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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 vision of Northern Illinois University is to be the premier student-centered, research-focused public university in the Midwest, contributing to the advancement of knowledge for the benefit of the people of the region, the state, the nation, and the world.
With this vision, the mission of the University is to promote excellence and engagement in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, creativity and artistry, and outreach and service.
In pursuing our vision and fulfilling our mission, the University values:
- A community of diverse people, ideas, services, and scholarly endeavors in a climate of respect for the intrinsic dignity of each individual,
- Access for a broad spectrum of students to high quality undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs that prepare them to be lifelong learners and productive, socially conscious citizens,
- Engaged teaching and learning that evolves from the synergy of research, artistry, and service,
- Research and artistry in creating, transmitting, expanding, and applying knowledge,
- Student success supported through academic and co-curricular programming and activities,
- The application of current technology in enhancing and broadening all institutional endeavors,
- A system of shared governance that incorporates input from faculty, staff, and students in decision- and policy-making,
- Commitment to a public purpose addressing regional, state, national, and global challenges and opportunities.
Recognizing that students will need to learn throughout their lives, the university provides them with the opportunity to become more competent in criticial thinking, communication, and creativity.
The university makes significant contributions to the expansion of knowledge. 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. It enthusiastically accepts its responsibility to contribute to the nation’s scientific and technological leadership, to support advances and innovations in education, to bring ideas to bear on issues of public policy, to contribute to the sustained appreciation of our diverse cultural heritage, and to prepare a new generation of scholars and educational leaders. It accepts a responsibility to prepare citizens who understand the increasingly global nature of contemporary life.
The multiple and ever-changing demands of society require the continuing development of academic and professional programs that are current, responsive, and of the highest possible quality. The university thus seeks to recruit and retain faculty of national stature from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, attentive to developments in their respective disciplines, and capable of educating students who will be able to serve the region, the state, the nation, and the world with distinction in the coming decades. Convinced that the intellectual resources of the nation are held in common, the university hopes to maintain access for all segments of the population, and, within the constraints of its budget, intends to admit those who can meet its entrance standards, to retain those who can benefit from its programs, and to educate students to the extent of their capabilities and desires.
Accreditation and Affiliation
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Northern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region. 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 Classifications for Outreach and Partnerships and for Student Engagement.
The university and its colleges have institutional membership or other affiliations in or with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Council on Education (ACE), Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGBUC), Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), Council of Graduate Schools, and Universities Research Association.
The university is also fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) to offer teacher education programs and offers several educator licensure programs that are approved by the Illinois State Board of Education.
In the College of Business, programs leading to the baccalaureate and master’s degrees are accredited by AACSB International-The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
In the College of Education, the B.S. in athletic training is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).
In the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, the undergraduate programs in electrical engineering, industrial and systems engineering, and mechanical engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). In the technology program, the emphases in electrical engineering technology and manufacturing engineering technology are accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET, and the emphasis in industrial management and technology is accredited by the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE).
In the College of Health and Human Sciences, the School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders offers a B.S. in medical laboratory sciences that is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) and a physical therapy program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The Au.D. and M.A. with a specialization in speech-language pathology are accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology and a specialization in rehabilitation counseling with the M.A. in communicative disorders holds accreditation from the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). The specialization in marriage and family therapy in the Master of Science program in applied family and child studies offered by the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy (COAMFTE). In the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences, the B.S. in family and child studies is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children Inc. and the undergraduate didactic program in dietetics, as well as the dietetic internship that is taken in conjunction with the M.S. degree in nutrition and dietetics, are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing in the School of Nursing and Health Studies are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the master of public health program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the B.S. in chemistry is approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The clinical psychology and school psychology areas within the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in the Department of Psychology are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). The school psychology M.A. program leading to specialist-level certification is fully approved by National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The B.S. degree with a major in chemistry is certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The Master of Public Administration degree offered by the Department of Public Administration is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).
Within the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the programs in art, music, and theatre arts are accredited, respectively, by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).
The College of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).
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.niu.edu/grad. The Graduate School Manual for Theses and Dissertations is available for purchase at campus bookstores and is available online at www.niu.edu/grad. Information for International Graduate Students is online at www.niu.edu/grad/admissions/international/.