Educator licensure is available. Students planning to teach in senior high schools must major in a subject area.
Biology is a diverse and rapidly expanding field that addresses issues relevant to health, industry and the environment. Biologists are responsible for new discoveries in such areas as agriculture, medicine, molecular biology and the evolution of species. As the pace of discovery accelerates, the number of career opportunities increase as well.Our program will prepare you to work in a variety of biological areas; for graduate study in a biological discipline; and for medical, dental, veterinary and other professional schools. With additional coursework and student teaching, you can also be certified to teach at the middle- and high-school levels.
Virtually everything we do involves chemistry, which can be used to improve our health, lives and environment. NIU ranks among the top universities for the number of American Chemical Society-certified bachelor’s degrees awarded annually.Most chemists work in research, with about two-thirds of our graduates working at for-profit businesses. Once you earn your degree, you could find yourself working with a cosmetic company, medical laboratory, petroleum company, utility, pharmaceutical business, chemical manufacturer or environmental-assessment firm. You also could work in government, education, nonprofits or research foundations—or go on to pharmacy, medical or graduate school.
Studying child development and early education in the Human Development and Family Studies program will prepare you to serve infants, toddlers and young children, as well as their parents, in home school and community-based settings.You'll be ready for a career or graduate study focused on areas such as early intervention, early childhood education and leadership/advocacy roles. Students in the program complete their practicum experience at the award-winning Child Development and Family Center at NIU. Graduates from the program qualify for various Illinois Gateways credentials.
In a digital era when oral and written communication skills are more important than ever before, a major in communication studies provides cutting-edge insights valuable for professional careers.Communication Studies offers emphases in advocacy and public communication, media studies or organizational/corporate communication. Program graduates go on to careers in such areas as social media management, technical writing, public relations, film, publishing, advertising, marketing, corporate media production and web programming and design. Many graduates also pursue advanced degrees.
A degree in Communicative Disorders provides you with information about normal speech, language and hearing development, and is often the first step toward becoming an audiologist, a rehabilitation counselor or a speech-language pathologist. If you choose not to pursue a graduate degree, our program will provide a strong foundation for careers in human services, education, and other health care fields.
NIU’s Computer Science Department has a long history of successfully educating computer professionals. We keep pace with industry demands for well-trained graduates who are ready to assume vital roles in the field of information technology. This program is offered in DeKalb or at Harper College University Center.
With a computer science degree, you could work in a variety of areas, such as a programmer, information systems manager, game programmer or database administrator. You’ll find our alums working in business, high-tech industries and research organizations. Companies that recruit our graduates range from IBM and Microsoft to Abbott Labs, McDonald’s Corporation and Wells Fargo.
Working with and teaching the very young is both challenging and rewarding. The Early Childhood Education program prepares students for a variety of professional roles serving children from birth through age 8 and their families. The program includes the Early Childhood Special Education Approval, allowing graduates to teach children with disabilities in pre-kindergarten.
The field of economics examines how individuals, businesses and governments allocate scarce resources. Economists help find solutions to these challenges.
As an economics major, you will gain important skills that are highly valued in today's job market. Upon graduation, you will have a wide array of employment opportunities in administration, marketing research, financial services, sales, management, insurance, real estate, public and social service and other exciting fields. Employment of economists is expected to grow substantially in the near future because of the continued need for economic analyses.
Electrical engineers create innovative ways to improve people’s lives through the design, development and application of systems and devices that generate and use electrical energy. Demand for electrical engineers is extremely high, with opportunities in the aerospace, health care, computers, manufacturing and automotive sectors. The curriculum includes extensive laboratory work and equips you with the competencies and skills needed to develop, design and operate technologies that generate and use electricity, including machinery, electronics, communications and computers. You also can specialize in electrical and computer engineering or biomedical engineering.
Elementary education prepares you to teach future generations. You will develop expertise in the teaching of reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science for grades 1-6. Students learn to adjust instruction to support young learners with a wide variety of cultural and language backgrounds and learning styles. Your coursework also will include curriculum and instruction, classroom management, educational technology, assessment and psychology. In addition to the DeKalb program, there is also an Elgin Community College Cohort 2+2 for the B.S.Ed. Elementary Education with Bilingual/ESL Endorsement.
Engineering technology majors learn how to manage, operate and maintain complex technological systems by applying engineering, mathematics and technical management skills to the solution of real-world problems. You can learn fundamental engineering skills including welding and advanced mold-making, while developing and understanding basic and advanced theory within specific disciplines such as electrical engineering; manufacturing; energy and the environment; and industrial management. You will leave with a mix of practical and theoretical skills that make you an attractive employee to nearly every industry. As the name engineering technology implies, our students learn the latest industry applications and equipment. We also offer an online degree completion program.
An English degree is broad and versatile, giving you the flexibility to choose from diverse career paths and adapt to shifting job demands. English majors take courses in literature, film, linguistics, English education and English as a Second Language, as well as in creative, technical and professional writing. You may choose one of three tracks: Studies in Literature, Secondary Licensure in English Language Arts or Studies in Writing.
Our graduates enjoy successful and creative careers in education, editing, copywriting, management, public relations, publishing, technical writing and more.
Our environmental studies program will provide you with broad-based knowledge of key environmental issues, such as climate change, environmental policy, water conservation and development of alternative energies. You will gain an understanding of the role of people in critical environmental issues and how they can be mobilized to help solve problems.
The Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability, and Energy fosters interdisciplinary research, education and community engagement. When you graduate, you will be prepared to meet environmental and energy challenges via careers in industry, government, small businesses, academic research and nonprofits.
Study family relations, prevention and wellness within the Human Development and Family Sciences program. This emphasis focuses on general human development, consumer sciences, and how to do research. It provides career enhancement if you have prior work experience with individuals and/or families. It will also prepare you to pursue an advanced graduate degree in a related field.
The study of family social services within the Human Development and Family Sciences program will train you for a career in social services. It will prepare you to work in family service, juvenile justice, mental health and community welfare agencies.
You'll also be ready for graduate study in marriage and family therapy, family and child studies, aging services or social work. Undergraduates in the program are able to acquire coursework needed to obtain specialized credentials through the Illinois Department of Family and Children (DCFS), Illinois Gateways, and the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) to work with families in a professional setting. All students complete a supervised internship at a social service agency.
Fashion merchandising happens after the runway. After initial design stages, apparel moves through a process that can start with fabric selection, and then through manufacturing, distribution, and buying offices before reaching retail stores. There are many tasks along the way, each with ample career opportunities for fashion merchandising degree holders. Students learn about textiles, apparel, style trends and influences, and other factors impacting business decisions related to fashion merchandising. With this degree you’ll be prepared for careers including buyer, visual merchandiser, trend director, fashion stylist, retail store manager, manufacturer’s representative, production coordinator, and more.
Individuals, companies and governments all need people who know how to put money to work. Studying finance, you will learn how to acquire and manage money by studying topics such as investment management, credit management, securities and derivatives analysis, financial research and decision making. Depending on your area of emphasis, after graduation you might be eligible to test for certification as a chartered financial analyst or treasury professional. You will graduate prepared for jobs such as financial analyst, treasurer, securities analyst and corporate banking officer.
The Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) program is a broad-based degree awarded by NIU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The curriculum crosses a wide array of disciplines including the humanities, mathematics, the physical sciences and the behavioral and social sciences. This program is available in DeKalb and as a online degree completion program.
You’ll work with the BGS director to customize your degree program. Graduates with this unique degree have gone into a wide variety of employment fields, including business, sales, marketing, human resources and nonprofit work. The program also serves as a solid foundation for law school or graduate school in a liberal arts discipline.
Geography is the study of place and location, exploring how we interact with, alter and manage the physical environment. Yes, geography is about maps—but it is much more. At NIU, you will practice the craft and build additional skills through research and internships.
The demand for geographers is growing substantially. Upon graduation, you might work for:
Geology is the study of the earth, its materials and the processes acting upon them. As a geology student, you’ll study topics that include paleontology, volcanology, earthquake seismology, plate tectonics and groundwater flow. You also might work alongside faculty who trek across the globe conducting some of the most important research of our time.
Within the major, you can choose from three emphases, including one for students seeking to become high school science teachers—jobs that are in high demand. Other graduates work in a wide variety of positions in research, industry, government, academia and nonprofit organizations.
Our Health Sciences program focuses on giving you the foundation to pursue careers or graduate study in careers such as physical therapy and rehabilitation. Within this program, you may choose an emphasis in pre-physical therapy , which will prepare you for the graduate work necessary to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Or, you may select health sciences, general. The health sciences program also offers an online degree completion program for applied associate degree holders.
History majors not only explore the past, gaining insights into how societies change over time, but also develop important reading, writing, research and interpretive skills. History represents a fascinating, flexible major that permits you to study the broadest possible range of human experience.
Study of history opens many possible professional doors, rather than preparing students to do one thing. NIU history graduates have gone on to teach in schools; conduct museum and archival work; graduate from law and other professional schools; find work in government, military and private-sector employment; and attend graduate school in a variety of disciplines.
Human Development and Family Sciences prepares you to work with children and families by way of three study areas. Family Relations, Prevention and Wellness prepares you for careers in secondary or higher education in child studies field, as well as pursuing an advanced degree that focuses on research; Family Social Services readies you for entry-level positions in family social services; and Child Development is preparation for working with infants, toddlers and young children. All three emphasis areas provide you with a foundation for careers or graduate studies.
Industrial and systems engineers are the efficiency experts of industry. Whether it is organizing a shop floor for maximum productivity or streamlining hospital workflow to improve patient care, they are trained to get the most out of data, machines, energy and people. The skills of our graduates apply not only to manufacturing but also to service industries, qualifying them for positions in financial institutions, transportation, logistics and the health care industry. Your studies can include principles of manufacturing, probability and statistics, operations management, project management and much more.
Journalism, the collection and distribution of news and information, is an essential field in any democratic society. Journalists are involved in managing, editing or writing for newspapers, magazines and online, radio and television news outlets. They also are involved in advertising and public relations.
NIU’s journalism program is housed in the Department of Communication. Courses in writing, photography, layout, electronic media and broadcasting will equip you with the skills to gather, evaluate and disseminate information. You also will learn about ethics, professional standards and the critical role of the mass media in society.
Kinesiologists are health care professionals who are experts in body movement. They help people get and stay fit and perform at their optimal level. This major will help you develop a wide range of skills that prepare you for dynamic roles in fitness, health and sports industries and for graduate study in related fields. Career paths include personal training, corporate fitness/wellness, sports performance and conditioning, sports management and older adult fitness.
Leading and managing people is a key capability in today’s business world. In this area of study, students explore the art and science of leading, motivating, and supervising individuals, groups, and organizations. You will develop problem-solving, relationship building, communication, and professional development skills to contribute to a wide variety of positions in multiple industries. Graduates enter careers that call upon their broad-based skills in managing action, information, and people in for-profit and non-profit organizations in a wide range of industries.
Even the best products don’t sell themselves. In marketing, you will learn how to help companies determine customer needs and wants, and then get the right product to the right place at the right time. You will study buyer behavior, marketing research and marketing strategy. Students also can choose to focus on interactive marketing (studying search engine marketing, social media, website usability, etc.); retail marketing; or enroll in our Professional Sales Program, one of the top-rated programs in the nation preparing students for careers in business-to-business sales. This program is offered in DeKalb or at Harper College University Center and upper-division coursework is offered online.
Mathematics is still the basis for understanding and solving the planet’s economic, scientific, engineering, physics and business problems. Mathematicians use computational techniques, algorithms and the latest technology to meet the increasing demand for data analysis and statistical information.
At NIU, you’ll not only learn the fundamentals but will also choose electives that prepare you for graduate or professional school or exciting careers in dozens of fields, ranging from business and finance to data mining and market research.
Mechanical engineering is a creative and practical discipline that draws on a number of basic sciences to design and manufacture devices and products that benefit society. The curriculum covers the formulation, design, development, modeling, simulation and control of systems and components. It incorporates solid mechanics, dynamics and controls, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, manufacturing and the conversion of energy into work. The degree is in demand across all industries, ranging from robotics to refrigeration and beyond. This program is offered in DeKalb or at Rock Valley College.
Mechatronics is a fast-moving field. As a mechatronics engineering major, you'll explore technologies such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things. You'll get hands-on experience in our state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. When you graduate, you'll be ready for a career in research or product development in many industries, including robotics, health care and automotive.
Medical Laboratory Scientists provide scientific analysis of blood, other bodily fluids and tissues in a medical setting. Pursuing this degree will help you gain and develop the analytical expertise to interact with physicians, nurses, other health care professionals, patients and their families. Graduates are prepared to sit for the ASCP BOC MLS exam, the leading test for medical laboratory professional certification.
Meteorology involves the study of the atmosphere and its interaction with the earth’s surface, oceans and living things. Meteorologists make weather forecasts and examine issues ranging from the mechanisms that fuel severe storms to how plants, buildings and landscapes affect atmospheric processes.
NIU's meteorology program meets standards established by the American Meteorological Society and federal civil service requirements for meteorologists. With a meteorology degree, you’ll have a number of exciting career options in such areas as weather forecasting; climate-impact analysis; broadcast and research meteorology; and environmental/hazards risk assessment.
It takes specialized skills to teach middle school students. This program provides students with in-depth content knowledge and instructional method preparation in two endorsement areas to teach in grades 5-8. Endorsements include English, mathematics, science, social science, bilingual/ESL, foreign language and physical education.
A music degree prepares you to share music with the world in three ways: music education, performance, and composition. Choosing the music education emphasis includes studying instrumental or vocal music while also seeking school teacher licensure. The performance track is ideal if you are going to pursue a professional career as a musician. If you want to write music professionally, the composition emphasis is for you. All three emphasis areas also include study in specific instruments and related areas such as recording arts, composition and theory, world music, and music history.
One of the only freestanding undergraduate degree programs of its kind in the United States, our Nonprofit and NGO Studies program prepares students to work in nonprofit organizations or in the fields of philanthropy, public service or community engagement. The hands-on program draws from areas such as sociology, public administration, anthropology and political science.
The degree is designed to match your interests, with emphases that include advocacy, enterprise, the environment, global engagement and arts and humanities. A Nonprofit and NGO Studies degree will lead you on a pathway to a career in the nonprofit sector, including rewarding jobs in administration, fundraising or communications.
In today’s competitive health care industry, nurses with a bachelor of science degrees have a career edge. Many areas of nursing, such as public health and case management, require you to have a four-year degree. If you have your associate degree, we offer an RN to B.S. in nursing online. Earning your bachelor of science in nursing also prepares you to pursue advanced degree programs such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Our nursing program is nationally recognized for its high quality and value and our graduates have a high pass rate for NCLEX-RN, the national nursing licensing exam.
Nutrition, Dietetics and Wellness studies prepare you for careers promoting health, positive food choices, nutrition strategies, as well as for foodservice and management. Also, for those who chose graduate school in dietetics as the next step, our program can prepare you for the dietetic internships necessary to become a registered dietitian. Regardless, your career options are plentiful: opportunities can be found in wellness programs, food safety, schools, medical centers, and corporate sites, as well as in food sales and marketing.
OMIS majors focus on ways to make businesses better – whether through better using technology or controlling the logistics of production and delivery. You will study topics such as project and database management, process and quality improvement and decision analysis. Those skills are in high demand and can be put to work anywhere from a factory to a cruise ship company. In your career, you might focus on resource management, data administration, quality management, systems analysis, network coordination and more. In addition to its highly rated programs in both operations management and information systems, the department also offers a minor in business analytics.
Philosophy is the investigation of the deepest and most enduring questions about ourselves, the world in which we live and our place in it. This area of study fascinates and propels us to examine and reflect on what truly makes us human.
Philosophy has been called “the ultimate transferable work skill.” You will develop the ability to think creatively and ask the right questions. You also will acquire analytical, investigative, written and communication skills valued in any workplace. Our graduates have become professors, attorneys, data analysts, publishers and journalists, just to name a few of their professions.
Graduates of this program leave as highly qualified educators equipped to help students learn the skills and benefits of physical activity. Students have many opportunities for hands-on experience teaching students of various ages and ability levels in grades K-12.
Physics is the study of matter and energy and the laws that govern their interactions. Advances in technology, such as transistors, lasers and microwaves, all resulted from basic physics research. Beyond practical applications, the study of physics will help you see and explore aspects of the world that are invisible to our ordinary senses.
We offer emphases in professional physics, applied physics or physics secondary education (teacher licensure). Our students frequently conduct research, including work at federal laboratories. Our graduates are highly sought-after for careers in research, education, medicine, engineering, chemistry, ecology and the military.
Political science is the study of politics and its connection to human life. As a political science major, you will examine such areas as the relationships between law and political institutions; economic and political power; and culture and political identity. You also will have many opportunities for engaged learning, including internships, travel abroad programs and a spring break trip to Washington, D.C. For students that hold an associate degree, we offer an online degree completion program.
Ultimately, you will gain solid basis for intellectual and personal growth, civic participation and professional success. NIU political science majors have gone on to careers in numerous areas, including law, business, journalism, education, intelligence and government.
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. You will choose from a wide range of courses on current topics in the field, including stress, trauma, sexuality, motivation and adolescent development. As part of the major, you will participate in a set of learning experiences that focus on research in psychology. This program is offered in DeKalb or at Harper College University Center.
Psychologists work in many settings, including schools, hospitals, businesses, government, laboratories, nonprofits and mental health organizations. Our graduates with bachelor’s degrees have found jobs in research, business, child care, employment counseling, foster care work, social work, marketing, personnel selection and other fields.
Public Health degree holders focus on health issues such as wellness promotion, disease prevention, health care access, and community safety. They have careers in health departments, nursing homes and healthcare accrediting agencies. They hold titles including epidemiologist, health administrator, health educator, and geriatric care manager. Our program helps you acquire the health care planning and information handling skills necessary for this diverse and changing field.
The degree program in Public Service Leadership gives local government employees (serving in areas such as police, fire, parks and recreation, public works and first responders the skills and knowledge needed for public-sector leadership in a rapidly changing world.
Designed for professionals with Associate of Applied Science or Associate of Science/Art of Science, this degree builds on foundational knowledge and takes it to the next level, providing new pathways for career advancement and further education.
Rehabilitation and Disability Services prepares you for careers as a rehabilitation professional, providing human and social services to persons with disabilities and their families. Graduates with this degree work as job placement specialists, career counselors, case managers and substance abuse counselors.
Sociology is a fascinating field of study, examining the dynamics of social life, social change and the underlying factors that shape human behavior. You will explore such topics as the causes and consequences of crime, poverty and wealth, prejudice and discrimination, law and deviance, religious beliefs and social movements.
At a time when technology is rapidly spurring social development and interaction, sociology has never been more relevant, and demand for sociologists is expected to grow. Our graduates have entered a wide variety of fields, including social services, criminal justice and law enforcement, market research, business management and public health.
Individuals with special needs require teachers with special skills. Graduates of this program teach students kindergarten through age 21 with a wide spectrum of special needs including learning and developmental disabilities, behavior disorders, autism or vision impairments. The program provides highly interactive classes, including extensive training in the use of assistive technology. Students pursuing an emphasis in visual impairments will focus on skills that will allow them to eventually work as orientation and mobility specialists and as teachers for both children and adults with visual impairments.
NIU is the perfect place to study sport management. You'll benefit from our NCAA Division I athletics program and our strong ties to Chicago-area sport organizations. As you learn topics such as event management and marketing, you'll have opportunities to interact with industry leaders. Our alumni network can help you build a career in settings such as professional franchises and college athletics.
Statistics is the science of decision-making in the face of uncertainty, and provides the logical basis for data-based inquiry in science, economics and industry. Using advanced modeling techniques and modern computational algorithms, statisticians seek to develop understanding in a world where data is collected on a massive scale. Actuarial science combines data-based decision-making with finance to solve the specialized problems that arise in the insurance industry.
The undergraduate programs in statistics and actuarial science at NIU emphasize real-world applications and prepare you for a career as a data analyst with opportunities in marketing, pharmaceutical research, financial modeling, insurance and more.
Those who aspire to work in theatre, be it on stage or behind the scenes, pursue degrees in Theatre Arts. Our program aims to prepare actors, designers, technicians and dancers for professional careers in their chosen field. Within this program you’ll select an emphasis in acting, design and technology, and dance performance.
Theatre Studies is designed to prepare you for success in directing, performance, puppetry, and playwriting. Our program gives you a solid foundation to pursue careers in professional theater, academic theater, training theater artists, and advanced study in theater.
Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies prepares you to work in a diverse economic marketplace (including legal, business, governmental, NGO and educational contexts) and become informed citizens in a diverse social world. Our program utilizes intersectional, feminist theory and LGBTQ+ studies to build critical thinking skills necessary for navigating the current political and social moment.
Grounded in social movements and reaching toward more just and equitable futures, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies empowers you to become deeply informed agents of personal and collective transformation. You'll bring a wealth of knowledge related to diversity, equity and inclusion to a variety of professions as well as graduate study.
Our Department of World Languages and Cultures offers bachelor of arts degree with an emphases in French and Francophone studies, German studies, and Spanish Hispanic studies. We also offer teacher licensure (K-12) in those areas.
You’ll find many benefits to being bilingual, including the fact that demand for employees who speak more than one language is on the rise. Half of all employers in northern Illinois plan to hire more bilingual or multilingual college graduates in coming years, according to a 2015 study. Our graduates find jobs in the fields of business, interpreting, law, education, law enforcement and many other areas. Additionally, we offer minors in the above languages, plus in Chinese, Italian, Japanese and Russian.
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