Jun 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

University Graduation Requirements

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Major Program


In-depth study in one major area is required in each baccalaureate degree (except the Bachelor of General Studies). Major requirements often include not only courses within the given discipline but also necessary prerequisites and work in related disciplines.

Students must satisfy all the requirements of their major department. Minors are required in certain programs (check departmental requirements) and may be chosen in any program with departmental approval.

Total Credits

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A minimum of 120 semester hours that can be applied toward the degree is required for graduation. While most programs have requirements that can be satisfied in 120 hours, a limited number of programs have established through the curricular process their need to require more than 120 hours. See departmental sections of this catalog for a semester-hour breakdown and total for each major.

In fulfilling the 120-semester-hour graduation requirement, no student will be permitted to count more than 8 semester hours in elective physical education activity courses, or more than 6 semester hours in workshop or special/multiple topic courses taken outside the student’s major or minor. These limitations include all transfer hours as well as NIU semester hours earned.

Normal Time for Completion of Academic Program

Typically, the normal time to complete an NIU bachelor’s degree is four years for full-time students who are continuously enrolled in an average of 15 credit hours each semester. For some majors, students will need to enroll in summer courses or more than 15 credit hours per semester to complete the degree in four years. Students are encouraged to work with their academic advisers to develop a completion plan.

Upper-Division Courses

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A minimum of 40 semester hours of the total number must be in courses numbered at the 300 and/or 400 level. These must include at least 12 semester hours of major departmental courses taken at NIU.

Writing Infused Courses

Students entering NIU with 30 or fewer credit hours, excluding credits awarded through NIU’s Credit by Examination Program, must earn credit in two upper-division courses that are designated as “writing-infused.” These courses may be taken within the general education program, the major program, or through electives. The Class Search in MyNIU can be searched to find writing-infused classes offered for a specific term by selecting the course attribute of “Writing-Infused.” See the section in this catalog titled “Writing Infused Courses” for the complete list.

Human Diversity Baccalaureate Requirement

All All undergraduate students must complete the human diversity baccalaureate requirement either through a designated human diversity course, OR a non-course based experience that is designated as “human diversity.” Human Diversity is defined as gender, ability, race/ethnicity, citizenship, wealth/material resources, religion, age, or sexual orientation, and includes an analysis of power and addresses people’s differing access to resources/opportunities in the present or past. Students may meet this requirement by successfully completing any one of the following: an approved NIU Human Diversity course, an NIU course taken prior to that course being designated as a Human Diversity course, a course from an Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) participating institution that has an IAI “N’ or “D” Human Diversity code, a transfer course that articulates to an NIU Human Diversity course, a transfer course that meets the transfer institution’s Human Diversity requirement, or that is identified as a Diversity course by the transferring institution. Students may also satisfy NIU’s Human Diversity requirement through a university-approved co-curricular experience. See Human Diversity Requirement List of Courses for the full list.

Course Offerings

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Although the university attempts to accommodate the course requests of students, course offerings may be limited by financial, space, and staffing considerations or may otherwise be unavailable. Nothing in this catalog may be construed to promise or guarantee registration in any course or course of study (whether required or elective) nor may anything be construed to promise or guarantee the completion of an academic program within a specified length of time.

Course Prerequisites and Corequisites

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A prerequisite (PRQ) is a requirement that must be met before a student can register for a course. A corequisite (CRQ) is a requirement that must be undertaken at the same time as a given course (if it has not been completed previously). Students are responsible for following appropriate sequences of courses and should check all course descriptions for prerequisites and/or corequisites.

Students who do not meet PRQ/CRQ requirements but think they are qualified to enroll in a course should consult the department offering the course to determine whether or not it is appropriate to enroll in the course.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

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Students must attain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 in all NIU credit earned and of 2.00 in the major. The GPA in the student’s major is calculated using all courses taken in the major department, and only those courses taken in the major department, unless the department specifically states otherwise in its section of this catalog. A cumulative GPA of 2.50 or above is required for graduation in a educator licensure entitlement program.

In order for the university to record on a student’s transcript that a minor was successfully completed during the student’s undergraduate program, the student must attain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 in all courses taken in the minor at NIU.

Enrollment Residence Requirement

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Candidates for undergraduate degrees from NIU must earn at least 30 of their final 60 semester hours of credit in course work offered by NIU. Continuing students intending to transfer credit to NIU after they have earned 90 semester credit hours or who will exceed 90 semester credit hours upon transfer of that credit must obtain prior approval from their major college office before enrolling in the course(s) which they intend to transfer. Students should also check for other residence requirements in the appropriate college and department listings.


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