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The Northwestern Academic Calendar

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Northwestern University sign with campus map below

The Northwestern Academic Calendar

The Northwestern University academic calendar is a very important tool for students who are already there, those who want to join, teachers, and other staff. It gives a full list of important dates and deadlines, information about the special way the school year is divided into quarters, and helps you know how the school year goes.

Understanding the Northwestern Academic Calendar

The Northwestern University academic calendar is based on the quarter system, which comprises four quarters: Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. Each quarter lasts about ten weeks, providing students with the ability to take a variety of courses and delve deeply into a wide range of subjects in a relatively short time period.

a female student looking at the camera while holding her school text books

At Northwestern University, the academic calendar is carefully designed to provide students with a well-rounded educational experience. The quarter system allows for a more dynamic and flexible approach to learning, as students have the opportunity to explore different subjects throughout the year.

This not only enhances their knowledge and skills but also fosters a sense of intellectual curiosity and adaptability.

Key Dates and Deadlines

August
Thursday, August 10, 2023 New Transfer Student Registration at 9:00 a.m.
September
Tuesday, September 5, 2023 Continuing Student Registration for Fall Quarter 2023 ends at 11:59 p.m
Thursday, September 14, 2023 Fall registration for new TGS students and most Evanston graduate programs
Friday, September 15, 2023 New Undergraduate Fall 2023 Registration
Tuesday, September 19, 2023 Change of Registration (Drop/Add)/Late registration for returning students begins
Tuesday, September 19, 2023 Fall classes begin (No Northwestern Monday in the Fall)
Monday, September 25, 2023 Last day for tuition adjustment related to enrollment changes (to or from full-time). No reductions are made to bills for dropped or swapped classes after this date
Monday, September 25, 2023 Last day to add a class or change a section for Fall
October
Monday, October 9, 2023 Last day to drop a five-week course ending in week 5 of the Fall term (5W1)
Friday, October 13, 2023 Last day to withdraw from a five-week course ending in week 5 of the Fall term (5W1) 5:00 pm
Friday, October 20, 2023 Application for a degree due to The Graduate School to receive a degree in Fall Quarter
Friday, October 27, 2023 Last day to drop a FULL-TERM class for Fall in CAESAR. Any requests after this date result in a W on the transcript and must go through the course withdrawal process. (No tuition adjustment after 9/25/2023)
Monday, October 30, 2023 Winter quarter courses viewable for students in CAESAR for the following: Communication, Education, Engineering, Journalism, & Music Graduate Courses, Non-Degree, TGS, and undergraduate Courses
November
Monday, November 6, 2023 Pre-registration for Winter Quarter begins
Friday, November 10, 2023 Last day for undergraduate or TGS students to change grading status to or from P/N for Fall classes, where allowed – ends at 11:59 PM CST
Monday, November 13, 2023 Last day to drop a five-week course ending in week 10 of the Fall term (5W2)
Monday, November 13, 2023 Registration for Winter 2024 begins
Friday, November 17, 2023 Dissertation, PhD Final Exam, and change of grade forms due to TGS for Fall PhD candidates
Friday, November 17, 2023 Last day to withdraw from a five-week course ending in week 10 of the Fall term (5W2) at 5:00 pm
Wednesday, November 22, 2023 Term withdrawal and full-term course withdrawal petition deadline for Fall is 5:00 pm
November 22-23, 2023 Thanksgiving Day Celebration
Monday, November 27, 2023 Fall classes resume
Monday, November 27, 2023 The WCAS Reading period begins
December
Friday, December 1, 2023 Master’s completion form due for TGS Fall master’s candidates
Saturday, December 2, 2023 Fall Classes End
Sunday, December 3, 2023 The WCAS Reading Period ends
Monday, December 4, 2023 Fall examinations begin
Saturday, December 9, 2023 Fall examinations end
Monday, December 11, 2023 Fall 2023 Grades due
Friday, December 15, 2023 Fall Degrees Conferred
Tuesday, December 19, 2023 Registration for Winter Quarter Opens for new TGS and Evanston Grad students
December 23-29, 2023 Winter Recess – University Closed
January
Monday, January 1, 2024 New Year’s Day – University Closed
Wednesday, January 3, 2024 Winter Classes begin
Tuesday, January 9, 2024 Last day for tuition adjustment related to enrollment changes (to or from full-time). No reductions are made to bills for dropped or swapped classes after this date
Tuesday, January 9, 2024 Last day to add a class or change a section for Winter
Monday, January 15, 2024 Martin Luther King Jr. Day – University Closed
Tuesday, January 23, 2024 Last day to drop a five-week course ending in week 5 of the Winter term (5W1)
Friday, January 26, 2024 Application for a degree due to The Graduate School to receive a degree in Winter Quarter
Friday, January 26, 2024 Last day to withdraw from a five-week course ending in week 5 of the Winter term (5W1) 5:00 pm
February
Friday, February 2, 2024 Application for a degree due to The Graduate School to receive a degree in Spring Quarter
Monday, February 5, 2024 Spring quarter courses viewable for students in CAESAR for the following: Communication, Education, Engineering, Journalism, & Music Graduate Courses, Non-Degree, TGS, and undergraduate Courses
Friday, February 9, 2024 Last day to drop a FULL-TERM class for Winter via CAESAR. Any requests after this date result in a W on the transcript and must go through the course withdrawal process.
Monday, February 12, 2024 Pre-registration for Spring 2024 begins
Monday, February 19, 2024 Registration for Spring 2024 begins
Friday, February 23, 2024 Dissertation, PhD Final Exam, and change of grade forms due to TGS for Winter PhD candidates
Friday, February 23, 2024 Last day for undergraduate, TGS, and most graduate programs to change grading status to or from P/N for Winter classes, where allowed.
Tuesday, February 27, 2024 Last day to drop a five-week course ending in week 10 of the Winter term (5W2)
March
Friday, March 1, 2024 Last day to withdraw from a five-week course ending in week 10 of the Winter term (5W2) at 5:00 pm
Friday, March 1, 2024 Term withdrawal and full-term course withdrawal petition deadline for Winter is 5:00 pm
Thursday, March 7, 2024 The WCAS Reading Period begins
Friday, March 8, 2024 Master’s completion form due for TGS Winter master’s candidates
Saturday, March 9, 2024 Winter Classes End
Sunday, March 10, 2024 The WCAS Reading Period ends
Monday, March 11, 2024 Winter Examinations Begin
Saturday, March 16, 2024 Spring Break Begins
Saturday, March 16, 2024 Winter Examinations End
Monday, March 18, 2024 Winter grades are due at 3 p.m.
Thursday, March 21, 2024 Registration for the Spring Quarter Opens for new TGS and Evanston Grad students
Friday, March 22, 2024 Winter Degrees Conferred
Monday, March 25, 2024 Spring Break Ends
Tuesday, March 26, 2024 Spring Change of Registration (Drop/Add)/Late registration begins
Tuesday, March 26, 2024 Spring Classes Begin – Northwestern Monday: Classes scheduled to meet on Mondays meet on this day.
April
Monday, April 1, 2024 Last day for tuition adjustment related to enrollment changes (to or from full-time) No reductions are made to bills for dropped or swapped classes after this date.
Monday, April 1, 2024 Last day to add a class or change a section for Spring
Monday, April 1, 2024 Summer Courses Viewable in CAESAR
Monday, April 8, 2024 Registration begins for the Summer term
Monday, April 15, 2024 Last day to drop a five-week course ending in week 5 of the Spring term (5W1)
Friday, April 19, 2024 Last day to withdraw from a five-week course ending in week 5 of the Spring term (5W1) 5:00 pm
May
Friday, May 3, 2024 Dissertation, PhD Final Exam, and change of grade forms due to TGS for Spring PhD candidates
Friday, May 3, 2024 Last day to drop a FULL-TERM class for Spring. Any requests after this date result in a W on the transcript and must go through the course withdrawal process.(No tuition adjustment after 4/1/2024)
Monday, May 6, 2024 Fall quarter courses are viewable for students for the following: Communication, Education, Engineering, Journalism, & Music Graduate Courses, Non-Degree, TGS, and Undergraduate Courses.
Friday, May 10, 2024 Master’s completion form due for TGS Spring master’s candidates
Monday, May 13, 2024 Pre-registration for Fall 2024 begins
Friday, May 17, 2024 Last day for undergraduate or TGS students to change grading status to or from P/N for Spring classes, where allowed.
Monday, May 20, 2024 Last day to drop a five-week course ending in week 10 of the Spring term (5W2)
Monday, May 20, 2024 Registration for Fall 2024 begins
Friday, May 24, 2024 Last day to withdraw from a five-week course ending in week 10 of the Spring term (5W2) 5:00 pm
Friday, May 24, 2024 Term withdrawal and full-term course withdrawal petition deadline for Spring 5:00 pm
Monday, May 27, 2024 Memorial Day (no classes)
Wednesday, May 29, 2024 The WCAS Reading Period begins
June
Saturday, June 1, 2024 Spring classes end
Sunday, June 2, 2024 The WCAS Reading Period ends
Monday, June 3, 2024 Spring examinations begin
Saturday, June 8, 2024 Graduation Weekend (June 8th through June 10th)
Saturday, June 8, 2024 Spring examinations end
Tuesday, June 11, 2024 Spring 2024 Grading Deadline
Wednesday, June 12, 2024 Registration for Summer Quarter Opens for new TGS and Evanston Grad students
Friday, June 14, 2024 Spring Degrees Conferred
Monday, June 17, 2024 Summer Classes Begin. Summer Change of Registration (Drop/Add)/Late registration begins
Monday, June 17, 2024 Summer Session begins
Wednesday, June 19, 2024 Juneteenth (no classes)
July
Friday, July 5, 2024 Application for degree due to The Graduate School to receive a degree in Summer
August
Friday, August 2, 2024 Dissertation, PhD Final Exam, and change of grade forms due to TGS for Summer PhD candidates
Friday, August 16, 2024 Master’s completion form due for TGS Summer master’s candidates
Friday, August 30, 2024 Summer degrees conferred

two female students holding a laptop and a phone

Semester vs. Quarter System

In comparison with the common semester system, the quarter system provides students with the opportunity to explore more subjects. Since each quarter is around ten weeks, students can take more classes and gain exposure to a wider range of disciplines, methodologies, and instructors within an academic year. This offers potential for interdisciplinary learning and higher academic growth.

Furthermore, the quarter system allows for a more intensive and focused approach to learning. With shorter time frames, students are encouraged to fully immerse themselves in their courses, engaging in in-depth discussions, research, and projects. This not only enhances their understanding of the subject matter but also develops critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management skills.

Another advantage of the quarter system is the ability to adapt and adjust course schedules more easily. Students have the flexibility to explore different subjects and change their academic focus if they discover new interests or career aspirations. This freedom to explore and experiment fosters a sense of intellectual curiosity and personal growth.

Three students smiling and doing the thumbs up sign

Tips for a Successful Year

  • Use a Planner: Invest in a good planner or use digital tools to stay organized. Mark important dates, deadlines, and events. This will help you stay on top of your work and avoid missing important deadlines.
  • Seek Academic Advisors: Don’t hesitate to reach out to academic advisors. They can provide guidance on your course selection and career goals. They can also help you navigate the academic system and make sure you are on track to graduate on time.
  • Get Involved: Participate in campus activities and clubs. It’s a great way to meet people and create memorable experiences. Getting involved on campus can also help you develop new skills and interests.
  • Plan Your Breaks: Use breaks wisely. Whether it’s for studying or relaxation, plan how you’ll make the most of your time off. Taking breaks can help you recharge and come back to your studies refreshed.
  • Take Care of Yourself: Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. Taking care of yourself will help you stay healthy and focused during the academic year.
  • Ask for Help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There are many resources available to you, such as your academic advisor, professors, and teaching assistants. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  • Enjoy Yourself: College is a time to learn and grow, but it’s also a time to have fun. Make sure you take some time to enjoy yourself and make memories that will last a lifetime.

A woman smiling while looking at her laptop

Final Thoughts

To wrap it up, the Northwestern academic calendar is a key guide for a successful and rewarding time at Northwestern University. By knowing how to use it well, students can really take advantage of all the opportunities at this prestigious university.

It is important to have all the necessary information before making any decision. AdmissionSight is always here to help you with any questions or concerns. We have over ten years of experience helping students successfully navigate the challenging admissions process.

Consult with AdmissionSight and find out how we can help you get into the school of your choice by ensuring that you are fully informed and prepared for the application process. We will work with you to develop a personalized plan that meets your specific needs and goals. We will also provide you with access to our team of experts who can help you with everything from choosing the right schools to writing your essays.

Don’t let the admissions process overwhelm you. Contact AdmissionSight today and let us help you achieve your dreams.

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