Northwestern State University of Louisiana began in 1884 as the Louisiana State Normal School, offering two-year degree programs for teachers. Classes were taught in the old Bullard Mansion on top of a hill overlooking the bustling river port of Natchitoches. It was the first school in Louisiana to offer degree programs in nursing and business education.

The college is located on land that was originally owned by the Bullard family prior to the Civil War. However, as early as 1856, the mansion had been converted to a convent used by the Religious of the Society of the Sacred Heart. In 1857, a school was built on the property and the city of Natchitoches purchased the plantation and school in 1884. Three of the four great white columns that once supported the east gable of the mansion still sit on the hill and are often used as a symbol for the university.

In 1921, Louisiana legislators approved a name change for the school to the Louisiana State Normal College as they had been offering baccalaureate degrees since 1918. The name was changed to Northwestern State College of Louisiana in 1944 due to its broader role in education. In 1954, it became the first college under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana State Board of Education to offer Master's degrees. The school became Northwestern State University of Louisiana in 1970 by legislative act of Governor John J. McKeithen.

Over its 125 years of existence, the campus has spread south and west as enrollment grew. Satellite campuses have been developed in Shreveport, Alexandria and Fort Polk while the Distance Learning program allows students around the world to study at Northwestern.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana Accreditation Details

Northwestern State University of Louisiana is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. In addition, the school is a member in good standing of the Association of American Colleges and of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Specific programs are accredited by the following professional accreditation organizations:

  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Association for Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business International
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET
  • Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • National Association of Schools of Theatre

Northwestern State University of Louisiana Application Requirements

In order to apply to Northwestern State University of Louisiana, students must meet specific standards on the ACT or SAT tests. Students must complete an application for enrollment and pay the applicable fee. Students who must provide official high school and college transcripts as well. Transfer credits are only accepted from accredited institutions. Students with at least 18 hours of college level courses are considered transfer students and must have at least a 2.00 minimum GPA in all college courses. Students with less than 18 credits must meet the minimum freshman admittance requirements.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate tuition at Northwestern State University of Louisiana is $665 per credit hour while graduate student tuition is $718 per credit hour. Out-of-state residents must pay a fee of $3,149 if taking seven or more credits of undergraduate studies or $1,802 if taking four or more credits at the graduate level. Online tuition is $325 per credit hour for up to 12 hours and $100 per credit hour thereafter. Graduate tuition is $425 per credit hour for up to nine hours and $100 per credit hour thereafter.

Financial aid is available for qualified students. To qualify for federal student aid, a student must be regularly admitted in a degree program and have either a high school diploma or GED. Students must be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen and must maintain satisfactory academic progress. Students must not owe a refund or repayment on an educational grant and may not be in default of any educational loan. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well as the Title IV Authorization Form. The FAFSA must be completed each year but the Title IV Authorization Form must only be completed once during the student's career at the college. Aid is offered in the form of loans, grants, scholarships and work study for students who qualify.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana Online Degree(s) Available

Master of Arts in Learning and Development

The Master of Arts in Learning and Development at Northwestern State University of Louisiana is a 33-hour program offering a contemporary, technology-rich program for those who want to work with adult learners. Students may choose from three concentrations:

  • Adult and Workforce Development – prepares graduates to work with adults as training managers, designers, community education directors or facilitators in informal learning settings or with undereducated adults in school, community college or institutional settings.
  • Homeland Security – prepares students to teach large-scale training and simulation scenarios designed for law enforcement or municipal management.
  • e-Learning – designed for those interested in providing educational services through computing systems within schools, colleges or industry.

Completion of the program does not lead to licensure or certification in any state. Students should learn the requirements of their state before registering for the program.

Master of Arts in Teaching

Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers seven master's degrees in teaching that include:

  • Early Childhood Education, Grades PK-3 Professional Studies – prepares teachers seeking alternate certification to work with young children, families and communities. It
  • Elementary Education Grades 1-5 – prepares students from diverse career backgrounds who have non-education bachelor's degrees and who want to earn initial Louisiana teacher certification in Elementary Education. The program may also help students meet the requirement for becoming a highly-qualified educator.
  • Middle School Education Grades 4-8 – designed for students who have non-education bachelor's degrees who want to earn initial Middle School teacher certification in Louisiana and who wish to be designated as a highly-qualified teacher.
  • Secondary School Education – designed for students with a non-education bachelor's degree who want to earn Louisiana teacher certification in content areas such as Biology, Business, Chemistry, English, Family and Consumer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Social Studies or Speech.

All programs include courses and practicum experience and is comprised of either 36- or 39-semester hours of coursework plus one year internship. Students must present a passing score on the PRAXIS II pedagogy test prior to enrollment in the internship.

Master of Arts in Student Affairs in Higher Education

The Master of Arts in Student Affairs in Higher Education is a 36-hour online program designed for those who are already working or want to work in a Student Affairs Department at an institute of higher learning. Students must have a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited institution.

Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

The Curriculum and Instruction program at Northwestern State University of Louisiana provides certified teachers advanced knowledge in research, pedagogy and content. It is designed for continued professional development and requires 36-credit hours of graduate work. Students may choose from the following concentrations:

  • English Education
  • Reading
  • Professional Teaching Standards for the Teacher Leader
  • School Librarian
  • Transition to Teaching

Master of Education in Early Childhood Education

The Master of Education program is the only program offered in the state of Louisiana. It is an advanced program that builds on content mastered at the undergraduate certified teacher level. It is comprised of education courses and a practicum experience that meet National Association for the Education of Young Children standards.

Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership

The Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership at Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers two concentrations. One is for K-12 certified teachers and is nationally accredited. The other is for non-teaching professionals and is the first online program in Louisiana to provide educational technology training to non-teaching professionals.

Master of Education in Educational Leadership

The Master of Education in Educational Leadership is a 36-hour program accredited through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Educational Leadership Constituent Council. Applicants must have a valid teaching license before entering the program. It offers those with a master's degree an alternate path add-on for the School Leader Level 1 certification. An internship is required to complete the program.

Master of Education in Special Education

The Master of Education in Special Education program provides candidates with the knowledge and skills to facilitate student achievement. It is a 36-semester hour program and students may choose from four concentrations:

  • Gifted Education
  • Early Intervention
  • Elementary Mild/Moderate
  • Middle School and Secondary Mild/Moderate

These programs offered by Northwestern State University of Louisiana are all available online, allowing students to achieve their higher education goals while meeting work, family and social obligations.