Niagara University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Niagara University
Founded by the Vincentian community in 1856, Niagara University is one of the nation’s...

Niagara University

Niagara Univ, New York

Founded in 1856, Niagara University is a comprehensive institution, blending the best of a liberal arts and professional education, grounded in a values-based, Catholic tradition. With more than 80 majors, nearly 60 minors, six pre-professional options, and 4+1 combined master’s programs, NU students are immersed in meaningful real-world learning opportunities from the moment they step foot on the university’s beautiful campus.


Niagara’s colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, and Hospitality and Tourism Management offer programs at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral level. All four of the university’s academic colleges have received the highest rankings from the top accreditation boards in their fields. In addition, the university offers an award-winning Academic Exploration program for students who are undecided about their academic major.


A student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1 and an average class size of approximately 19 allow for personal attention and classroom interaction. The faculty members at Niagara are internationally renowned for their abilities as researchers and teachers, helping students to accomplish things they never thought possible. A recent survey indicated that 97 percent of Niagara’s graduating class was employed or enrolled in graduate school within one year of graduation.


Niagara offers a wide variety of entertainment options on- and off-campus, including trips to professional sporting events, local landmarks, concerts, malls, restaurants and cultural festivals in the U.S. and nearby Ontario, Canada. And with 18 Division I athletics programs, there are numerous chances for NU students to put their “Purple Pride” on full display.

Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
3,045 undergraduate students
96% of undergrad students are full time
38% male — 62% female
9% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
165 full-time faculty
242 part-time faculty
12 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
75% of first year students live on campus
41% of all students live on campus

School Location

Niagara University’s picturesque, suburban campus is located in the town of Lewiston, New York, two minutes off of the I-190 on Route 104. The campus is situated on Monteagle Ridge overlooking the lower Niagara River, which connects the two Great Lakes of Erie and Ontario. The university’s convenient campus setting is just a few miles from the world-famous Niagara Falls, 20 minutes from Buffalo, which offers a variety of cultural events, sports and entertainment opportunities, and just 90 minutes from Rochester and Toronto, Canada’s largest metropolitan area.

The Niagara River, Lake Ontario and the Erie Canal all provide unique opportunities for NU students to study natural sciences and to take advantage of the area’s many recreation possibilities.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices 

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences  
Learning Communities  
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

Retention Fall 2016

81% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2016

67% of students graduated in 6 years    


Nonresident aliens 12%
Hispanic/Latino 4%
Black or African American 5%
White 72%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 2%


Niagara University athletic teams compete on the Division I level and are members of the NCAA, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Atlantic Hockey Association. Intercollegiate sports for men include baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, ice hockey, soccer, swimming and diving, and tennis. Intercollegiate sports for women include basketball, cross-country, golf, lacrosse, outdoor track & field, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, and volleyball. An extensive club and intramural sports program includes cheerleading, danceline, hockey, rugby and lacrosse, to name a few.

More than 300 students are part of Niagara University’s “N-Zone,” one of the best student cheering sections in the country.

Notable Niagara alumni include Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers Calvin Murphy and Hubie Brown, among others.

Other Information

As the first Vincentian university established in North America, Niagara has a rich Catholic tradition that began in 1856 and is based on the beliefs and teachings of St. Vincent de Paul. Niagara offers students outstanding academic programs and majors in a wide range of disciplines in an affordable, private college setting.

Academic Programs

College of Arts & Sciences Art History with Museum Studies, Bioinformatics, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Biology, Computational Chemistry, Chemistry, Communication Studies, Computer & Information Sciences, Criminology/Criminal Justice, English, Environmental Studies, French, Gerontology, History, International Studies, Liberal Arts, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Nursing, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, Social Sciences, Social Work, Sociology, Spanish, Theatre & Fine Arts. College of Business Administration Accounting, Economics, Finance, Management Human Resources, Management International, Management Supply Chain, Management Integrative, Marketing, Marketing (Food and CPG Marketing). College of Education Early Childhood and Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 6), Childhood and Middle Level Childhood Education (Grade 1-Grade 9), Middle Childhood and Adolescence Education (Grade 5-Grade 12), Adolescence Education (Grade 7-Grade 12), Special Education and Childhood (Grade 1-Grade 6), Special Education and Adolescence (Grade 7-Grade 12), Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Developmental Disabilities, Early Childhood Development and Cognition. College of Hospitality & Tourism Management Hotel and Restaurant Management (Hotel Planning, Development and Operations, Luxury Hospitality Operations, Food and Beverage Management), Sport and Recreation Management (Sport Operations, Revenue Management), Tourism and Event Management (Tourism Destination Management, Event and Meeting Management).

More Distinctions

  • For four straight years, Niagara University has moved up in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of “America’s Best Colleges.” NU is also once again among the 15 regional institutions deemed a “Best Value,” and considered to be one of the region’s “Best Colleges for Veterans.”

  • NU delivers the most value for a student’s educational dollar among all private colleges and universities in the Buffalo-Niagara region, according to Money magazine’s “2015 Best Colleges.” The study examined institutions’ four-year graduation rates, the net price of a degree and average early career earnings.

  • Niagara University is again among the best institutions in the Northeast in terms of both academics and sustainability, according to results from The Princeton Review. NU is one of 225 institutions The Princeton Review recommends in its “Best in the Northeast” section of its website feature, “2015 Best Colleges: Region by Region.”

  • NU’s community service efforts were recently praised by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Corporation for National and Community Service. In December, NU was named for the ninth straight year to President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition colleges and universities can receive for community service, service-learning and civic engagement. On Jan. 7, the Carnegie Foundation again selected NU for inclusion in its Community Engagement Classification.

  • Niagara University’s commitment to embracing America’s military service members as students has been recognized once again, this time via inclusion on U.S. Veterans Magazine’s list of “Top Veteran-Friendly Schools.”

  • NU’s innovative program that helps undeclared students find a major that best suits their needs and talents – while making sure they graduate on time – was honored by the National Academic Advising Association. NU’s Academic Exploration Program, or AEP, was one of only four programs nationwide to receive NACADA’s Outstanding Institutional Advising Program Award.

  • The quality of NU’s campus is among the top 2 percent in New York state, according to student rankings compiled by NU placed 20th out of the 943 colleges ranked – the highest ranking for any private institution in Western New York – based on nearly 795,000 student opinions from 100,000 students.

Niagara University was founded on the tradition of helping to change the world through service. Niagara offers many programs for students and teachers to get involved in serving the community.

Niagara strives to educate and enrich students through programs in the liberal arts and through career preparation with special attention to the Catholic and Vincentian traditions. NU students develop a passion for learning through classroom interaction, teaching, research, and service. The university’s commitment to the Catholic faith allows students to experience the vision and reality of a service-oriented, value-centered education. St. Vincent de Paul’s tradition of serving the poor is continued at NU, where all undergraduates participate in service learning. In addition, more than half of NU’s undergraduate students participate in research and many take advantage of NU’s study abroad, cooperative education, and internship programs. A Niagara education is designed to make a difference in the lives of students, leading them to make a difference in the community and the world.

Opportunities Abound

Niagara offers more than 80 undergraduate majors, a wide array of minors and specialized programs, six pre professional options, combined bachelor’s/master’s programs, 29 graduate programs, and an award-winning Academic Exploration Program for undeclared students. Internships and cooperative education programs are available to provide hands-on learning experience best fitted for the individual.

Learn While Serving

During the past academic year, Niagara students provided over 1,000 hours of community service per week. They serve as tutors in local school districts, as volunteers in more than 60 social service organizations, and as part of ReNU Niagara, a community outreach partnership that coordinates service programs in Niagara Falls.

Learn and Serve Niagara

Learn and Serve Niagara is a program designed to promote the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for lifelong engagement in the pursuit of social justice. All major programs require completion of Learn and Serve components for graduation. Courses with service-learning components are offered in every college and in almost every academic department. Students are involved in projects ranging from working with the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office in the domestic violence program to doing historical research for nonprofit agencies. Education majors serve as teachers’ aides and provide tutoring for local children. Other NU students participate in Habitat for Humanity projects, just to name a few.

NU students can take advantage of other practical work experiences, too. College of Education students begin working in classrooms in their freshman year, and are given increasing amounts of responsibility with each succeeding year. The College of Business Administration offers a five-year MBA with an undergraduate degree. The program emphasizes real-world experience with businesses from across the country as well as in the Buffalo area. As part of a cruise management course aboard a major cruise line, students in the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management have the opportunity to work alongside management in a variety of jobs, including food service and guest relations.

Undergraduate Research

Niagara students work side by side with their professors on a variety of collaborative research projects. Research is an excellent way for undergraduate students to gain practical, high-level research experience, further setting them apart as they prepare to enter graduate schools and careers.

At Niagara University, students have the rare opportunity to conduct their own original research as undergraduates. Their research projects are conducted under the close, year-long tutelage of NU professors and showcased at the annual Undergraduate Research Conference, which is sponsored by the university’s Honors Program.

Forty-six percent of undergraduates participate in research with a faculty member at NU, a rate of involvement that is nearly double what is reported by students at nearly 600 colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Studying Abroad

For those students who wish to study abroad, the university offers semester and summer programs in Chile, China, England, France, Ireland, Mexico, Spain Thailand, and many other countries. For example, hospitality and tourism management majors have the opportunity to participate in a hotel management program in Peru and Italy, where students work alongside management at a hotel on Lake Como.

In total, students may choose from more than 200 available programs in more than 30 countries.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band  
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band  
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN X
Music ensembles  
Musical theater X
Pep band  
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra  
Television station  

Niagara University, at its core, is an academic community, with immensely gifted faculty scholars, teachers and servants. Ninety-six percent of Niagara faculty members have earned the highest degree in their field. They are gifted researchers and teachers.

Getting Started

Niagara University Beginnings (NUB) is a one-credit seminar course required of all first-year students. It is designed to introduce students to the academic culture of Niagara University. In this class, students learn about how their academic course of study is integrated with the mission, the general education curriculum and student life.

First-year students typically take their NUB course with other students in their major and often have an NUB instructor from their major as well. The goal is to help students acclimate academically to college life, while informing them of campus policies that impact them directly.

Small Classes with Caring Faculty

Niagara’s student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1 means that classes are small so students are given the individual attention they need to succeed. Faculty members serve as advisors to students, either in their major field of study or under the Academic Exploration Program for students who have not yet decided on a major.

Do More at Niagara

Professors not only get involved in student clubs and organizations but, in conjunction with the on-campus Center for Career and Service Learning, assist students in finding internship placements. To enhance education outside the classroom, almost every major has an academic club. Faculty offer special programs designed to stimulate and challenge the accomplished students who qualify for the Honors program. Students contribute to research in a variety of fields and their work is often presented at national conferences.

In addition to the internships and service-learning programs, students can earn credits for research projects, independent study, and cooperative education programs. They may also participate in Army ROTC.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts  
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages  
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Philosophy X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X


Other: Religious studies

Class size breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 118 273 166 127 8 10 0 702

Extracurricular and Co-curricular Activities

A large percentage of Niagara students take advantage of the more than 100 extracurricular and co-curricular activities offered. Volunteer work in the community is popular among the students and enhances community relations. Students work with numerous organizations, including the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Community Missions and the Heart, Love and Soul food pantry.

Robust Library

The university’s library supports student learning and knowledge creation by providing assistance and access to online and print information resources, technology, and individual and collaborative work and study space. Assistance is available in person and via online chat, text, email and phone.  The library’s main floor is open 24 hours a day during the school year.

State-of-the-Art Facilities

The B. Thomas Golisano Center for Integrated Sciences is a state-of-the-art facility, featuring more than 50,000-square-feet of interactive learning space. The Academic Complex, home to the College of Education and the College of Business Administration (Bisgrove Hall), is a cutting-edge learning facility. Dunleavy Hall, outstanding both educationally and architecturally, includes a modern Nursing Simulation Center, computerized lecture hall and TV production rooms. The university’s facilities also include the Gallagher Center (gymnasium and student union); the Computer Center; DePaul Hall; St. Vincent’s Hall; the Kiernan Center, NU’s athletic and recreation center; the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theatre; the Castellani Art Museum; and Dwyer Arena, a dual-rink ice hockey complex.

Niagara University’s housing accommodations include five residence halls, a grouping of five small cottages, and a student apartment complex.

The Kiernan Center offers a variety of sports and recreational facilities, including a multipurpose gymnasium, a swimming and diving pool, an indoor track, racquetball courts, free-weight and Nautilus rooms, and aerobics rooms. There are several outdoor athletic fields as well as basketball and tennis courts.

Student Services

Additional student services include the Health Center, which provides inpatient and outpatient care during the day; the Learning Center, which provides free tutoring services; and the Career Services Office, which offers professional and career counseling. Other services include counseling, academic planning, and job placement.


Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students  
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  

Internships, Internships, Internships

A chemistry major researches antibacterial surfaces. A hotel and restaurant management major interns at one of the world’s most prestigious hotels. An education major completes 150 hours of field experience in local schools before student teaching begins. Nothing teaches like experience. Niagara students work one-on-one with professors doing primary research. They pack their bags and study abroad. They pursue internships and co-op experiences. They participate in service-learning projects. Close to 75 percent of Niagara University students have internships and other practical experience.

These internships include:


  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Catholic Health System of Buffalo
  • Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner LLP
  • Columbus McKinnon Corp.
  • Freed Maxick & Battaglia CPAs
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • New Directions Youth and Family Services
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Shea’s Performing Arts Center
  • Wegmans


Nationally & Internationally

  • American Cancer Society
  • AT&T
  • Bausch & Lomb
  • Deloitte
  • Disney
  • Ernst & Young
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Fisher-Price
  • Verizon
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • U.S. Department of State
  • The United States Social Security Administration
  • Waldorf Astoria

Practical Experience = Jobs

It’s no fluke that NU graduates are so highly sought after by graduate schools and employers. Niagara graduates are ready for the real world because they’ve experienced the real world.

Those types of real-world learning opportunities help Niagara alumni translate their practical education into top jobs within their career fields. According to a recent survey, 97 percent of NU graduates reported being employed or enrolled in graduate school within one year of graduation.

Giving Back

With such a well-rounded education, it’s not surprising that Niagara graduates go on to great success. It’s also not surprising that they are inclined to give back. NU graduates become productive in the world and for the world, as they enter into meaningful careers. They bring excellence, as well as a deep-rooted Vincentian spirit, to their jobs as well as to their families, churches and communities. They become successful but, even more, they become fulfilled. Their jobs matter, because their education mattered.

Career Services

NU’s award-winning Office of Career Services prepares students to make the leap into the professional world. From job fairs and resume critiques to practice interviews and alumni networking opportunities, staff members are committed to providing students with the hands-on resources necessary to get their lives after college on track.

Career services are integrated into the student experience during all four years, with over 100 classroom presentations offered by staff members each year.

Advanced Degree Programs

Graduate students at Niagara are prepared via outstanding academic programs that accentuate one-on-one learning with highly credentialed faculty. The university offers graduate studies in business, counseling, criminal justice, education, finance, healthcare administration, interdisciplinary studies and sport management, and a Ph.D. in leadership and policy. The NU approach to learning prepares individuals to excel in their career and to be change leaders in their chosen field.

Niagara University provides over 60 graduate awards, scholarships, graduate assistantships and campus employment opportunities for graduate students attending the university.


Admissions Fall 2016

 3,359 Total Applicants
2,784 Total Admissions
625 Total Freshmen Enrollment

82.88% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling Admission? No

Closing Date: August 30 

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Class rank
Academic GPA

Standardized test scores

Application Essay
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
Alumni/ae relation
Volunteer work
Work experience
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshmen Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 460 560
SAT Math 470 570
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 21 25
ACT Math 19 25
ACT English 19 24
ACT Writing    


The university welcomes men and women who have demonstrated aptitude and academic achievement at the high school level. Either SAT or ACT test scores are required. International students are required to submit the results of their TOEFL examination and, if transcripts are not in English, these transcripts must be sent via World Education Services (WES) for the “Course by Course Report” evaluation. Interviews are recommended. Transfer students are accepted during any semester. (Transfer credit is evaluated individually by the dean of each division.) Students who complete high school in less than four years are eligible for early admission. Students may also apply under an early action program. Economically and educationally disadvantaged students from New York state are eligible to apply for admission through the Higher Educational Opportunity Program (HEOP).


Net Price Calculator 


Tuition $30,500
Fees $1,450
Total $31,950
Room and Board (on campus) $12,950
Estimated Total On Campus $44,900


Average Financial Aid Packages 2016-17 estimated

$27,638 First year students
$20,970 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-17 estimated

83% on average, the percentage of need that was met
53% of financial need students that had need fully met

$20,970 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,984 Average need-based loan

Financial Aid Continued

Niagara University offers a program (NUOP) that provides institutional admittance as well as financial and intensive academic assistance to students who otherwise would not meet admission criteria.

Additionally, the Level Tuition Program allows first semester freshmen to “lock in” one tuition rate for four consecutive years. This makes it much easier for students and families to budget the cost of their education.

Finally, Niagara’s NUSTEP program reduces the overall cost of attendance by providing high school students with opportunities to obtain college credits.