Jul 20, 2024  
2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog 

An Introduction to NIU

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Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a state-assisted coeducational institution which offers programs in the basic disciplines, the arts, and the professions through courses conducted on the campus in DeKalb and at a number of outreach centers throughout northern Illinois.

The university offers six degrees at the baccalaureate level: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Music (B.M.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.), and Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.).

Northern Illinois University offers approximately 70 fields of study for undergraduate students in the Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering and Engineering Technology, Health and Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts. The basic undergraduate curriculum consists of a minimum of 120 semester hours, 29-41 of which are devoted to general education courses providing an educational base for advanced and specialized study.

NIU has selective entrance requirements; students who meet them can reasonably expect to graduate from the university. Students who have decided on a major field of study when they enter the university are assigned to the college in which that major is offered, while those who have not decided on a field of study may find that the general education courses, which all students take, will help them determine a major. Within certain limits, students are free to change their majors as their goals change.

Certain programs cannot accept everyone who wants to major in them, but everyone admitted to NIU is eligible to compete for places in such programs. The programs for which there is competition screen students through a set of pre-major courses. Successful completion of this package of courses has been an excellent indicator of success in these programs.

The quality of NIU’s undergraduate education is very high, largely because of the connection between undergraduate and graduate programs. In most fields, undergraduate students will study with professors who are doing important research in their disciplines. Furthermore, NIU offers strong counseling support to students throughout their years as undergraduates through academic advising, personal counseling, and career and placement counseling. As a residential university, NIU provides cultural, athletic, and other supportive activities within an atmosphere in which the total undergraduate learning experience is enriched.

NIU is located in DeKalb, Illinois, a community of 40,000 people, 65 miles west of Chicago. Thus, it offers the advantages of ease in daily living associated with a medium-sized town while at the same time providing the cultural advantages of a nearby major urban center. In addition, many of NIU’s programs are enhanced by the university’s proximity to high technology research in the Chicago and suburban area as well as a variety of opportunities for clinical experience necessary in certain fields. Because of its comprehensive, high quality programs, the flexibility it offers students in making choices of career and major, its advantageous location and residential benefits, Northern Illinois University is an excellent choice for an undergraduate education.

Northern Illinois University Mission and Scope

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The central mission of the university is the transmission, expansion, and application of knowledge through teaching, research and artistry, and public service. In fulfilling that mission, Northern Illinois University meets the needs of students for liberal, professional, technical, and lifelong education.

The university recognizes that it has a basic obligation to contribute to the betterment of the society of which it is a part. The university believes that the quality of individual and social life depends on the quality of mind; and it commits itself to preparing students for effective, responsible, and articulate membership in the complex society in which they live as well as in their chosen professions or occupations.

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 and to develop an appreciation for the life of the mind.

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 international 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.

In pursuit of these objectives, Northern Illinois University currently offers programs of study in the Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering and Engineering Technology, Health and Human Sciences, Law, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts. It awards the baccalaureate degree in a wide range of programs and offers a comprehensive set of master’s degrees, the Juris Doctor, a limited number of sixth-year programs, and the Doctor of Education and the Doctor of Philosophy. The university’s undergraduate student body is drawn primarily from within the state. The institution’s professional programs are designed to be especially attractive to employed adults, in that courses are offered both on and off campus and are scheduled to accommodate the needs of the working public. Northern’s doctoral programs draw from a national and international student base and build upon the programmatic strengths of the institution. 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. NIU is included in the Research Universities–High Research Activity category of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and is a member of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

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, Council of Graduate Schools, and Universities Research Association.

The university is also fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education to offer teacher education programs and offers several teacher certification 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 emphasis in athletic training available in the B.S. major in kinesiology is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

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 technology is accredited by the National Association of Industrial Technology.

In the College of Health and Human Sciences, the School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders offers a clinical laboratory sciences program that is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences and a physical therapy program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. The Au.D. and M.A. with a specialization in speech-language pathology are accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and a specialization in rehabilitation counseling holds accreditation from the Council on Rehabilitation Education. 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. 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 Dietetic Internship, taken in conjunction with the M.S. degree in nutrition and dietetics, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation/Approval for Dietetics Education. The undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing in the School of Nursing and Health Studies are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the master of public health progam is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Master of Public Administration degree offered by the Department of Political Science has its standards certified 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.

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, the National Association of Schools of Music, and the National Association of Schools of Theatre.

The College of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

The Campus

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The DeKalb Campus

The 765-acre campus of Northern Illinois University is located in the city of DeKalb, a community of about 40,000 located 65 miles west of Chicago’s Loop, on the East-West Tollway (I-88). The campus, which features two lagoons and a wooded area, has grown from a single building in 1899 to a modern, 74-building campus. The first building, Altgeld Hall, originally known as “the Castle on the Hill,” still stands and has recently undergone extensive renovation.

Regional Sites

NIU offers courses and programs at various locations throughout the northern Illinois region. The NIU Outreach Centers, located in Hoffman Estates, Naperville, and Rockford, are multimedia learning environments for NIU academic classes. The Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon, Illinois, is home to activities for K-12 students studying various aspects of environmental education. Also see “Regional Programs.”

The facilities of all four regional sites are available for meetings, conferences, workshops, and retreats by NIU and non-NIU groups. Contact the individual site for rates and availability, or call (866) 855-1239, or log on to www.outreach.niu.edu.

University Office Hours

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Most administrative offices are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 1 to 4:30 p.m. University office hours are subject to change. For current information consult the most recent Schedule of Classes. All offices are closed on legal holidays.

Visitors may obtain information at the Campus Information Center from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Prospective students may obtain information at the Office of Admissions, Williston Hall, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Saturdays, September through May. Generally, the Office of Admissions is the only administrative office open on Saturdays.

Faculty Office Hours

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Faculty members who teach maintain regular office hours or provide other means to promote student-faculty consultation, in accordance with department policy. These office hours are included in course syllabi and publicly posted each academic term. Arrangements more convenient to students than office visits (e.g., e-mail or chat groups) may be substituted for office hours where provided for by department policy.

The Academic Year

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The academic year consists of two semesters of approximately 16 weeks each, and a summer session which includes freshman-level courses for recent high school graduates who wish to begin college work immediately.


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