Jul 13, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Information and Policies

The academic services and policies of Northwest University are overseen by the Provost’s Office and administered through the academic schools and colleges, and various academic services offices. Their goal is to ensure that students obtain and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes described by the academic programs throughout this catalog. These programs balance the high standards established by the University’s faculty and its accrediting associations with the high cost of attending an educational institution. The outcome is an educational experience designed to deliver and verify students’ mastery of the essential elements expected of University graduates in today’s society. This will enable them to fulfill the University’s mission of preparing students for service and leadership. Some services may be customized at a specific location or modality.

Academic Support Offices

Provost’s Office

The Provost’s Office coordinates all academic services. It produces and maintains the academic calendar for the University. It considers all academic petitions and appeals. It also monitors students’ academic progress, including producing academic honor rolls /suspension notifications. The Provost’s Office is located in the Randall K. Barton Building at 11220 NE 53rd on the southeast corner of the campus. 

Registrar’s Office

The Registrar’s Office processes academic course registrations, monitors progress towards program completion, and maintains records of academic achievement. It certifies student enrollment and serves veterans utilizing their educational benefits. It also verifies all courses transferred into the University intended to be applied to students’ degree requirements. The Registrar’s Office is located in the Davis Administrative Center.

Academic Success and Advising

The Jacquelyn F. Randolph Academic Success and Advising Center, located in the Ness Academic Center, helps students achieve their goals while at Northwest University. Academic Success is a valuable referral service, supporting students in their adjustment to college life; helping connect students with tutors; assisting students in obtaining the support they need from various University services; coordinating seminars for academic success; and arranging classroom accommodations for students with disabilities. Academic Success works closely with other departments, such as Residence Life, Campus Ministries, and Counseling/Career Services, to assist students in becoming more effective servants in the church and the world.

In addition to the Office of Academic Success and Advising, each student is assigned a faculty member as an academic advisor. Generally, the faculty member is part of the academic discipline chosen by the student as a major.

With the coordination of the faculty as advisors, the Office of Student Success, Provost, and Student Development services, every student receives intentionally tailored attention to provide the means to achieve identified goals for the glory of God.

Writing Center

The Writing Center, located in the D.V. Hurst Library, is overseen by English faculty and selected tutors to assist students in their research and writing projects. Operated throughout the academic year, students are supported through the many stages of defining the paper, researching the topic, and producing the report. The hours of operation are posted each semester, with the ability to make appointments with the Lab at other times always available.

Academic Computing

The Student Computer Laboratory, strategically located in the Hurst Library, provides students and classes with the most current software and hardware to support their academic program needs. This facility provides network and Internet access to students for academic, professional, and personal research. The computer lab is open 24/7.

Personal computers are an important part of the student’s educational experience. Assistance is provided through the University’s Information Technology department, via their website: http://eagle.northwestu.edu. Assistance is also available by contacting the Help Desk at help@northwestu.edu.  

Institutional Review Board

The Northwest University Institutional Review Board (NU IRB) is a federally regulated committee that directs the care of participants in research affiliated with the University. In particular, the job of the NU IRB is to establish and enforce ethical guidelines to protect participants from harm and to respect their personal dignity, especially those individuals who have limited understanding of the risks of their participation or who have diminished decision-making abilities. Unless exempt, research projects affiliated with Northwest University must be approved by the NU IRB for the duration of the project. See the Institutional Review Board link on the Provost’s Eagle Page for further information.

Failure to adhere to federal laws relating to use of human subject(s) in research or the requirements of the NU IRB constitutes noncompliance. Examples include conducting research outside of NU IRB approval dates, not following NU IRB requirements, or failure to be forthcoming about research projects. Instances of possible noncompliance shall be brought to the NU IRB full committee for discussion and investigation. The NU IRB will conclude one of the following outcomes.

  • The instance does not constitute noncompliance and will be dismissed
  • The instance constitutes noncompliance that can be ameliorated via a Corrective Plan proposed by the primary investigator (PI) and subsequently agreed upon by the NU IRB
  • The instance constitutes noncompliance that is either serious or continuous
  • Serious noncompliance is that which increases risks to participants, intentionally violates policies, or is otherwise deemed serious by the NU IRB.
  • A continuous instance of noncompliance is a pattern of violating the federal laws governing research involving human subjects, or the requirements of the NU IRB, whether intentionally or not.

Consequences of serious or continuous noncompliance will be decided by the University Provost, in conjunction with the IRB committee, associated Academic Dean, and dissertation/thesis committee chair in instances involving student-PIs. Those consequences may include

  • withdrawal of IRB approval
  • modifications to the study protocol
  • increased monitoring of the research project including access to the data where needed
  • suspension or termination of the research project
  • termination of current and future research projects
  • dismissal from the University


The National Institute of Health specifies that the board must have at least five members who represent a variety of backgrounds. In particular federal policy indicates that at least one member of the committee must be a scientist, one member a non-scientist and one member must not be affiliated with the institution in question.


The Hurst Library provides the Northwest University community with collections, services, and spaces that foster the integration of biblical faith with the academic research process. Library collections can be searched from the library website (http://library.northwestu.edu/) and most are available online. 

Collections include substantial electronic journal, ebook, and print book holdings covering all subject areas as well as the Textbook Collection, Children’s and YA Collections, Popular Reading Collection, the Perkins Judaic/Messianic Collection, the Pentecostal Collection, and the NU Archives. 

Library services include research assistance, tutorials, interlibrary loan for books and articles, color printing and scanning, and computer and wireless access. Librarians are available for consultation for any information needs, by email to library@northwestu.edu or through 24/7 chat. 

The NU Library has a physical location on each NU campus. On the Kirkland Campus, the Hurst Library provides a number of study environments including a 24-hour study space, collaborative group and individual study areas, as well as large and small study rooms.  

Academic Policies and Procedures

Academic Honesty

Northwest University has intentionally developed a learning community that includes Academic Honesty as a foundational value and expects honesty from faculty and students in all areas, including academic lives.

Northwest University considers dishonest academic conduct by students to include any activity that allows a student to take an unfair advantage of fellow students. Examples of academic dishonesty by students include the following:

  • Cheating on assignments or examinations.
  • Submitting material that has been prepared by someone else or failure to give full credit to material prepared by someone else (plagiarism). Plagiarism is defined as “using someone else’s ideas or phrasing and representing those ideas or phrasing as our own, either on purpose or through carelessness” (MLA).
  • Arranging for another person to serve as test-taker.
  • Seeking help from another person or source during a test in which collaboration is not permitted.
  • Submitting the same (or essentially the same) paper in more than one course without prior consent of the current assigning professor(s).
  • Making false statements in order to acquire special consideration from an instructor.
  • Sabotaging another student’s work.

Additionally, for faculty, academic dishonesty included unduly altering a student’s grade or awarding points when not earned.

The Academic Honesty policy functions at Northwest University on an honor basis so faculty and staff agree to academic integrity standards upon hire and acknowledge willingness to enforce the policy and report misconduct. Academic dishonesty may result in the student failing the assignment, receiving an “F” in the course, or possibly being dismissed from the University. Instances of academic dishonesty are typically reported to the Provost’s Office. Any student disciplined by a faculty member for alleged academic dishonesty has the right to appeal the disciplinary action. The student should initiate his/her appeal according to procedures outlined in the Northwest University Student Academic Appeals Policy, which is available in the Provost’s Office or the Student Development Office.

Academic Load

A credit hour approximates not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks, or the equivalent amount of coursework via an alternative time or modality.

University instructors assume two hours of outside study for each hour in class. Thus, a student carrying a fifteen-credit academic load has a forty-five hour work week. Students who must continue employment while attending the University should, therefore, reduce their loads to maintain a manageable work week. A student working more than twenty-five hours per week should limit his or her academic load to 13 credits. If the student is working more than 33 hours the academic load should be limited to 10 credits.

Student Category – Undergraduate Students

Full-time 12 or more credits in a semester
Part-time 1-11 credits in a semester
¾-time 9-11 credits in a semester
½-time 6-8 credits in a semester
Less than ½-time 1-5 credits in a semester

Student Category – Graduate Students

Full-time 9 or more credits in a semester
Part-time 1-8 credits in a semester
¾-time 7-8 credits in a semester
½-time 5-6* credits in a semester

 *Exception: graduate students enrolled in their respective graduate program’s thesis or internship course will be considered as registered as a half-time student.

Students must have their advisor’s permission to enroll for more than 18 credits in a semester. (See also tuition schedule for over 18 credits)

Academic Registration

Students register for classes during scheduled registration periods. Late registration is from Monday through Friday of the first week of classes. Students are not permitted to register for credit after Friday of the first week of the semester.

No one will be admitted to classes until his or her registration is completed and approved by the Registrar’s Office and tuition and fees have been paid or satisfactory arrangements have been made with Student Financial Services.

A student who registers for class but decides not to attend must notify the Registrar’s Office in writing before the First Day of Class. This notification will cancel the tuition and related charges. See the section Cancellation of Registration under Financial Information  for more information.

New Student Orientation

Student Orientation Advising and Registration (SOAR) and Orientation Week are scheduled time for on campus sessions and activities to ensure a successful transition to life at Northwest University. SOAR is the preliminary advising, registration, and initial networking and preparation piece for incoming students.

Academic Standing

Freshman: 0-29 semester credits completed satisfactorily
Sophomore: 30-59 semester credits completed satisfactorily
Junior: 60-89 semester credits completed satisfactorily
Senior: 90 + semester credits completed satisfactorily

Adding / Dropping Courses

Students may change their registration through adding or dropping courses either via their PowerCAMPUS Self-Service account or by filing a properly completed Request Registration Change Form in the Registrar’s Office. After the Last Day to Add/Drop Courses, new courses cannot be added and courses cannot be dropped. (See Withdrawing from a Course  for additional details.)

Anti-Plagiarism Software

When academic dishonesty occurs, the teaching-learning process is undermined and students rob themselves of the educational benefit intended by the assignment. To assist students and faculty, Northwest University is utilizing Turnitin.com, an online plagiarism detection service that conducts textual similarity review of submitted papers. When papers are submitted to Turnitin.com, the service will retain a copy of the submitted work in the Turnitin database for the sole purpose of detecting plagiarism in future submitted works. Students retain copyright of their original work.

Auditing Courses

An auditor is a person who wants to sit in a class but not be held responsible for the course work. Enrolled students have space priority over auditing students. Out of courtesy, the auditor will participate in discussions as allowed after consultation with the professor. An audited class requires the prior permission of the professor and is not recorded on the student’s transcript.

Online courses are not available for Audit.

Junior and senior non-music majors are allowed to audit private music lessons for no credit and will be charged the regular Applied Music Lesson fee and the Undergraduate Course Auditing fee. Declared Music Ministry and the Bachelor of Music will also be allowed to audit applied music lessons that are not a requirement for their major.

Graduates of Northwest University are allowed to audit one undergraduate course per year free of tuition.

Fees specific to the class (books, materials, lab fees, etc.) will be the responsibility of the auditor. (See the - Tuition & Fees  page for tuition and fees that may be associated with auditing a course.)

Class Attendance

Classes are conducted with a view to helping students develop in knowledge and character. Student’s attendance is assumed. If absences occur, the student is responsible for work missed. Because classes differ in purpose and character, individual instructors determine their specific requirements in course syllabi. All faculty include their attendance policies, if any, and define absences, tardies, early exits, and the effect that these may have upon grades. Appeals relating to attendance are addressed first to the instructor.

Class absences necessitated by required participation in University-sponsored activities are excused through the Provost’s Office. The faculty or staff member submits a list of students participating, and the Provost’s Office informs instructors of times the students are to be excused.

Undergraduate students in the College of Ministry Five-Year BA/MA program who are enrolled in a graduate course which meets during the same time(s) as an undergraduate course in which they are also enrolled will be allowed excused absence(s) from their undergraduate course. If, however, the undergraduate course class session(s) to be missed include(s) student presentations, exams, or other events of high priority, the student must attend the undergraduate course. In this case, the time taken to attend their undergraduate course will be considered excused absence(s) from their graduate course. In either case, undergraduate students in the Five-Year BA/MA program must communicate their enrollment in conflicting courses to their professors as early as possible during the semester during which the conflict will occur. Furthermore, all assignments in both courses will continue to be due as scheduled.

Limitations on absences impacting a student’s grade due to missed assignments or activities are as follows:

  • If a student is excused from a class through the Provost’s Office, and if the excused absence includes an activity in which participation in the activity affects the grade, the student will be given an opportunity to make up the activity without incurring a grade penalty for the absence. The make-up can occur before or after the missed class, at the discretion of the instructor. The student is solely responsible for making contact with the instructor prior to the absence. This limitation on grade penalties does not apply to activities that are essential to the completion of the class and that cannot be reasonably rescheduled (for example, clinical responsibilities in a Nursing practicum class). If a student does not reach agreement with an instructor on the application of this limitation, appeal may be made according to procedures outlined in the Northwest University Student Academic Appeals Policy which is available in the Provost’s Office and the Provost link on the Eagle website.
  • If an instructor specifies a grade penalty for absences without distinguishing between excused and unexcused absences, the student will be allowed no less than a total of the number of absences required by her or his university-sponsored activities, plus the number of days the class meets in a week.

If a student is absent from all classes for more than two weeks consecutively without contacting the Registrar or Provost to explain the reason for his or her absences, the University has the authority to administratively withdraw the student from all course enrollments and to assign grades of “WZ” to each course.

Accommodations for Religious Holidays

Students enrolled at Northwest University are allowed to request reasonable academic accommodations for conflicts of faith or conscience for recognized religious holidays. Students who anticipate the need for an accommodation should provide advanced written notice well in advance to the faculty member and academic dean. The faculty member should consult with the academic dean in determining appropriate accommodations.

Class Eligibility

Before enrolling in any course the student is responsible to ensure all prerequisite courses or requirements have been fulfilled. In general, freshmen take 1000-level courses, sophomores 2000-level, juniors 3000-level, and seniors 4000-level courses. Students are permitted, however, to take courses below and one level above their academic standing. For example, a sophomore may be allowed to take courses numbered 1xxx - 3xxx. Exceptions to prerequisites or eligibility for a specific course must be approved by the instructor.

Class Schedules

Most classes are scheduled in fifty or seventy-five minute periods. Normally the instructional day begins at 8:00 a.m. and runs until 9:20 p.m. during weekdays. Selected courses may meet on Saturdays. Two chapel services are scheduled each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to accommodate student schedules. The student arranges a schedule according to the requirements of his or her own program. The University reserves the right to cancel any courses for which there is not sufficient registration.

Communication with Faculty and University Offices

The university recognizes two means of official communication with students: email sent to the student’s Northwest University email address and USPS mail sent to the student’s permanent address as recorded with the Registrar’s Office. Students are responsible to read and respond to these messages and to keep their permanent address updated with the Registrar’s Office. The university assumes that students have received all messages sent by these means and acts accordingly.

Courses and Degree Sequencing

Each Catalog year, the Academic Success and Advising department publishes eight-semester plans that outline the courses required for each degree and a suggested sequence for that coursework. Consideration is taken to observe prerequisites and class level for each course. Transfer students should work closely with their Academic Advisor to adjust these sequences to accommodate the courses they have transferred into the University. Semester plans are posted on the Eagle website by catalog year: http://eagle.northwestu.edu/departments/academic-success/sample-page/semester-plans/.

Course Repeats

Students may repeat any course for the purpose of changing a grade. The highest course grade is considered the grade of record as it pertains to credit toward graduation and to the official transcript. Recalculation will be reflected in the semester’s Cumulative GPA. (Grades of W and WZ are not considered completed course grades.)

End of Term Assignments and Final Exams

To ensure that students are able to focus their attention more fully on preparation for their final exam, Northwest University has the following guidelines:

  • During the last three weeks of the semester and during finals week, all written assignments, daily assignments, papers, presentations, projects, exams or quizzes should be due only if they were part of the original course syllabus.
  • To provide students adequate time to prepare, final exams and major unit exams must be given during finals week.
  • Requests for exceptions to this policy must be made by departments to the Academic Affairs Committee. During the last week of classroom instruction every effort should be made by the campus community to minimize assignments and campus activities.

Enrollment Certifications

The Registrar’s Office certifies official enrollment verifications after the Last Day to Add/Drop Courses.

Online Courses

The University offers an increasing number of online courses. Their scheduling falls within the academic term in which they are offered, although more restrictive assignment time frames may be required for specific courses. Due to the unique nature of online courses, their dependence on the student’s learning style and time management skills, and the fact that assignment scheduling may not match the traditional academic calendar:

  • enrollment in online courses requires specific advisor approval, and
  • students are limited to enrolling in one online course per semester. (College of Adult and Professional Studies programs, graduate students, and non-matriculated undergraduate students are exempted from this limitation.)

Special Courses

Periodically, the University offers students the opportunity to register for courses that do not meet in the traditional classroom format. At times, a Special Topic may be offered over a specific area of study to enrich the curriculum. At other times, a student may desire to work with a faculty member through Independent Study in a specific discipline. The Courses of Instruction section lists Special Courses and a brief definition of each. In all cases, a professor will ensure the proper quantity and quality of work assigned and performed. The student’s advisor must approve the registration schedule, including Special Courses. Ultimately, the student is responsible to ensure that all registered courses satisfy specific degree requirements.

Independent Study

All independent studies take place outside of the regular course schedule, involve a more significant amount of self-guided learning than traditional course offerings, and must be arranged in advance in negotiation with a willing instructor.

There are four types of Independent Studies:

A - Independent Studies of an existing catalogued course, initiated by the student and approved by the course instructor and the appropriate Dean. The student will be charged an additional Independent Study fee beyond tuition.

B - Independent Studies that provide an opportunity for students to study a topic not covered in an existing course, initiated by the student and approved by the course instructor and the appropriate Dean. Participating students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. The student will be charged an additional Independent Study fee beyond tuition.

C - Independent Studies that provide an opportunity for students to study a topic not covered in an existing course, initiated by a course instructor and with the approval of the appropriate Dean. Participating students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. The student will not be charged any additional fee beyond tuition.

D - Independent Studies of an existing catalogued course, initiated by the Dean of the College in which the course is offered. The student will not be charged any additional fee beyond tuition.

Summer University

The Summer University semester is designed to provide courses in areas of selected interest for enrichment and acceleration of students’ progress toward graduation. The schedule is designed in a concentrated manner so as to be contained within one- to three-week sessions. From time to time shorter seminars and workshops are scheduled with guest lecturers who have expertise in special topics of current significance or professional value. Summer internship programs and practicums are also registered as part of the summer semester. A current summer course schedule may be obtained from the Registrar’s Office.

The Last Day to Register and Last Day to Add/Drop Courses for Summer University is the end of the second day of classes for that session. Some course assignments, independent studies, practicums and internships may extend through August. The applicable course schedule includes the exact dates.

Withdrawal from a Course

After the Last Day to Add/Drop Courses, students can withdraw from a course during the Course Withdrawal Period which is through the end of the 12th week of classes. In this event, the course remains on their transcript as a permanent part of their academic record, with a permanent grade of “W.” Course withdrawal is not allowed after the Course Withdrawal Period. In the event a student has stopped attending classes in a course, as evidenced by missing over two consecutive weeks of classes without the instructor’s permission, a student may be Administratively Withdrawn from a course. In this event, the course grade will be assigned as a “WZ.”

Withdrawal from an Online Course 

The Course Withdrawal Period for an online course is through the end of the last date of the course. In this event, the course remains on their transcript as a permanent part of their academic record, with a permanent grade of “W”. The student can request a course withdrawal by submitting a properly completed Request Registration Change Form with the Registrar’s Office. Course withdrawal is not allowed after the Course Withdrawal Period. In the event a student has stopped participating in a course over two consecutive weeks without the instructor’s permission, a student may be Administratively Withdrawn from a course. In this event, the course grade will be assigned as a “WZ.”

Withdrawal from the University

Students may withdraw from the University up through 5:00 PM on the Last Day of Classes. Withdrawals from the University (withdrawing from all courses in a semester) may be made by obtaining the proper form from the Registrar’s Office, completing it, securing appropriate signatures, and filing it with the Registrar. If it is impossible to follow this procedure because of illness or emergency, the student must notify the Registrar within one week after leaving the University. The University reserves the right to require a letter of consent of parents or guardians for students less than 21 years of age.

If a student is absent from all classes for more than two weeks consecutively without contacting the Registrar or Provost to explain the reason for his or her absences, the University has the authority to administratively withdraw the student from all course enrollments and to assign grades of “F” to each course. The official withdrawal date for academic purposes will be the last date of class attendance as certified by faculty and verified by the Registrar’s Office. The official withdrawal date for financial obligation purposes will be two weeks after this verified date.

Transfer of Credit into Northwest University

Transfer credits are usually considered during the admissions process, but at times enrolled students augment their schedules with credits from other institutions. All credits transferred into Northwest University after enrollment must be specifically approved to ensure applicability to the student’s degree program by the Registrar’s Office and the Dean of the school or college that offers the course for which the course applies. See the Northwest University Credit Transfer Guide for further details.

The flexibility built into the Core Curriculum helps transfer students utilize as many of their credits as possible. Additionally, transfer students benefit from the following provisions:

  • When transfer students bring in courses that fulfill the Humanities and Social Science requirements, the Writing Practice standards do not apply.
  • Transfer students can fulfill the Humanities requirement by transferring in nine credits from any two of the specified disciplines.
  • Transfer students 20 years of age or older who bring in 47 or more transfer credits may replace UCOR 1053   Life Calling with an elective course.

Nontraditional Sources of Credit

Credits through Testing – Northwest University accepts credits earned through the Advanced Placement Testing Program (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), and the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (D.S.S.T). Recommendations regarding college credit are made by the Registrar.

Language Testing Policy – Students wishing to earn foreign language credit through testing will now do so using ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) exams. Northwest University will accept a total of 12 credits, a maximum of 6 credits earned through OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) or 12 credits earned through WPT (Written Proficiency Test). 3 WPT credits may be applied toward the Core Curriculum Humanities requirement and additional credits count as elective credits. Complete policy and Test links listed on Provost’s website.


Military Credit – Those having had military service may petition the Registrar’s Office for credits based on learning through military experience. Northwest considers the recommendations of the American Council on Education (ACE) in evaluating military-based credits.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Credit – Credit can be requested for learning from experiences that occurred outside of a traditional classroom setting. Students may submit a portfolio documenting such learning. Students are charged a CPL Assessment Fee when they submit a previously completed license or credential for assessment by a Northwest University content expert. Students are charged a PLA Assessment Fee per credit requested, when they submit a portfolio demonstrating their prior learning acquired in a non-academic setting for assessment by a Northwest University content expert. PLA Evaluation is supervised by the Dean of the College of Adult and Professional Studies.

Traditional Sources of Credit

Transfer of Credit from Regionally Accredited Colleges and Universities

Students desiring to transfer to the University from another institution accredited by one of the six regional associations must follow the general instructions for admission and must see that transcripts of previous college work are sent to the Admissions Office. Course work in parallel courses or areas of instruction will be considered for transfer provided that they show a grade of C- or better. (Some majors may have a higher grade requirement for some courses.)

Transfer of Credit from Non-Regionally Accredited Colleges and Universities

Academic work presented from colleges and universities that are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) database but not accredited by one of the six regional associations is subject to the following limitations and guidelines: transfer from all such sources is limited to a total of 30 semester credits;

  • courses are considered on a course-by-course basis;
  • acceptance of such credits is dependent upon the University’s evaluation of the equivalency of course work and level of instruction;
  • all such transfer credit is considered at the time of admission or readmission to the University;
  • transfer credit from such sources must be validated by completion of a minimum of two semesters enrollment and 30 credits at Northwest University with grades of C- or better, and possibly by examination;
  • only evaluations and commitments made in writing by the Registrar’s Office will be considered as being applicable;
  • college-level work considered occupational or remedial is not recognized for transfer; and
  • enrolled students desiring to transfer credits from such institutions must obtain prior written approval from the Dean of the school or college into which the credits are to be transferred.

Alternate Ways to Earn Credit

Credit by Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Students may obtain credit for college-level learning through a variety of ways at Northwest University. The term Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) covers college-level learning that occurs both in and outside of an academic setting. Northwest University follows the standards for assessment of college-level learning as established by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). PLA covers learning documented by the Portfolio process, Certified Prior Learning (CPL) as determined by national accrediting agencies, and credit obtained through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) or the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (D.S.S.T).

  • Portfolio: Students must consult with the College of Adult and Professional Studies to develop a Portfolio that is designed to document the college-level learning they have acquired in a non-academic setting.
  • CLEP/D.S.S.T: Refer to the CLEP/D.S.S.T Equivalency Chart to determine which exams meet Northwest University course requirements. Course Transfer Guide available through:


  • Certified Prior Learning (CPL): Nationally recognized licenses, certificates or on-the-job training may qualify for credit.
  • All credits earned through Portfolio or Certified Prior Learning must be completed prior to earning 60 semester credits. Transfer students entering with 60 or more credits will be allowed one semester apply for PLA credits.

Credit by Advanced Placement (AP)

Students who have completed college-level studies in high school under the Advanced Placement Program may be granted credit in comparable college courses upon enrollment. Official Advanced Placement exam results should be sent to the Registrar’s Office for evaluation.

Credit by CLEP and D.S.S.T

Students may utilize the CPL process and apply credit from CLEP (College Level Examination Program) and D.S.S.T (DANTES Subject Standardized Tests) to their degree requirements. Students may transfer, upon admission to the University, the CLEP general examinations in the humanities, mathematics, sciences and social sciences. Students who believe they have advanced levels of knowledge equivalent to course offerings may contact the Registrar’s Office for details concerning these tests. Not more than a total of 30 credits of PLA, ACE (American Council on Education), IB, AP, military, CPL, portfolio, CLEP and D.S.S.T can be applied to any degree. All credits earned through CLEP and D.S.S.T must be completed prior to earning 60 semester credits. Transfer students entering with 60 or more credits will be allowed one semester to earn CLEP and D.S.S.T credits.

For Veterans and Active Duty Military, Northwest University will waive the 30 credit limit on PLA, ACE, IB, AP, military, CPL, portfolio, CLEP and D.S.S.T that can be applied to any degree.

Any veteran receiving GI Bill® benefits while attending Northwest University is required to obtain transcripts from all previously attended schools and submit them to the school for review of prior credit.

Other Standardized Proficiency Examinations

Standardized tests which can be used to show proficiency in areas that are not covered by AP, CLEP, and D.S.S.T may be available.

Departmental Exams

A formally admitted student may challenge certain university courses by examination without actually registering in the courses. The student is allowed only one opportunity to qualify for credit by examination in any given course. Credit by examination may not be counted toward the satisfaction of the residence requirement. Special fees are charged.

Continuing Education Unit (CEU)

The University awards the Continuing Education Unit to adults who participate in noncredit continuing education activities administered by the University. CEUs are not to be equated with the University credits applicable toward a degree. One CEU is equal to ten contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience. CEU credit is placed on the National Registry for Continuing Education and is useful where they may be prescribed by employment or professional training requirements.

Grading and Grade Point Averages

Grade Points

Northwest University desires to provide students with an honest evaluation of their performance, not only in relation to other students in a particular course, but also in relation to the academic standards generally expected at institutions of higher education. To that end, and especially as a Christian university, we approach grading with a focus on the values of integrity, truth-telling, and respect. In the assigning of grades, these values apply not only to the relationship of the faculty member to the individual student, but also to the relationship of Northwest University to larger communities – social, regulatory, business, religious, and academic. Consequently, Northwest University seeks to uphold a grading system that carefully differentiates and provides an honest assessment of student performance, recognizes truly exceptional achievement, and maintains University credibility.

Grade Point Average

A student’s grade point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned during a given period by the number of credits for which the student was enrolled and received a regular grade during the same period. GPAs are based exclusively on courses taken at Northwest University. Students’ semester grade point average (SGPA) and cumulative grade point average (CGPA) are calculated and reported each semester. For example:

1st Semester:
  15 credits attempted
  47 grade points earned
  SGPA = 3.133 (47/15 = 3.133)
  CGPA = 3.133 (47/15 = 3.133)
2nd Semester:
  17 credits attempted
  50 grade points earned
  SGPA = 2.941 (50/17 = 2.941)
  CGPA = 3.031 (97/32 = 3.031)
3rd Semester:
  17 credits attempted
  65 grade points earned
  SGPA = 3.824 (65 / 17 = 3.824)
  CGPA = 3.306 (162 / 49 = 3.306)

Academic Progress

Entering students who do not meet all requirements for regular standing are admitted with Success Standing. Continuing students will receive an Academic Warning from the office of the Provost if their cumulative grade point average falls below 2.0. and/or they have not maintained satisfactory academic progress by completing 67% of credits attempted.

Academic Warning is not intended to be a punitive measure but to inform and provide opportunity for improvement. In order to ensure their concentration upon academic work during the Academic Warning period, students are restricted in their academic loads (no more than twelve hours plus P.E. activity), are restricted in their participation in certain University activities, and may be restricted in their work loads. To aid them in reaching their potential, they may be required to attend special classes or counseling sessions.

Academic Suspension

Every June, students whose cumulative grade point average and satisfactory academic progress is below the stated levels are placed on Academic Suspension and may not continue enrollment.  Students may appeal their suspension. If the appeal is approved, the student may continue enrollment on Academic Probation. If denied, the student is dismissed from the University.

Appeals for reinstatement after academic dismissal may be directed to the Provost. Normally, at least one semester must elapse after disqualification before students will be considered for reinstatement, during which time they should have reevaluated their educational plans or taken steps to improve their scholastic skills through study at another institution. Dismissed students may also petition for permission to enroll as a Non-Degree Seeking Student to take selected courses for personal benefit.

Veteran’s Benefit - Standards of Progress

Students certified to receive veteran benefits will be placed on probation and reported to the VA whenever their Cumulative Grade point Averages fall below 2.000.

Failure for students to achieve the minimum cumulative CGPA as indicated above after two consecutive terms on probation will have their veteran benefits interrupted.

Eligibility for Special Groups and Student Leadership

All participants of special groups (e.g. varsity athletics, traveling choirs, speech teams) and student leadership must maintain a 2.00 GPA to qualify for membership in the group. In addition, the University reserves the right to establish minimum credit loads each semester for these students.

Students who desire to enroll in 17 or more credits in a semester must carry a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA, and have transferred in 60 credits or completed two semesters at NU as a full-time student.

Course Repeats

Students may repeat any course for the purpose of changing a grade. The highest completed course grade is considered the grade of record as it pertains to credit toward graduation and to the official transcript. Recalculation will be reflected in the semester’s Cumulative GPA. (Grades of W and WZ are not considered completed course grades.)

Incomplete Grades

A student may request an Incomplete Grade for reasons of illness or emergency. A written request for an Incomplete must be submitted to and approved by the professor of the course before the end of the course. The Incomplete must be completed by the end of the fourth week of the following course session. In the interim time period, the grade of “I/Grade Default” will be posted on the student’s transcript. At the conclusion of the four week time period, the incomplete grade will be updated by the professor or convert to the current grade reported by the professor.

Grade Reports

Grade reports are available via the University’s website following the close of each semester. Printed Grade reports can be provided by the Registrar’s Office upon written request.

Awards and Honors

Students who earn a current grade point average of 3.5 or better, while carrying twelve credits or more of courses that affect grade point average (i.e., non-pass/no credit courses), are placed on the Dean’s List, which is published at the conclusion of each semester. Full-time students with a current grade point average of 3.3 to 3.499 are placed on the Honors List.

The Awards and Honors Convocation program regularly includes the following awards:

Student Life Awards – Awards are made to one male and one female student whose life and influence are deemed exemplary.

Academic Honors by Classes – Awards are made to the non-graduating freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior with the highest cumulative grade point averages. Transfer students constitute their own class. Only grades earned at Northwest University are computed. The grades from at least two semesters as a full-time student must be available for consideration. For First Time Freshmen or transfer students current full-time enrollment in a second semester is required. A hardware award goes to the top qualifier, and all students above 3.8 receive certificates. No awards are made for averages below 3.0.

Departmental Honors – In those departments which offer majors, a hardware award is presented to the graduating major (or minor if there is no qualifying major) with the highest grade point average on all work done in the major department. At least half of the work must have been done at Northwest University. No awards are made for averages below 3.0.

Graduation Honors – Awards are made to the Baccalaureate degree graduate who have the highest grade point averages on all Northwest University work done toward graduation. Highest qualifiers automatically receive the awards regardless of other honors received.

Special Recognitions – Special awards are presented to students as conferred by Societies such as the American Bible Society. Criteria and procedures for honoring students are outlined in the Faculty Manual.

Who’s Who at Northwest University – Selected students from the junior and senior classes are nominated by the faculty for inclusion in this institutional honor society each year. Selections are based on character, leadership, and academic record.

Conferring of Scholarships – University awarded scholarships are presented to the recipients at the Convocation.

Grade Quality of Performance

Grade Explanation Grade Points  
A   4.0  
  Superior performance in all aspects of the course with work exemplifying the highest quality-Unquestionably prepared for subsequent courses in field.  
 A-   3.7  
  Superior performance in most aspects of the course; high quality work in the remainder-Unquestionably prepared for subsequent courses in field.  
  B+   3.3  
  High quality performance in all or most aspects of the course-Very good chance of success in subsequent courses in field.  
B   3.0  
  High quality performance in some of the course; satisfactory performance in the remainder-Good chance of success in subsequent courses in field.  
 B-   2.7  
  Satisfactory performance in the course-Evidence of sufficient learning to succeed in subsequent courses in field.  
  C+   2.3  
  Satisfactory performance in most of the course, with the remainder being somewhat substandard-Evidence of sufficient learning to succeed in subsequent courses in field with effort.  
C   2.0  
  Evidence of some learning but generally marginal performance-Marginal chance of success in subsequent courses in field.  
 C-   1.7  
  Minimal learning and substandard performance throughout the course-Doubtful chance of success in subsequent courses.  
   D+   1.3  
  Minimal learning and low quality performance throughout the course-Doubtful chance of success in subsequent courses.  
 D   1.0  
  Very minimal learning and very low quality performance in all aspects of the course-Highly doubtful chance of success in subsequent courses in field.  
   D-   0.7  
  Little evidence of learning-Poor performance in all aspects of the course-Almost totally unprepared for subsequent courses in field.  
  F   0.0  
  Failure to meet requirements of the course-Unprepared for subsequent courses in field.  
I/*(grade default)   N/A  
  Incomplete coursework/*grade default, if the incomplete coursework is not resolved the approved timeframe, the Incomplete will revert to the recorded grade default  
    NC   N/A  
  No Credit, C- or lower grade  
  P   N/A  
  Pass C or better grade  
  R   N/A  
  Repeated Course  
  S   N/A  
   W   N/A  
  Withdrawal from course  
     WZ   N/A  
  Administrative Withdrawal for non-attendance  
   Z   N/A  
  Grade Unavailable (temporary grade assigned while final grade is being clarified)  


Graduation Requirements

Credit Hours. Candidates must complete the minimum total credit hours for the degree or certificate in which they are enrolled.

Grade Point Average. Candidates must achieve a minimum 2.00 Cumulative GPA on all courses taken at Northwest University unless the student’s specific program has higher requirements.

Residency. Residency refers to course work completed from Northwest University. The following are required:

  • 25% of the minimum total credit hours for the degree or certificate;
  • 25% of program or major requirements;
  • the final semester of course work must be completed from Northwest University; (Veterans and active duty military are exempt from this requirement)

Degree/Certificate Requirements

  • All requirements for the degree or certification must be completed on or before the official day of graduation within that semester.
  • Incomplete courses do not apply toward graduation until they are completed. Candidates who receive an incomplete grade in a course required for graduation will have their graduation application reclassified to the next semester or the semester in which the work and final grade are submitted.
  • The catalog requirements in effect during the semester in which the student first enrolled are applicable, provided graduation is within six years from the end of that semester. (The summer semester may count as a part of the semester before or after it.) However, a student may graduate under the requirements of the current catalog. It is expected that the requirements of the catalog chosen will be followed as a whole.

Credit Limitations

  • 30 credits of non-traditional credits, including Portfolio, CPL, ACE, AP, IB, military, CLEP, and D.S.S.T. (Veterans and active duty military are exempt from this requirement)
  • 12 credits (Bachelor degree) or 8 credits (Associate degree) of ensemble music.
  • 4 credits of physical education activity.
  • 4 credits of UNIV 3561 Student Development Training.
  • 3 credits of ENGL 271x Student Media: Visual Journalism
  • 3 credits of ENGL 272x Student Media: Interpretive Journalism
  • Students may earn additional majors from a different college, or within the College of Arts and Sciences from a different department, as long as they satisfy the requirements for each major.

Good Standing. Candidates must be in good standing the University as of the date of their graduation.

Financial. Candidates must have all accounts with the University paid in full to receive a diploma and official transcripts verifying graduation.

Second Bachelor Degree. Northwest University will grant a second Bachelor degree only if the student’s second degree is substantially different from the first Bachelor degree. The second degree will:

  • require a minimum of 30 additional semester hours from Northwest University;
  • include all courses required for the major;

Student Responsibility

While the University provides advising services to its students through the Academic Success and Advising Office, faculty advisors, the Registrar’s Office, and other sources, the final responsibility shall rest with the student for fulfilling all requirements for graduation, including those identified in an official program audit. This includes requirements resulting from program modifications affecting course offerings as may be adopted by action of the faculty.

When an undergraduate student reaches 75 earned credits, the Registrar’s Office will complete a degree audit and communicate the results with the student and advisor. 

Residency Requirements

25% of the minimum total credit hours must be completed from Northwest University for every degree earned, and the final semester of work before graduation must be taken from Northwest University irrespective of the amount of previous work completed at Northwest University. 25% of the program or major requirements must be completed in residence at Northwest University.

A student registered at Northwest University may not receive credit for a concurrent enrollment at another institution without approval. Students interrupting their programs at the University may, upon returning, graduate under the requirements of the catalog in effect during the semester in which they first enrolled, provided graduation is within six years from the end of that semester. (The summer semester may count as a part of the semester before or after it.) However, a student may graduate under the requirements of the current catalog. It is expected that the requirements of the catalog chosen will be followed as a whole.

Graduation Procedures

Graduation Application and Deadline. A Graduation Application should be submitted to the Registrar’s Office the semester prior to the semester of graduation and no later than the end of the first week of the semester in which they plan to graduate. The application will  alert the Registrar’s Office for a final degree review, the expected commencement ceremonies, and name desired for the diploma.

Graduation Fee. Students earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, who are deemed by the Registrar’s Office as on target for graduation, will be assessed a fixed, nonrefundable Graduation Fee at the beginning of the semester of expected graduation. 

  • Associate Degrees and Certificates. Applicants for graduation with an associate degree or certificate are not assessed a graduation fee. However, associate degree graduates have the option of paying the graduation fee and participating in commencement activities.

Commencement Participation. All eligible applicants for graduation must submit their Intent to Participate form six weeks prior to commencement ceremonies. Participation is restricted to the academic year of the awarded degree. No person will be presented for the public graduation ceremonies who has not been certified by the respective college officers as having satisfied each of the foregoing requirements. Exceptions can be made for pre-enrolled summer school students who will complete their requirements in the summer school session. Exceptions can also be made for those cross-enrolled in another institution in an approved enrollment where the terminus point overlaps that of the University.

Course Completion. It is the responsibility of the student to satisfactorily complete all course work and grade point average requirements as specified in the applicable academic catalog.

Course Completion Deadlines. Degrees are conferred each semester (including summer session). The deadlines for completion of all work in order to have the degree conferred are listed below. Since the awarding of a degree certifies that the student has met all requirements, students who do not complete all course work by these deadlines will be reclassified as graduating the next semester or the semester in which the work was completed, providing all course work is submitted by that semester’s deadline.

  • For fall – the last day of final exams in December
  • For spring – the commencement date in May
  • For summer – the last day of term in August

Automatic Awarding of Degrees

Students who discontinue enrollment at Northwest University may be automatically awarded the highest degree or certificate they have completed. The process for an automatically awarded degree or certificate includes:

  • Graduates must complete the minimum total credit hours and residency requirements for the degree or certificate awarded with a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Graduation application and fee are not required.
  • Graduate is not eligible to participate in the commencement ceremonies.
  • The degree or certificate will be posted on the graduate’s transcript.
  • A printing fee will be charged if the graduate wishes to receive a printed diploma and cover.

Graduation Honors

Students graduating with a bachelor’s degree are eligible for the following honors:

Cum Laude – Students who have maintained a 3.500 to 3.699 grade point average in all their Northwest University course work

Magna Cum Laude – Students who have an average of 3.700 to 3.899 grade point average in all their Northwest University course work

Summa Cum Laude – Students who have achieved an average of 3.900 to 4.000 in all their Northwest University course work

Delta Mu Delta – Delta Mu Delta was founded by the Dean from Harvard University and four professors from Yale University and New Your University in November, 1913. Delta Mu Delta establish an affiliation with the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, ACBSP in 1992 and is the International Honor Society for business programs accredited by ACBSP at the baccalaureate, graduate and doctoral levels. To qualify for this honor society, a student has to be in the top 20% of his or her academic class of business students.

Nu Upsilon – Nu Upsilon is a chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society for Adult and Non-traditional students.

Pi Sigma Alpha – Pi Sigma Alpha is the National Political Science Honor Society and seeks to promote excellence in the study of political science through a variety of programs for student members and local chapters.

Psi Chi – Psi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology, founded in 1929 at Yale University. The purpose of Psi Chi is to encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in scholarship.

Sigma Chi Pi – Sigma Chi Pi is an honor society established for graduates of endorsed Assemblies of God colleges. The faculty chooses their selections from graduates and alumni.

Sigma Tau Delta – Alpha Lambda Kappa is a chapter of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society and confers distinction upon students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies.

Sigma Theta Tau International – Sigma Theta Tau International is the Honor Society of Nurisng advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Founded in 1922 at Indiana University School of Nursing, students must rank in the top 35% of the graduating class and meet the expectation of academic integrity.

Student Records


An official copy of a student’s academic record at Northwest University that bears the official seal of the University and the signature of the Registrar is referred to as a transcript. Requests for transcripts may be made online through National Student Clearinghouse or by submitting a completed Transcript Request form in the Registrar’s Office. Transcript request must be accompanied by the student’s signature and a $10.00 fee for each copy. Phone orders for transcripts cannot be accepted.

NOTE: If a student is delinquent (as determined by the Promissory Note) in his/her Federal Perkins Student Loan or NDSL payment, he or she will not be eligible to receive deferment, cancellation provisions, nor will academic transcripts be released.

Since the Registrar can only verify the authenticity of course work earned at Northwest University, transcripts entrusted to the University from other institutions cannot be duplicated and given to the student or other external individuals without the expressed written permission of the institution and the student.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

FERPA specifies rights and privileges regarding student records. The written institutional policy adopted by Northwest University in compliance with FERPA is available from the Registrar’s Office. Annual notice regarding FERPA rights is provided in the University’s Student Handbook and Catalog. In accordance with FERPA, you are notified of the following:

Right to Inspect. You have the right to review and inspect substantially all of your education records maintained by or at this institution.

Right to Prevent Disclosures. You have the right to prevent disclosure of education records to third parties with certain limited exceptions. It is the intent of this institution to limit the disclosure of information contained in your education records to those instances when prior written consent has been given to the disclosure, as an item of directory information of which you have not refused to permit disclosure, or under the provisions of FERPA which allow disclosure without prior written consent.

Right to Request Amendment. You have the right to seek to have corrected any parts of an education record which you believe to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of your rights. This right includes the right to a hearing to present evidence that the record should be changed if this institution decides not to alter the education records according to your request.

Right to File a Complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. You have the right to file a complaint with the Family Policy and Regulations Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C., 20202, concerning this institution’s failure to comply with FERPA.

Right to Obtain Policy. You have the right to obtain a copy of the written policy adopted by this institution in compliance with FERPA. A copy may be obtained in person or by mail from: Northwest University, Registrar’s Office, and P.O. Box 579, Kirkland, Washington, 98083.