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Northwestern University

AP, IB and Course Credit Questions

This page can answer questions about how test scores and college classeseither taken before college, during summers, or while studying abroadmay be able to give you college credit.

What will my AP/IB credits count toward?

For certain languages AP credit can be used to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English (see Standard Ways to Fulfill the Language Requirement). 

Consult our AP/IB credit tables to see how particular scores will be recognized for distribution requirements or after Spring 2023, foundational discipline requirements. No more than two AP or IB credits total may be applied towards the distribution requirements or foundational discipline requirements, and two units may not be applied in any one area/discipline.

Some credits are applicable towards certain Weinberg College majors and minors.

Units of credit may be applied toward the required number of credits to graduate, subject to limitations based on the Undergraduate Registration Requirement which specifies how many units of credit must be earned through Northwestern coursework.

Can I get credit for college courses I took in high school?

If you took college courses while in high school, you may be able to have those credits transferred to Northwestern. There are restrictions on the types of credits we accept and how those credits may be used. 

In general, Weinberg College will give you credit for liberal arts courses provided that all of the following conditions are met:

  • The courses were taken at a fully accredited 4-year or junior college in the United States or Canada;
  • The courses are not included in your high school record and were not used for fulfillment of any high school diploma requirement;
  • The courses were taken primarily by college students rather than high school students;
  • The courses were similar to courses offered for credit at Northwestern (e.g., American history, but not physical education). 

Learn more about submitting these courses for evaluation.

Can I take classes at another US institution over the summer?

Yes, as long as it is at a four-year, accredited university you can use those credits toward Northwestern degree requirements subject to certain restrictions (for example distribution requirements or certain new general education requirements starting in 2023 may not be satisfied by courses at other institutions once you’ve matriculated). All the details are spelled out in our policy on study away from Northwestern. Note: if you are an international student planning to take courses at home during the summer, this is considered study abroad, and your plan must be approved in advance by the global learning office.

Will I get credit for the courses I took while studying abroad?

The College uses the following guidelines for granting credit: 

  • Credit in Weinberg will not be given for courses that are not appropriate to the College’s curriculum or that do not meet the usual standards for credit in the College.
  • For most programs, study abroad grades will not appear on your Northwestern University official transcript or figure into your cumulative GPA. 
  • Students must earn a C or better to receive credit for a study abroad course.

If you attend a Northwestern-run program and take Northwestern courses with the -SA designation (direct credit), the grades will appear on your transcript and be included in your GPA.

Eligible credits from study abroad count as electives unless they are authorized to count toward major/minor credits by the department or as a general education requirement by the Weinberg Office of Undergraduate Studies and Advising. See our Rules and Policies for Study Abroad webpage to learn more. 

I'm a transfer student. What should I do if I think a course has been transferred incorrectly?

It is important to remember that the credit evaluation is an initial examination of your prior coursework. Oftentimes, a course will be transferred at a different level than a student thinks appropriate (as a 100-level course instead of a 200-level, for example), or a course will be counted in a different department than a student believes correct. In some cases, corrections are not necessary; in others, these changes can easily be made. When you meet with a College Adviser you will be able to determine if changes are needed and how to get those changes made.
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