Northern Illinois University was founded as part of the expansion of the normal school program established in 1857 in Normal, Illinois. In 1895, the state legislature created a Board of Trustees for the governance of the Northern Illinois State Normal School, which would grow into what is today known as NIU.

In July 1917, the Illinois Senate consolidated the boards of trustees for the five state normal schools (Eastern Illinois State Normal School, Illinois State Normal School, Northern Illinois State Normal School, Southern Illinois State Normal University, and Western Illinois State Normal School) into one state Normal School Board.

Over the next fifty-eight years, the school and the governing board changed their names several times. In 1921, the legislature gave the institution the name Northern Illinois State Teachers College and empowered it to award the four-year Bachelor of Education degree. In 1941, the Normal School Board changed its name to the Teachers College Board. In 1951 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, the state legislature renamed the college Northern Illinois State College and authorized the college to broaden its educational services by offering academic work in areas other than teacher education. The Teachers College Board granted permission for the college to add curricula leading to the degrees Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science. On July 1, 1957, the Seventieth General Assembly renamed Northern Illinois State College as Northern Illinois University in recognition of its expanded status as a liberal arts university.

In 1965, the Illinois State Teachers College Board became the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities and was reorganized to include Northeastern University, Governor's State, and Chicago State Universities. In 1967 authority for Northern Illinois University, Illinois State University, and Sangamon State University were passed on to a newly formed Board of Regents. In 1984, the Board of Regents created the position of Chancellor for the three regent universities, to act as a chief executive for all three schools; the first person appointed chancellor was then-NIU President William R. Monat. The Board of Regents and the Chancellor governed the three Regency universities until the end of 1995. On January 1, 1996, authority for each of the three regency universities was transferred to three independent Boards of Trustees, each concerned solely with one university.



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About University
Over 5,000 graduate students from around the world attend NIU each year. With 66 masters degree programs, 22 doctorate degree programs and 81 certificates of graduate study, you will advance your education and your career with a post-secondary degree from NIU. We offer our graduate students outstanding opportunities for research, innovation, and hands-on learning across every academic program. Our university and individual programs of study rank nationally year after year. Northern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifies NIU as a High Research Activity University. We value diversity in our programs, faculty, and most importantly, in our students. Watch our video to hear what graduate students say about diversity at our university.


Northern Illinois University offers a number of student services, including nonremedial tutoring, women's center, placement service, day care, health service, health insurance. Northern Illinois University also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc.). Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at Northern Illinois University. Students who have cars on campus N/A Health insurance offered Yes

Student Life:

Student Life
Northern Illinois University has a total undergraduate enrollment of 13,454, with a gender distribution of 50 percent male students and 50 percent female students. At this school, 27 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated or -affiliated housing and 73 percent of students live off campus. In sports, Northern Illinois University is part of the NCAA I. Total enrollment 18,042 Collegiate athletic association NCAA I The student-faculty ratio at Northern Illinois University is 16:1, and the school has 49.1 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Northern Illinois University include: Speech Communication and Rhetoric; Psychology, General; Accounting; Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse; and Health/Medical Preparatory Programs, Other. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 72 percent.

Student Reviews:

1. The university is terrible at allocating resources. Students pay money for classes and books that there is no reason to spend the money on. Parking is a joke. There is hardly ever decent parking and the parking police will give out fines and tickets for the most ridiculous reasons, or no reason at all. The buildings are out of date and bathrooms look like they hardly ever get cleaned. Most instructors when you get into your major specific classes speak broken English that is near impossible to understand. The social life is pretty much non-existent, especially for commuter students. I would not suggest NIU as a school to go to. There are many better options. 2. Overall, I would say that I am incredibly satisfied with the quality of education I was able to receive at NIU. Many of the professors in the health science department are practicing clinicians who add a depth of perspective to the classroom experience. The campus is diverse and offers a wide range of research and extracurricular activities for students to engage in. In addition to that, NIU often hosts adaptive sporting events and various seminars regarding people with disabilities, exposing students to a variety of practical and hands on experiences. 3. NIU is a pretty good school and is a bit cheaper compared to other state schools. The campus is moderately safe however, crime in the area have picked up a bit throughout the last four years. The school provides many resources for the students to succeed, but it is up to the students to seek them out. I gave "quality of instruction" 3/5 stars due to the fact that there were a handful of teachers who didn't show any concern for their students and if they were grasping the information. Overall the location was beneficial to me because I was an hour or so away from home and many other students who lived in Illinois were about an hour or so away from their hometowns as well.