Admission to Northeastern is highly selective. Applicants are admitted either as first-year or transfer students. Candidates who bring diverse experiences, perspectives, and interests to our community are identified by the Admissions Committee following a holistic application evaluation. Approximately 2,800 first-year students and an additional cohort of transfer students enroll each September; approximately 1,200 new first-year students will enroll in January through The N.U.in Program, a first-year global experience that requires enrolling students to begin their college studies by earning transfer credit in the fall semester1 at one of our partner institutions and matriculating to our Boston-based undergraduate program in the spring semester. In addition to The N.U.in Program, first-year applicants may also be offered direct or conditional admission into other specialized entry programs. Additional information on specialized entry programs is available online, and additional information about The N.U.in Program is available here

In building a diverse and talented incoming class, the Admissions Committee seeks to enroll students who have been academically successful and who have been actively involved in their school and community.

When considering applicants for first-year admission, the committee considers whether the applicant’s high school transcript reflects the various academic opportunities offered such as honors, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or college-level courses. Typically, students admitted to Northeastern have been extremely successful with a challenging course load.

When reviewing transfer students, the committee considers the candidate’s college and high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, resumé, essay, academic preparation for major of choice, and contributions to the community. In certain cases, standardized test scores are required. Transfer applicants are encouraged to submit all supporting materials by the application deadline.

Northeastern accepts both the Common Application and the Coalition Application. Students may apply online via the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Northeastern does not have a preference for which application is submitted. Both the Common Application and the Coalition Application will be reviewed equally.

The committee will begin to evaluate an applicant’s candidacy for admission when all application credentials have been received. Students are informed of their application information through the Application Status Check. Students are highly encouraged to verify that identification information (name, date of birth, and NU ID) is on every item submitted to ensure timely and accurate processing.

Application Programs

Northeastern offers the following application programs.

Freshman Applicants:

  • Early Decision I (binding enrollment for fall admission)
  • Early Action (nonbinding)
  • Early Decision II (binding enrollment for fall admission)
  • Regular Decision (nonbinding)
     

Transfer Applicants*:

  • Application for fall start (apply in spring)
  • Application for spring start (apply in fall)

*All transfer application options are dependent on space availability.

Required Materials

The committee will evaluate an applicant’s candidacy for admission when all application credentials have been received. Students are informed of their application information through the Application Status Check. Students are highly encouraged to verify that identification information (name, date of birth, and NU ID) is on every item submitted to ensure timely and accurate processing.

Freshman Applicants

More than 75,000 students apply for a space in the freshman class. The committee is responsible for admitting applicants believed to be contributors to Northeastern’s diverse and vibrant academic and social community. In particular, the committee is interested in applicants who have challenged themselves academically; are highly motivated; and who have demonstrated qualities of leadership, creativity, diversity, engagement, global perspective, adaptability, and resiliency. Our students exhibit a commitment to involvement and to being a positive influence in their community and in the world. We encourage applicants to spend time to thoughtfully prepare their application in order to make sure their strengths and qualities resonate with the Admissions Committee.

Freshman applicants must submit the following:

  • Completed Common Application or Coalition Application, including any Northeastern-specific questions. A complete application includes:
    • An application fee of $75 (or request for fee waiver through application question).
    • The Early Decision Agreement for students applying under the binding Early Decision I or II application options.
  • Secondary school counselor and teacher recommendations.
  • Secondary school report and transcripts with final junior-year grades. First-semester or first-trimester grades should be submitted when they are available; first-quarter grades are not required.
    • General Equivalency Diploma (GED) recipients should provide their official GED score reports and their most complete high school transcript.
    • Home-schooled applicants should submit an academic portfolio/transcript consistent with their state guidelines. This should include grades for each course. They must also provide proof that they will have met by the end of May of the year of graduation all requirements for an official high school diploma and submit a GED, or a certificate of completion from their local school district or state board of education, by the end of July of the year of matriculation. In addition to all other first-year requirements, home-schooled students must submit Northeastern’s home-school supplement, which requires students to detail the rigor of their coursework.
    • Early high school graduates: Northeastern will review applications from students who will complete high school in three years or less. Before enrolling at the university, all applicants for early admission must have completed all units required for high school graduation or must have earned the GED. In addition to the required materials for freshman applicants, early high school graduate applicants must provide statements of support from the school principal or guidance counselor and the student’s parents. The endorsements should speak directly to the applicant’s academic readiness and emotional maturity for college. Early high school graduates will only be considered at Regular Decision or Early Decision II so first-semester/trimester grades from the current academic year can be considered.
    • Nontraditional grading policies: Students who attend schools where narrative evaluations are used instead of traditional letter grades are required to submit the narratives to complete their applications.
  • 2021–22 policy on standardized tests:
    • In the 2021–22 application cycle, Northeastern will be test optional and does not require applicants to submit standardized testing to be considered for admission. (Please note English proficiency requirements).
    • Any student may choose to submit SAT or ACT scores for consideration. 
    • Students who choose not to submit standardized test scores will not be disadvantaged in the process. 
    • If an applicant self-reports their scores through the Application Status Check, official scores must be sent to Northeastern upon submitting their enrollment deposit. 
  • English proficiency: As the primary instructional language at Northeastern is English, proficiency in English must be demonstrated in order to qualify for admission. Non-native English-speaking applicants, who were not educated entirely in English throughout the four consecutive academic years immediately prior to enrolling at Northeastern, will be required to submit valid and official results from an approved English Language Test. Please see the International Applicants page on the Undergraduate Admissions website for the most up-to-date information.
  • International students are required to submit Northeastern’s Declaration and Certification of Finances (DCF), which can be accessed and submitted through the Application Status Check.
  • Portfolios are required for studio art and are highly encouraged for majors within the College of Arts, Media and Design. Northeastern uses SlideRoom for online portfolio submissions. See additional information.

Transfer Applicants

Each year we receive more than 4,000 applications for transfer admission. Our most competitive candidates for transfer admission typically have a grade-point average of 3.500 or higher.

Transfer applicants must submit the following:

  • Completed Common Application or Coalition Application.
  • Application fee of $75.
  • Official college transcript(s) for all institutions you have attended.
  • College Report to be completed by the registrar's office or dean of your current/previous school.
  • Academic evaluation from an academic advisor, professor, or employer.
  • Final high school transcript or GED.
  • Joint Service Transcript (if you are a veteran).
  • 2021–22 policy on standardized tests:

    • In the 2021–22 application cycle, Northeastern will be test optional and does not require applicants to submit standardized testing to be considered for admission. (Please note English proficiency requirements).
    • Any student may choose to submit SAT or ACT scores for consideration. 
    • Students who choose not to submit standardized test scores will not be disadvantaged in the process. 
    • If an applicant self-reports their scores through the Application Status Check, official scores must be sent to Northeastern upon submitting their enrollment deposit. 
  • English proficiency: As the primary instructional language at Northeastern is English, proficiency in English must be demonstrated in order to qualify for admission. Non-native English-speaking applicants, who were not educated entirely in English throughout the four consecutive academic years immediately prior to enrolling at Northeastern, will be required to submit valid and official results from an approved English Language Test. Please see the International Applicants page on the Undergraduate Admissions website for the most up-to-date information.
  • International students are required to submit Northeastern’s Declaration and Certification of Finances (DCF), which can be accessed and submitted through the Application Status Check.
  • Portfolios are required for studio art and are highly encouraged for majors within the College of Arts, Media and Design. Northeastern uses SlideRoom for online portfolio submissions. See additional information.

Transfer Credit

Students may transfer up to 60 semester hours of credit from a two-year college, or up to 80 semester hours from a four-year college, or a combination of the two types of colleges. If you have been admitted to the D’Amore-McKim School of Business and your college or university is not AACSB-accredited, the maximum number of credits that you can transfer to Northeastern is 60. See also Residency Requirement.

College courses completed with a grade of C or better are considered for transfer credit by faculty evaluators. Liberal arts coursework taken more than 10 years ago and math and science coursework completed more than 5 years ago cannot be considered.

All transfer-credit documents should be received prior to matriculation and must be received within one semester of matriculation. These documents include, but are not limited to, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and International Matriculation Exam scores and official transcripts from colleges and universities. These documents should be submitted whether or not you wish to receive transfer credit from this work. Transfer credit will not be granted for work completed prior to matriculation if the official credential is received after the completion of the first semester. College coursework completed at an international institution must be translated into English and evaluated by a recognized credential agency.

Advanced Standing for Freshmen

Results from your AP exams, IB exams, and other international matriculation examinations (listed below) may enable you to receive advanced credits. You may also receive transfer credit if you successfully completed accredited college-level courses that were taken while you were in high school, before you enrolled at Northeastern. You may apply up to 32 semester hours of advanced credit toward your undergraduate degree. For consideration, you must submit official transcripts or test results before matriculation and must submit official score reports for credit.

Northeastern currently awards advanced credit for the following examinations:

  • Advanced Placement (AP)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Advanced Levels (A-Levels)
  • Abitur (Germany)
  • Baccalauréat (France)
  • Cambridge Pre-University (Pre-U)
  • Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE)
  • Maturität/Maturité (Switzerland)
  • All-India Senior School Certificate Examination (Standard XII)
  • Indian School Certificate (ISC) Examinations (Standard XII)

Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations

International Baccalaureate (IB) Examinations

  • Credit is generally awarded for scores of 5, 6, or 7 on Higher Level (HL) exams.
  • No credit is awarded for Standard Level (SL) exams, the Extended Essay (EE), or Theory of Knowledge (TOK).
  • Visit the Transfer Equivalency Database for an up-to-date listing.

Advanced Level (A-Level) Examinations

  • Credit is generally awarded for grades C or better on General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level (A-Level) examinations. 
  • No credit is awarded for Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level exams, Ordinary Level (O-Level) exams, or the (International) General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE/IGCSE).
  • For Singapore-Cambridge GCE Advanced Level exams, credit is awarded for H2 exams. No credit is awarded for H1 exams. H3 credit is subject to review and only awarded if the student is not receiving credit from the H2 exam in the same subject.
  • Northeastern will only award credit for exams that were administered by AQA, Cambridge Assessment (including OCR), CCEA, Pearson Edexcel, WJEC, or any subsidiaries.

International Matriculation Examinations

  • Abitur (Allgemeinen Hochschulreife): Credit is generally awarded for scores 7 (out of 15) and higher on written (schriftlich) final exams (Abiturprüfung). No credit is awarded for oral (mündlich) exams.

  • Baccalauréat (Baccalauréat Général, Diplôme de Bachelier de l’Enseignement du Second Degré, or Option Internationale du Baccalauréat): Credit is generally awarded for scores 12 or higher (out of 20) on final written exams in subjects studied with coefficients 10 or higher. No credit is awarded for oral exams.

  • Cambridge Pre-University (Pre-U): Credit is generally awarded for scores M3 or higher on Principal Subjects. No credit is awarded for Short Courses or Global Perspectives and Research.

  • Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE): Credit is generally awarded for grades 3 or below (out of 7, with 1 being the highest) on two-unit subjects. No credit is awarded for one-unit courses.

  • Maturität/Maturité: Credit is generally awarded for scores 4.5 or higher (out of 6) on the main subject (Schwerpunktfach) or complementary subject (Ergänzungsfach) on either the Swiss Federal Maturity Certificate or federally recognized cantonal maturity certificates. 

  • All-India Senior School Certificate Examination (Standard XII): Credit is generally awarded for scores of 81 or higher (out of 100) for subjects completed in the general academic track on the All-India Senior School Certificate Examination (AISSCE) administered by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). 

  • Indian School Certificate (ISC) Examinations (Standard XII): Credit is generally awarded for scores of 80 or higher (out of 100) for subjects completed in the general academic track on the Indian School Certificate (ISC) examinations administered by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE).

Additional Information for International Applicants

In order to enroll at Northeastern, enrolling international students may be required to apply for either F-1 (student) or J-1 (exchange visitor) nonimmigrant status. To begin the process, each student must first request their certificate of eligibility from the Office of Global Services (OGS). For the F-1 visa, students must request the Form I-20, while for the J-1 visa, students must request Form DS-2019. Both forms can be requested through myOGS, Northeastern’s online portal for international students.

  • Once an enrollment deposit is submitted, all international students will be able to access myOGS, Northeastern’s online international student portal. (International students can access myOGS through their myNortheastern portal.)
  • International students must submit the appropriate request form in myOGS for either the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.
  • Once the student submits the request form and all required supporting documents, the OGS team will review the request and generate the I-20 within 10 business days.
  • Once students receive the I-20 or DS-2019, students can apply for the F-1 or J-1 visa at a nearby overseas U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • If the visa is granted, students are permitted to enter the United States no more than 30 days before the start date of their academic program (which will be provided on the I-20 or DS-2019).

In order to maintain lawful student status in the United States, international students must be mindful of the rules and regulations that govern their nonimmigrant visa classification. Numerous U.S. federal mandates and regulations make it especially important for students with F-1 or J-1 visas to consult regularly with an international student advisor at the Office of Global Services (OGS) before taking any action that might affect their immigration status and educational endeavors in the United States. Please note the following:

  • International students in F-1 and J-1 status must register as full-time students (minimum of 12 credits) and on time (within the appropriate registration period) each term during the regular academic year. Any exceptions to full-time registration requirements must be preapproved by OGS in accordance with specified federal regulations.
  • International students must not begin, extend, or resume any type of employment without first obtaining proper employment authorization or verification from the OGS.
  • Some international students must apply and be approved for a change of status (e.g., from F-2 to F-1 nonimmigrant status) before beginning their academic program at Northeastern.
  • For information on nonimmigrant statutes other than F-1 and J-1 (including eligibility to work in the United States or participate in co-op and other forms of experiential learning), contact OGS. Note that some academic programs at Northeastern have experiential learning requirements (e.g., co-op or study abroad). Not all visa categories allow for internships, co-ops, international travel, or other experiential learning opportunities and may impede the successful completion of your program of study.

Non-Native English-Speaking Applicants

All non-native English-speaking applicants, regardless of citizenship, must submit official results from one of the following proficiency tests: the Duolingo English Test (DET), C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency (Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants who will complete four or more consecutive academic years of high school or university where academic or native English was the primary instructional language may contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in order to request a waiver. English-language learners or students enrolled in ESL courses in the four years preceding their application are strongly recommended to submit IELTS. Based on IELTS, some undergraduate applicants with substantial English proficiency but insufficient proficiency for undertaking a full-time, degree-seeking academic program may instead be referred to NU Immerse, our structured English immersion program.

College, Major, and Length of Program Selection

Applicants to Northeastern University apply to one of our seven undergraduate colleges or to the Explore Program for undeclared students.

We encourage students to select a major that reflects their current academic interests and aspirations; however, the Explore Program for undeclared students provides opportunities to explore our various disciplines and programs. Northeastern offers advisory programs for students interested in preprofessional programs, including medical, dental, law, and veterinary graduate school. 

Northeastern University offers a broad and deep curriculum that is flexible, and the academic calendar allows students to maximize experiential learning opportunities, including research, study abroad, and our signature co-op program. Students become architects of their own paths, charting their unique course that determines their time to degree. Students can build a program that is four years or five years and gain up to 18 months of full-time experiential learning. Freshmen can participate in NUterm in Summer I of their freshman year, taking advantage of exciting and unique course offerings or regular classes during the May/June semester. By participating in NUterm, students take advantage of Northeastern’s signature flexibility, beginning their sophomore year with an additional half term completed. Many colleges offer PlusOne programs, which link undergraduate work with graduate studies. See the detailed curricula in this catalog for more information.

Admission Requirements for the College of Arts, Media and Design

Guidelines for Portfolio Submission

All portfolios should be submitted electronically via SlideRoom. Hard-copy portfolios will not be accepted and cannot be reviewed.

Studio Art

Applicants for the studio art major, a joint program of Northeastern University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, are required to submit a portfolio through SlideRoom. This portfolio requires a minimum of 15 individual images of original artwork. The portfolio may include work in a variety of media; no particular subject matter or style is required. Rather, students should select work that best shows their personal style, creativity, and commitment to innovation. Check the Department of Art + Design website for more information.

Music Composition and Technology

Beginning in spring 2018, portfolios are no longer required for students applying to music composition and technology.

Music Performance

Once enrolled, students in any music concentration may also audition to pursue a minor in musical performance. This program is highly competitive and therefore requires evaluation by the Department of Music. Auditions are typically scheduled during a student’s first semester at Northeastern. For specific questions regarding the program or audition requirements, please reference the CAMD website.