Studying at Northern

You will find that there are many differences between the American University system and that of your home country. Our educational system differs not only in structure but also in philosophy; we emphasize general education classes at the baccalaureate level, unlike the curricula in most other countries.

The school year is divided into three semesters:

  • Fall Semester: late August to early December with a short break in late November for Thanksgiving
  • Spring Semester: mid-January through mid-May with a one-week spring break occurring in March.
  • Summer session: mid-June to early August with no break (optional semester)

Required times to take classes:

International students are not required to study during the summer semester, but must be registered full-time during both Fall and Spring semesters. Undergraduate students are required to enroll for at least 12 hours; graduate students must enroll for at least 9 hours.

Degree Requirements:

The requirements for each degree program at an American university are measured in credit hours. Within each area of your degree program, you must earn a minimum number of credit hours in order to fulfill the requirements of your degree. Each class confers a certain number of credit hours (usually three hours). You will also have to satisfy various distribution requirements, which specify the courses you will need to take from a variety of general education and specialized subject areas. In addition to required classes in your major area you are required to fulfill credit hours in other departments.

Your academic advisor, will explain the details at your first advising session.