Jun 12, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

An Introduction to NIU

Click on a link to be taken to the entry below.


Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a student-centered, nationally recognized public research university. Through our main campus in DeKalb and our education centers in the region, the university offers more than 100 areas of study, with programs spanning the sciences, humanities, arts, business, engineering, education, health and law.

We offer six types of 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.).

Our basic undergraduate curriculum consists of a minimum of 120 semester hours, 29-41 of which are devoted to general education courses providing a foundation for advanced and specialized study.

NIU has selective entrance requirements; students who meet them can reasonably expect to graduate from the university. New students who have decided on a major field of study are assigned to the college offering their major. is offered. Undecided students 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.

Some programs have enrollment ceilings, but everyone admitted to NIU is eligible to compete for places in such programs. Competitive programs screen students through a set of pre-major courses.

The quality of NIU’s undergraduate education is very high, largely because of the connection between undergraduate and graduate programs. In most fields, undergraduates will study with professors who are producing important research, scholarship, and/or artistry in their disciplines. NIU also supports student success through academic advising, personal counseling, and career and placement counseling. As a residential university, we provide cultural, athletic, and other co-curricular activities within an atmosphere designed to enrich the undergraduate learning experience.

The main NIU campus is in DeKalb, Illinois, a community of about 40,000 people located, 65 miles west of Chicago. Our community offers a small-town feel, while at the same time providing the cultural advantages associated with access to a world-class city. Many NIU programs are enhanced by the university’s proximity to major industries, federal research laboratories, and a large alumni base in Chicago and its suburbs, providing opportunities for internships and clinical experiences. The high-quality academic programs, wide array of career choices, residential community benefits and ideal location make NIU an excellent choice for an undergraduate education.

Northern Illinois University Mission and Scope

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Northern Illinois University’s vision is to be an engine for innovation to advance social mobility; promote personal, professional and intellectual growth; and transform the world through research, artistry, teaching and outreach.

Our mission is to empower students through educational excellence and experiential learning as we pursue knowledge, share our research and artistry, and engage communities for the benefit of the region, state, nation and world.

In pursuing our vision and fulfilling our mission, we value and practice:


  • Curiosity and creativity.
    • We provide our students active learning experiences.
    • We champion innovation.
    • We commit our resources to supporting students, faculty and staff in their research, artistry and professional development.


  • Equity and inclusion.

    • We seek and are strengthened by the diverse perspectives and experiences of our university community members.
    • We use an inclusive decision-making process.
    • We appreciate and respect every member of our community.


  • Ethics and integrity.

    • We prepare our students to become global leaders who work to build a better society.
    • We model ethical behavior in and out of the classroom.
    • We are transparent and accountable to our stakeholder.


  • Service and stewardship
    • We serve society and confront local, national and global challenges through collaborations that improve our learning, teaching and research.
    • We make accessible the knowledge and resources we create.
    • We promote our students’ success through advising and mentoring.


Recognizing that our students will need to be lifelong learners, we provide them with a foundation in critical thinking, communication, and creativity.

NIU also makes significant contributions to the expansion of knowledge. Active programs in research and artistry promote intellectual vitality and enrich our instructional mission and service to the broader community. We enthusiastically accept our 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.

The ever-changing demands of society require the continuing development of our high quality academic and professional programs. We seek to recruit and retain faculty of national stature from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We strive to maintain access for all segments of the population, and, within the constraints of our budget, intend to admit those who can meet university entrance standards, to retain those who can benefit from our programs, and to educate students to the extent of their capabilities and desires.

In pursuit of these objectives, NIU 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. The university 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.

NIU’s undergraduate student body is drawn primarily from within the state. Our 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. NIU’s doctoral programs draw from a national and international student base and build upon the programmatic strengths of the institution.

Accreditation and Affiliation

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Northern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors, which accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the United States. NIU is included in the Doctoral Universities (High Research Activity) category of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and has been identified for Community Engagement under the Carnegie Foundation Elective Classifications.

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 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 (ISBE).

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’s Department of Counseling and Higher Education, the M.S.Ed. in Counseling offers two specializations (School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling)  and Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The M.S. in Athletic Training housed in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The M.S. Ed. in Special Education program offers three specializations (Orientation and Mobility, Vision Rehabilitation Therapy, Visually Impaired) that are accredited by the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER).

In the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, the undergraduate programs in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, industrial and systems engineering, mechatronics engineering, and mechanical engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), https://www.abet.org. In the technology program, the emphases in electrical engineering technology, energy and environmental engineering technology, and manufacturing engineering technology are accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET, https:www.abet.org, and the emphasis in industrial management and technology is accredited by the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE), https://atmae.org.

In the College of Health and Human Sciences, the School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders offers a D.P.T. program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The Au.D. and M.A. in Communicative Disorders with specializations in speech-language pathology and audiology are accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. The specialization in marriage and family therapy in the Master of Science program in applied human developmenet and family sciences offered by the School of Family and Consumer Sciences is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy (COAMFTE). The school also houses the Child Development and Family Center, which is accredited by National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). It’s B.S. in Human Development and Family Sciences program may prepare students to become a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) as approved by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). The undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing in the School of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The School of Health Studies offers the master of public health program that is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the B.S. in medical laboratory sciences that is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), and B.S. in nutrition, dietetics and wellness didactic program and the M.S. in nutrition and dietetics dietetic internship that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND); the undergraduate didactic program in nutrition, dietetics, and wellness is accredited by ACEND. The School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions offers the M.S. in rehabilitation counseling that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the B.S. in chemistry degree with emphases in professional chemistry and biochemistry is certified 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 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). The B.A./B.S. in Nonprofit and NGO Studies is accredited by the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC).

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).

Visit the Accreditation, Assessment and Evaluation website for more information on accreditation and affiliation.

The Campus

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The DeKalb Campus

NIU’s 756-acre campus is located in the city of DeKalb, a community of about 40,000 located 65 miles west of Chicago along Interstate I-88. Our campus features two lagoons, a wooded area, and more than 100 buildings; ranging from student housing to specialized laboratories and from recreational facilities to our newly renovated Holmes Student Center. The first building on campus, Altgeld Hall, completed in 1899 and originally known as “the Castle on the Hill,” has been completely renovated to include amenities and technology to meet modern demands.

Regional centers: NIU Naperville and NIU Rockford

The NIU Regional Centers at Naperville and Rockford are multi-purpose, providing space for NIU academic programs, corporate conference space, and university-community engagement functions.  These facilities provide daytime space to businesses, organizations, and associations in a professional environment ideal for training sessions, meetings, and special events. As regional sites, the Naperville and Rockford centers provide evening and Saturday classroom and computer laboratory space for NIU’s academic programs. The credit courses typically available at the centers are offered at the graduate level and the upper-division, undergraduate level.

Offices on NIU’s DeKalb campus handle all admissions, registration, advising, class scheduling, class materials, and specific information regarding classes offered at all regional site locations.

The Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon, Illinois, is home to outdoor education activities for K-12 students.These regional sites are available for meetings, conferences, workshops, and retreats. or log on to https://www.niu.edu/conferencecenters/.

University Office Hours


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. All offices are closed on legal holidays.

Visitors may obtain information at the Altgeld Welcome and Information Center. 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, or schedule a Saturday visit from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Cole Hall.

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 about 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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