Northwestern Graduation Rate

January 10, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Northwestern Graduation Rate

What Is the Graduation Rate for Northwestern University?

There are many factors that students need to consider before choosing a college to attend. Some may include the perks available on campus, location, cost of attendance, and others. Among these factors is the graduation rate of a university. You might ask “What is the graduation rate for Northwestern University?” The Northwestern graduation rate was 95.23 percent, with 1,916 out of 2,012 candidates completing their degree requirements within 150% normal time.

Two students talking in a table.
The graduation rate is determined by identifying the percentage of students who entered the institution at the same time and were part of the same cohort and ultimately graduated within six years.

Northwestern Graduation Rate by Gender

A total of 951 male and 965 female students were able to complete the requirements necessary to graduate from the institution in the previous academic year.

Northwestern Graduation Rate by Gender

Candidates for Graduation Completers Graduation Rates
Total Students 2,012 1,916 95.23%
Male 1,012 951 93.97%
Female 1,000 965 96.50%

Northwestern Graduation Rate by Completion Period

A total of 1,736 students finished their program within 4 years, and 149 of them earned a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent in a span of 5 years. An additional 31 students graduated within the so-called normal time of six years (150%).

Completion Period Total Students Male Female
4 Years or Less 86.28% 83.99% 88.60%
5 Year 93.69% 91.90% 95.50%
6 Year 95.23% 93.97% 96.50%

Other names for the overall graduation rate include the “Student Right to Know” graduation rate and the IPEDS graduation rate. It monitors the academic performance of students who began their studies as full-time, first-time degree or certificate-seeking students to determine whether those students earn a degree or another award such as a certificate within 150% of the “normal time” for completing the program they are enrolled in.

How Many Credits Do You Need to Graduate From Northwestern?

The Undergraduate Registration Requirement (URR) is a requirement that must be fulfilled in addition to the criteria for the degree established by various school faculties.

A male student looking at his laptop and pondering

This requirement is applicable to undergraduate students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
The Undergraduate Registration Requirement (URR) is premised on the notion that most of the student’s academic work must be done at the university for the student to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.

How many credits do you need to graduate from Northwestern? There is a predetermined minimum amount of coursework that must be completed at each institution in order to earn a bachelor’s degree (42 or more, depending on the degree).
In addition, the URR outlines the following requirements:

  1. The minimum number of quarters that a student must be enrolled at Northwestern.
  2. The minimum amount of credit units that a student must acquire in order to be admitted to Northwestern.

Requirements for First-Time Freshmen

Type of Degree 4-year Degree Dual Bachelor’s Degree
Northwestern Quarters 9 11
Credits Earned from Northwestern  32 42

Let’s go over the certain requirements that must be met to earn a degree from Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

  • Distribution Requirements: Two courses must be completed in each of the six intellectual areas.
  • Seminars for First-year Students: During your first year, you must attend two seminars.
  • Language Proficiency: You must show competency in a language other than English via AP scores, department tests, or Northwestern coursework.
  • Writing Proficiency: Most students complete this prerequisite during their first-year seminars.

Major in a specific field of study: You must select and finish a major. Minors, second majors, and adjunct majors are optional ways to specialize in different areas.

The first four prerequisites ensure that you acquire vital skills and information across different disciplines; the fifth ensures depth of understanding through focused study within one field.

To graduate from Weinberg College, here are the credits that you need to fulfill:

  • Each student is required to obtain a minimum of 45 units of credit. Nearly all the courses offered at Northwestern each count for one unit. Those with a value of one unit or less, as well as those with a value of more than one, all contribute to the total. As an illustration, this requirement can be satisfied by taking two courses that are each worth a half-unit. Exceptions: Students enrolled in the ISP, HPME, and dual bachelor’s degree programs (BA/BMusic and BA/BS) are subject to a different set of restrictions than other students.
  • A maximum of six units of credit earned during an internship can be applied toward the minimum of 45 credit units that must be completed.
  • Before you may finish your degree requirements, you must complete the last three quarters at Weinberg College.
  • Weinberg College students have the option of taking classes at any of Northwestern University’s schools; however, they are required to obtain at least 34 units in subject areas that are offered by Weinberg College.

You will have earned a total of 48 units of credit if you take four one-unit courses for each quarter, three quarters each year, and for all four years of your academic career. Only 45 units are required for graduation, so it is possible to graduate on time even if you join the university with no AP, IB, or transfer credits. This is possible because students can have three quarters with only three 1-unit courses to complete the required credits.

This provides you with some leeway in the structuring of your schedule, as well as the possibility to drop a course without jeopardizing your overall progress.

Undergraduate students are required to submit a graduation petition that must be accepted by the appropriate advisers in their programs. Students should begin the procedure one calendar year before the year they are expected to graduate. They must submit their documents no later than the dates that are published on the website of the Office of the Registrar.

Should the student fail to submit their petition in a timely manner, there is the possibility that their graduation could be postponed or that their name will be omitted from the printed Commencement program.

What Do Most Northwestern Graduates Do?

What do most Northwestern graduates do? According to the records from the University Registrar, 2,052 undergraduate students graduated over the following academic years: Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021.

Two students talking in a room full of glass.

A study was conducted including the responses of 1,651 students, which is 80% of the Northwestern Class of 2021. The following are the highlights for the post-graduate plans of the students.

  • 71% of the graduates were employed
  • 25% of the respondents were either attending graduate or professional school or were fellows in an academic program
  • 2% were actively searching for employment
  • 1% of the students were involved in career-related activities such as volunteer work, military service, or other activities
  • 1% were applying to graduate or professional schools

Six months after graduation, 1,180 (71%) recent graduates were employed. Here are the top 5 industries where these students will work in:

  • Business Services, Financial Services, and Investment Banking: 19%
  • Consulting Services: 16%
  • Communications, Marketing, and Media: 14%
  • Engineering: 13%
  • Technology: 8%

Moreover, information was obtained regarding the starting salaries of 435 of the recent graduates who had found full-time employment within six months after graduating. The overall average pay was 67, 312 dollars.
The field of work that a student chooses to pursue affects the salary information collected by Northwestern.

Northwestern School/College Total Recent Graduates Average Salaries
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science 118 $81,736
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences 193 $66,425
School of Education and Social Policy 38 $57,466
Bienen School of Music 12 $56,373
Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications 43 $54,856
School of Communication 31 $51,509

The University of Northwestern has a long list of distinguished alumni who have achieved success in a wide variety of fields. There are several famous people who attended Northwestern University, including Michael Barratt, Saul Bellow, Christine Brennan, and Charles Mayo.
The current Governor of Illinois, Jay Robert Pritzker, is the wealthiest politician in the United States. He is also one of Northwestern University’s ten living graduates who are worth a billion dollars or more.

Is a Degree From Northwestern Worth It?

If you wonder, “Is a degree from Northwestern worth it? The institution is one of the prestigious universities in the US that offers students an exceptional education in a wide variety of academic fields.

Students at Northwestern University have access to more than one hundred different academic programs across its six undergraduate schools, including the highly regarded McCormick School of Engineering and the Medill School of Journalism. Instead of the more common semester format, the university operates on a quarter system, which features significantly shorter academic terms throughout the fall, winter, and spring semesters. Students have the option to pursue research opportunities during the summer term.

Group of students working on a table with strewn papers.

The main campus of Northwestern University is in Evanston, Illinois, which is just north of Chicago. The university also has a graduate and professional school hub in downtown Chicago, as well as an overseas campus in Doha, Qatar, which provides students with easy access to study in other countries. Approximately half of all students choose to broaden their education by studying abroad.

Apart from the variety of choices in academics, the campus of Northwestern University is home to a plethora of organizations and events, including 400 student organizations, the Big 10 Wildcats, and live shows at the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts.

The Northwestern graduation rate was 95% within 150% normal time for the previous academic year. Students might be wondering why these numbers are given much importance. The graduation rate provides students with an indication of the percentage of students who complete their degrees within a reasonable amount of time after enrolling in the program. A student can use it as a tool to evaluate the quality of the school they are attending, in addition to serving as a transparent metric that holds a school accountable.

The graduation and retention rates are two statistics that have received an increased amount of attention during the past few years.
The retention rate is the percentage of a school’s first-time, first-year undergraduate students who remain enrolled at that school for the following academic year. This differs from the graduation rate, which measures the number of students who leave the institution with a degree within four or six years.

The retention rate is an indicator of whether a school is living up to the expectations it sets while recruiting students. It is calculated by determining how many students will return for their second year of schooling. The percentage of incoming first-year students at Northwestern was found to be 98% among those who started in the autumn of 2017 and continued through the fall of 2020.

The Northwestern graduation rate and retention rate are both competitive and comparable to top-ranked schools in the country.
Although both measures are significant, it is crucial to look at them in the context of the broader picture. Students drop out of school after their first year or do not graduate within six years for various reasons; some are beyond the control of the school they are enrolled in.

Suppose you are genuinely interested in attending a particular institution, but the graduation and retention rates appear lower than comparable institutions; you should contact the admissions office or currently enrolled students to find out more information. Selecting a school is such a crucial life and financial decision. Thus, it is essential to do adequate research and choose the best institution that will serve you and your future.

If you believe Northwestern is the best school that matches your academic and personal goals, you should be well-prepared for its selection process. Northwestern University is one of the highly selective schools, with only 7% of the applicants admitted. Admission to prominent colleges with exceptionally low admission rates, such as Northwestern, is exceedingly difficult, although your chances vary based on the strength of your profile.

To build a solid and compelling application profile, you can consult with experts like AdmissionSight to guide you through your preparation. AdmissionSight has more than 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process. Book an initial consultation with us today.

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