Advanced Status

A master’s degree is an academic achievement that recognizes additional acquired skill sets and more thorough learning in the area of study. Northwestern recognizes that learning through other venues may be similar to the structured learning experiences and assessments of the master’s program, so policies have been established for evaluation and awarding of credit through:

  • Credit by Exam
  • Credit by Review

Credit by Exam (CBE) policy

  • Enrolled graduate students who have completed specialty board certification (i.e. DACO, DABCO, DACBR, DACBN, DCBCN, Holistic Nutrition, etc.) may apply for Credit by Exam for select courses.
  • The maximum number of courses a student may test out of is 5 courses (15 credits).
  • A limited number of specific courses are eligible for CBE. Contact the Chair of your program for a list of courses.
  • Application for CBE is due by the 1st business day of the month the exam is scheduled.
  • The graduate student is responsible to pay the non-refundable examination fee ($120) for each exam request.
  • The exam for a course will be scheduled no later than one month before the semester when the course is offered.
  • Students must complete the exam on the designated date or forfeit the CBE opportunity.
  • The form of examination and method of administration will be determined by the CBE committee.
  • Results from the exam will be provided to the student prior to the start of the semester
  • Successful completion of the exam (C or better, 70% passing) will result in full credit for the course, but no grade will be assigned for that course. An "S" for Satisfactory will be indicated on your academic record and will not be calculated in your GPA.
  • Students who do not pass the exam will be required to take the course to receive credit.
  • No retake of the CBE is allowed.
  • You must complete a minimum of 25 graduate credits at Northwestern prior to graduation.
  • CBE policies are subject to change.

To apply:

Complete a Credit by Exam Application (pdf).


Credit by Review (CBR) policy

  • Enrolled graduate students who have completed specialty board certification (i.e. DACO, DABCO, DACBR, DACBN, DCBCN, Holistic Nutrition, etc.) may apply for the credit by review for select graduate courses.
  • No more than 9 graduate credits (3 courses) may be approved by the CBR process.
  • A limited number of specific courses are eligible for CBE. Contact the Chair of your program for a list of courses.
  • Application for CBR must be submitted no later than the first week of the preceding semester when the course is offered for which the CBR credits may apply.
  • An application for review may be submitted for up to 3 courses (9 graduate credits) in one application.
  • The graduate student is responsible to pay the non-refundable review fee ($120) for each course for which credit is requested.
  • The CBR committee will determine the number of credits that may be awarded.
  • The review decisions of the CBR committee are final with no appeal or reapplication process.
  • You must complete a minimum of 25 graduate credits at Northwestern prior to graduation.
  • These CBR policies are subject to change.

To apply:

Complete a Credit by Review Application (pdf), including

1. Verification of specialty board certification

2. Evidence of professional development since certification such as:

  • Case studies
  • Presentations to professional organizations
  • Articles published in peer reviewed journals
  • Courses taught at the college level
  • Current standing with credentialing organizations
  • Post-graduate fellowships

3. An essay providing rationale for how these pieces of evidence support the learning objectives of the course for which you are applying for credit.

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