Skip to main content
Northwestern University

Academic Standing Concerns

Poor performance in your Northwestern classes can have serious consequences. Learn more about how grades can impact your academic standing.

C- and D grades

At the College, C- and D grades may impact your College requirements.

For example, you must earn at least a C- in all major courses and all minor courses, including all prerequisites; as well as in the last quarter of a foreign language sequence you're using to satisfy the foreign language requirement. You must earn at least a D in all courses you use to meet distribution requirements; in both first-year seminars; and in a course taken to substitute for the writing requirement. No more than one-fifth of the courses offered to meet degree requirements may be completed with the grade of D and/or P.

The grades of C- and D also relate to another College rule: You need a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.00 for all courses counted toward your BA degree. 

Learn more about these rules and requirements. 


If you have been making good progress toward a course but circumstances beyond your control are making you unable to finish all the required work for a course by the end of the quarter, petitioning for an Incomplete (a grade of Y) and finishing later may be an option. Incompletes are not a way to get extra time to improve performance, and they are not appropriate for a student who has abandoned a course (stopped attending and turning in work). Unforeseen circumstances for which an incomplete may be granted include an incapacitating illness or family emergency. Petitioning for an incomplete includes submitting documentation for these circumstances. 

Read about Incompletes and the process of petitioning for one.

Academic probation and dismissal

If your overall performance falls below certain standards, you may be put on academic probation. If you are on probation and you do not correct the academic deficiency within the period of probation—usually the subsequent quarter—you may be dismissed from the University.

Students in Weinberg College can be placed on probation for any of the following reasons:

Learn about how to respond to probation or have probation removed.

Back to top