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Northwestern University

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Northwestern University Overview

Located in Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University is a private not-for-profit institution. The city atmosphere of Evanston makes it a great place for students who enjoy having lots of educational and entertainment options.

What Is Northwestern University Known For?

2,870 Undergraduate Awards
$55,450 Avg Cost After Aid
9% Acceptance Rate
  • Students at Northwestern may have an easier time interacting with their teachers since the student to faculty ratio at the school is 6 to 1.
  • Students at Northwestern have an easier time paying back their loans. The school's student loan default rate is only 1%, compared to the national rate of 10.1%.
  • The highest award offered at Northwestern is the doctor's degree.
  • In 2017-2018, 83% of the faculty were full-time.
  • A student who earns a bachelor's degree from Northwestern makes roughly $69,000 a year. This is 69% more than their peers from other colleges and universities.
  • The average Northwestern student graduates in 4.1 years. That's better than the national average of 4.4 years.

Best Schools

Northwestern University Rankings

Northwestern landed the #16 spot in our 2021 ranking of best colleges. We analyzed 2,320 colleges and universities across the nation to determine this ranking. This puts it in the top 1% of all schools in the nation! It is also ranked #1 out of 98 schools in Illinois.

These rankings may look different from those published by other outlets, because we use an outcomes-based approach rather than a subjective one. We get our data from a number of places, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the College Scorecard. For more information, check out our rankings and methodology page.

Northwestern has also been awarded the following overall awards by our latest rankings.

Rank Ranking Name Share
#5 Best Master’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#5 Best Undergraduate Certificate Schools Tweet It - Post It
#8 Best Graduate Certificate Schools Tweet It - Post It
#10 Best Doctor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#15 Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#16 Most Popular Master’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#27 Most Popular Doctor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#93 Most Popular Graduate Certificate Schools Tweet It - Post It
#197 Most Popular Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It

Program Level Awards

These are highlights of some of the most noteworthy awards granted to specific programs at Northwestern.

Rank Ranking Name Share
#1 Best Physical Sciences Master’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#1 Best Engineering Technologies Master’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#1 Best Legal Professions Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#1 Best Science Technologies / Technicians Master’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#2 Best Communication & Journalism Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#3 Best Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#4 Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Master’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#6 Best Public Administration & Social Service Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#8 Best Business, Management & Marketing Master’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It
#15 Best Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Schools Tweet It - Post It

Awards From Around the Web

The following table lists some notable awards Northwestern has earned from around the web.

Rank Ranking Name Source
#3 Best Colleges for Communication & Journalism College Factual
#4 Best Colleges for Psychology College Factual
#7 Best Business Schools Business Degree Central
#8 Best Colleges for Public Administration & Social Service College Factual
#9 Best Colleges for Social Sciences College Factual
#14 Best Colleges for History College Factual

Where Is Northwestern University?

Location of Northwestern University

Contact details for Northwestern are given below.

Contact Details
Address: 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208
Phone: 847-491-3741
Website: www.northwestern.edu
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NorthwesternU
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/northwesternu

How Do I Get Into Northwestern?

You can apply to Northwestern online at: www.northwestern.edu/admissions/

Admission Requirements for Northwestern

Submission Required?
High School GPA required
High School Rank recommended
High School Transcript required
College Prep Program required
Recommendations required
SAT or ACT Scores required
TOEFL required

How Hard Is It To Get Into Northwestern?

9% Acceptance Rate
51% Of Accepted Are Women
35% Submit SAT Scores
The acceptance rate at Northwestern is 9%, which means the school is highly selective when deciding who will be admitted and who won't. Even if you have great grades and test scores, that may not be enough. So be sure to look for ways to make your application memorable.

Approximately 49% of accepted students are men and 51% are women. The acceptance rate for men is 9%, and the acceptance rate for women is 9%.

Average Test Scores

About 35% of students accepted to Northwestern submitted their SAT scores. When looking at the 25th through the 75th percentile, SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing scores ranged between 700 and 770. Math scores were between 720 and 790.

SAT Reading and Writing Scores for Northwestern University  ( 700 to 770 )
200
800

SAT Math Scores for Northwestern University  ( 720 to 790 )
200
800
Northwestern received ACT scores from 77% of accepted students. When looking at the 25th through the 75th percentile, ACT English scores ranged between 32 and 34. Math scores were between 32 and 34. Composite scores were between 32 and 34.

ACT English Scores for Northwestern University  ( 32 to 34 )
1
36
ACT Math Scores for Northwestern University  ( 32 to 34 )
1
36
ACT Composite Scores for Northwestern University  ( 32 to 34 )
1
36

Can I Afford Northwestern University?

$55,450 Net Price
17% Take Out Loans
1.0% Loan Default Rate
The overall average net price of Northwestern is $55,450. The affordability of the school largely depends on your financial need since net price varies by income group.

The net price is calculated by adding tuition, room, board and other costs and subtracting financial aid.

Student Loan Debt

Almost 66% of college students who graduated with the class of 2018 took out student loans, but that percentage varies from school to school. At Northwestern, approximately 17% of students took out student loans averaging $6,994 a year. That adds up to $27,976 over four years for those students.

The student loan default rate at Northwestern is 1.0%. This is significantly lower than the national default rate of 10.1%, which is a good sign that you'll be able to pay back your student loans.

Northwestern University Undergraduate Student Diversity

8,284 Full-Time Undergraduates
51% Women
43% Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
There are 8,682 undergraduate students at Northwestern, with 8,284 being full-time and 398 being part-time.

 Full-Time vs. Part-Time Undergraduate Students at  Northwestern

There are also 13,766 graduate students at the school.

Gender Diversity

Of the 8,284 full-time undergraduates at Northwestern, 49% are male and 51% are female.

Undergraduate Student Gender Diversity at  Northwestern

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

The racial-ethnic breakdown of Northwestern University students is as follows.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Northwestern Undergraduate Students
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 1,512
Black or African American 472
Hispanic or Latino 1,025
White 3,620
International Students 837
Other Races/Ethnicities 818

Geographic Diversity

Illinois students aren't the only ones who study at Northwestern University. At this time, 48 states are represented by the student population at the school.

Over 116 countries are represented at Northwestern. The most popular countries sending students to the school are China, India, and South Korea.

Online Learning at Northwestern University

654 Took All Classes Online
654 Took At Least One Class Online
-17.6% Avg Growth Over 4 Years
In 2017-2018, 654 students took at least one online class at the school.

The following chart shows how the online learning population at Northwestern has changed over the last few years.

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This school is the 29th most popular in Illinois for online learning according to the online graduations recorded by the Department of Education for the academic year 2017-2018.

Online Growth Rankings of Northwestern

The average growth rate over the last four years of online students at Northwestern University was -17.6%. This is the #2,648 largest growth rate of all schools that are only partially online. This refers to all students at Northwestern regardless of major.

The following table shows the 1-year growth rate of Northwestern majors that offer at least one online course. This table only includes majors with positive growth.

Major 1-Year Growth Rate
Business, Management & Marketing 1%
Health Professions 1%
Information Science 5%
Management Sciences & Quantitative Methods 8%
Public Administration & Social Service 9%

The table below shows how the average growth rate over 4 years at Northwestern ranks compared to all other partially online schools that offer a specific major. Note that the majors may or may not be offered online at Northwestern.

Major Growth Rate Rank
Communication & Journalism (Other) #12
Medical Illustration & Informatics #40
Management Sciences & Quantitative Methods #51
Health Sciences & Services #65
Public Administration #118
Communication & Journalism #184
Public Administration & Social Service #259

When we speak of partially online, we are referring to schools whose online population is less than 50% of its total student body. Mostly online refers to those with online populations greater than or equal to 50%.

Northwestern University Undergraduate Concentrations

The table below shows the number of awards for each concentration.

Major Undergraduate Certificate Bachelor’s Graduate Certificate Master’s Doctor’s TOTAL
General Business/Commerce 0 0 0 1,167 0 1,167
Economics 0 369 0 30 25 424
Business Administration & Management 0 0 0 422 0 422
Management Sciences & Quantitative Methods 0 0 6 364 0 370
Journalism 0 178 0 139 0 317
Law 0 0 0 0 267 267
Legal Research 0 0 10 253 0 263
Communication & Journalism (Other) 0 0 0 202 0 202
Medicine 0 0 0 0 174 174
Music 0 94 0 62 17 173
Communication & Media Studies 0 96 1 73 1 171
General Psychology 0 153 0 9 9 171
Political Science & Government 0 123 0 21 10 154
Computer Science 0 82 0 57 12 151
Rehabilitation & Therapeutic Professions 0 0 0 47 93 140
Neurobiology & Neurosciences 0 112 0 8 18 138
Clinical, Counseling & Applied Psychology 0 0 0 131 7 138
Mechanical Engineering 0 83 0 39 13 135
Information Science 0 58 3 73 0 134
Community Organization & Advocacy 0 73 14 45 0 132
Drama & Theater Arts 0 104 0 19 6 129
Biomedical Engineering 0 68 0 51 9 128
General Biology 0 104 0 1 19 124
Radio, Television & Digital Communication 0 83 2 31 3 119
Communication Sciences 0 10 0 66 36 112
Other Engineering 0 0 0 104 0 104
Industrial Engineering 0 83 0 8 7 98
Liberal Arts General Studies 6 1 78 2 0 87
Marketing 0 0 0 80 3 83
Legal Professions (Other) 0 0 0 83 0 83
Finance & Financial Management 42 0 0 32 7 81
General English Literature 0 64 0 11 6 81
Materials Engineering 0 20 0 30 28 78
Chemical Engineering 0 36 0 15 26 77
History 0 51 0 10 16 77
Applied Mathematics 0 58 0 13 6 77
Electrical Engineering 0 14 0 48 14 76
Chemistry 0 16 0 12 46 74
Arts & Media Management 0 0 0 68 0 68
Engineering Technology (Other) 0 0 0 66 0 66
Computer Engineering 0 16 0 45 3 64
Mathematics 0 54 0 2 8 64
Business/Managerial Economics 44 0 0 9 8 61
Public Health 0 30 0 31 0 61
Civil Engineering 0 7 0 35 18 60
Statistics 0 48 0 4 7 59
International Relations & National Security 0 59 0 0 0 59
Public Administration 0 0 7 49 0 56
Public Relations & Advertising 0 0 0 52 0 52
Ethnic Studies 0 27 14 4 5 50
Education Philosophy 0 0 7 39 0 46
Mental & Social Health Services 0 0 0 44 0 44
Sociology 0 26 0 7 11 44
Health & Physical Education 0 0 1 40 0 41
Human Resource Management 0 13 16 8 3 40
Engineering-Related Fields 0 0 1 38 0 39
Manufacturing Engineering 0 35 0 0 0 35
Biotechnology 0 0 2 32 0 34
Medical Illustration & Informatics 0 0 0 34 0 34
Public Policy 0 33 0 0 0 33
Non-Professional General Legal Studies 0 24 0 8 0 32
Physics 0 19 0 8 5 32
Anthropology 0 18 0 5 9 32
Fine & Studio Arts 0 18 0 9 5 32
Medical Science 0 0 0 31 0 31
Other Psychology 0 31 0 0 0 31
Allied Health Professions 0 0 0 30 0 30
Cell Biology & Anatomical Sciences 0 0 0 0 28 28
Philosophy 0 18 0 5 4 27
Romance Languages 0 23 0 1 2 26
Health Sciences & Services 0 0 0 25 0 25
Linguistics & Comparative Literature 0 12 0 4 7 23
Other Science Technologies/Technicians 0 0 4 19 0 23
Educational Administration 0 0 3 19 0 22
Mechanical Engineering Technology 0 0 0 19 0 19
Electromechanical Engineering Technology 0 0 0 18 0 18
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 0 0 0 15 3 18
Natural Resources Conservation 0 16 0 0 0 16
Biomathematics & Bioinformatics 0 0 0 15 0 15
Biological & Physical Science 0 14 0 0 0 14
Astronomy & Astrophysics 0 0 0 5 9 14
Religious Studies 0 5 0 1 7 13
Geological & Earth Sciences 0 5 0 3 5 13
Cultural Studies & Analysis 0 0 12 0 0 12
Engineering Physics 0 0 0 0 11 11
Area Studies 0 10 1 0 0 11
Bioethics/Medical Ethics 0 0 1 10 0 11
Health & Medical Administrative Services 0 0 0 11 0 11
Botany/Plant Biology 0 0 0 8 2 10
Science, Technology & Society 0 10 0 0 0 10
Child Development & Psychology 0 10 0 0 0 10
Other Education 0 0 0 5 4 9
Teacher Education Subject Specific 0 5 0 4 0 9
Engineering Mechanics 0 0 0 3 6 9
General Engineering 0 9 0 0 0 9
Teacher Education Grade Specific 0 8 0 0 0 8
Biological & Biomedical Sciences (Other) 7 0 0 0 0 7
Educational Assessment 0 7 0 0 0 7
Writing Studies 0 0 0 7 0 7
Germanic Languages 0 6 0 0 1 7
Geography & Cartography 0 7 0 0 0 7
Systems Theory 0 0 3 0 3 6
Design & Applied Arts 0 0 0 6 0 6
Human Development & Family Studies 0 0 0 2 3 5
East Asian Languages 0 5 0 0 0 5
Slavic, Baltic & Albanian Languages 0 1 0 3 1 5
Cognitive Science 0 0 5 0 0 5
Accounting 0 0 0 0 4 4
Dance 0 3 0 0 0 3
Environmental Engineering 0 2 0 0 0 2
Classical Languages & Literature 0 1 1 0 0 2
Other Health Professions 0 0 0 0 2 2
Interdisciplinary Studies 0 0 2 0 0 2
Entrepreneurial Studies 0 0 0 1 0 1
International Business 0 0 0 1 0 1
Real Estate 0 0 0 1 0 1
Computer Information Systems 0 1 0 0 0 1
Health/Medical Prep Programs 1 0 0 0 0 1
International Studies 0 0 1 0 0 1
Materials Sciences 0 1 0 0 0 1
Architecture (Other) 0 0 0 0 0 0
Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other Business, Management & Marketing 0 0 0 0 0 0
Management Information Systems 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other Computer & Information Sciences 0 0 0 0 0 0
General Education 0 0 0 0 0 0
Special Education 0 0 0 0 0 0
Engineering Science 0 0 0 0 0 0
Middle Eastern Semitic Languages 0 0 0 0 0 0
Advanced Dentistry & Oral Sciences 0 0 0 0 0 0
Allied Health & Medical Assisting Services 0 0 0 0 0 0
Multicultural & Diversity Studies 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sustainability Science 0 0 0 0 0 0
General Social Sciences 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other Social Sciences 0 0 0 0 0 0
Urban Studies 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sacred Music 0 0 0 0 0 0
General Visual & Performing Arts 0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 100 2,770 195 4,667 1,062 8,794

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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