Oct 28, 2020  
ARCHIVED 2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

This is North Central


North Central College is a community of learners dedicated to preparing students to be informed, involved, principled and productive citizens and leaders over their lifetime. 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—with programs responsive to those needs (residential, outreach, full time, part time, undergraduate and master's level) while ensuring that all students share a common experience:

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

The universe of higher education ranges from small liberal arts colleges to giant research universities. North Central College is a distinct alternative to all of these schools. Our commitment to one set of degree standards for all students reflects our unique character: small classes and one-on-one instruction, and professors who are first and foremost teachers and mentors. At North Central, a student experiences the personalized atmosphere of a small liberal arts college, with its friendly but rigorous approach to learning and emphasis on writing and reasoning skills. At the same time, with more than 55 majors, strong programs in job-related fields such as accounting and education, master's degree offerings in a number of areas, and a wide variety of scheduling formats to accommodate students who work part time or full time, North Central provides many of the benefits of a major university (but without the hassles).

Individual Support

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

Most of North Central's 2,900 students are full-time undergraduates, between ages 18 and 24. Nearly 1,500 live in College housing; the rest reside off campus or commute from home. Nearly 200 undergraduates, most of them working adults, are enrolled part time in day or evening programs; almost 230 students attend graduate programs.


The academic program emphasizes the importance of choice. A uniform pattern of learning is not imposed upon students, 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 he or she plans to enter.

Special opportunities available at North Central—e.g., 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 of Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, major companies in the Illinois Research and Development Corridor, and the city of Chicago offer unlimited internship opportunities. In addition, extra-curricular options such as Model United Nations, Mock Trial, Forensics, WONC-FM, Enactus, Black Student Association, Raza Unida, student government, musical ensembles, ministry and service, drama and athletics enable students to expand upon and complement their classroom learning.

That same attention to the individual and the 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, to act as advisors in hall matters and to 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 future 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 of the College, 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, Illinois, and 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, Illinois, a community of 144,000 residents in the west suburban area of metropolitan Chicago. The city is a residential community with excellent community services and has become the Midwest center of scientific research and development. It is in the "Silicon Prairie" center of the high-technology Illinois Research and Development Corridor where some of the nation's largest companies—e.g., BP, Alcatel-Lucent, 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 unique resources for North Central students—for internships, jobs and joint research opportunities.

Chicago is just 28 miles away, and the cultural, artistic and entertainment venues in this great city make it a rich resource for a North Central education. The Art Institute, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, 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 automobile 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 Burlington Northern Railroad 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 or the vice president for enrollment management and athletics or the vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

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; e-mail 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).