Dismiss Message

Catalog Assignment & Restrictions

Students are assigned to the catalog that is active at the time of their first entry into Northland College. Students entering in the fall of a new catalog cycle are assigned to the new catalog. For example, a student entering in September of 2015 is assigned to the 2015-16 catalog, not the 2014-15 catalog. Students entering in the winter are assigned to the same catalog as those entering in the previous fall.

Students wishing to declare a major or minor in a catalog newer than the one to which they are assigned must complete a Catalog Change form, obtain the signature of his or her advisor, and submit the form to the Registrar Department. Once a student is assigned to a new catalog, all rules and policies in the newer catalog go into effect for that student. Students are not allowed to move backward into a catalog older than the one to which they were originally assigned.

Students are not allowed to declare one major in one catalog and another major in another catalog. For example, a student cannot declare a biology major in the Fall 2013-2014 catalog and a business major in the 2011-2012 catalog.

Students who leave Northland are allowed to return to Northland under their original catalog provided they return to Northland within four semesters or two years. Students who are gone for more than four semesters must reenter Northland under the catalog in place at the time of reentry. For this policy, “semesters” are defined as the 15-week time frame associated with fall or winter semesters at Northland College, and spring term or the summer school term are not counted.

Students who left Northland after the winter semester of the 2010-11 academic year and who subsequently return to Northland will not be allowed to reenter Northland under any catalog prior fall of 2009, regardless of the timeline under which the student returns.

Student Classification & Class Standing

Students are classified at Northland as either full-time or part-time students. A full-time student is a student whose course load totals 12 or more credits during the fall and winter semesters. A part-time student is a student whose course load totals fewer than 12 credits during the fall and winter semesters.

The class standing of students is calculated using the following formula:

  • freshmen until they have earned 26 credits
  • sophomores when they have earned 27 to 57 credits
  • juniors when they have earned 58 to 89 credits
  • seniors when they have earned 90 or more credits

Majors & Minors

Declaring Majors & Minors

Students are expected to declare a major field, or fields, of study by the end of their sophomore year. To assist students who arrive at Northland College undecided about their major field of study, the College offers academic advising and career counseling to help those students identify an appropriate major to support their interests and goals.

Students wishing to declare more than two majors, minors, or concentrations must secure approval from the associate dean of academic affairs.

Minors are optional except for elementary education or broad field education majors. Northland students may complete a minor, or minors, in regular or directed studies programs.

Double Counting Courses in Majors & Minors

Courses used to fulfill General Education curricula requirements may also be used to fulfill requirements for major or minor fields of study, but no course may be used more than once to fulfill requirements within a major or minor.

Course Substitutions

Students may request a course substitution to fulfill a major or minor requirement identified in the College catalog when one or more of the following conditions apply:

Transfer Equivalency
Upon further review of an initial transfer evaluation, a department chair may propose to change an equivalency or to accept a transfer course in lieu of the current requirement.

  • Course Cancelled and Replacement Non-Specified
    Substitutions may become necessary when a course is cancelled.
  • Time Conflict
    Sometimes time conflicts occur and courses cannot be arranged or taken in a subsequent session;
  • Teacher Education Program Requirements
    The Education Department Chair may substitute all elementary education requirements, all secondary education licensure requirements (not including courses within teaching majors/minors), and the General Education curriculum courses specified for teacher education majors to fulfill breadth requirements.

Substitutions will not be allowed for any other reason.

To request a course substitution, students must complete a Substitution Form, secure approvals specified on the form, and submit the form to the Registrar’s Office.

Under rare and unusual circumstances, an appropriate substitution may not be available. When this occurs, students may seek a requirement waiver by petitioning the Academic Standings Committee.


Building relationships with faculty and staff are among the most important experiences in a student’s college education. In recognition of this, all full-time faculty and selected staff members serve as academic advisors to Northland College students.

Prior to a new student’s arrival on campus, the Office of Student Life works with academic advisors to register incoming students. This process begins after a student has been accepted to the College and has paid the enrollment deposit.

During the first year, students are assigned to an academic advisor based on their anticipated major, their schedule of courses, or their interests. Northland College takes great care in choosing the student’s first academic advisor. New students meet with their academic advisor during Orientation. After the first year, students may change advisors as their interests and needs evolve.

Advising is an ongoing process of helping the student clarify and evaluate academic plans and goals. Advisors assist students with course selection each semester, creating and updating their four-year academic plan. Advisors also share information about potential pre-professional experiences such as internships, special training, certifications, and research opportunities.

Questions about academic advising may be directed to the Office of Student Life at studentlife@northland.edu.


Students are notified via their Northland email account two weeks prior to the opening of online registration. This allows students to meet with their advisors to prepare a schedule for the upcoming term and to be granted registration clearance.

Add/Drop & Withdraw from Courses

Students wishing to add one or more courses after a term begins must complete an Add/Drop Form, available from the Registrar’s Office, and secure a signature of approval from the instructor of the course they wish to add. Courses will not be added to the student’s schedule until the completed forms are received by the Registrar’s Office.

Students may drop courses until the end of the add/drop period each term. Drops submitted up to and including the second Friday of the fall or winter sessions or the first Wednesday of the spring session will be removed from the transcript. Students who drop a course after these dates will receive a “W” (Withdrawn) for the course. Students who withdraw from a course later than the second Friday after mid-session of the fall or winter session, or later than the second Monday of the spring session, will receive an “F” for the course. Exceptions to this policy will only be allowed in unusual circumstances by petitioning the Academic Standings Committee.

Petitions for late add/drop of courses approved by the Academic Standings Committee after the add/drop period will be charged a late add/drop fee.

Administrative Drop Policy
Students who register prior to the first day of class but who miss the first two meetings of a 50-minute class or the first meeting of a class that meets for 75 minutes or longer may have their registration cancelled by the instructor of the course. Instructor-initiated drops must be received in the Registrar’s Office by Wednesday of the second week of the fall and winter sessions; this policy does not apply to the spring session.

If extenuating circumstances prevent a student from attending the first meetings of a class, the student must contact the instructor or the Registrar’s Office prior to the first class meeting to make alternative arrangements and to confirm registration in the course.

Holds & Registration Clearance

Students with academic or financial holds on their accounts will not be allowed to register. To clear a hold from their account, students should contact the Registrar’s Office to resolve academic holds and the Business Office to resolve financial holds.

Prior to registration each semester, students must also be cleared for registration by their academic advisor. Students should contact and arrange to meet with their advisor prior to the beginning of registration each semester.

Course Load Expectations & Limits

Normal course loads at Northland College are 12 to 17 credits for the fall and winter semesters and 3 to 5 credits in the spring term.

Overload charges apply for students taking more than 17 credits in the fall and winter semesters or more than 5 credits in the spring term. Students taking 20 credits or more in a single term (6 or more credits in May term) must obtain approval from the associate dean of academic affairs prior to the beginning of the term.

Special Student Registration

Special (non-matriculating) students are individuals who are taking classes but not pursuing a bachelor of arts or science degree at Northland College. These students may be fulfilling degree requirements for another institution, attending for personal enrichment or career advancement, or having already completed a degree at Northland College, be returning to complete an additional major, minor, concentration, or emphasis. Students who are non-degree seeking are not eligible for federal or state aid.

A non-matriculating student wishing to register for five or fewer credits must complete the Special Student Registration Form. That form is then submitted to the Registrar’s Office with payment. A non-matriculating student wishing to register for six or more credits must go through the Admissions Office prior to registration.

Students who wish to enroll in a program and work toward a degree must go through the admissions process and will become matriculating students prior to registration.

Auditing Courses

With instructor approval, students may choose to audit courses, with the exception of art and music studio courses, which may not be audited. When students audit a course, they are not required to complete regular assignments for the course. Audited courses appear on a student’s transcript with a grade of AU.

If students wish to change their status in a course to auditing, or vice versa, this change may be made during the add/drop period of each session using either a Special Student Registration Form or an Add/Drop Form, depending on the nature of the change.

Instructor Consent Courses

Students who wish to enroll in courses requiring instructor consent must meet with the instructor prior to registration, secure the instructor’s signature of approval on an Add/Drop form, and submit the form to the Registrar’s Office.

Academic Integrity Statement & Policy

The Northland College faculty value academic integrity as a guiding principle for the intellectual inquiry, research, discussion, and writing that are central to the academic program of the College.

When faculty and students participate in these activities, or when students are completing assignments, quizzes, or exams, they are expected to act with honesty and to acknowledge when they have incorporated into their own work the ideas, information, or language of others. Failure to make these acknowledgments in an appropriate manner is a violation of academic integrity.

Students are responsible for understanding and using appropriate forms of acknowledgment and documentation in their academic work at the College as well as for completing assignments, quizzes, and exams with integrity. When they fail to do so, individual faculty members may penalize students in a manner consistent with policies outlined in their syllabi. These penalties may include, but are not limited to, failure of an assignment or a course.

In addition, faculty are required to notify the Dean of the Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs about all documented violations of academic integrity. Records of these violations are maintained in confidential files by the Office of Academic Affairs and are correlated to identify individuals with multiple or particularly severe violations. These records are also reviewed by the Director of Teacher Education to assure continued eligibility for teacher licensure.

When the severity or quantity of an individual’s academic integrity violations warrant, the Dean of the Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs may request that the Academic Standings Committee review an individual’s records. If the Committee determines that the severity or number of violations warrants action, the Committee may act independently of course instructors to penalize a student. These penalties may include placing a student on academic probation, suspending a student, or dismissing a student from the College.

If a student believes that s/he has been wrongly accused of violating academic integrity, the student may request that an ad-hoc review panel be convened by the Dean of the Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Requests for an ad hoc review must be made within ten business days of the accusation.

The ad hoc review panel is chaired by the Dean, and must include two faculty members and two students selected by the Dean in consultation with the President of the Northland College Student Association. Once convened, the panel will determine how to proceed with an investigation of the violation in question and will establish a timeline for its completion. The outcome of the investigation will be communicated in writing to the student and faculty member(s) involved and will guide the Dean in a final decision about the case.


Grading System

Grade GPA Description
A 4.0 Excellent
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0 Good
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0 Average
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0 Below Average
F 0.0
Grade Description
*AU Audit
*I Incomplete
*IP In Progress
*NG No Grade Required
*NR Not Reported
*S Satisfactory
*TR Transfer Credit
*U Unsatisfactory
*W Withdrawal

*Not included in GPA

Grading Options—Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grades

Students classified as sophomores, juniors, or seniors who have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher may take up to four courses on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis under the following conditions:

  • only one course may be taken S/U per session (courses graded S/U for all students are excluded from this count);
  • no course required for the General Education curricula, for teacher licensure, or for a student’s major or minor field of study (except internships and field experiences) can be taken S/U;
  • a student must satisfy all prerequisites to take a course S/U;
  • a student must inform the Registrar’s Office of his or her intent to take a course S/U within the add/drop period of the term.
  • when grades are reported, the Registrar’s Office will record an S if a student earns a letter grade of C- or higher or a U for a course in which the student earned a D+ or lower;
  • the Registrar’s Office will not report to any instructor the names of students who are registered in a course on an S/U basis nor will the student be required to do so.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grades do not affect a student’s grade point average. In addition, if a course is offered only S/U for all students, it will not be counted as one of the four courses allowed.

Incomplete Grades

A grade of “I” (Incomplete) may be given to students who have nearly completed a course satisfactorily and then, because of an illness or an unusual and substantiated cause beyond the students’ control, have been unable to take or complete the final examination or to complete some limited amount of work. An Incomplete is not given for unsatisfactory work, nor is it given if students miss a final examination without sufficient cause. Incompletes will remain on a student’s transcript unless the work is completed within the following six months.

Repeating Courses

Any course may be repeated unless otherwise noted. The credit and grade earned in the course most recently taken will be used to calculate a student’s accumulated credits and the cumulative grade point average. The previously earned grade will still appear on the transcript even though it no longer is calculated in the GPA or accumulated credit totals. Some courses may be repeated for duplicate (or more) credit and are noted as such.

Grade Appeals

Grading is the prerogative of instructors, and they are the only people who can change a grade. It is incumbent on instructors to establish the criteria for grading in the syllabus that is distributed at the beginning of the session. All grades are to be based on established grading criteria.

After grades have been reported, a grade change is permitted only for reassessment of work previously evaluated or for correction of a calculating or reporting error. Grade changes are not permitted for work submitted late. In addition, students may not do extra work to raise their grades after a final grade has been reported.

If a student feels that a grade has been calculated incorrectly or has been assigned in a prejudiced or capricious manner, the student must attempt to discuss the matter with the instructor. If the instructor concludes that a grade change is appropriate, the instructor must complete a Grade Change Form and state whether the grade change is justified by reassessment of work previously evaluated or by a calculating or reporting error. These grade changes must subsequently be approved by the Registrar or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within in 60 days from the start of the following session.

If discussion between the instructor and student cannot resolve a student’s concern about a grade, the student may appeal to the appropriate Department Chair. In the unusual circumstance that resolution does not occur at the instructor or department level, the student may appeal to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who will attempt to reconcile the matter.

Academic Standing

Northland College expects students to maintain satisfactory academic standing. At the end of the fall and winter terms, grade point averages are calculated and academic standings are determined. Students are notified in the event their academic standing falls below the level of Good Standing as defined below. Academic standing takes into account the career grade point average (GPA) as well as the term GPA. Incomplete grades may prevent the Registrar’s Office from determining an accurate academic standing.

Good Standing:  Career and term GPA is 2.0 or higher.

A student at the level of Good Standing is considered to be in satisfactory academic standing.

Academic Caution:  A student with a career GPA of 2.0 or higher but with a term GPA less than 2.0 but equal to or higher than 1.0.

Students receive a caution email that suggests interventions to improve academic performance and notifies students that they will be placed on academic supervision if they have term GPA’s below 2.0 for two consecutive terms.

Academic Supervision:  Students in the following categories:

  • on Academic Caution and earn a term GPA of less than 2.0;
  • career GPA of 2.0 or higher and a term GPA less than 1.0;
  • first-time Northland students with a career and term GPA less than 2.0 but equal to or higher than 1.0;
  • progressing successfully through a plan to improve their career GPA, but are not yet in good standing;
  • have successfully appealed their suspension or successfully petitioned for reinstatement.

Students receive notification via email and a letter sent to their home address.  Students on academic supervision have conditions or restrictions placed on their continued enrollment.  While there may be additional conditions, every student on supervision will be required to:

  • establish a plan of action with the assistance of an academic advisor to ensure improvement of their academic performance;
  • meet with the student support services on campus for improving academic performance.

To be eligible for continued enrollment, students must earn a 2.0 or higher GPA during the subsequent fall or winter term and meet any other conditions identified by the Academic Standings Committee.

Suspension:  Students who fail to meet the conditions required while on Academic Supervision or have a career GPA less than 2.0 and a term GPA less than 1.0.

Students receive notification via email, a letter sent to their home address, and a copy of the letter placed in their Northland mailbox. A student who is suspended may appeal that suspension if there were serious mitigating circumstances that affected his/her academic performance. This appeal must be filed with the Registrar immediately for consideration by the Academic Standings Committee.  If the appeal is granted, the student is placed on Academic Supervision and allowed to continue his/her enrollment.

All other suspended students may not enroll for at least one fall or one winter/spring term.  Academic Suspension is noted on the student’s official transcript. Suspended students who wish to enroll at Northland must petition for reinstatement.  In their petition, students must document their ability to achieve satisfactory academic performance in order to be reinstated.  Students may take approved courses at another regionally accredited institution and earn a minimum GPA of 2.0.* Alternatively, students can provide other evidence to demonstrate their ability to be successful if reinstated.  A student who successfully petitions for reinstatement is placed on Academic Supervision.  If the petition for reinstatement is denied, the student cannot enroll at Northland College.

* Courses taken at another regionally accredited institution may transfer back to Northland and impact a student’s Northland GPA.  Students should contact the Registrar’s office for more information on how completing coursework elsewhere will transfer to Northland and/or will impact their Northland GPA.

Leaves, Withdrawal and Re-admittance

Leave of Absence

Northland College permits students to interrupt their studies when appropriate.If granted, a leave of absence allows a student to continue under the catalog requirements in effect when initially admitted. A leave of absence can be granted for a maximum of one Northland College academic year in any twelve-month period; however, if the student receives federal financial aid the leave may not extend beyond 180 days without financial aid implications. A student can be considered for a leave of absence for medical reasons (non-academic) or for study (academic) demonstrated to be relevant to the student’s academic goals. The academic leave will only be granted when the coursework is not available from Northland or other institutions with which Northland College has a formal cooperative program.

A student must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a leave of absence:

  • Be registered for the semester immediately prior to the beginning of the leave of absence
  • Have no holds (academic, financial, or social) which would restrict future registration
  • Be a degree-seeking student
  • Submit a formal written and signed Leave of Absence Application Form specifying the reason for the leave

To be considered for a leave of absence a student must complete a Leave of Absence Application form, available from the Registrar’s office, prior to the start of the term for which the leave is requested. Leaves are granted for future terms only and are not granted retroactively or in the middle of a term. In cases where unforeseen circumstances occur after the start of a term, students are permitted to withdraw from the College. In all such cases where a leave is not granted, the College is required to perform a return of federal funds calculation for students receiving Title IV federal financial aid.

If the student is seeking a leave for academic reasons, the student must arrange this experience with their academic advisor and receive approval from the Registrar’s office. If the student is seeking the leave for non-academic reasons, approval is required from the dean of students. Documentation will be required to support medical leave requests.

Students who are granted a leave of absence will have access to their Northland College email during the approved leave and will receive information regarding registration. They will have the opportunity to pre-register for the following semester by contacting their advisor for guidance and clearance. Any student considering a leave of absence should consult with the Financial Aid Office to determine how their financial aid will be affected. Students are not eligible to reside on campus, attend classes, or participate in regular campus activities during their absence.

Incomplete (I) grades earned during the semester prior to leaving College are subject to the same college grading policies. Hence, even though students may not be enrolled for the full semester, previous semester incompletes must be made up by the specified due dates.

A student is expected to return from an approved leave of absence within the timeframe that was granted at the start of the approved leave. If a student fails to return from a leave of absence, they must contact the Registrar’s office in writing to withdraw from the College. The student’s withdrawal date will be reported to National Student Clearinghouse and the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) as the date the student was last enrolled. Students who do not withdraw from the College will be administratively withdrawn.

Calls to Active Military Duty

Northland students called to active military duty with an activation date during a semester have the following options:

  • receive course grades for the current semester, as approved by instructors, if enough of the semester has been completed (This determination is up to each individual instructor and depends upon different course requirements);
  • receive incompletes, if approved by instructors, with the opportunity to complete the courses within the existing incomplete grade policy;
  • receive administrative drops with a refund for some courses and grades/incompletes in other courses, if approved by the course instructors (Administrative drops result in the class not showing up as enrolled or attempted for the semester, so administrative drops may not be the best option for students receiving financial aid);
  • withdraw from all current semester courses with a full refund of tuition and fees (This would result in no classes showing on a transcript either as enrolled or attempted for the semester, so this may not be the best option for students living on campus or receiving financial aid);
  • receive grades of “W” for all classes enrolled for the semester, regardless of date of withdrawal (Refunds will be calculated using the refund schedule published in the catalog, so this may be better than other options for students receiving financial aid or living in campus housing).

Refunds or repayments of Veterans’ benefits received by the student will be determined solely by Veterans’ regulations.

Withdrawal from Northland

Northland College recognizes that circumstances may require a student to withdraw from college during a session. Students requesting to withdraw should contact the Registrar’s Office to obtain a Northland College Withdrawal Form. This form must be completely filled out or students will not be eligible for tuition adjustments and may be responsible for paying back any financial aid received from Northland College. Students will be considered withdrawn on the date that the properly completed Withdrawal Form is returned to the Registrar’s Office. The Registrar’s signature and date authenticate the form. No withdrawal is considered official until these procedures are completed.

Students who follow proper withdrawal procedures will receive a tuition adjustment based on the tuition refunds schedule found in the TUITION AND FEES section and earn grades of “W” (Withdrawn) in their courses.

Students who leave college before the end of a session without officially withdrawing receive a grade of “F” for all courses during the session.

Re-Admittance to Northland College

Students interested in returning to Northland College must contact the Registrar’s Office for re-admittance. Students returning within a two-year period are allowed to return under their original catalog. Students returning after two or more years will be admitted under the catalog that is in use at the time of readmission.

Clearance is required from the Registrar’s Office, the Business Office, and Student Services for all returning students. A student who is returning after time off for academic suspension must petition Academic Standings regardless of the length of time the student has been away.

Commencement & Graduation

Participation in Commencement

Northland College has one commencement ceremony per year, which is held in May on the weekend of Memorial Day. The Registrar’s Office confirms the eligibility of students to participate in the May commencement. The listing of eligible students is then presented to the faculty for final approval.

Students who qualify for eligibility are those who:

  • have successfully met all degree requirements for a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree over the past academic year and did not participate in the previous commencement ceremony;
  • are registered and will be completing their final requirements during the summer term; or,
  • are Education majors who will complete their student teaching in the fall of the following academic year.

Students who do not fit into one of these categories and would like to walk in the upcoming May commencement ceremony for personal reasons, must submit a petition to the Academic Standings Committee by March 15.

Students who lose eligibility to participate in the ceremony are those who:

  • fail a required course in the winter term; or
  • are suspended due to poor academic performance in the winter term.

These students may petition the Academic Standings Committee to participate in the May commencement ceremony. Due to tight timelines surrounding commencement, students must contact the Registrar’s Office within 24 hours of the “final grades due date” for the deadline to submit a petition. If this timeline is not met, the student may be allowed to participate; however, the student’s name may not be included in the program.

Conferral Date on Transcript

Northland College has three conferral (graduation) dates per year, which coincide with the last day of the fall (December), spring (May), and summer (August/September) semesters. Students who were granted an incomplete in a class during their final semester will have six months to complete the work. Upon completion and submission of the grade by the instructor to the Registrar’s Office, the first conferral date after completion of the incomplete will be applied to the transcript. If a student does not complete the work or the grade is not submitted to the Registrar’s Office within the required six months, the student will be required to repeat the course. Upon completion of the course, the appropriate conferral date will be applied.

Students who are completing their final degree requirements elsewhere must submit official transcripts, sent directly from the originating institution, to Northland College. The first conferral date after receipt of the transcript will be applied to the Northland transcript.


Students and graduates have access to unofficial transcripts through the my.northland.edu student portal.

Northland College has authorized the National Student Clearinghouse to provide online ordering of transcripts. The link to their website can be found at my.northland.edu/courses/transcripts.

Costs vary depending on delivery options. Official transcripts will only be released if all financial obligations to the College have been fulfilled.

Please allow three to five days for processing, unless rush delivery is chosen. Only grades earned at Northland College will be computed for determining cumulative grade point average (GPA) and academic status.