University of Northern Iowa

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Updated August 7, 2020

The University of Northern Iowa is a large public university in Iowa that goes by the abbreviation UNI. Founded in 1876, the school served as an institution that offered training for teachers. Though plans initially called for the school to also house and educate the orphans in the area, its founders removed this idea from the plan. Known as the Iowa State Normal School until 1909, the school was the first teaching institute in the state and one of the primary choices for education students. When the state gave the school a charter and allowed it to offer degree programs, it became the Iowa State Teachers College. Expansion of the campus and its curriculum led to the college becoming the State College of Iowa. It did not adopt the UNI name until the late 1960s.

UNI divides its curriculum into several colleges like the College of Business and the College of Education. Each of those colleges can offer different courses and degree programs and design their own departments too. The university accepts new students and also allows students to transfer in after earning credits at another school. UNI has a staff of more than 800 professors who work full-time and part-time and an enrollment of more than 11,000 students. Nearly 2,000 graduate students also enroll in UNI, which makes the university one of the largest colleges in Iowa in terms of enrollment alone.

University of Northern Iowa Accreditation Details

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is just one of the organizations that granted the University of Northern Iowa accreditation. With this type of accreditation, you shouldn't encounter any problems when you transfer credits to and from the university. HLC accreditation also lets you know that the university has programs that actually prepare students for their future jobs as well as for going to grad school. Nine other organizations gave the university accreditation for more than 10 of its degree programs. One of those organizations is the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering, which accredited its programs in construction management technology, manufacturing technology and technology management. Other organizations that gave UNI accreditation include:

  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • American Council for Construction Education
  • Council on Social Work
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design

University of Northern Iowa Application Requirements

As a prospective graduate student with an interest in attending the University of Northern Iowa, you need to decide whether you want to earn a degree through the university or enroll in a non-degree program. All students must also submit an application to the Office of Admissions. If you use the online application, it will automatically send your application to that office. This application allows the university to get a better look at you and determine if you are a good fit for its program. It asks about your college grade point average, any internships or other experiences you got in college and the type of degree you earned. There is also a fee that it due when you submit your application.

Though you must have a bachelor's degree before enrolling in a graduate program, the university will accept you before you finish your degree. You'll need to provide UNI with a copy of your degree before starting classes. The university also requires an official transcript from your college that shows you are in good academic standing and on your way to finishing a bachelor's degree. If you earned college credits toward your degree from any other college, you must provide a transcript from that school too. Certain UNI departments will ask for other information like a resume or writing sample.

Tuition and Financial Aid

UNI is one of the few colleges in the state that offers on-campus housing for graduate students. When you live in a residence hall, you will also need to purchase a meal plan. Room and board starts at around $8,600 a year. Tuition for Iowa residents is around $8,300 a year, but the cost increases to around $18,7000 a year for nonresidents. The university estimates that the total cost for students is around $18,000 a year for residents and more than $28,000 for nonresidents.

As soon as you know that you will attend UNI and need financial aid, you should file the FAFSA. Most UNI grad students receive at least one loan and one grant. Unsubsidized loans range in size based on your current year in school, but these loans are not typically available for part-time students. You can also apply for private loans and have your parents apply for loans also. Many UNI departments have assistant positions available for the coming school year too. You can work as a teaching assistant or a research position, and you might apply for a resident adviser position too.

School Library Studies

The library science program that the University of Northern Iowa offers is a Master of Arts in School Library Studies. It is a cohort program that partners students together and allows those students to learn from others who come from different areas and backgrounds. This is also an online program that requires students attend one session on the UNI campus at the beginning of the fall semester. This gives you the chance to chat with others in your classes and get access to campus resources. If you have or gain a teaching license before or after starting this program, you can get a school librarian teacher endorsement when you graduate.

Related Resource: Top 30 Affordable Online Master's in Library Science Degree Programs

As a school library studies major, you must take 33 credits of classes, but you can take more classes to finish a dual degree or to learn more about topics not addressed in your classes. You start out with an introduction to school library programs class that looks at what you will do on the job. The program includes courses on using school resources with children and young adults that helps you learn how to work with kids of different ages and help them with their research. There are courses on library administration and curriculum development too. The University of Northern Iowa requires that those who do a thesis do research under the supervision of a professor in the department that is worth three extra credits, but the program is also available as a non-thesis option.

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