Northern Michigan University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Northern Michigan University
Northern Michigan University is a premier institution, offering extensive research, internship, and hands-on opportunities...

Northern Michigan University

Marquette, Michigan

Northern Michigan University believes a well-rounded individual draws on a wide range of experiences. For that reason, Northern embraces not only the incredible academic experiences that happen in its classrooms, but also the passions that its students pursue beyond the walls of the lecture halls.


At NMU, a classroom is a place where collaboration, dialogue, and debate are encouraged. The student-faculty ratio is 21:1, the average class size is 22, the average lab size is 16, and average seminar size is 8. Students are taught primarily by professors (not graduate students) who are famously accessible in and out of the classroom.


In the midst of a spectacular outdoor environment, NMU students take full advantage of their surroundings. They can be found longboarding to class, playing volleyball on the beaches of Lake Superior, riding the miles of mountain bike trails, and enjoying the local ski hill. No matter the season, the city of Marquette is a giant playground, and Northern’s students take advantage of it in every way they can.



Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
8,001 undergraduate students
88% of undergrad students are full time
45% male — 55% female
21% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
305 full-time faculty
151 part-time faculty
21 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
73% of first year students live on campus
38% of all students live on campus

School Location

Situated in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula in the vibrant community of Marquette, Northern Michigan University has access to 83 miles of Lake Superior shoreline. In their free time, NMU students enjoy catching a sunset at Presque Isle Park, meeting up with friends at the beach, skiing the local cross country trails, or hitting the slopes at the nearby Marquette Mountain.
As an added bonus, Northern is only a short distance to these major Midwest cities: Green Bay, WI (3 hours); Milwaukee, WI (5 hours); Duluth, MN (5 hours); Chicago, IL (6.5 hour)s; Minneapolis, MI (6.5 hours); Grand Rapids, MI (6.5 hours); Detroit, MI (7 hours)

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 2015

72.6% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2015

49% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 4%
Black or African American 4%
White 84%
American Indian or Alaska Native 2%
Asian 0%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 2%


Northern Michigan University has 13 NCAA Division II varsity sports teams that compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The men’s ice hockey team is an NCAA division I team and it competes in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Men’s and women’s Nordic skiing are also NCAA Division 1 teams, and they compete in the Central Collegiate Ski Association.

The school’s mascot is Wildcat Willy, and its colors are green and gold. A number of Northern’s sports teams compete in the Superior Dome, the largest wooden dome structure in the world.

In addition to varsity athletics, Northern is home to a United States Olympic Training Site.

Academic Programs

Northern Michigan University offers over 180 bachelor degree programs in the following categories: Art and Design Business Education Environmental and Outdoor Health Related Studies Legal Liberal Arts Pre-Professional STEM Technology and Occupational Northern also offers a number of graduate and certificate programs in a variety of fields.

Currently, students have the option of pursuing one of the following associate degrees from NMU:

  • MATMC Health Sciences Academy (Clinical science degrees): Clinical laboratory technology; Radiography; Surgical technology
  • MATMC Industrial Maintenance Academy: Industrial maintenance

More Distinctions

  • Top 30 Public Schools in the Midwest (U.S. News and World Report)

  • 2nd Most Affordable University in Michigan

  • Military Friendly School (G.I. Jobs)

  • Most Friendly College Campus in Michigan (Niche Magazine)

  • Top 15 Best Bachelor of Insurance and Risk Management Degree Programs 2017-2018 (Online Accounting Degree Programs)

  • Top 50 Best Value Industrial and Product Design Programs of 2017 (Value Colleges)

  • 2017 Top 10 Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Public Administration (Best College Values)

Gap/Launch/Bridge Year

The NMU Middle College is a tuition-free, early college program that enables students from the Marquette and Alger Counties to:

  • Earn a high school diploma
  • Take a significant number of dual-enrollment college credits at Northern Michigan University while still in high school
  • Earn a technical certificate and a significant number of college credits toward an NMU associate degree at no cost to them or their families

Common Intellectual Experiences

Through the General Education Program, the faculty of Northern Michigan seek to help students develop the skills necessary for becoming independent lifelong learners and effective citizens of a challenging and rapidly changing world. The General Education Program is designed to complement a student’s academic major by promoting the integration of knowledge derived from multiple perspectives. It stresses the development of problem-solving skills and intellectual creativity through the exploration of a broad range of disciplines and fields. Students select 10 courses from a set of components which count toward their major or minor.

Collaborative Assignments and Projects

Working as part of a team is pervasive in today’s businesses and organizations, and NMU students gain plenty of experience in collaborative learning/problem solving situations. Northern’s campus thrives on collaboration: Many classes require or encourage group projects, critiques, and research with faculty and fellow students. For instance, Invent@NMU employs students as engineers, graphic designers, project managers, and public relations and marketing specialists to help entrepreneurs launch their products. The TEAM Business club gathers students from different majors to work with regional organizations to overcome their challenges, and the NMU Constructors take on projects to help community groups.

Undergraduate research

Many people consider student research to be reserved for the graduate level, but that is far from the case at NMU. The faculty at Northern is committed to providing undergraduates with hands-on research opportunities from the moment they step onto campus. Undergraduates have helped write psychology textbooks, created apps for Intel, worked on finding cures for ALS and brain cancer, and helped identify new species of crabs. There are so many remarkable opportunities for undergrads to get hands-on experience as soon as they step onto campus.

Learn more about the research opportunities available to undergraduates by visiting

Diversity/Global Learning

NMU offers 55 countries for students to explore through an education abroad. The school’s partnerships with several international universities make the dream of a truly global education affordable and achievable to all who attend.

Some students choose to study abroad at partner institutions, while others take advantage of the faculty-led trips. Learn more about NMU faculty-led study abroad classes and other opportunities at

On campus, the Multicultural Education and Resource Center (MERC) partners with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to build a vibrant, stimulating, and safe learning community for all. MERC promotes an environment where cultural diversity is highly valued, differences are respected, and people from all cultures and backgrounds flourish. It serves as a gathering place and offers resources, presentations, and workshops on diversity issues.

Each fall, Northern hosts the weeklong Uniting Neighbors in the Experience of Diversity (UNITED) conference, with well-known speakers, ethnic foods, movies, dances, and art exhibits.

Activities Offered

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

In recent years, a number of NMU’s degree programs have received national or international recognition for their achievements. These include art and design, business, computer science, education, English, and nursing. Some unique aspects of Northern’s academic menu include being the only university to offer five National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science programs. Northern is also one of only three universities nationwide with both diagnostic molecular science and cytogenetics programs, and it boasts one of the few programs in the country for both ski area management and wildland firefighting. NMU is one of only two Michigan universities to have an entrepreneurship major.

Programs that boast 90 percent placement rate or higher are business, clinical sciences, construction management, engineering technology, music education, line and power technician, and theater, as well as Northern’s pre-medical and pre-dental students for professional school admittance.

First-Year Seminars and Experiences

NMU’s First Year Experience (FYE) is a learning community initiative that helps new students develop strategies to maximize academic success, utilize campus resources, and cultivate positive relationships with other students and faculty. FYE is designed to help all first-time full-time students successfully manage the transition to college. With FYE’s block scheduling, freshmen are able to reserve a spot in class even before orientation. In most cases, students share the same course schedule with about 20 other students, creating an immediate cohort of peers for study groups and getting connected to campus.

Writing-Intensive Courses

As part of the General Education requirements, students take two courses to fulfill the Effective Communication component, which may include composition, writing, and/or foreign languages. In addition, a course in the Human Expression component includes analysis and evaluation of artistic, literary, or rhetorical expression. Writing is a key component in numerous courses across the curriculum. An on-campus Writing Center offers free, one-on-one live, or online tutoring sessions or help and feedback on any part of the writing process.

Students have the opportunity to work on a respected literary journal, Passages North, write for The North Wind student newspaper, or contribute to Conspectus Borealis, a undergraduate interdisciplinary journal of scholarly and creative works.

Common Core

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

Class size breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 99 302 370 170 52 72 15 1080

Residence Halls

With some very distinct residence hall communities, students can find just the right kind of environment to fit their personalities. Six of Northern’s residence halls are home to about 275 students each during the school year. Spooner Hall is home to 100 upperclassmen and graduate students, and Meyland Hall houses athletes training with the Olympic Training Site and 175 other students who prefer a quieter community.

Each of the halls contains six smaller communities of about 40 students each, called “houses.” Houses share a common hall identity, but each has its own personality, rules, traditions, programs, and activities. Some house names include: Hogwarts, Looney Bin, Whoville, and Reel House. More information on houses can be found at

NMU is in the process of constructing a new residence hall complex called The Woods. The 1,200 bed facility will be opened in three phases starting in the fall of 2017. The halls will also feature classrooms, 24/7 study spaces, and the campus’s family room, The Lodge.

For more information, visit


Northern Michigan University not only values diversity, but it actively works to create an inclusive environment on campus. The diversity programs and initiatives at NMU are designed to support campus community interaction, and teach everyone the value that inclusion and diversity bring to an institution. Northern has nine diversity promotion groups. These student-run organizations range from the All Nations Club, the Black Student Union, the Native American Student Association, OUTLook, and several more.

Northern is always looking for speakers and special guests to present their own worldview to its community. Past speakers on campus have included Arun Gandhi, John Corvino, Rebecca Skloot, iO Tillett Wright, Martin Moreno, and Daryl Davis—just to name a few. By helping students to recognize, support, celebrate, and appreciate inclusion and diversity, NMU is helping to create future leaders who will continue to work to reduce prejudice, stereotyping, and the harassment of all people.

Student Organizations

The Center for Student Enrichment (CSE) seeks to provide the students of Northern Michigan University with a variety of extracurricular and classroom-connected experiences. All CSE programming is designed to enable students to grow personally and professionally, to connect with the campus and surrounding communities, and to more thoroughly enjoy the college experience. In the process, NMU helps its students develop the skills and awareness required to be effective leaders and engaged citizens. There are over 300 student organizations at Northern Michigan University, and they range from special interest to academic. A list of these organization can be found at

Learning Communities

The Honors Program at NMU provides academically talented students with a two- or four-year series of interdisciplinary and department-based courses. The courses are designed to complement students’ undergraduate degrees, regardless of their majors’ fields.

The Honors Program is not an academic major itself, but it rather substitutes specially-designed courses for most of the general education classes typically required for graduation. The substituted classes provide unique learning experiences to some of Northern’s most academically motivated students.


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

Academic Service Learning

The Academic Service Learning program at Northern Michigan University aims to incorporate community service as a means of helping its students gain a deeper understanding of course objectives, acquire new knowledge, develop professional expertise, and engage in civic activity. Through incorporating academics with volunteer and hands-on opportunities, Northern elevates learning in ways that can’t be experienced in the traditional classroom setting.

The ASL program at NMU continues to grow every year. With over 300 courses that are ASL certified, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in real-world scenarios by working with a number of community partners.

Superior Edge

Northern is the only university in the U.S. that packs community engagement, diversity awareness, leadership development, and real-world experience into one life-changing program: Superior Edge. It is open to all students regardless of major, year in school, or GPA.  Students complete 100 hours in each of four different edges, mostly tailored to their own interests and passions. In addition to the fulfilling experiences students experience in this program, they receive a “student enrichment” transcript along with their academic transcript when they graduate. More than 1/3 of NMU students voluntarily participate in this program.

Student Leader Fellowship Program

NMU’s Student Leader Fellowship Program (SLFP) is a two-year, nationally awarded leadership program. Committed to developing competent, ethical, and community-centered leaders, the SLFP provides student fellows with a series of unique experiences such as a fall retreat, a two-credit leadership class, a community mentor, a Community Service Internship, and a thorough workshop series.


NMU faculty and staff help students make connections with valuable internship opportunities. Many majors require an internship. Just a few examples of recent internships students have taken include positions at NASA, Intel, Amazon, Helly Hansen, the Milwaukee Crime Laboratory, IBM, USAA, IRS, America’s Test Kitchen, and Mayo Clinic.

Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience

The student experience in many majors at NMU concludes with the accumulation of what has been learned over the course of one’s academic career. This is typically in the form of a capstone project or paper. Students have the chance to show off their projects each spring at the Celebration of Student Research, Creative Works, and Academic Service Learning. The campus and community event features short presentations and poster displays to highlight student achievements. Students graduating from the School of Art and Design have their final works showcased in the DeVos Art Museum, which concludes with a rousing closing reception.

The Northern experience culminates in a 96 percent job placement/graduate school acceptance rate for its alumni.


Admissions Fall 2015

6,848 Total Applicants
4,937 Total Admissions
1,595 Total Freshmen Enrollment

72.09% of applicants admitted

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading    
SAT Math    
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 19 24
ACT Math 17 24
ACT English 18 24
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator


  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $9,324 $14,556
Fees $299 $64
Total $9,623 $14,620
Room and Board (on campus) $8,954 $8,954
Room Only $4,566 $4,566
Board Only $4,388 $4,388
Estimated Total On Campus $18,577 $23,574


Average Financial Aid Packages 2014-2015

$9,229 First year students
$9,303 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

57.7% on average, the percentage of need that was met
10% of financial need students that had need fully met

$5,202 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,084 Average need-based loan


Northern Michigan University offers a variety of scholarships and awards to admitted students. See below for further information:

  • Presidential Scholars Competition: The Presidential Scholars Competition is designed for academically talented high school seniors to compete for 10 full-ride scholarships, which include tuition, fees, room, and board as well as 10 full-tuition scholarships, which cover tuition and fees. In addition to the 20 large scholarships, approximately 200 smaller scholarships will be awarded to participants.
  • Freshman scholarships: Northern Michigan University also offers scholarships designated for new freshmen students who have not attended any college/post-secondary institution after high school graduation.
  • Transfer scholarships: All transfer students who meet the general requirements will be considered for financial awards upon admission.
  • Freshman Fellowship: The Freshman Fellowship Program at Northern Michigan University provides academically talented students with an enriched educational experience. Freshmen Fellows will have the opportunity to practice scholarship, work directly with a university professor, interact with other students, and enhance overall intellectual curiosity. Each Freshman Fellow will also earn a cash stipend.  
  • Talent recognition awards: Students at NMU have the opportunity to earn talent recognition awards in art and design, music and theater. Interested students may contact their respective department directly to arrange auditions, submit portfolios, or obtain more detailed information.
  • Donor-funded scholarships:  Privately funded scholarships are offered through the NMU Foundation by donors who have created these opportunities for a variety of reasons. These scholarships or endowments are typically established to honor a family member, classmate, mentor, friend, or faculty member. 
  • Alumni Legacy Scholarship and Alumni Dependent Tuition Program:  The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is offered exclusively to students whose parent or grandparent is a Northern Michigan University alumnus/na and resides in the state of Michigan. The NMU Alumni Association annually awards 10 Legacy Scholarships worth $1,000 each. The Alumni Dependent tuition program enables dependents of out-of-state NMU alumni to pay in-state tuition rates.