Northwestern University

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Updated August 7, 2020

First founded in 1851 by John Evans and eight other prominent businessmen, Northwestern University is an elite large comprehensive private institution with over $550 million in research funding annually. Northwestern is based on a main 240-acre suburban campus in Evanston, along the Illinois shores of Lake Michigan, but courses can also be taken in Chicago, abroad in Qatar, and online from anywhere with an Internet connection. Northwestern currently serves over 8,500 undergraduates and 10,700 post-graduate students in its more than 265 academic degree programs. Across its 12 schools, Northwestern University operates on a 10-week quarter system based in the liberal arts and sciences.

Highly regarded for academic excellence, Northwestern is currently ranked as the 13th best university and 20th top value school in America by the U.S. News and World Report. In particular, Northwestern cracks the top 10 nationally with extraordinary programs in business, education, economics, chemistry, and physical therapy. According to the Times Higher Education, Northwestern stands as the 21st best university in the entire world. Northwestern ranked fourth in Forbes' list of the "25 Colleges with the Smartest Students." Northwestern University is also esteemed for having one of the country's largest libraries holding more than five million volumes and 6,000 electric journals.

Northwestern University Accreditation Details

Northwestern University is formally accredited as a whole by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (NCA), which is one of the accepted regional accrediting bodies by the U.S. Department of Education. Furthermore, Northwestern has gone a step further to receive 19 discipline-specific accreditations by professional associations. For instance, the Kellogg School of Management has been approved by the elite Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. Certain business degrees with a science-oriented view also meet the criteria established by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Northwestern University Application Requirements

Northwestern is very selective with an acceptance rate of just 14 percent, so students seeking admissions must meet some tough criteria. Incoming freshmen must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent from an accredited institution. First-year students must have at least four years of English, three years of math, three years of laboratory science, two years of social science, and two years of foreign language. Grade requirements aren't posted, but freshmen at Northwestern have an average high school GPA over 3.5. Students also usually score over 2000 on the SAT or above 30 on the ACT.

Students wishing to transfer to Northwestern University must have completed a minimum of 24 transferrable semester hours at a regionally accredited institution. Applicants must have graduated from high school at least 12 months and finished one full academic year of college to qualify for transfer. Generally, students must have earned at least a 3.0 GPA for transferring their credits. Northwestern prefers to admit transfers who have completed the full range of liberal arts and sciences prior to applying.

Graduates looking to enroll at Northwestern must already hold a U.S. bachelor's degree or a comparable non-U.S. degree from a regionally accredited college. Graduate students are required to possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, but some programs have even higher expectations. High-achieving students can be admitted with one quarter of undergraduate study remaining. Depending on the degree, Northwestern may mandate that students submit entrant test scores for the GRE or GMAT. Graduate business degrees at Northwestern typically prefer candidates with two or more years of full-time experience.

Before Northwestern's specified deadlines, interested applicants should submit their application form with the following supplemental materials:

  • Official transcripts or academic records
  • Standardized testing scores
  • Two to three recommendation letters
  • A well-written statement of purpose on career objectives
  • The $95 non-refundable application fee (if not waived)

Tuition and Financial Aid

Due to its prestige, Northwestern University comes with a big price tag. Full-time undergraduate students seeking a bachelor's degree can expect to pay $16,208 per quarter. Students who are maintaining part-time enrollment in their undergraduate program will pay $5,766 per course. Students can also expect to pay a $56 activity fee, $67 health services fee, and $47 athletic events fee every quarter. Graduate students must afford $16,208 per quarter for enrolling full-time in a Northwestern master's degree program. Ph.D. candidates who enroll full-time over nine or more quarters receive a discount at $4,052, but must pay a $55 copyright fee.

To help afford these costs, Northwestern University automatically considers matriculated students for receiving financial aid from their FAFSA form. Northwestern meets 100 percent of students' need and maintains a remarkably low default rate of 1.8 percent. Students can borrow money from Direct Loans, PLUS Loans, Perkins Loans, or alternative private loans, but these funds must be repaid with interest. Free gifted money is available for financially needy students through the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, Illinois Veterans Grant, and Monetary Award Program (MAP). Online learners may also qualify for certain Northwestern scholarships, such as the No-Loan Pledge Scholarship, Good Neighbor Great University Scholarship, Founders Scholarship, or Karr Achievement Scholarship.

Online Degrees Available

Within the School of Professional Studies, Northwestern University harnesses online technology to deliver flexible distance degrees that fit students' busy schedules. Students can now obtain seven master's degrees and five certificate programs fully online through Northwestern. All online degrees are offered by the same expert faculty and follow the prestigious university's rigorous curriculum standards. Business students may wish to obtain the:

Online Master's in Predictive Analytics

Centered on "Big Data," the Online Master's in Predictive Analytics program at Northwestern is devised to prepare graduate students for utilizing the latest data acquisition technologies to enhance organizational effectiveness and return on investment. Online students will participate in small class sizes to build expertise in data mining, database management, financial analysis, predictive modeling, quantitative reasoning, business management, and communications. The curriculum includes 36 credits, including a capstone or master's thesis project.

Online Master's in Integrated Marketing Communications

Consisting of 39 credits, the Online Master's in Integrated Marketing Communications is given to Northwestern graduate students seeking to skills to better connect with customers and business stakeholders across all media platforms. Available fully online in a convenient part-time format, the program prepares communications managers for the customer-centric, data-drive marketing process of tomorrow. Students can expect to take courses in financial accounting, statistics, market research, marketing management, consumer insight, and strategic planning.

Online Advanced Accounting Certificate

For students who have already completed fundamental accounting courses, the Online Advanced Accounting Certificate is available to finish fulfilling the CPA exam requirements in Illinois and several other states. Ranging from five to seven courses, the certificate is fully online to delve into topics on auditing principles, accounting research, income taxation, accounting information systems, international accounting, and managerial cost accounting. Northwestern University also offers a similar 12-unit Online CPA Exam Preparation Program.

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