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University of Northern Iowa

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Degree Programs at the University of Northern Iowa

The University of Northern Iowa appears in our ranking of the 50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest.

Earning a college degree has become increasingly important in today’s job market. There is evidence that those who hold a bachelor’s degree earn as much as 56 percent more than those with just a high school diploma. Individuals who complete graduate programs can earn even higher salaries. The University of Iowa offers many degree programs, some offered in flexible online formats, that allow individuals to move into a new career or advance in a current career.

The University of Northern Iowa offers hundreds of degree programs at the associate, bachelor, master, doctorate and certificate level. Many of the programs offered are available in completely online formats or students may choose on-campus learning as well as a hybrid of online and on-campus classes. Colleges at the University include:

  • College of Business Administration
  • College of Education
  • College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Graduate College

The College of Business Administration offers nine undergraduate programs, one of which is the only four-year real estate program in the state. The Bachelor of Arts in Real Estate degree prepares students for the challenging world of commercial and residential real estate. Students gain an understanding of mortgage underwriting, asset management, brokerage, and appraisals. The program provides tips that allow graduates to help a young family find the perfect home or help a company make a multi-million dollar decision on a commercial property. The program also provides an understanding of business, the market, and the economy. Some of the courses required include Principles of Financial Accounting, Corporate Finance, Legal and Social Environment of Business, Real Estate Law and Brokerage as well as Real Estate Appraisal and Investment. The program is only available on campus.

The Master of Music Education offered through the College of Education is available on campus, online or in a hybrid version. The program is for those who wish to develop leadership skills, enhance their teaching credentials or gain access to current educational trends. Online courses are offered using an interactive video conferencing method held on Monday evenings. Some of the courses are offered online using eLearning as well. Courses required may include Foundations of Music Education, Music History Survey for Graduates, Research and Writing in Music as well as Analytical Techniques.

The College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with concentrations available in:

  • Digital Media
  • Liberal Arts
  • Public Relations
  • Theatre-Teaching

All programs require a minimum of 120 credit hours. Communication is one of the most popular degrees available at the University of Northern Iowa. Some of the courses required for the Digital Media concentration include Communication Theories, Digital Media Production, Writing for Digital Media as well as Mass Communication and Society. Students must complete an internship and a senior seminar to complete the degree. The liberal arts concentration may include such courses as Argumentation and Debate, Quantitative Research Methods, Rhetoric and Civic Culture, as well as Organizational Communication. Courses required for the public relations concentration may include Public Relations Campaign Methods, Principles of Public Relations, Fundamentals of Journalism as well as Public Relations Cases and Studies. Some of the courses required for the Theatre-Teaching concentration include Performance and Social Change, Theatre Production, Creative Drama and Theatre Management.

About the University of Northern Iowa

In 1866, in an effort to assist Civil War orphans whose parents had perished in the war or who were no longer able to provide for them, Annie Turner Wittenmyer, along with citizens of Iowa, used private funds to establish orphanages in Davenport and Cedar Falls. The state provided $25,000 to build and furnish the orphanages while citizens raised additional funds for 40 acres to be used for the orphanage in Cedar Falls.

The first building on the campus, Central Hall, opened as an orphanage in 1869 but the state quickly realized that using it for an orphanage would not be necessary for long. As the children grew up and left, there would be less need for two orphanages in the state. In 1876, the state transferred children living at the Cedar Falls orphanage to Davenport. The citizens of Cedar Falls, however, saw the newly empty building as an opportunity as there had been a push to create an institute of higher learning to train teachers in the area for some time. In fact, normal schools had been planned in Andrew, Oskaloosa, and Mt. Pleasant as early as the 1850s, but all of them had been forced to close due to lack of funding.

Political infighting had made the creation of an Iowa Normal School difficult even though many states surrounding Iowa had long-established schools of that kind. When the Cedar Falls orphanage closed, however, local residents saw an opportunity to finally bring a teacher’s school to Iowa. There were still difficulties, however, as public colleges worried that the normal school would lower their enrollments while others felt the school should be located in different communities.

During the 1876 General Assembly, Senator Edward G. Miller and Representative H.C. Hemenway, representatives of Black Hawk County, pushed to establish the normal school in Cedar Falls. The two men managed to bring the vote to the floor when it had the best chance of passing and it did, by just one vote in the Senate and two in the House.

The Iowa State Normal School opened in 1876 with students and faculty living together in Central Hall with no heat, library or laboratory. In fact, for many years, students used the personal library of Principal James Cleland Gilchrist for class research. Students had to master academic subjects along with pedagogical techniques. The curriculum was difficult in order to prepare educators to teach at any level, in both rural elementary schools or as administrators in urban settings, a decision that was not well-received by legislators. They felt that those who wished to teach above the elementary level should attend universities or private colleges.

The name of the school changed to the Iowa State Teachers College in 1909. That same year, two other schools were merged with the Iowa State Teachers College. Over the next few years, programs were moved between the three campuses. One change was a decision to move education courses beyond sophomore year from the Cedar Falls campus, turning that campus into a junior college. There was an outcry of protest and the change was never implemented. In 1961, the school became the State College of Iowa and, in 1967, the University of Northern Iowa when it gained university status.

Today, almost 12,000 students attend the University of Northern Iowa. The school was one of just seven named in the 2019 class of Excellence in Assessment. US News & World Report ranks the school as one of the best regional universities and also ranks their business programs as one of the best.

University of Northern Iowa Accreditation Details

The University of Northern Iowa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. This indicates that the University offers programs that provide students with outstanding education based on criteria created by the Commission. It also indicates that they have the resources to meet their stated goals and objectives. Programs throughout the University are also accredited by the following organizations:

  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • National Recreation

University of Northern Iowa Application Requirements

Applicants who have not earned college credit after high school graduation must provide official high school transcripts as well as official ACT or SAT scores. There are minimum requirements related to test scores, class rank, and cumulative GPA.

Applicants who have earned college credit after high school graduation must provide official transcripts from all colleges and universities. Applicants with between 1 and 41 credits must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5; between 42 and 59 credits must have a 2.25 GPA; and 60 or more credits must have a GPA of 2.0. They must have completed a foreign language with a C- or better. If they have not, they will be required to do so at the University of Northern Iowa.

In order to apply for the Master in Music Education, applicants must take a Departmental Diagnostic Examination. This determines their strengths and weaknesses in music history and theory. They must also hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university and must provide official transcripts from all schools attended.

University of Northern Iowa Tuition and Financial Aid

The College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, along with the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the College of Education charge $6,848 per year for full-time students who are residents of Iowa. Non-residents pay $17,340. The College of Business Administration full-time tuition is $8,450 per year for residents and $18,942 for non-residents.

Graduate tuition for the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as the College of Education is $8,292 per year for residents and $18,766 for non-residents while full tuition at the College of Business Administration is $9,924 for residents and $20,398 for non-residents.

More than 80 percent of students receive some type of assistance for tuition. In order to qualify,, they must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the form must be renewed each year. Assistance may be offered in the form of grants, scholarships, loans or work-study programs.

The University of Northern Iowa believes that bigger is not necessarily better and cheaper does not mean you get the best value. Despite being a smaller college and costing less than other universities, the University of Northern Iowa stands out because of their award-winning and nationally recognized programs that create successful graduates who are prepared for life and the workplace.