Northern Illinois University

1425 W. Lincoln Hwy., Dekalb, IL

Get more information about Northern Illinois University by clicking links below:
Campus image of Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a public research university located on a 765-acre campus in DeKalb, Illinois, 65 miles west of Chicago. NIU is comprised of seven degree-granting colleges and 39 academic departments, offering 63 undergraduate programs and 78 graduate programs. Graduate programs include masters, doctoral and professional degrees.

NIU also offers themed learning communities (TLC) that offer interdisciplinary study programs. The university has recently launched two new interdisciplinary bachelor degree programs that are focused on making positive change in the world. The new Environmental Studies major provides broad-based knowledge in current and crucial environmental issues such water conservation, the development of alternative energies, climate change and environmental policy. Graduates of the program will have career options in research, small business, industry, all levels of government, and non-profits. The new Community Leadership and Civic Engagement major will provide leadership and advocacy training for work within non-government organizations, or non-profits.

In addition to its main campus in DeKalb, NIU operates education centers in other locations in the region such as Hoffman Estates, Naperville and Rockford, Illinois.

NIU is ranks among the top 50 universities in the nation for the flexible education, support and financial assistance it provides veterans, receiving top marks as a "military friendly" school from G.I. Jobs Magazine.  NIU programs in social mobility for low-income students and public service are very highly ranked.

NIU also receives high marks as a research university, and offers excellent research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduates at NIU can participate in university research through programs such as "Research Rookies," "USOAR," and "URAP."

Flexible scheduling options and weekend classes are offered on campus and at all learning centers, as well as online.


Northern Illinois University was chartered in 1895 and opened for enrollment in 1899. It opened as the "Northern Illinois State Normal School" as a teacher training institution. In 1955, it became "Northern Illinois State College" with a broader curriculum and mission and, in 1957, became "Northern Illinois University."

Though its curriculum developed and expanded to offer comprehensive academic programs, through its history Northern Illinois University has remained committed to its original mission: to prepare excellent teachers and to provide affordable higher education to Illinois families.


The academic calendar for Northern Illinois University follows the semester format, with fall, spring and summer semesters.

Colleges and Schools

  • College of Business
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering and Engineering Technology
  • College of Health and Human Sciences
  • College of Law
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • College of Visual and Performing Arts

Student Life

Students enrolled at NIU have the opportunity to participate in more than 200 student clubs and organizations on campus, as well as local chapters of 36 fraternities and sororities.  The range of interests represented by the various student clubs includes leadership, government, academics, music, intramural sports, volunteer work, and more.

NIU student services offered on campus include athletic centers, a pharmacy, healthcare clinic, childcare center, career advising, writing center, tutoring, and diversity resource center, among others.


The NIU school colors are cardinal and black, and the school mascot is the Husky. The NIU athletics teams are known as the "Huskies."


The NIU "Huskies" athletic teams compete in 17 intercollegiate sports, including:

Men's Sports:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Wrestling 

Women's Sports:

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

Satellite Campuses

In addition to its main campus in DeKalb, Illinois, NIU offers many courses at its three regional learning centers in Hoffman Estates, Naperville and Rockford. NIU also offers courses through partnerships with local community colleges in Elgin, Rock Valley and Waubonsee.

Community Life

NIU faculty and students are very involved in community service through many NIU programs, including NIU Cares Day, Spring Break Service Trips, Community After-School Programs, and Mentor Projects.

The local community of DeKalb is a city surrounded by suburbs and rural farms, with miles of cornfields. Local and traditional attractions include the DeKalb Corn Fest in August and the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival in October. Many new retailers and restaurants have opened in the area, offering a variety of shopping and dining. The region is also known as the "modern healthcare corridor."

Admission Requirements & Details

The admission details below may provide a better idea of the applicants Northern Illinois University accepts. The details may include application requirements and recommendations, as well as any AP or college credits that may be transferred.

College Credits Accepted

  • AP Course Credits

Student Enrollment

Total enrollment at Northern Illinois University is around 20,000 students. The student body is made up of 75% undergraduate students and 11% graduate students.


Estimated Costs & Financial Aid

The average "out of pocket" cost of attendance, after any grants and scholarships are considered, is around $19,200. To calculate a more personalized cost visit the net price calculator. There is also a $40 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 range estimates:
    • State Residents: $9,200-$11,000
    • Out-of-State: $19,000-$22,720
  • Charges for part-time students are:
    • State Residents: $440-$530 per credit unit
    • Nonresidents: $780-$930 per credit unit
  • The estimated cost for on campus dorms & meals is around $13,000, which includes twenty-one meals provided every week
  • Some programs may have tuition rates locked at the first year rate for up to five years.

Financial Aid Details

The table listed below helps break down the types of financial aid students receive and the percent receiving aid, as well as the average amount of aid per student per year.

 Percent of StudentsAverage Amount
Any Financial Aid96%-
Receiving Grants & Scholarships94%$9,112
Receiving Student Loans76%$7,682

Academics & Student Services

Student Services

To help support students, Northern Illinois University may provide services like:

  • Online course work available
  • Career path counseling
  • Employing students to lower education costs
  • Helping students find work after graduation
  • Day care

Graduation Rates

Northern Illinois University has an overall graduation rate which is approximately 51%.

Number of Year to GraduatePercent of Entering Class
Students Graduating in 4 Years26%
Graduating in 5 Years18%
Graduating in 6 Years6%

Specialized Programs & Accreditations

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

Intercollegiate Athletics

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

  • Baseball (Mid-American Conference)
  • Basketball (Mid-American Conference)
  • Track and Field (Mid-American Conference)
  • Football (Mid-American Conference)
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling

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 Northern Illinois 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,...)

Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Business and Marketing Studies

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


Interdisciplinary Studies

    Legal Professions and Studies

    Liberal Arts and Sciences

    Mathematics and Statistics

    Natural Resources and Conservation

    Philosophy and Religious Studies

    Physical Sciences


    Public Administration and Social Services

    Recreation and Fitness Studies

    Social Sciences

    Visual and Performing Arts

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