Undergraduate Registration

Registration takes place online through CAESAR prior to each academic quarter. Registration for fall quarter is during the previous May (for returning students) and during orientation week (for incoming students), registration for winter quarter is mid-November, and registration for spring quarter is mid-February. For a complete academic calendar, see the Registrar Office academic calendar online. CAESAR is the official and primary source of information on registration and course selection.
Log in to CAESAR

Undergraduate Course Load

Music students may register in advance through CAESAR for up to 5.5 units. A course load of over 5.5 units is considered an overload. Course loads over 5.5 units are subject to an overload charge, however, applied lessons, ensembles, and chamber music are exempt from the 5.5 unit limit for Bachelor of Music students and will not generate overload charges unless the total registration exceeds 7.0 units. For permission to take an overload, or if you are charged an overload fee, contact the Office of Student Affairs, musicstudentaffairs@northwestern.edu

Registration Changes, Permission Numbers, and Late Fees

All adds and class section changes must be completed during the first week of each quarter.

Students are responsible for making any changes in their registration by the University’s designated deadlines. This is done online through CAESAR during the first week of each quarter. It is also the student’s responsibility to obtain a permission number for any classes needing instructor permission to enroll. The course instructor should be contacted for permission numbers.

Dropping Courses

Students are responsible for dropping their own courses when necessary. Courses are dropped through CAESAR and must be done before the drop deadline (typically the end of week six each quarter). Check your registration online before the drop deadline to ensure you have enrolled in the correct courses. Incorrect registration in a course not dropped by the deadline will result in an F in that course. Note: The Registrar’s Office will not add or drop a course in your schedule past the deadline. 


Students are allowed to withdraw from the University for reasons ranging from medical issues to professional opportunities.

Students who withdraw are allowed to return to the Bienen School of Music within one calendar year of the withdrawal date without having to re-audition or re-apply for admission, as long as the student withdrew in good academic standing. If a student has withdrawn for one calendar year or more, the studio/program faculty may choose to require a performance audition for re-admission to the studio/major program. Music Studies faculty also may require an interview and portfolio of completed work for re-admission. After returning from a withdrawal, students are not guaranteed applied study with their previous studio teacher.

Students who are ready to re-enter after a period of withdrawal should follow the Former Student Re-entry Steps on the Registrar’s Office website. 

For withdrawals from individual courses, follow the procedure outlined on the Registrar’s Office website.