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Academic Advising FAQ’s

To view the updated Spring 2020 Pass/Fail policy FAQ, please click here.

Q: What is I AM HERE registration? Is it required?


“I Am Here” registration is how Northeastern University verifies that students are still planning to take the courses for which they are registered. It IS required. If students do not complete I Am Here registration by 4PM on the first day of classes of any semester, their courses will be purged. See here for more on I Am Here.

Q: How do students make an appointment with an academic advisor?


Students should direct general academic and course registration questions to one of the academic advisors. The ‘Make an Appointment’ page provides more information on scheduling appointments with an advisor.

Q: Which advisor should students see for questions?

  • Questions regarding major related requirements should be directed to the Undergraduate Program Advisors located in each department office.
  • Questions regarding co-op placement and pattern of attendance changes need to be directed to the student’s co-op coordinator.
  • Questions regarding general registration, core requirements, long-term academic planning, study abroad, outstanding transfer credit issues or leaves of absence should be directed to the student’s academic advisor.

Click here for a list of all these advisors and their contact information.

Q: How can students calculate their GPA?


Students can refer to the Registrar’s instructions to calculate GPA.


Q: What should students do if they want or need to register for a course that is full or restricted?


If a class is full or is restricted, students should go to the office of the department offering the course to either request admittance to the course or see if their circumstance warrants a restriction override. Here’s a list of possible registration errors that would result from a course being restricted.

Q: What is a standard course load, covered by full-time tuition, for CSSH?

  • Fall/Spring Semesters: 4 regular courses (normally 4 SH each, but some majors have 5 or 6 SH courses in their curriculum) + Mandatory Co-requisite courses + Freebie courses.
  • Summer Semesters: 2 regular courses (normally 4 SH each, but some majors have 5 or 6 SH courses in their curriculum) + Mandatory Co-requisite courses + Freebie courses (if offered).

Mandatory Co-requisite Courses:

  • 0 SH or 1 SH labs for science courses
  • Recitations
  • 0 SH or 1 SH Tools courses (for Art + Design courses)
  • Basically any course that is mandated to be taken along with a regular course

Freebie Courses

  • Intro to College (sometimes called “XXXX at NU” where XXXX is a department name)
  • Intro to Co-op (Names vary by major)
  • 1 SH music ensembles (Music lessons are not a freebie)


Q: What if a student needs (or elects) to take an extra course?


On occasion a student may need (or elect) to register for an extra course in a semester. This is called an overload. While possible, there are some important things to be aware of regarding extra tuition charges. If a student needs to request an overload, they should discuss this with their academic advisor.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Overload tuition is assessed for the full credit value of the overload course.
  • A 3.0 GPA is required for students to overload.
  • Full-time tuition does not cover up to 19 credits.  It covers a standard course load.  See above for description.
  • The registration system allows students to register for up to 19 credits. That is to allow students to register for the necessary labs, other co-requisites and freebie courses without assistance from an academic advisor.
  • Both “Total Credit Hours” and “Billing Hours” appear on the Add/Drop screen. If Billing Hours goes above 16 for a fall or spring term, or above 8 for a summer term, the student will be charged for an overload.
  • For questions regarding overload tuition while registering for something other than what is outlined in the “Mandatory Co-requisite Courses” or the “Freebie Courses,” students should contact Student Accounts.

Q: Can students repeat courses?


Courses may be repeated in order to earn a better grade. In all cases the most recent grade earned in a course is the one used in calculating the overall grade-point average; however, previous grades remain on the transcript followed by the word “Repeat.” Students are required to pay normal tuition charges for all repeated course work and should consult their academic advisor before repeating a course.

Points to keep in mind:

  • Tuition will be charged as normal.
  • The most recent grade will always be factored into the GPA even if the most recent grade lowers the student’s GPA.
  • Students cannot receive credit for the same course twice (some special topics courses are a unique exception), and will only receive credit for the most recent completion of the course.

Q: Can students take a course for a pass/fail grade?


Students may consider taking a course on a pass/fail basis. While this can be beneficial depending on the circumstances since pass/fail grades are not calculated into a student’s GPA, students should be aware of the University’s policies on it. The entire text about pass/fail courses is in the Undergraduate Catalog in the following section for any year:  The University > Academic Policies and Procedures > Grading System

Policy Points:

  • Students may only elect to take only ONE course per semester as pass/fail. If one course is only offered as pass/fail (very rare), then the student may still elect for another course to be taken as pass/fail.
  • Students on academic probation may not take a course pass/fail.
  • Pass/fail courses CANNOT count for core requirements or major requirements. Any course taken as pass/fail will become a general elective and count only as earned hours toward graduation.
  • If a student elects to take a course as pass/fail, they are ineligible for the Dean’s List for that semester.

To take a course for a pass/fail grade, students need to print and fill out the Petition to Elect Pass/Fail Grade from the Registrar’s Forms page and then meet with their academic advisor. Students should discuss the pass/fail request with the instructor within the first two weeks of the term. Once the instructor approves the request and signs the petition, the student must return the Petition to Elect Pass/Fail Grade to the Registrar’s Office in 120 Hayden Hall.

Q: How do students register for or select study abroad courses?


The Global Experience Office provides information on study abroad courses and how to transfer study abroad credits back to Northeastern.

Q: How can students declare or transfer to a major within CSSH?


The steps on how to declare a major within CSSH are available on the Major Changes page. For the transfer policies of other colleges, students should contact the advising office for that college. Links are available at the myNortheastern Academic Guide.

Q: How can students declare a minor?


To declare a minor that is housed in CSSH, students can fill out our Online Form.

To declare a minor in another college, students should contact the advising office for that college. Links are available at the myNortheastern Academic Guide.

Q: How can students change their Pattern of Attendance?


Pattern of Attendance changes almost always involve students going out on co-op. That is, POA changes are either setting students’ records to go out on a future co-op or are setting students’ records so that they won’t be going out on any further co-ops. Since roughly 95% of POA changes involve co-op, students should contact their co-op coordinator to initiate this change. Co-op coordinators can be found on the Co-op Coordinators page. Students can also call the Office of Student Academic Affairs front desk at 617.373.3980 to speak with someone who can help determine the right advisor for their POA change.

Q: How can students change their graduation year?


Students should contact their academic advisor in 180 Renaissance Park to make changes to graduation year. Please note: juniors and seniors must completed Graduation Clearance before an academic advisor can change their graduation years.

Q: Can students transfer credit from another institution?


Once students matriculate at Northeastern, the university expects them to complete all of their course work at Northeastern. There are a few standard exceptions to this policy. View the transfer credit guidelines to learn more.

Q: How do students get credit for an internship?


In most case, students receive credit for an internship through a directed study. Each directed study is unique, so students should to find a faculty member to oversee the internship experience, its goals, and any deliverables. To register for a directed study, students must fill out the directed study form, including a signature from a faculty member, and return it to the Registrar’s Office by the end of the second week of the term.

Q: Can students take a Leave of Absence?


Yes, but students should keep the following information in mind. For the full policy, students should refer to the “Academic Policies and Procedures” section of the Student Handbook:

  • Personal leaves must be requested before the start of a semester.
  • Personal leaves are only allowed for a maximum of six months. If a student is on a leave for more than six months, the student will automatically be withdrawn from the University.
  • If a student receives loans as part of their financial aid package and takes a personal leave, repayment grace periods often start while the student is on the leave. Students receiving financial aid and considering taking a leave of absence should consult with their financial aid advisor.
  • Students in campus housing will need to contact Residence Life at 617.373.2814 to notify them of the intent to take a leave.
  • Questions about health insurance coverage while on a leave of absence should be directed to the Registrar’s Office at 617.373.2300.

It is common for students to ask to take classes at other institutions while on a leave of absence from Northeastern. The transfer credit guidelines have more information. To initiate a leave of absence, get in touch with your academic advisor. The process can usually be handled by email or a phone call.

Q: How can students take a Medical Leave of Absence?


Medical leave petitions must be initiated at University Health and Counseling Services. Medical leave is an option available to those Northeastern students who become seriously ill or injured during the semester. A student who develops a major medical condition that precludes class attendance, completion of requirements and/or co-op, and wishes a medical leave must first contact the University Health and Counseling Services Medical Leave Team. Students who wish to reenter the university following a medical leave must contact the Medical Leave Team to initiate reentry no sooner than four weeks or later than two weeks before the start of classes. Within two weeks of receipt of all required documentation, the Medical Leave Team will explain the reentry process, notify the academic program, and make a decision.

More specific procedures and information about the medical leave and reentry, along with the application for leave, can be found through your myNortheastern portal.

Q: How do students withdraw from a course?


Students must withdraw from a course before the semester deadline, which students can find in the academic calendar for the current semester. Students may discuss withdrawing from a course with their academic advisor if they are not sure it is right for them.

Students can drop the course online by:

  • Logging into myNortheastern, clicking on “Self Service” and clicking on the link for Registration;
  • Choosing the correct semester and selecting “Web Drop” under the “Actions” column for the course they wish to drop; and then
  • Clicking on “Submit Changes” to refresh the page and confirm the successful drop of the course.

You must withdraw from the course prior to the posted deadlines:

Please note: Not attending the course does not constitute withdrawal.

Q: How can a student withdraw from the University?


Students who need to take a leave of absence extending beyond six months, or are planning to transfer to another institution, should formally withdraw from the university. This action is not destructive to a student’s record in any way, but is simply a formal request to place the student’s academic record in an inactive status. To formally withdraw from the university, students can log into myNortheastern, click on “Self Service” and click on the link for University Withdrawal Request.

Q: What is the MyPaws/DARS Degree Audit?


The myPAWS (or DARS) Degree Audit is a very useful tool to help students determine their progress in their major. Audits are available in myNortheastern and under the “Self-Service” tab.

Here are some main points to the audit:

Unless students want to run an audit for a minor or a different major, they will not need to alter any of the default settings. Just click on “Submit.”

To run an audit for a major other than the primary major or for a minor, students can click on the “Explore Options” button and then choose the desired major or minor from the list on the resulting page.   Important! – Unless there is reason to do so after consultation with an advisor, students should not change the catalog year from its default setting.   

Each major and core requirement is split into its own section. If there is an “OK” next to a section, the student has completed all of those requirements. If there is a “No” next to a section, there are still requirements that the student needs to complete.

If the student has requirements still to complete, the audit will list potential courses to fulfill that requirement. The course number links to the course description. Students should refer to the Registration Tip Sheet for more information on registration.

Q: Where can students go to take a foreign language placement exam?


Students can take the placement exam for French, German or Spanish online. Students can make special arrangements for any other language placement exam through World Languages Center. That information is on their website.

Q: What is graduation clearance, and how do students complete it?


Graduation clearance is a process that every student must complete in their junior or senior year. This is a separate process from ‘Apply to Graduate.’ It’s recommended that students complete their graduation clearance between two and three academic semesters prior to expected graduation. Students who fail to complete the graduation clearance will not be allowed to graduate and will not receive their degree.

Fortunately, it’s easy to complete! Students can schedule an appointment with their academic advisor to complete the graduation clearance.

Please Note: Senior clearance MUST be done in person. Advisors will not complete it over the phone or over email. Please plan ahead!

Q: What is Academic Probation?


Academic Probation is for when students are not performing academically to the standards set by Northeastern. For further details, read more on our Academic Progression page.

Q: Do students have to use their MyNortheastern email?


A student’s @husky.neu.edu email address is considered an official form of communication.

This is very important, because students who don’t check their @husky.neu.edu email risk missing important announcements from professors, advisors, or any other Northeastern faculty or staff members. “I didn’t know because I didn’t check my MyNortheastern email” isn’t an excuse and won’t undo missed deadlines.  If students don’t check their MyNortheastern email, they can forward it by:

  1. Logging into myNortheastern, and then clicking on the email button at the top; Clicking on the “Settings” tab;
  2. Clicking on “Forwarding and POP/IMAP”;
  3. Entering the email address to where the @husky.neu.edu email should be forwarded to; and
  4. Clicking “OK.”

Q: How do students petition the Academic Standing Committee?


Students should first talk to their academic advisor about the details pertaining to a petition. Once they have done so, students will need to write a petition letter and address it to the Academic Standing Committee. There is no form to fill out for a petition.

Students should give a petition a lot of thought and make sure it’s well written. It’s obvious when a student has neglected to take their petition seriously, and it will negatively affect the decision made by the committee.

An academic petition letter should include:

  • An explanation of  the student’s current situation;
  • An explanation what the student is petitioning for; and
  • An explanation of the student’s justification and reasoning for why the petition should be approved.

Students should submit the finished letter to their academic advisor. The advisor will serve as a liaison with the committee and will contact the student when a decision has been made.

Q: What if I can’t arrive on campus for the start of the semester?


All students should begin classes on time at the start of the semester. According to CSSH policy, under no circumstances can any student begin a given semester after the last day to add a course online. See the academic calendar for details.

Q: What if there is a question not covered in these FAQs?


For questions not covered in the FAQs, contact the Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising at 617.373.3980 or csshadvising@neu.edu.