Northern Illinois University admission requirements

Northern Illinois University NIU is a public university situated in the little town of DeKalb, Illinois. In this article we shall see Northern Illinois University admission requirements.

It was founded by the then Governor of the state, John P. Altgeld, in 1895, and they offer both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The University has been famous in athletics, having competed at the highest levels in the national collegiate athletic association. Additionally, As an R2 doctoral University, it is a suitable environment for high research activities.

The academic requirements at Northern Illinois University vary with the different types of students that apply for admission to NIU.

Northern Illinois University admission requirements

These types of students include:

Freshman/First-year students’ Admission requirement 

This encompasses High school graduates or undergraduates in any US-based High school interested in undergraduate schools.

The requirements include:

  • GPA: The University values GPA among other academic records needed for admission. A candidate with a GPA of 3.0 or higher is very likely to be admitted. Nevertheless, for a candidate with a GPA lower than expected, the University uses the Holistic review process whereby the candidate is accessed using the other requirements personally. This means they will also consider the individual’s involvement, achievements, and other circumstances surrounding their application.
  • SAT/ACT SCORE: Recently, Northern Illinois University no longer considers test scores an admission requirement. From the series of research they conducted, it was discovered that privileged and disabled students are limited by finance and inaccessibility, respectively. Therefore, the purpose was to provide a college education that would be more accessible, affordable, and unbiased for a diverse student population. However, test scores might still be helpful for some of the school’s competitive scholarships.
  • High School Transcript: Some high school curricula are mandatory as part of Northern Illinois University admission requirements. This means they must be included in the transcript before being evaluated. These courses include :
  • Four years of English course study.
  • Three years of mathematics course study covering Algebra, geometry, algebra 11, trigonometry, etc.
  • Three-year science course, including lab science.
  • Three-year social studies course including US History/US government.
  • Two years of study of a foreign language, art, or music.
  • Proof Of English Proficiency: According to NIU standards, there is a need for every student applying for admission to have good background knowledge of English. So, any one of the following documents is sufficient proof of a candidate’s proficiency in English:
  • US high school certificate
  • Official TOEFL score report. The candidate is expected to score up to 71 if it is internet-based or 527 if it is paper-based.
  • Official IELTS score report. The minimum overall band score for NIU is 6.0
  • IGCSE, GCSE, or GCE O-level English test subject. The minimum grade pass is “C.”
  • International Baccalaureate (IB). A candidate must score up to a four or higher.
  • A Completion of ELS Level 112 by ELS language centers.
  • Other essential requirements include:
  • Complete NIU Application
  • High school diploma

Transfer Students Admissions Requirements

Transfer students are expected to have complete documentation of the first-year requirements with other essential features, which include:

  • A transfer student that attempted and acquired credit on 12 semester hours will be analyzed as a freshman. Therefore, only the first-year requirements will be needed for evaluation.
  • A transfer student that attempted more than 12 semester hours but earned less than 24 hours of transferable credit must meet the freshman requirements, Have a good reputation at their last University attended, and have a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale from all colleges they have attended and assembled according to NIU standard.
  • Then, a transfer student that acquired up to 24-59 or 60 or more transferable credits must first: Have a good reputation in their previous University, have a GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale from all colleges attended, and compiled according to NIU standard.
  • A transfer student from any regionally accredited US public universities or any other with equivalent recognition will be admitted into NIU without further requirements. That means it will be assumed that every requirement is complete. However, such a student must have acquired an associate of arts degree (A. A.), Associate of Science degree (A. S.), approved associate of art in teaching (A. A. T.), or a degree Baccalaureate-oriented program from that University.

International Students Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for this set of students are quite different. Typically TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE English proficiency exams are always required for evaluation. However, candidates in closed locations due to the covid-19 outbreak can submit a Duolingo English test instead.

NIU schedules the Duolingo test, and it costs $49 to register. On the examination day, candidates are expected to have a computer with a camera, audio, and reliable internet, a passport, driver’s license, or national or state ID.

The exam involves speaking, reading, writing, and listening exercises, And it lasts for 45-60 minutes, followed by a virtual interview that will last for 30-90 minutes, depending on the schedule.

The results come out a few days after being written, and candidates are emailed their scores. A candidate is qualified when they score from 105 and above.

Other requirements include:

  • Official Transcript: The official transcript must contain all high school grades from the first three years with an APA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. For graduate applicants, it must contain all transcripts from the previous colleges ever attended with a minimum GPA of 2.75.
  • Official standardized exam scores: This involves ACT/SAT scores and GRE/GMAT for specific programs. Regardless, these test scores must be sent from the direct testing institution.


Northern Illinois University is quite considerate in its admission requirements as the accepted academic records are average. However, they are intentional about complete application documentation, as incomplete admission documentation will not be evaluated.


How long does it take for applications to be evaluated?

NIU Admission board will start evaluating an application once every documentation required is said to be complete. It might take 4-6 weeks, depending on the processes.

Candidates are, however, advised to confirm that every document required is complete; otherwise, the application will be null and void.

Which type of application process is said to be faster?

Online applications have proven to be faster. This is because the school receives the application immediately, and the processes are concluded faster in the end. Candidates are therefore advised always to choose this method.