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Northern Illinois University is a comprehensive university, whose faculty, staff, and students engage in instruction, research and artistry, and professional service in a variety of fields.
Established in 1895 by an act of the Illinois General Assembly, the Northern Illinois State Normal School opened its doors to students in September 1899. At that time only a two-year curriculum in teacher education was offered.
In July 1921, the legislature gave the institution the name Northern Illinois State Teachers College and empowered it to award the four-year degree Bachelor of Education. By action of the Teachers College Board in 1943 the title of the degree was changed to Bachelor of Science in Education. Eight years later, the Teachers College Board authorized the college to grant the degree Master of Science in Education, and the institution’s Graduate School was established.
On July 1, 1955 , as a result of action by the state legislature, the college was renamed Northern Illinois State College. Moreover, the legislature authorized the college to broaden its educational services by offering academic work in areas other than teacher education. The Teachers College Board then granted permission for the college to add curricula leading to the degrees Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science.
By action of the Seventieth General Assembly, Northern Illinois State College became Northern Illinois University on July 1, 1957. Since that time, authority has been granted for the university to offer additional degrees and certificates at the baccalaureate, professional, and graduate levels.
In 1965, the Illinois State Teachers College Board became the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities; in 1967, Northern Illinois University was placed under the control of the newly created Board of Regents; in 1996, this authority was transferred to the Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University.
Northern Illinois University has offered work leading to graduate degrees since 1951 and currently offers graduate study in over 100 major programs and specializations. The following master’s degrees, which encompass more than 50 academic majors, are now available: Master of Accounting Science (M.A.S.), Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.), Master of Music (M.M.), Master of Physical Therapy (M.P.T.), Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.), Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.), and Master of Science in Taxation (M.S.T.). In 1961 programs leading to the degrees Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) were authorized; currently, the Ph.D. is offered by ten academic departments and the Ed.D. in six academic majors. The Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, offered by the College of Law , was authorized in 1979, the Performer’s Certificate in 1982, the Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in 1983, and the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) in 2003.
The central mission of Northern Illinois University is the transmission, expansion, and application of knowledge through teaching, research and artistry, and public service. Recognizing that students will need to learn throughout their lives, the university provides them with the opportunity to become more competent in analytical thought, informed judgment, and effective communication. In its instructional activities, the university conveys an understanding of the organization of knowledge and the means of inquiry.
The university aims to develop a respect for rationality, a tolerance for uncertainty, and an appreciation of diversity. It fosters the capacity to explore the unfamiliar, to use the intellect in the process of discovery and the synthesis of knowledge, and to become familiar with new technology and its implications. It strives to enhance the imagination, sensibility, and creative talents of each student. It believes that all students should attain a level of academic and professional competence sufficient for productive employment and citizenship and makes opportunities available for those who are able to undertake the advanced study required for leadership in their chosen professional fields and academic disciplines.
The university makes significant contributions to the expansion of knowledge. To accomplish this, it provides an environment of academic freedom in which all are free to inquire and to disseminate scholarly and creative work. It believes that active programs in research and artistry promote intellectual vitality and enrich an institution’s instructional mission and its service to the broader community.
NIU enthusiastically accepts its responsibility to contribute to the nation’s scientific, technological, and educational advancement, to bring ideas to bear on issues of public policy, to contribute to the sustained appreciation of our diverse cultural heritage and the international nature of contemporary life, and to prepare and develop scholars and educational leaders. The university is committed both to pure research and to the study of applications of knowledge.
Northern Illinois University ’s history reflects flexibility in the face of change and consistency in the pursuit of excellence. In this, the university expects its future to confirm its past.
Accreditation and Affiliation
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Northern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. NIU is included in the Research Universities—High Activity category of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and has achieved the Community Engagement Classification for Outreach and Partnerships.
The university and its colleges have institutional membership or other affiliations in or with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Council on Education, Association of State Colleges and Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (formerly NASLGC), Council of Graduate Schools, and Universities Research Association.
The university is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education to offer teacher education programs.
In the College of Business, the M.A.S., the M.S.T., the M.B.A., and the M.S. in management information systems programs are accredited by AACSB International–The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
In the College of Education, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs has accredited the following program areas in counseling within the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education: community counseling, school counseling, and student development in higher education (M.S.Ed.), and counseling (Ed.D.).
In the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, the undergraduate programs in electrical engineering, industrial engineering, and mechanical engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The undergraduate technology program emphases in electrical engineering technology and manufacturing engineering technology are accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET and the emphasis in industrial technology is accredited by the National Association of Industrial Technology.
In the College of Health and Human Sciences, the M.P.T. program offered by the School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy. The Au.D. and M.A. with a specialization in speech-language pathology are accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology and a specialization in rehabilitation counseling holds accreditation from the Council on Rehabilitation Education. The specialization in marriage and family therapy in the M.S. program in applied family and child studies within the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy. In the same school, the Dietetic Internship, taken in conjunction with the M.S. degree in nutrition and dietetics, is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation/Approval for Dietetics Education. The graduate nursing program in the School of Nursing and Health Studies is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and the master of public health degree is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.
The College of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.
In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Master of Public Administration within the Department of Political Science is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, and the clinical psychology area within the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in the Department of Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association.
In the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the School of Art, School of Music, and School of Theatre and Dance are accredited, respectively, by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the National Association of Schools of Music, and the National Association of Schools of Theatre.
University Academic Publications
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The Undergraduate Catalog contains information on undergraduate admission policies and procedures, graduation requirements, academic regulations, expenses, housing, financial aid, and other university services, as well as detailed descriptions of academic majors, minors, and course offerings. Copies are available to current students from the university’s bookstore, and to prospective students from the Office of Admissions. It is online at catalog.niu.edu.
The Graduate Catalog contains detailed statements of Graduate School policies and procedures, curricula, and expenses, and lists the graduate course offerings of the various departments. Copies are available from the Graduate School . It is online at catalog.niu.edu.
The College of Law Bulletin provides information regarding application procedures, academic requirements, course offerings, and tuition and fees, as applicable to law students. Copies may be obtained from the College of Law . It is online at law.niu.edu.
The Graduate School Calendar and Information for International Graduate Students are available from the Graduate School and online at www.grad.niu.edu. The Graduate School Manual for Theses and Dissertations is available for purchase at campus bookstores and is available online at www.grad.niu.edu. Information for International Graduate Students is online at www.niu.edu/grad/inter.html.