Regulations Applying to All Degree Programs

A copy of each graduate degree program as approved by the Board of Trustees and as officially amended is on file in the Office of the Provost. This record contains the goals of all requirements for the program. All descriptions of the program in the university, college, and department publications must conform to this officially approved record. Descriptions of PlusOne programs are also on file in the provost’s office.

Standards of admission are specific to certificate and degree programs.

Admission Requirements

Prior to beginning a graduate program, students must meet one of the following conditions:

  • Have received a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university
  • Have received a master’s degree or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university
  • Have received a first professional or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university
  • Have been accepted into an approved bachelor’s-to-graduate-degree program


Northeastern University has a policy of continuous registration while enrolled full-time in a graduate degree program.

All students must register for course work, research, thesis, dissertation, or continuation courses for each semester in order to be in good standing in the program. Registration is continuous with the exception of summer. A student must be registered in summer only if he or she will be graduating in the summer or holds an award that requires registration. Students must be registered during the semester in which they complete all requirements for their degree.

When circumstances warrant, e.g., medical exigency, a student may seek a leave of absence. 

The university parental leave policy is available in the University Policies section of the Office of the Provost website. 

Transfer Credit

A maximum of 9 semester hours of credit (or 12 quarter hours) obtained at another institution may be accepted toward the degree, provided the credits consist of work taken at the graduate level for graduate credit, carry grades of 3.000 or better, have been earned at an accredited institution, and have not been used toward any baccalaureate or advanced degree or certificate at another institution.

Transfer credits must be no more than five academic years old at the time the student is admitted to graduate study. Courses older than five years will be accepted only in rare circumstances.

Grades earned in transferred credits are not counted as part of the overall grade-point average earned at Northeastern.

Transfer credits will only be accepted at the discretion of the academic department and the college’s graduate office.

Note: The College of Professional Studies’ (CPS) transfer policy is available in the CPS section of the catalog.

Special Student Status

Those students who are not pursuing a specific degree program are classified as special students. Special students must satisfy the requirements for admission and perform at a satisfactory level in course work in order to continue as special students. Performance of a special student in graduate courses should average at least 3.000 in order for the student to be allowed to register for any subsequent classes. The number of credits that may be earned by a student enrolled as a special student is at the discretion of each graduate office. However, only a maximum of 12 graduate semester hours may be applied to a graduate program. Students interested in pursuing a degree program must make a formal application to the degree program. Special students who do not register for four consecutive semesters, excluding summer semester, will be subject to review and possible withdrawal.

Special students are not eligible for Northeastern financial aid awards or federal financial aid.

Provisional Student Status

Provisional students are students whose academic records do not qualify them for acceptance as regular students. Provisional students must obtain a 3.000 grade-point average in the first 9 semester hours of graduate courses in order to continue in the graduate program or meet specifically delineated departmental requirements to qualify for full acceptance to a degree program. Students may not earn more than 9 semester hours while enrolled in provisional status. After the completion of 9 semester hours, students must either satisfy regular admission standards or be denied further registration in the graduate program.

Provisional students are not eligible for Northeastern financial aid awards or federal financial aid.

International students cannot be admitted provisionally or conditionally.

Undergraduate Credit for Graduate Courses

Undergraduate students who are juniors or seniors may enroll in graduate courses for credit toward their undergraduate degrees if they meet all prerequisites as determined by the graduate director and they receive permission from the instructor of the course and from the student’s undergraduate academic advisor.

Inter- and Intracollege Graduate Courses

In colleges that have a graduate school, units within the college that do not offer graduate degree programs may offer a maximum of two courses per year if the courses are approved within a unit or units offering a graduate degree program. These courses will be subject to the same review process as other graduate courses.

University-Mandated Training

All students must fulfill all university-mandated ethics and safety training.