Northwestern Academic Calendar

October 28, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Northwestern Academic Calendar

Does Northwestern Use Semesters Or Quarters?

Does Northwestern use semesters or quarters? Let’s take a look at Northwestern’s schedule in an academic year first. The Northwestern academic calendar is divided into four quarters, each lasting roughly ten weeks (Fall, Winter, and Spring), plus a summer term. There are currently nine weeks and three or four days in the Winter and Spring quarters, respectively, and ten weeks and two days in the Fall quarter, excluding exams.

Federal laws stipulate that the academic year must last at least 30 weeks, including time for instruction and assessment. In addition, there is a three-month summer break. Faculty must be available for research or other activities during the entire three-month period to be eligible for many research grants.

Three students studying on a table.

According to Northwestern, they are reviewing the Northwestern academic calendar to make sure that the placement of quarters and breaks maximizes student learning, reduces stress, and makes it easier to find jobs and fellowships. The institution wants to make sure that the calendar accommodates the shifting demographics of the student group, such as domestic and international students who might find it challenging to return home for breaks and vacations.

Fall Quarter in 2022

Start of Fall classes Sep-20
Thanksgiving break begins Nov-23
Fall classes resume Nov-28
End of Fall classes Dec-03
Final exams begin Dec-05
Final exams end Dec-10
Conferral of fall quarter degrees Dec-16

Winter Quarter in 2023

Start of Winter classes Jan-03
Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday Jan-16
End of Winter classes Mar-11
Final exams begin Mar-13
Final exams end; Spring Break begins Mar-18
Conferral of Winter quarter degrees Mar-24

Spring Quarter in 2023

Start of Spring classes Mar-28
Memorial Day holiday May-30
End of Spring classes Jun-03
Final exams begin Jun-05
Final exams end Jun-10
Commencement Jun-12
Conferral of Spring quarter degrees Jun-16

Summer Session in 2023

Juneteenth (no classes) Jun-19
Start of Summer classes Jun-20
Independence Day holiday Jul-04
Conferral of Summer quarter degrees Sep-01

How Many Classes Can You Take In A Semester At Northwestern?

You might be curious about how many classes can you take in a semester at Northwestern. As discussed earlier, the Northwestern academic calendar is split into four quarters. Undergraduates who enroll in three credits or more are regarded as full-time students. Before the start of the quarter, students may register for up to 4.99 units of credit. Once classes have started, most undergraduates are permitted to register for up to 5.5 units of credit without a teacher’s authorization and without paying additional tuition.

Students writing on their notebooks on a table.

Students taking 3.00 to 5.5 units of credit pay the same tuition. Overload enrollment, defined as taking more than 5.5 units of credit, will incur additional fees. For details on fees and financial aid for overload enrollment, see the Undergraduate Financial Aid website.

Students should adhere to the procedures for course overloads listed below if they wish to enroll in more units than their maximum allowed.

Steps For Course Overload Registration

  1. Speak with the proper person in the student services or dean’s office of your school or institution to get approval for a course overload.
  2. Obtain that person’s signature on a Registration Exception Form (available in the Office of the Registrar).
  3. To enroll in the class, deliver the signed Registration Exception Form and any additional class permission numbers necessary to the Office of the Registrar within the first week of the quarter.

Regulations For Graduate Students’ Course Loads

  • Graduate School students are limited to registering for a total of 4.0 units per term. Students may request a unit overload if they want to enroll for more than four units in a quarter. Email The Graduate School at for more details.
  • Programs outside The Graduate School may have different unit restrictions. To learn more, speak with the program coordinator.
  • Since most graduate programs charge students per class, the cost of attendance changes depending on how many classes a student enrolls in.

What Is the Application Deadline For Northwestern?

You have the option of submitting your application Early Decision or Regular Decision if you are a first-year student. What is the application deadline for Northwestern? You may check out the deadlines below:

  • The deadline for Early Decision applications is November 1.
  • The deadline for Regular Decision candidates is January 2.

If you are a transfer applicant, you may only submit an enrollment application during the Fall Quarter in the Northwestern academic calendar. Decisions are based on a rolling system.

  • March 15 is the deadline for Fall Quarter (September) entry.

Follow the standard application guidelines and deadlines if you are an international applicant. However, to be admitted for the autumn quarter, both transfer students and prospective first-year students must apply.

Unidentified person typing on a table.

The school is aware that transfer applicants have a wide range of life experiences that may not neatly fit into the conventional academic year. Because of this, they will accept transfer applications from students whose circumstances make it impossible for them to submit them by the March 15 deadline until April 10. Although those who apply by March 15 are more likely to hear from NU sooner, all applicants will receive full consideration, and a decision will be made by May 15 at the latest.

What Are the Big Social Events At Northwestern?

Traditions at Northwestern serve the same purpose of uniting the Wildcat community, whether it is through tense final exams, charity activities, or football games. So, what are the big social events at Northwestern? Here are some of the customs that Wildcats enjoy as they blow off steam from the rigorous activities in the Northwestern academic calendar.

Three students smiling during an event.

Dillo Day

In 1972, Texans at Northwestern University conducted a tiny celebration in honor of the state mammal as the first Armadillo Day. Dillo Day is the biggest student-run music festival in the country more than 40 years later.

Held along Lake Michigan’s beach at Northwestern University. Two stages feature nationally and regionally recognized performers, and the Dillo Village offers all-day food and entertainment for the 12,000 festival goers. Every year, Dillo Day is organized and put on by the student group Mayfest Productions for the Northwestern community.

March Through the Arch (Wildcat Welcome)

Every year to start the school year, the marching band leads the freshman class through the Weber Arch in a custom known as “March Through the Arch.” Along campus walkways, present students, staff, and others welcome and clap for the newest Northwestern students.

March (Back) Through the Arch (Senior Year)

Each June, we welcome our graduating students back to the Arch, the starting point of their journey. Senior Week at Northwestern University begins with the “March (Back) Through the Arch” and continues with several social activities before Commencement Weekend. Seniors complete their Northwestern education by gathering in front of Deering Library for one final time with the rest of their class and walking back through the Webber Arch.

Walk With Us

The “Walk With Us” send-off, where fans line up hours before kickoff to applaud and wish their favorite Wildcats the best of luck on their path to triumph, is one of the most well-known customs within the Northwestern Athletics family and student body.

The custom began soon after the tragic death of the late Randy Walker, for whom Northwestern named the road “Walker Way” northwest of Ryan Field. During his time as the Wildcats’ football coach from 1999 to 2005, Walker was able to infuse the fan base with a newfound vigor and passion that has persisted even in the wake of his passing.

What Is It Like Being At Northwestern?

Students who are motivated to succeed in the classroom, on the field, and in research settings are drawn to this institution. Northwestern University, which is regarded as the “Ivy of the Midwest” together with Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, normally enrolls fewer than 10,000 undergraduate students.

One of the largest university endowments in the world, Northwestern’s $16.1 billion endowment may come as a shock to some. The school’s endowment has a significant portion of funds set aside to support on-campus multidisciplinary research.

Ten of Northwestern’s twelve schools provide graduate and professional degrees, while nine offer undergraduate ones. The Feinberg School of Medicine, the Kellogg School of Management, the School of Education and Social Policy, the Pritzker School of Law, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Interdepartmental Biological Sciences Program are just a few of Northwestern’s highly regarded graduate schools. The Medill School at Northwestern University is renowned for its robust graduate journalism program.

As the Northwestern academic calendar set out the students’ schedule in a year, you might be curious about what is it like being at Northwestern beyond the academic activities. Let’s see what the campus life is in one of the top-ranked universities in the country.


Private research university Northwestern University has campuses in Chicago, San Francisco, and Doha in addition to its main campus in Evanston, Illinois.

A vibrant and varied neighborhood that serves as Northwestern University’s home. Along the northern shores of Lake Michigan, Evanston is next to Chicago. On the Evanston campus, you may walk from classrooms, labs, and lecture halls to beaches, shops, coffee shops, restaurants, and theaters.


Numerous recreation, fitness, and sporting events are offered by Athletics NU Recreation to promote personal growth, improve university life, and encourage students to adopt healthy lifestyles.

Northwestern has always understood the need of both official classroom instruction and extracurricular activities in a well-rounded education. By providing a wide range of high-quality physical recreation, sport, and fitness options, the university has adopted the adage “A Healthy Mind In A Healthy Body.”

The Northwestern University Intramural Sports Program aims to provide opportunities for recreation that are pleasurable and fun for its students, teachers, and staff. The program offers the opportunity to play sports in a structured, competitive setting while dividing the competition into different skill levels. It is important to realize that intramural sports are designed to give Northwestern University’s students, faculty, and staff a stress-free and enjoyable method to participate in sports.

The only private university in the Big Ten Conference since 1946, Northwestern is the smallest school in the league. In recent years, Northwestern’s women’s basketball, field hockey, and lacrosse teams have been among its most successful.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Northwestern women’s basketball team recently made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Over the last few decades, the men’s football squad has also had a great deal of success. In the past 25 years, they have won three Big Ten title games, and their teams frequently have some of the highest graduation rates in the league.


For at least two years, students reside on campus in residence halls, residential colleges, or housing for specific interests. While both residential halls and residential colleges provide support and programs, residential colleges involve teachers more and offer greater programming. The Green House, housing for both genders, and housing for fraternities and sororities are all examples of special-interest housing. Students get access to internet, cable TV, housekeeping, free laundry, and more in 26 campus apartments.

Student Clubs and Activities

In addition to sports, Northwestern is the home of other clubs and organizations, such as the Lipstick Theatre, Boomshaka, and Cookology.

On campus, Cookology is a more recent group. To assist students in learning various culinary methods, this student-run culinary arts organization arranges cooking and baking classes. Additionally, they feature several culinary festivals and pop-up dining experiences to highlight worldwide cuisine.

Young student reading in a desk with other students.

Several university organizations are committed to fusing activism, community service, and performing arts. For young people with impairments, the Academy of Music and Arts for Special Education (AMASE) offers music and art education programs.

Lipstick Theater produces plays by female playwrights with a strong female heroine and a focus on women’s issues. One of the more exciting groups on campus is Boomshaka. They frequently do freestyle rap ciphers, breakdancing competitions, and hip hop and contemporary dance routines.

Since 1859, Northwestern University students have enjoyed a fulfilling experience with life. Greek life is the guardian of the huge suburban institution in more ways than one. Around 35 to 40 percent of undergraduates were members of a fraternity or sorority during the 2019–2020 school year. The fraternity houses dominate the party scene even though it is theoretically illegal to consume alcohol on university grounds.

If your goal is to get admitted to Northwestern, you should pay special attention to the precise requirements that belong to the program are interested in because Northwestern offers a wide selection of academic degrees.  Investigate Northwestern’s programs and Northwestern academic calendar before beginning the application process. Furthermore, seek professional help from college admissions experts like AdmissionSight.

At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. On average, 75% of our students are admitted to an Ivy League university, Stanford, MIT, UChicago, and Caltech, one of the highest track records in the industry. Feel free to set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.

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