Skip to main content

Key Dates

Key dates for incoming students are listed below. In addition, academic calendar dates are available online. 


Mid-March: The I-20/DS-2020 applications are available for all incoming international students to request an F-1 Visa through the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISS) Portal. To ensure students receive their F-1 or J-1 Visa in time, please visit the International Office’s website for full details and deadlines.


Early July: Open enrollment for the Northwestern Student Health Insurance Plan (NU-SHIP) runs from July 1-October 1. NU-SHIP provides coverage September 1 through August 31, 2022. International students (students with an F-1 or J-1 U.S. Visa) are required to maintain enrollment in NU-SHIP for the entire time they are at Northwestern. Students who intend to use NU-SHIP are encouraged to confirm their enrollment via the online form in CAESAR by the last week of August to ensure timely access to benefits. Students also may enroll dependents during the open enrollment period (July 1-October 1), after they have confirmed their own NU-SHIP enrollment in CAESAR.


Late August: The Graduate School’s 2021 New Student Orientation will be a hybrid experience with an online, self-paced orientation course in Canvas that will launch on August 23, 2021; a series of virtual Q&A sessions in early September (more details will be shared with incoming TGS students in August 2021); a virtual TGS Resource Fair webpage; and an in-person TGS Resource Fair at Norris Center on September 13, 2021 from 1:00–3:00 PM. All aspects of The Graduate School's orientation are suggested, not required. 

August/September: Versant (English proficiency) Testing for international PhD/MFA students


Early September:

September 8-10: The Office of International Student and Scholar Services’ Virtual Orientation

September 10: Deadline for official transcripts to be received, reviewed, and verified by The Graduate School.

September 13: In-person TGS Resource Fair from 1:00-3:00 PM at Norris Center

September 14: Students can begin to register for classes at 9:00 AM

September 16-17: Northwestern Virtual Graduate Student Teaching Conference

September 17 (for Students Receiving a Stipend or Being Paid): Students can enter their Direct Deposit details in CAESAR anytime between September 17-23.

September 21: Classes begin

September 27: The last day to add a class, change a section, or change the grading basis for Fall Quarter. (No reductions are made to bills for dropped or swapped classes after this date. Last day for full tuition refund.)


October 10: First invoice for the academic year is generated. You will receive an email to review your account and pay any balance due by November 1. Even if you are receiving a stipend and full tuition support, you still need to pay the Activity Fee.

October 29: The last day to drop a class. (No tuition adjustments can be made after September 27.)