Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

#15 National Colleges

9.05% Admission Rate
Most Selective

8,530 Undergraduates Enrolled

  • Private nonprofit
  • Doctoral Universities: Very High Research Activity
  • Four-year, full-time, more selective, lower transfer-in
  • Four-year, large, primarily residential

Photo by Justin Chae on Unsplash

Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston, Illinois. Founded in 1851, Northwestern is the oldest chartered university in Illinois and is ranked among the most prestigious academic institutions in the world.

Chartered by the Illinois General Assembly in 1851, Northwestern was established to serve the former Northwest Territory. The university was initially affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, but soon grew to be non-sectarian. In 1896, Northwestern became a founding member of the Big Ten Conference, and later joined the Association of American Universities as an early member in 1917. The university grew to be the third largest university in the United States by the turn of the 20th century.

The university is composed of eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, which include the Kellogg School of Management, the Pritzker School of Law, the Feinberg School of Medicine, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the Bienen School of Music, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Medill School of Journalism, the School of Communication, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Education and Social Policy, and The Graduate School. Northwestern's campus lies along the shores of Lake Michigan in Evanston. The university's law, medical, and professional schools, along with Northwestern Memorial Hospital, are located in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. The university also maintains a campus in Education City, Qatar and academic centers in Miami, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.Northwestern has an endowment of $16.1 billion, one of the largest university endowments in the world, as well as an annual budget of around $2.5 billion. As of fall 2019, the university had 21,946 enrolled students, including 8,327 undergraduates and 13,619 graduate students. Fielding eight men's and eleven women's sports teams, the Northwestern Wildcats represent the university to compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference and has remained the only private university in the conference since 1946.

Past and present Northwestern faculty and alumni have included numerous heads of state, 22 Nobel Prize laureates, 42 Pulitzer Prize winners, 23 MacArthur Fellows, 28 Marshall Scholars, 94 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 16 Rhodes Scholars, 10 billionaires, and 24 Olympic medalists.

"Northwestern University." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 February 2022,

Evanston, Illinois

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City: Small (population less than 100,000)

Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI)


Predominant Degree Awarded
Predominantly bachelor's-degree granting

Highest Degree Awarded
Graduate degree

Most Popular Fields

Field % Students
Social Sciences 16.7%
Engineering 16.4%
Communication, Journalism, And Related Programs 15.7%
Biological And Biomedical Sciences 8.8%
Visual And Performing Arts 8.3%
Psychology 6.4%
Computer And Information Sciences And Support Services 5.7%
Public Administration And Social Service Professions 4.7%
Business, Management, Marketing, And Related Support Services 4.3%
Mathematics And Statistics 3.5%
English Language And Literature/Letters 1.6%
History 1.4%
Foreign Languages, Literatures, And Linguistics 1.2%
Physical Sciences 1.1%
Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, And Group Studies 0.9%
Education 0.8%
Philosophy And Religious Studies 0.7%
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 0.5%
Health Professions And Related Programs 0.5%
Natural Resources And Conservation 0.5%
Legal Professions And Studies 0.4%
Liberal Arts And Sciences, General Studies And Humanities 0.3%



Percentage Students Receiving Aid

Average Net Cost After Aid


SAT Scores

1506 Composite Average
Percentile 75% 50% 25%
Math 790 765 740
Verbal 760 730 700

ACT Scores

34 Cumulative Average
Percentile 75% 50% 25%
Math 35 33 31
English 36 35 34