Illinois State University

North and School Streets, Normal, IL

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Campus image of Illinois State University

Illinois State University (ISU) is comprehensive public university located in the twin-city community of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. It is in central Illinois, roughly 135 miles southwest of Chicago, and 165 miles northeast of St. Louis.

One of 12 public universities in Illinois, the academic departments of Illinois State University offer more than 160 majors and minors at the undergraduate level, and more than 40 master's, doctoral and specialist programs. The faculty members are recognized as scholars and experts in their fields and have been recognized at national and international levels.

The university's Milner Library contains more than three million holdings and special collections. Illinois State University's College of Applied Science and Technology is home to the oldest collegiate circus in the United States - the Gamma Phi Circus.


The University was founded in 1857 as Illinois State Normal University, the first public institution of higher education in the state. It was established as a teacher education institution, but over the years developed into a comprehensive university with degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.


The academic calendar for Illinois State University follows the semester format, with fall, spring and summer semesters. There is also a May Interim session, which is shorter than the traditional semester.

Colleges and Schools

  • College of Applied Science and Technology
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Business, Education
  • College of Fine Arts
  • Mennonite College of Nursing
  • The Graduate School 

Student Life

Students at Illinois State University are encouraged to become involved in campus experiences beyond the classroom. There are more than 300 student organizations available on campus, as well as student activities such as cheering on the Redbirds athletics teams, choosing to take an "Alternative Spring Break," or getting involved in student government.

Student resources include intramural athletics and campus recreation, student center events, career events, civic engagement projects, College of Fine Arts events, wellness programs, and more.  Recent student events on the Illinois State University campus have included a resume critique walk-in, a shopping trip to the Woodfield Mall and IKEA, Music for the Holidays and A Night of One Acts.


The traditional colors for Illinois State University are red, white and gold.  The nickname for the school's athletic teams was originally the "Teachers," but in 1923 was changed to the "Redbirds" to complement the school colors. The school wanted to name their teams the "Cardinals," but wanted to avoid confusion with the St. Louis Cardinals professional baseball team.

There is a tradition at home games for student-athletes to touch the "Battle Bird," a sculpture of the "Redbird."


The Illinois State "Redbirds" athletic teams compete in many intercollegiate sports, including:

Men's Sports:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field 

Women's Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball

Community Life

Illinois State University is very active in hosting and co-sponsoring civic and political events on and off campus.  The Campus Communications Liaison is available to assist students and faculty with increasing opportunities for becoming engaged with the community.

Community Engaged Campus (CEC) is a relatively new initiative at Illinois State University to advance civic engagement as a core value on campus. In an effort to impact student education through a curriculum-based service learning and civic engagement program, the CEC program seeks to (1) facilitate an excellent working partnership between ISU's campus and the community and (2) ensure that Illinois State University students understand and are committed to engaging in meaningful actions as citizens in a democracy. The program works toward its goals by encouraging and supporting curricular activities that engage students in projects addressing human and community needs. The program is designed to help ISU faculty identify community agencies and organizations that have projects suitable for student involvement.

Admission Requirements & Details

The information regarding admissions below may provide a better idea of the applicants Illinois State University accepts. The details may include admissions application requirements and recommendations, as well as any college credits that may be transferred.

College Credits Accepted

  • Dual Credits
  • AP Course Credits

Student Enrollment

Total enrollment at Illinois State University is around 21,000 students. The student body is made up of 89% undergraduate students and 17% graduate students.


Estimated Costs & Financial Aid

The average "out of pocket" cost of attendance, after any grants and scholarships are considered, is around $17,500. To calculate a more personalized cost visit the net price calculator. There is also a $50 application fee for students applying to the school. The figures listed below are for informational purposes only and do not represent current or future tuition, fees, and expenses.

Tuition & Fees Information

  • Annual tuition estimates are:
    • In-State Tuition: $9,800-$12,000
    • Nonresident Student Tuition: $14,000-$16,990
  • Part-time students are charged:
    • State Residents: $360-$430 per credit unit
    • Nonresidents: $620-$740 per credit unit
  • Some programs may have a frozen tuition rate, which means the tuition will stay the same for up to five years.

Financial Aid Details

The financial aid table below details the types of financial aid, along with the percent of students receiving aid, and on average the amount of aid per student per year.

 Percent of StudentsAverage Amount
Any Financial Aid83%-
Receiving Grants & Scholarships56%$9,527
Receiving Student Loans66%$7,524

Academics & Student Services

Student Services

To support students and graduates, Illinois State University may provide services to students like:

  • Online course work available
  • Remedial courses
  • Career path counseling
  • Employing students to lower education costs
  • Assistance to find work
  • Day care

Graduation Rates

Illinois State University has a very high graduation rate when compared to other similar schools in the area.

Number of Year to GraduatePercent of Entering Class
Students Graduating in 4 Years46%
Graduating in 5 Years22%
Graduating in 6 Years3%

Specialized Programs & Accreditations

  • Art and Design Program
  • Clinical Audiology (Au.D.) Program (more info)
  • Dietetics Program
  • Music Program (more info)
  • Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN) Program (more info)
  • Nursing (MSN, DSN) Program (more info)
  • School Psychology (Ph.D.) Program (more info)
  • Speech-Language Pathology Program (more info)
  • Elementary and Secondary School Teacher Education Program (more info)
  • Theatre Program

Intercollegiate Athletics

Illinois State University is a Member of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), with many of the sports belonging to the NCAA Division I-AA classification. The most popular sports played are listed below:

  • Baseball (Missouri Valley Conference)
  • Basketball (Missouri Valley Conference)
  • Track and Field (Missouri Valley Conference)
  • Football (Missouri Valley Conference)
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

Programs Offered

The program list below is organized by areas of study. The programs that have a link will direct you to the program's profile page where you can learn more about education requirements and career pathways.

Get more information about the programs offered by Illinois State University by clicking the request information to the right.

(C) Certificate or Award | (A) Associate's | (B) Bachelor's | (M) Master's Degree | (D) Doctorate (PhD,...)

Agriculture Operations

Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Business and Marketing Studies

Communication Technology

Communications and Journalism

Computer and Information Sciences


Engineering Technology

English Language and Literature

Family and Consumer Sciences

Foreign Languages and Literature

Health and Clinical Professions


Legal Professions and Studies

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Library Science

Mathematics and Statistics

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Physical Sciences


Public Administration and Social Services

Recreation and Fitness Studies

Security and Protective Services

Social Sciences

Visual and Performing Arts

Other 4-Year Public Colleges

The list of schools below have been selected by researching which schools offer similar programs to Illinois State University.

Also, you can compare schools by looking through our list of colleges & universities:

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Contact Information

General Contact

Admissions Office

Financial Aid Office

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