This website is best viewed in a browser that supports web standards.

Skip to content or, if you would rather, Skip to navigation.

Northwest Navigation

Northwest Online

Courses FAQS

Here, you can find answers to some of the most common questions we get about Northwest Online. If you don't see your question here, e-mail it to us.

How do I know what courses to take?

Students taking courses through Northwest Online receive academic advising from their assigned advisor. If you have any questions about your degree program or about what courses you should take, contact your advisor.

View a full listing of required courses for online degree programs »

How much time will I have to spend online?

You should expect to spend at least 5 hours per week per course online. But remember, this does not include time spent offline doing work. For that, you should expect at least 3 - 4 more hours per week per course. Northwest Online courses are as rigorous as on-campus courses, and you should expect the same level of work or more.

How much work is there in a typical course?

A typical course will involve 8 - 10 hours of work per week. This includes at least 5 hours of work online per week.

Do I have to be online at a specific time?

In most cases, you will not have to be online at a specific time. Most of the courses are designed to be as flexible as possible while still allowing you to get the best education. See How do the Courses Work (above) for more information.

Can I take courses on-campus and online at the same time?

Yes, you can take on-campus and online courses at the same time. However, please remember that online courses are as rigorous as on-campus courses and you should expect the same level of work or more.

Are courses ever cancelled?

Courses with fewer than 10 enrolled students may be cancelled. However, because Northwest Online is expecting considerable growth, it is expected that few courses will need to be cancelled.

How do I drop a course?

To drop a course and possibly receive a partial refund of your tuition, you must follow the policies and procedures listed in the course catalog. You must "DROP" a course prior to the Last Day to Drop in order to receive a partial refund of your tuition. If it is after the Last Day to Drop, you will need to withdraw from the course.

How do I withdraw from a course?

After the Last Day to Drop, but prior to the Last Day to Withdraw, as shown on the Academic Calendar, you can withdraw from a course. Withdrawing may not entitle you to a refund of your tuition, but it does allow you to get a "W" instead of another grade. Withdrawing after the Last Day to Withdraw may result in your getting a grade other than "W". To withdraw from a course, you must follow the policies and procedures in the course catalog.

When do courses start?

Courses start in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. Check the Academic Calendar for a full listing of dates.

Will I have to go to campus?

You should not have to go to campus when taking Northwest Online courses. However, if you are taking a course that requires a monitored lab or a special meeting, you may have to go to campus. Also, you may want to go to campus to take advantage of the services available there. As a Northwest Online student, you can use the services available on-campus.

How do I register for courses?

You may register for courses at Northwest Online using CatPAWS, but you will need a username and password provided by your online advisor.

How do I get to my course?

After you have registered for your course, you can access it by logging in to the Northwest Online website. Courses are accessible on the first day of that course's session. You will need your Student ID and your 919 number to get access to your course. We recommend that you access your course within the first couple of days when the session begins.

How do I get my Student ID and word?

After you have been enrolled in a course, you will be notified through e-mail of your Student ID number and 919 number. If you are unsure of what these are, contact the Northwest Online helpdesk via email at

How do I get books?

Online students may order their books through Bearcat Bookstore. Visit the bookstore for more information.

How do I take tests?

Tests are taken online. Once you are in your course, you will be able to take tests through the course website. The tests can be multiple choice, short essay, or long essay in format. Tests may also be timed and graded automatically. Each course will be different in the type of tests required, with some courses not requiring tests at all. Once completed, your instructor may provide feedback on your test through the course's gradebook.

If my course requires lab, how does it work?

Lab courses will generally be conducted online through the use of CD-ROMS and laboratory kits that are mailed to your home. Although some courses may require you to attend a supervised laboratory setting, these courses will be minimized and all students will be advised of this requirement at the time they register.

I'm having trouble in my course, how do I contact the instructor?

Instructors can be contacted by e-mail or through the course's online forum. Northwest Online students have developed a reputation for being responsive to student questiosn and they will usually get back to you within 24 hours.

Request Online Program Information

* All fields required

By submitting this form, I agree, via my digital signature, that Northwest Missouri State University (Northwest) may email me or contact me regarding educational services by telephone and/or text message utilizing automated technology at the telephone number(s) provided above. I understand this consent is not required to attend Northwest.