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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 to count toward?

Consult our AP/IB credit tables to see how particular scores will be recognized. 

AP and IB credits can be used to satisfy distribution requirements and part or all of the foreign language requirement. You can count up to two AP or IB credits toward distribution requirements, one each in two different areas—and you can change your mind about which credits you will use as your academic plan develops. You can indicate which credits you want to use via CAESAR:

  • Log in, go to the Main Menu, then click on "For Students," and then "Academic Information."
  • Click on "AP/IB Credit Distribution." All available credits should come up under areas they can apply to. You may select up to two credits, but they must be in different areas.

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 and, with certain restrictions, you can use those credits toward Northwestern degree requirements. 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 study abroad 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, 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 distros by the Weinberg Office of Undergraduate Studies and Advising. See our Rules and Policies for Study Abroad webpage to learn more about counting study abroad courses for major/minor, distribution or foreign language requirements. 

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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