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, learning objectives, and all requirements for the program. All descriptions of the program in the university, college, and department publications must conform to this officially approved record.

Standards of admission are specific to certificate and degree programs and are found on each each college’s or offering unit’s website.

Admission Requirements

Prior to beginning a graduate program at Northeastern University, students must have met one of the following criteria:

  1. Received a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university
  2. Received a master’s degree or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university
  3. Received a first professional or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university 
  4. Been accepted into an approved bachelor's-to-graduate-degree program at Northeastern 

Transfer and Other Advanced Standing Credit

Transfer credits from other institutions (or other programs within the university) will only be accepted at the discretion of the student’s destination academic unit and the associated college with the following constraints:

  • For graduate certificate programs, a maximum of 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours of credit earned at another institution may be accepted toward the credential being pursued at Northeastern, provided the credits meet the above-listed standards.
  • For master’s degree programs, a maximum of 30% of the credits required for the degree that are earned at another institution may be accepted toward the degree being pursued at Northeastern, provided the credits:
  1. Consist of work taken at the graduate level for graduate credit
  2. Carry grades of 3.000 or better
  3. Have been earned at an accredited institution
  4. Have not been used toward any baccalaureate or advanced degree or certificate at another institution

Advanced standing is based on criteria established by the offering school or college and implemented in coordination with the Office of the University Registrar. When applied, advanced standing reduces the total credits required to complete the primary program.

The combination of advanced standing and transfer credit shall not exceed 30% of the credits required for the degree. Credit for prior experiential or non-collegiate- sponsored learning is limited to 25% of the degree credits required for the degree.

Graduate course credits earned at Northeastern by undergraduate students enrolled in a PlusOne program will be applied toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees as prescribed by the graduate program in which the student is enrolled, not to exceed 16 semester hours or 21 quarter hours. Transfer credit may not be applied to graduate degrees that are completed as part of a PlusOne program. Deviations from this limit shall be considered on a case-by-case basis by the University Graduate Curriculum Committee.

  • Students may credit-share specified courses taken while in undergraduate status for ​both the bachelor's and PhD ​degrees. A student who departs from the program before receiving PhD candidacy may opt to use those courses toward a master's degree earned. However, such credit sharing cannot be used for more than two credentials, i.e., degrees and certificates. Please see above for limits on credit sharing between credentials. 
  • For doctoral programs, a maximum of 30% of the total semester hours of required coursework may be granted upon the recommendation of the admitting college’s graduate committee.

Transfer credits must have been earned within five academic years of the date of matriculation in the Northeastern program to which they are to be applied.

Grades earned in courses to be applied as transfer credits are not counted as part of the overall grade-point average earned at Northeastern and are posted with a grade of T to the transcript.

Provisional or Special Students

Students cannot be admitted under provisional conditions, i.e., requiring preparatory or remedial coursework that must be successfully completed for progression in the program. Special students are nondegree students taking courses, not to exceed 12 semester or 16 quarter hours, while not admitted to a specific program.

Uniform Credit System

One credit hour of academic credit consists of three hours of work per week throughout the term, usually one hour of class contact and two hours of outside work. When students are registered for thesis credits, directed study, or internship, the appropriate number of credit hours will be determined using the same method. Programs may vary the ratio of class time to preparation time depending on the learning outcomes and accreditation standards appropriate in their field(s).

A quarter hour is evaluated as three-quarters of a semester hour.

When students are registered for thesis credits, directed study, or internship, the appropriate number of credit hours will be determined using the same method.

Additional information on course and credit guidelines can be found here.

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.

Time Limit for Course Credit

Course credits earned in the program of graduate study, or accepted by transfer, are valid for a maximum of seven years unless the relevant graduate office grants an extension.

Academic Progression

Grades submitted to satisfy, in whole or in part, the requirements for any graduate degree or certificate of advanced study must yield a cumulative GPA of 3.000 or higher. This requirement may be supplemented by additional restrictions established by the graduate office such as, but not limited to, the maximum number of individual courses with grades below 3.000 that may be obtained without being required to withdraw or a minimum GPA in each semester.

Students falling below 3.000 will be placed on academic probation. If the student remains on academic probation for two terms, they may be terminated from the graduate program. A PhD student will be considered to be on academic probation if their cumulative GPA falls below 3.000 and/or if they are not making acceptable research progress as defined by the college through an academic review process that occurs at least annually.

No more than two nonrepeatable courses may be retaken to satisfy the curricular requirements for the degree. A specific course may not be retaken more than once. The last grade earned in each of the retaken courses will be counted in the calculation of the cumulative GPA. Courses with a specified attribute of “repeatable” can be repeated up to the specified limit, and the earned grade in each occurrence of course completion will count toward the calculation of the cumulative GPA.

Any incomplete grades must be cleared in accordance with the university's policy concerning incomplete grades.

Language Requirements

The committee in charge of the degree program may establish a language requirement.

Required Training

Graduate programs may require relevant training that all of the program’ s students must complete by deadlines communicated by the university or by the student's graduate program advisor.