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Please read the policies regarding each petition before submitting it. 

Registration Forms

If you are looking for forms related to adding or dropping classes, or withdrawing from the university entirely, please go to the Registration page. 

Petition to Change Program Area

In some cases, students may apply to the MSEd program knowing that they wish to enter the world of education, but without being sure whether they want to work in a classroom, research, or other educational setting. In others, a student may enter one of the concentrations, only to discover that they would prefer to pursue a different one.

We recommend that students who are uncertain of their ultimate career goals enter the MSEd programs as Non-Matriculated Special Students. The four classes taken at that time can help a student decide which program is most appropriate when applying for full matriculation.

Because the graduation requirements for our programs can vary widely, it is very likely that changing focus in the middle of your studies will result in several extra classes, which will necessarily extend your stay at Northwestern and delay your completion of the degree. As such, we strongly recommend that you discuss any change of program area with your advisor in depth.

If you have discussed the change with your advisor, and understand the implications of your change, you may submit a Petition to Change your Program Area. Submit the petition directly to your advisor. It will need to be approved by both your advisor and the program director.

Request for Independent Study

In some cases, a student may find that they wish to embark on a particular line of academic study which is not currently offered by any of the existing courses at Northwestern. In such a case, that student may attempt to find a professor within the program to sponsor an independent study, which would appear on the student's transcript as MS_ED 499.

If you have secured a sponsor (who will also be responsible for your grade in the proposed independent study), you may submit a Request for Independent Study. Submit the form directly to your advisor. The request will need to be approved by both your advisor and the program director.

Petition for Former Student to Re-Enter Program (FRET)

It is the policy of Northwestern University that a student who has not registered for any classes for four or more quarters during the regular academic year must submit an Application for Former Student to Re-Enter form to the MSEd Program office by fax (847/467-2495) or email ( This form must be submitted at least six weeks prior to the first week of the term in which you plan to re-enter. Returning students are encouraged to contact their academic advisors and to register in advance for their first quarter back at Northwestern. 

Petition to Take Content-Area Licensure Requirement Off Campus

Content-area courses required for licensure may be taken through Northwestern's "day school" (the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, or WCAS) or "night school" (the School of Professional Studies, or SPS). We do understand, however, that in certain circumstances, it may not be possible or feasible to complete a content-area licensure course at Northwestern. In such a case, you may petition to take the course at another institution.  Petitions should be submitted prior to actually taking a course at another institution. This is for your own protection -- there is no guarantee that a petition will be approved, and you do not want to discover that your petition has been turned down after you have already spent your time and money on a course. 

Petition to Waive Course

In some cases, the content of a required MSEd course may closely match the content of a course that a student has already taken as an undergraduate. In such a case, the student may petition to waive that requirement.

It should be noted that even if the petition is approved, all that is waived is that particular course -- the total number of courses required to complete the MSEd degree is not waived. If your petition to waive a course is approved, you will still be required to replace that course with a graduate-level elective course. The intention of this petition is not to shorten your study at Northwestern; it is merely to prevent unnecessary repetition between your graduate and undergraduate coursework. 

Petition to Graduate

All students must file a petition to graduate. These petitions are typically filed two quarters before the anticipated graduation date. Please see the Graduation page for more details.

Request for an Incomplete (Y) Grade

You are expected to complete all work in each of your MSEd courses by the appropriate deadline. You will not be granted permission to make up a final examination or complete other assigned course work after the end of a quarter except in unforeseen circumstances clearly beyond your control, such as incapacitating illness or family emergency. For ongoing issues that affect your ability to complete coursework in a timely fashion, you may wish to contact AccessibleNU and request an official accommodation.

Incomplete grades will generally be given only to students who have already substantially completed the work of the course, including any requirements of attendance or engagement. The university minimally requires that more than 50% of the course requirements must be complete in order for the course to be “substantially completed.” You must also be passing the course based on the materials submitted thus far to be eligible for an incomplete (Y) grade.

Incompletes are not a way to get extra time to improve performance, nor are they appropriate for a student who has abandoned a course (stopped attending and turning in work). To ensure fairness, all requests for incomplete grades must be approved by both the instructor and the Master of Science in Education Program. You may be asked to provide documentation of your circumstances. Because incompletes are not always an optimal solution to academic difficulties, you may want to consider dropping or withdrawing from the course, if that deadline has not yet passed. Consult your academic advisor if you have concerns.

In order to obtain an incomplete grade (Y) for a course, you must:

  1. Request an incomplete grade from your instructor.
  2. If they agree, download and complete a Request for Incomplete (Y) Grade (see Appendix E). Both you and the instructor must sign the request form.
  3. Include a detailed plan indicating how you plan to resolve the incomplete and the deadline by which all coursework is to be completed (typically within one quarter).
  4. Discuss the incomplete with your academic advisor and obtain their signature on the form.
  5. Submit the completed petition and supporting documentation to the Assistant Director of the MSEd Program. Final approval of an incomplete grade rests with the MSEd Program.

We strongly recommend that you communicate with your instructor to request an incomplete grade prior to the final class session if possible. Instructors have the right to decline a request for an incomplete. Please be aware that courses offered by other departments (such as those taken to fulfill licensure requirements) have separate procedures regarding incomplete requests. You must consider the school offering the course, not your own school, to determine the process by which an incomplete grade is requested and assigned.

Students with unresolved incompletes are not eligible for certain program experiences, such as Practicum and Student Teaching. Additionally, incompletes may jeopardize good academic standing, resulting in probation or exclusion (see below). As such, the MSEd Program reserves the right to deny a request for an incomplete grade, even if it has been approved by the instructor. 

If the request is approved, the instructor will enter a “Y” grade for the course. The “Y” grade will be included in your GPA as a 0.0 until replaced with another grade. The course instructor will submit a grade change in CAESAR once all coursework is complete.

The goal is to resolve incompletes promptly so that you can move forward with your course of study. Typically, an incomplete should be resolved within one quarter. If you cannot complete all coursework by the deadline agreed to on your petition, you must reach out to the MSEd Program prior to that deadline to request an extension. If you miss the deadline stated in your request, your grade may be changed to an F. The maximum amount of time an incomplete can be extended is one year from the end of the original course.

Plan for Non-Matriculated Student to Apply for Matriculated Status

Non-Matriculated students must formally apply for the Matriculated status before completing the MSEd degree. At least one quarter prior to submitting the application, the Non-Matriculated student should schedule a meeting with the Assistant Director to discuss the matriculation process, and to file a Plan for Non-Matriculated Student to Apply for Matriculation. An application to matriculate will not be considered unless a signed plan to matriculate is on file in the student record.

Other Petitions

If you wish to make a particular petition and cannot find it in the list above, you may complete and submit a generic petition form to us. However, please be certain before submitting a generic petition that there is not a different petition which is better suited to your purpose. Your advisor may be able to help you if you are uncertain.