Home > Colleges & Universities > Illinois > Northwestern University

Northwestern University

Northwestern University (a.k.a. Northwestern) is a private research university in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois. The school was founded by members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1851 but has always been non-sectarian and maintains no official ties with the church. The university’s name is derived from its original mission to provide higher education opportunities in the region once known as the Northwest Territory.

Rankings & Recognition

Northwestern was ranked 45th in The Best Colleges 2011-2012 ranking of the top 50 colleges and universities in America. It has frequently been ranked among the best research universities in the country by other major American rankings systems, including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Washington Monthly, Newsweek and Princeton Review. The school has also ranked high in international ranking systems like the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Northwestern is a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities.


Northwestern University is a large research university offering 124 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees through its eleven schools. The large majority of students are enrolled in undergraduate programs. The undergraduate program at Northwestern provides all students with a foundation in the liberal arts and has strengths in the professional fields of engineering, journalism, communication, music and education. The most popular undergraduate majors are in communication, journalism, engineering, economics, the visual and performing arts, and psychology. Class sizes are small. The student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1.

Tuition & Aid

Northwestern commits to meeting the full demonstrated academic financial need of all students through a combination of loans, scholarships and grants.

Tuition and fees at Northwestern are estimated at $40,223. About fifty-four percent of freshmen receive some form of financial aid. The average freshman aid package is estimated at $23,717.


The admissions process at Northwestern is highly selective. Only about twenty seven percent of applicants have been admitted in recent years. Either SAT or ACT scores are required. The early decision application deadline is November 1 with a December 15 notification date. The fall application deadline is January 1.


Northwestern University has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1913.

College Finder