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Academic Policies

Admission: Undergraduates and Graduates

Undergraduate, returning students who were not enrolled at Northwest during the previous semester must complete an Application for Admission. Transcripts must also be submitted from any other schools attended since attending Northwest. Additional information will also be required for students returning on probation or after an academic suspension.

New freshman and transfer students must complete an Application for Admission and submit appropriate transcripts.

Graduate students who have not been enrolled at Northwest during the past 12 months must complete an Application for Admission. Graduate, degree-seeking applications and transcripts should be submitted to the Graduate Office.

NOTE: All undergraduate and non-degree graduate applications and transcripts should be submitted to the Admissions Office (see University Academic Catalog for details.)


Adding Courses. Courses may be added during the first day of any short course, two-week course, or four-week course; during the first two days of a six-week or eight-week course, and during the first seven days of any course longer than eight weeks of instruction. No change in program should be made without prior approval of the student's advisor. Students may add courses through their CatPAWS accounts, if they were enrolled during the previous semester, or by completing forms in the Registrar’s Office. If enrolling in a closed class, students should complete a properly-signed Schedule Change Form and obtain the signatures of the instructor and the department chairperson.

Dropping Courses. Students may drop a course during the first eighty percent (80%) of any length course. (See “Fees and Costs section”) Courses may be dropped through the student’s CatPAWS account or by completing forms in the Registrar’s Office.  Students who follow the prescribed procedure for dropping a course will have no grade entered on their permanent record.  Students who do not follow the prescribed procedure for dropping a course will have a grade of "F" recorded on their permanent record. Students cannot drop all of the courses in which they are enrolled.  This process is a Withdrawal from the University (see below.)

Late Drop. If due to extraordinary reasons - beyond the control of the student - a student desires to drop a course after the deadline, the student must petition the Committee on Academic Petitions.  Students who are granted a late drop by the committee will have a "DR" grade entered on the permanent record.

Administrative Drop. During the drop period, an instructor of a course may administratively drop a student from a course when the student is in non-compliance with the expectations of the course provided that:
1) the course syllabus clearly states the conditions under which an administrative drop would be instigated; and
2) the student is warned of a pending administrative drop and provided the opportunity, when possible, to remedy the situation.
Reasons for such action may be poor attendance and/or sustained non-submission of required work in the course.

Graduate students MUST see the Graduate Office before dropping or adding classes.

Withdrawal. All students who wish to terminate their enrollment during a term should initially consult with their advisor. If, after meeting with the advisor, a student decides to withdraw from the University, the student must completed an Exit Report through the Student Success Center in Owens Library.  It is extremely important that a withdrawal be completed to ensure that proper entries are made on the academic transcript, that fee refunds are processed (see “Fees and Costs section”) and that all University records are corrected to reflect the status of the student.

Students may withdraw from the University before eighty percent (80%) of any semester or shorter-length term has expired. A “W” will be recorded on the transcript for each class. Students on academic probation who withdraw from all classes will be readmitted on the same status they held at the time of their withdrawal from school.

Students who do not follow the prescribed procedure to withdraw will have recorded on their permanent record a grade of “F” for their courses. If a student cannot initiate the withdrawal process in person, he or she should write or call the Student Success Center, who will process the withdrawal from the University.

Late Withdraw.  If due to extraordinary reasons - beyond the control of the student - a student desires to withdraw after the deadline, the student must petition the Committee on Academic Petitions.  Students who are granted a late withdrawal by the committee will have a "W" grade entered on the permanent record.

Administrative Withdrawal. Students who are administratively withdrawn for non-payment of fees are prohibited from attending classes.

Graduate students who withdraw from the University MUST initiate an official withdrawal in the Graduate Office.

Academic Probation, Suspension and Dismissal

Any student classified as a freshman whose Northwest or cumulative GPA falls below 1.75 on a 4.00 scale is automatically placed on academic probation.

Any student classified as a sophomore, junior or senior whose Northwest or cumulative GPA falls below 2.00 is automatically placed on academic probation. A student on academic probation is limited to 16 academic hours per semester. This enrollment restriction will apply as long as the student is on academic probation.

A student on probation who falls further behind (i.e., who does not make at least a 2.00 GPA for any semester) shall be automatically suspended for two consecutive semesters. Any student once placed on probation remains on probation until his or her Northwest and cumulative GPA is at least 2.00.

A suspended student may apply to the Office of Admissions for readmission following his or her suspension period. Any student who has returned on probation following a period of academic suspension or who has been reinstated by the Committee on Academic Petitions shall earn at least a 2.00 GPA each probationary semester in order to continue as a student. A second suspension will be for three consecutive semesters. If a student is academically suspended from Northwest or from any other university or college for a total of three times, the student will be dismissed from Northwest.

Students must petition the Committee on Academic Petitions for exceptions to the above policies. Petition forms are available in the Office of the Registrar and online at

Additionally, undergraduate students are required to enroll in INCO 77-150 Academic Success Coaching (1 hr) and INCO 77-151 Strategies for Academic Success (1 hr) as a condition of continued enrollment based on the criteria below.  Students who do not attend or actively participate in the listed required classes will be administratively dropped from these classes.  Furthermore, because continued enrollment is based on enrollment in 77150 and 77151, an administrative drop of these courses will precipitate an administrative withdrawal from all other coursework for failure to comply with the terms of enrollment.

  • Freshmen students earning less than a 2.0 GPA in their first semester or placed on academic probation at the end of their first term of enrollment;
  • Transfer students admitted on probation;
  • Students returning to Northwest on academic probation
  • Students returning after academic suspension, including those readmitted through the Committee on Academic Petitions or Academic Appeals Committee process.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is shown with Northwest equivalents. The following 900-series course numbers are used to show if transfer courses meet Northwest Core requirements, even though the courses are not directly equivalent, or transfer as electives only:

  • 900 ACT English Credit
  • 901 English 111
  • 902 English 112
  • 903 Oral Communication
  • 904 American Government (with Missouri)
  • 924 American Government (w/o Missouri)
  • 905 American History
  • 906 Social Science
  • 907 Psychology / Behavioral Science
  • 908 Literature
  • 909 Humanities / Philosophy
  • 910 Fine Arts
  • 911 Science
  • 912 Mathematics
  • 915 Information Technology / Digital Literacy
  • 916 Humanistic Studies
  • 918 Science Lab
  • 919 Anthropology
  • 920 Lower Division Elective
  • 990 Upper Division Elective
  • 988 B.T. credit only

Email Policy

Northwest students are encouraged to use their University assigned email accounts for University correspondence. The email policy states that all University offices, staff and faculty should use only University-assigned student email addresses to encourage student responsibility for the information sent to them.

This information could include scholarship/financial assistance information, billing statements from Cashiering and notices from the Registrar as well as campus-wide emails.

Supersede Policy

Supersede Policy

Undergraduate students wishing to supersede a course should be aware of the Supersede Policy.  The complete policy is shown below, but a summary follows:   

  • A student may repeat a course if they previously earned a grade of “C”, “D”, or “F”.             
  • A student may only take a course a total of three times.   
  • A student is eligible to enroll for the course starting on their preregistration enrollment date based on their earned credit hours.
  • A student MUST submit an electronic Petition to Supersede before attempting to enroll in the class.  
  • The Petition to Supersede may be completed starting Monday, March 18 as follows:  
    • Log into CatPAWS.
    • Click on the Student tab.
    • Click on the Registration tile.
    • Click on the Supersede Petition link.
    • Choose the term in which the student wishes to supersede the course.
    • A list of courses eligible to be superseded will be displayed, grouped by Transfer, Northwest and Registered courses. Click on the course link to be superseded.
    • Review the course and click Submit Supersede.
    • Review the confirmation of the supersede petition completion.
    • Completion of the Supersede Petition places a Permit on the eligible course
    • A student should then go to the Registration menu and enroll in the class section
      • Providing the course is open, and there are no prerequisite or co-requisite issues, the student may self-register for the course.

Superseding Grades/Repeating Courses

A student who has received a grade of “C”, “D”, or “F” in a course may repeat a course in an effort to raise the grade, provided in the meantime the student has not completed a more advanced course for which the repeated course is a prerequisite. A student may supersede a given class at most two times, providing up to three opportunities to complete the given class. When a course is repeated, all of grades will appear on the student’s record, but only the highest grade earned will be used in determining the cumulative grade point average. A petition for superseding, available online through CatPAWS, must be completed prior to registration for the course Students will register for superseding courses during the normal registration period

A five-hour course may be superseded by a four-hour course if the five-hour course is no longer taught and the four-hour course is essentially the same in content as defined by the department which originated the five-hour course. Similar procedures apply to a four-hour course which has been changed to three hours.  

A student will not be allowed to supersede a grade earned at Northwest by completing an equivalent course at another institution.

Students must petition the Committee on Academic Petitions for exceptions to the above policies. Petition forms are available in the Office of the Registrar, and online at

A student with veterans’ benefits must advise the coordinator of Veterans’ Affairs when he or she plans to supersede a grade.