Jul 18, 2024  
ARCHIVED 2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

This is North Central


We are a diverse community of learners dedicated to preparing students to be curious, engaged, ethical and purposeful citizens and leaders in local, national and global contexts. A comprehensive liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church, North Central fulfills its mission by recognizing the individual needs of students at different stages of life and from different ethnic, economic and religious backgrounds—students who bring diverse expectations to the educational process. North Central’s programs are responsive to those needs (residential, outreach, full-time, part-time, undergraduate and master’s level) while ensuring all students share a common experience:

  • Faculty committed to teaching in small classes that emphasize writing and speaking skills, and one standard that is applied to all degree recipients.
  • Educational programs rooted in the liberal arts while also actively engaging in the world of work and the practical skills needed for jobs and successful careers.
  • A commitment to teaching leadership, ethics and values both inside and outside the classroom.

The universe of higher education ranges from small liberal arts colleges to large research universities. North Central College is a distinct alternative to all these schools. Our commitment to one set of degree standards for all students reflects our unique character: small classes with one-on-one instruction, and professors who are first and foremost teachers and mentors. At North Central, students experience a personalized and friendly but rigorous approach to learning and emphasis on writing and reasoning skills. With more than 70 academic programs, strong offerings in business and the sciences and master’s degrees in eight areas, North Central provides many of the benefits of a major university, but with the ability to offer high-impact practices in every major to help distinguish our graduates.

Individual Support

North Central is committed to fostering the success of each and every student—both in class and out. In small, challenging classes, students develop close personal relationships with faculty-mentors dedicated to providing them with the tools and attention they need to thrive. Our wide array of cocurricular programs support academic success, enhance leadership skills and engage the wider community through spiritual activities and service projects. Our students are drawn to the College for its personalized academic experience; NCAA Division III athletics; fine arts programs and internships; and easy access to the cultural riches of Chicago.

Most of North Central’s 2,750 students are full-time undergraduates, between ages 18 and 24. Almost 250 students are enrolled in graduate programs.


Our academic programs emphasize the importance of choice, but all students must meet general education requirements that ensure breadth of study as well as detailed study in a major field. Upon entering North Central, each student is assigned an academic advisor who assists in planning an individualized degree program that meets the goals of the student, the objectives of the College and the standards of the career field or graduate program each student plans to enter.

Special opportunities available at North Central—such as the College Scholars Program , the History of Ideas  sequence and the Richter Grant  program—help to facilitate that process. For students interested in off-campus study, the research facilities at Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, major companies in the Illinois Research and Development Corridor, and the city of Chicago offer numerous internship opportunities. In addition, cocurricular options such as Model United Nations, mock trial, forensics, WONC-FM, Enactus, Black Student Association, Latinex Student Association, student government, musical ensembles, ministry and service, drama and athletics enable students to expand upon and complement their classroom learning.

That attention to the individual and sense of freedom and responsibility at North Central extend further to encompass student services and campus governance programs. A staff of counselors is on hand to assist students who may encounter problems of a personal or developmental nature. The Career Development Center provides a wide variety of services and programs that assist students in making a successful transition from collegiate life into careers of their choice. Selected students serve as resident assistants in the residence halls and as liaisons with the Student Affairs staff to help answer residents’ questions, act as advisors in hall matters and offer guidance to those who request it. North Central has always emphasized spiritual and community values and it seeks to develop within all students a respect for intellectual endeavor, leadership and ethical decision-making skills they will need in all aspects of their lives: a sense of responsibility for both personal gain and the common welfare; a solid background for a productive career; a desire for lifelong learning; and a set of moral values. By carrying these objectives into all areas, North Central prepares its students to make reasoned choices about life.


North Central College was founded in 1861 by the Evangelical Association, a forerunner of the United Methodist Church. Until 1870, the College was located in Plainfield, IL, and it was originally known as Plainfield College. The name of the College was changed to North-Western College in 1864 and to North Central College in 1926. The College’s founders expressed the advanced thought for that day that “Christian commitment and intellectual attainments are compatible,” and from the beginning the College was nonsectarian in its hiring and admission practices. This pioneering concept—along with a commitment to the inclusiveness and diversity of the United Methodist Church—is part of the heritage of North Central and continues to add depth and meaning to its programs and campus culture.


North Central College is located in a charming historic district in the heart of Naperville, IL, a community of 147,000 residents in the west suburban area of metropolitan Chicago. It is located in the Illinois Research and Development Corridor where some of the nation’s largest companies—including BP, Nokia, Nalco, Nicor, Tellabs—are located, as are regional headquarters for many major corporations. Nearby are Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Morton Arboretum and Edward Hospital. All of these facilities and industries represent invaluable resources for North Central students—for internships, jobs and joint research opportunities.

Chicago is just 28 miles away from Naperville, and the cultural, artistic and entertainment venues in this great city make it an important source of opportunities for North Central students. The Art Institute, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, the Lincoln Park and Brookfield Zoos, and the Chicago History Museum are highlights among a long list of museums, galleries and other attractions too numerous to mention. Theatre, professional sports, concerts and wonderful restaurants add to Chicago’s rich fare. The city is accessible from campus by car or commuter train. The Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway at Naperville’s northern city limits provides a direct route to “The Loop” and commuters can catch the BNSF Railway just two blocks from campus.


The corporate name of the college is North Central College. It is governed by a single board of trustees comprising alumni, business, church and education leaders from all parts of the United States. The Board of Trustees meets in October, February and May each year, and an executive committee functions for the board throughout the academic year.

Compliance with Legal Requirements

North Central College does not discriminate in its admission policy, programs, or activities on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, handicap, disability, veteran status or unfavorable discharge from military service. Nor does the College discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, handicap, disability, veteran status or unfavorable discharge from military service in its educational policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic and other college-administered programs, or hiring practices and programs. In addition to meeting fully its obligations of nondiscrimination under federal and state laws, North Central College is committed to maintaining a community in which a diverse population can live and work in an atmosphere of tolerance, civility, and mutual respect for the rights and sensibilities of each individual, regardless of difference in economic status, ethnic background, political views or other personal characteristics and beliefs.

The College is also committed to providing all of its students, faculty, staff and visitors with access to its programs, events and facilities. To this end, and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the College has made and continues to make modifications to its facilities and programs to provide access for individuals with disabilities. Inquiries, requests for modifications beyond those already completed, appeals regarding assistance to accommodate individual needs or complaints regarding compliance with these federal regulations should be directed to the vice president for finance, the vice president for enrollment management and athletics or the vice president for student affairs.

Statistics related to the Student Right to Know and Campus Crime and Security Act are published annually online in the Student Handbook and are available in the Office of Student Affairs.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

North Central College complies with all of the rules and regulations of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended. Copies of the policy are available in the Office of the Registrar, and the policy is also published in the Student Handbook.

The College designates the following categories of student information as public or “directory” information: name; address (local and home); telephone numbers; email address; date and place of birth; class level; major and minor fields of study; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; height and weight of athletes; photographs/video for College and other publications; the most previous educational institution attended; dates of attendance; degrees and awards conferred, including dates; and current course load.

The above information may be disclosed by North Central College for any purpose at its discretion. Currently enrolled students can withhold disclosure of the information classified as “directory” information by notifying the Office of the Registrar in writing on or before August 15 each year. Requests for nondisclosure are in effect until the student notifies the Office of the Registrar in writing to remove the restriction.

Questions concerning the FERPA should be directed to the Office of the Registrar.

Accreditation and Affiliation

North Central College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which can be reached at 230 South LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1411, by calling (800) 621-7440, or online at https://www.hlcommission.org/.

The College is also accredited by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. It maintains membership in the American Council on Education, the Council of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities, the Associated Colleges of Illinois and the New American Colleges and Universities (as a founding member).