National University

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Updated August 6, 2020

National University is a private, nonprofit institution of higher learning residing in La Jolla, California. It is one of the biggest private, nonprofit universities in the state. It houses two colleges and four professional schools: College of Letters and Sciences, Sanford College of Education, School of Business and Management, School of Engineering and Computing, School of Health and Human Services, and School of Professional Studies. Through its schools and colleges, National University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificate and credential programs.

It offers over 90 undergraduate and graduate programs entirely online. The online academic programs are interactive and feature real-time discussions, video streaming, and multimedia learning tools. National University prides itself on its commitment to diversity and it strives to provide accessible lifelong learning opportunities available to students from all walks of life. It is committed to academic excellence and it provides rigorous, innovative and relevant programs and services that are student-centered, oriented to success, and responsive to technology. The core values include quality, access, relevance, accelerated pace, affordability, and community. It focuses on small classes and one-on-one interactions with students, as the student to staff ratio is 20 to one.

National University was established in 1971 in response to the need of a non-traditional university with relevant and highly sought degree programs for working professionals. Its first class included 27 students its first commencement ceremony had 143 graduates. In its early years, the university purchased properties and opened new facilities and expanded. By 1979, the university features a 15-acre campus. Throughout the 1980s, the university continued to expand and establish additional campuses. The School of Education was founded in 1980. It began offering online education in 1996. It continued to grow into the new millennium and became the second largest private, nonprofit university in California in 2010 and the 12th largest in the nation. Today, National University is home to about 24,000 students.

National University Accreditation Details

The Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits National University to grant bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and certificate programs.

National University Application Requirements


  • Complete the application for admission and enrollment agreement
  • Take the ACCUPLACER mathematics and English evaluation if a college level English or Math course has not been completed
  • Submit official high school transcript
  • Submit official transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities
  • Pay the nonrefundable $60 application fee


  • Complete the graduate application for admission and enrollment agreement
  • Submit official documentation of at least bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning with an overall GPA of 2.5 or better
  • If GPA between 2.0 and 2.49, students may be admitted with submission of a satisfactory score on a graduate standardized exam, such as the GRE, GMAT, or Miller Analogies Test
  • Pay the nonrefundable $60 application fee
  • Complete additional admission requirements as applicable for specific programs

Tuition and Financial Aid


The tuition at National University is assessed according to course level.


  • Course level 100, 200, 300, and 400: $362 per quarter unit or $1,629 4.5 quarter unit course
  • Course level 500: $416 per quarter unit or $1,872 4.5 quarter unit course


  • Course level 500: $416 per quarter unit or $1,872 4.5 quarter unit course
  • Course level 600 and 700: $416 or $1,872 4.5 quarter unit course

Financial Aid

National University offers a variety of financial aid options for students who qualify, including scholarships, grants, loans, and work study.


  • Transfer to Success Scholarship
  • Collegiate Honor Award
  • Military Tuition Scholarship
  • Presidential Tuition Scholarship
  • Veteran's Victory Scholarship


  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Cal Grant A
  • Cal Grant B
  • Credential Program
  • Certificate Program


  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Work Study

The Federal Work Study provides financing for eligible students to pursue part-time employment to help fund costs of postsecondary education. It helps students reduce the amount of loans. It provides financial aid on a monthly basis in the form of earnings and supports flexible work schedules. It also helps students develop and enhance their work experiences. Students are typically paid every other week and the amount of wages varies on each individual's circumstances.

Online Degrees Available

The College of Letters and Sciences offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications and an online Master of Arts in Strategic Communications. The School of Business and Management offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications.

The Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications prepares students for leadership roles in corporate communication, advertising, public relations, and integrated marketing. The program combines human and professional communication theory and skills to enable students to communication effectively and properly in interpersonal, organizational, intercultural, and mediated situations. The program requires the completion of 76.5 quarter units. The core courses include interpersonal communication, communication theory, communication research methods, critical thinking and ethics, persuasion, communication technologies, strategic writing, media management, and interactive storytelling. Students must also complete a communication program capstone.

The Master of Arts in Strategic Communications prepares students to pursue professional roles in communications settings. It provides students with both theoretical and practical methods to developing strategic communications programs that help organizations meet their objectives and goals. The program requires the completion of at least 45 quarter units of graduate courses. The core courses include communication in global environment, integrated marketing communication, research methods, crisis communications, campaign and program management, campaign and program evaluation, persuasion, and legal and ethical issues. Students must also complete a capstone project.

The Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications is a combination of marketing principles, such as advertising, sales promotions, public relations, and direct marketing, with the incorporation of communication utilizing the most recent communication technology. Graduates will have the ability to show an ability to find and integrate high-quality research for the purpose of assessing their own point of view into professional and academic study of communication and media studies. The program requires the completion of 72 quarter units. The core courses include intercultural communication, communication technologies, integrated marketing communication, communication strategies, communication campaigns, introduction to global marketing, introduction to advertising, and persuasion. Students must also complete a marketing project course.

Related Resource: 30 Top Affordable Online Master's in Communication

National University is an ideal choice for individuals looking into a variety of online communications programs.

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