirements covering this situation.
  • A student entering as a transfer student in a four-year degree program must be registered at the University for at least 6 quarters and earn credit for courses worth at least 21 units at the University.
  • A student entering as a transfer student and completing a dual bachelor’s degree program involving two schools must be registered at Northwestern for at least 9 quarters and earn credit for courses worth at least 32 units at the University. See the Dual Bachelor's Degrees section for information on approved dual bachelor’s degree programs. This provision does not apply to students completing two BS degrees within McCormick; see Options & Support in McCormick for the specific requirements covering this situation.
  • Students who complete at least 2 full units of credit in SA-designated courses in a quarter are considered to be registered at Northwestern for that quarter, and this credit will count toward the minimum needed to satisfy the URR. Transfer credit for study abroad courses that do not carry Northwestern course numbers and the SA designation will not be counted toward the URR, with the exception of HPME students as detailed below.
  • HPME students, who are subject to all other URR provisions for students entering as first-year students in a four-year degree program, have the option to use 1 quarter of study abroad via a program approved by the Global Learning Office toward the 9-quarter URR requirement, if they earn the transferred equivalent of at least 2 units of Northwestern credit.  Such students may not use these credits toward the required 32 units of Northwestern credit.
  • ISP students in Weinberg College are subject to the following special URR provisions:
    • Students must register for at least 6 quarters and complete at least 23 units of credit at Northwestern.
    • The remainder of the 38.7 minimum units required of ISP students may be a combination of test and approved transfer (including study abroad) credit.

A student may appeal for a URR variance to the Registration Requirement Appeals Committee, which consists of the associate provost for undergraduate education, the University registrar, and two to three associate or assistant deans from different undergraduate schools. The deans serve three-year terms on a rotating basis.

The student should submit a written petition to an adviser familiar with his or her situation. The adviser writes a letter as well and submits both documents to the Office of the Registrar for the committee’s consideration. The appeal must be specific and document any unusual or mitigating circumstances, such as illness, family hardship, or a death in the family. The Registration Requirement Appeals Committee convenes on a regular basis to review petitions.