Academic Standing

The faculty of the school in which a student is enrolled determines the academic standing of that student.

Continuing enrollment should be interpreted as good academic standing.

Academic Probation

Academic probation constitutes notice of unsatisfactory academic performance; it is a warning that minimum standards for graduation are not being met. Unless a student demonstrates significant scholastic improvement during the period of probation and thereby indicates ability to fulfill degree requirements within a reasonable period of time, the student may be dismissed from the University.

The following are ordinarily placed on academic probation:

  • Students who have received final grades below C in 2 or more courses in any term
  • Sophomores, juniors, or seniors who have a cumulative academic record below a C average on all work attempted at Northwestern University
  • Students who have failed to complete at least 3 quarter-courses or the equivalent in each of 2 consecutive quarters
  • Students who, on account of dropped courses, failure, or uncompleted courses, have failed to earn credit for an average of 3 quarter-courses per quarter after 6 quarters of residence
  • Students who have failed to maintain a C average in the major or a professional field of study

The faculty of each school may impose such additional conditions of academic probation as they may deem appropriate. 

Removal from Academic Probation

Students on academic probation are ordinarily removed from probation if the deficiencies that resulted in probation have been remedied during the next succeeding quarter in residence. Students are rarely removed from probation on the basis of a program consisting of less than 4 courses graded on a basis other than the pass/no credit option.

If students on probation who receive grades of X or Y are not dismissed, probation continues until they have completed all courses or until the end of the next quarter in residence, when the students’ records are again subject to scrutiny.

In no case are students removed from probation at the end of a quarter in which they have failed any course.

Academic Dismissal

The following is a partial list of categories of students who may be dismissed for academic deficiencies (in every case the decision is determined in part by the student’s cumulative academic record):

  • Students on academic probation whose academic records have not improved significantly during the period of probation (which will not normally exceed 2 consecutive quarters)
  • Students not on academic probation who fail in half the work in any quarter or Summer Session
  • Students who demonstrate flagrant neglect of academic work at any time
  • Students who do not make satisfactory progress toward completion of degree requirements

As a matter of general policy, the probation period for a first-year student may be extended to the third quarter of residence if such extension appears to be in the best interests of the student and the University. Such consideration is not granted to a first-year student whose record clearly discloses lack of aptitude or flagrant neglect of work.

Academic dismissal from the University is noted on official transcripts at the end of the relevant term.

Dual Degree Students

Dual degree students are held separately to the academic standing policies of both schools. Therefore, depending on respective performance in the academic work required by each school, students may have different standing up to and including academic dismissal in one school but not the other. School officials communicate each term to ensure colleagues are informed of the standing of all students pursuing degrees in their respective schools.