Frequently Asked Questions

When do I need to apply?

If you plan to start in the fall semester (which we recommend), you need to apply to NIU by Aug. 1. We encourage you to apply by March 1 in order to be considered for transfer merit scholarships.

You should apply to NIU by Dec. 1 to start in the spring. For consideration for merit scholarships, you should apply by Oct. 1.

What's my next step after being admitted?

Make sure to confirm your enrollment! Once you have confirmed, you can reach out to your departmental advisor to register for classes. If you are not sure who to contact, reach out to Brenda Powell at and she can steer you to the appropriate person.

Can I start the program in the spring or summer?

It depends on the program. Computer science is structured as a cohort, which means you must begin major courses in the fall. There is some flexibility with marketing and psychology. You could begin your studies in these areas in the spring or summer by taking major electives or courses that meet NIU graduation requirements. Required courses for psychology start in the fall.</answer></article>

Can I start the program if I don't have all the prerequisites completed?

To some extent, yes. For marketing, you're strongly advised to start the program with as many of the lower-level NIU business foundation requirements as possible. While some courses may be completed during your time in our University Center program, most upper-level marketing courses require all prerequisites to be finished prior to enrollment.

For the computer science program, you must have completed CSC 121 and CSC 122 prior to enrolling in your first fall semester. You can complete math coursework, such as calculus for business and social sciences or discrete mathematics, after starting. You'll also need to complete STAT 200 (offered online) soon after starting the program.

Can I start the NIU program while finishing some classes at Harper (such as foreign language classes)?

As long as you have the prerequisites for our courses, you can be concurrently enrolled. If you're considering going this route, we encourage you to check with the NIU Financial Aid and Scholarship Office for aid eligibility. You should also contact your community college's transfer coordinator. If you're a current Harper student, contact Agnes Szemborski at

For computer science, you must have completed CSC 121 and CSC 122 in order to concurrently enroll in our CSCI courses.

For graduation, only 66 credits from Harper College can be applied. You'll need to earn at least 54 credits from NIU to complete your degree. You may need to take some courses through NIU even if they are available at Harper.

Am I eligible for scholarships and financial aid?

Yes, you're considered to be an NIU student and are eligible for university and departmental scholarships if enrolled full-time. Your federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants, can also be applied.

We encourage you to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available Oct. 1. You should file your FAFSA as soon as possible each year. NIU’s school code is 001737.

Can I complete the program in two years?

It's possible to complete the program in two years. To do so, you would take full course loads, including face-to-face courses at Harper and online courses. We consider a full course load to be 15-17 hours a semester, or fewer hours per semester with the addition of summer courses. Be sure to check in with your program advisor to make sure you're on track to graduate.

During what time of day are your classes offered?

Initially, we are offering our core courses later in the day. This allows you to juggle work and family obligations. It also gives you the opportunity to take additional courses off campus to meet graduation requirements.

We plan to survey our students to gather data that will assist us in scheduling course offerings for future semesters.

Is there an orientation requirement?

Yes, you'll need to complete an online orientation program. You'll also need to attend a welcome event on the Harper campus. You'll receive orientation information after you confirm your admission to NIU.

When do I need to meet with my advisor?

You should meet with your advisor at least once each semester before registering for classes. You should also contact your advisor if you experience difficulties in your classes. Be proactive. When you seek assistance early, you have a better chance of completing a course with a good grade.

What do I need to do to graduate?

In addition to fulfilling the degree requirements of your program and meeting general education requirements, you'll need a total of 120 credit hours to graduate. Only 66 credits from Harper can apply toward that total. A minimum of 40 hours must be in courses at the 300 and 400 levels. You'll also need to satisfy the Human Diversity Requirement (one course from a designated list of courses). You can see your progress toward graduation by viewing your Academic Requirements Report in MyNIU. You should also contact an NIU advisor. They will work with you to address any unmet requirements.

Once you've been cleared by an NIU advisor, you'll need to apply online for graduation prior to your final semester.

Important Dates

  • March 1: Deadline for transfer merit scholarships
  • July 15: Deadline to apply for the Huskie Payment Plan for the fall semester
  • Dec. 15: Deadline to apply for the Huskie Payment Plan for the spring semester

More important dates can be found in the undergraduate catalog.

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