students walking on campus

North Central College At-A-Glance



Other Notable Mentions

  • One of two institutions in Illinois to join the Billion Dollar Green Challenge 
  • Solar photovoltaic panels and energy storage system on Residence Hall/Recreation Center is the second largest roof-mounted array of all four-year, private, liberal arts colleges with less than 5,000 students since 2016, according to AASHE Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations Database 
  • Ranked on the “15 Best Value Small Colleges for a Chemistry Degree 2017-2018" list 
  • Earned the 2020 Tree Campus USA® recognition 
  • Earned 40 team national championships, competes in 27 intercollegiate sports in NCAA Division III and the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin. The College has won 138 individual and relay national championships; 210 CCIW team championships; 601 national academic awards by student-athletes; and 1,155 All-American Awards
  • Men’s cross country coach Al Carius voted 2017 NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for the 11th time
  • Named in “Top Institutions Sending Individuals to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research” by the Council on Undergraduate Research 
  • WONC-FM 89.1 named 2015 “Best Radio Station in the Nation” by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System 

Join the Cardinal family!

North Central College provides students with the confidence, instruction and direction they need to exceed their personal bests inside and outside the classroom and throughout their careers. Founded in 1861, and located just 28 miles west of Chicago in the Historic District of Naperville, Ill.—named among the nation’s “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine—North Central is home to nearly 3,000 students and offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, 60 additional undergraduate minors and concentrations, and 12 graduate degree programs.


With a population of more than 147,000, Naperville is rated by Money Magazine as among the nation’s “Best Places to Live” and by Chicagoans as the most desirable town to live. The city anchors the Illinois Research and Development corridor along I-88, near Argonne National Laboratory on the east and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory on the west. The campus is just 28 miles from Chicago and a 30-minute ride on the Metra train from downtown Chicago and the economic, social and cultural opportunities available in the nation’s third-largest metropolitan area. A daily Amtrak train stops in Naperville. O’Hare International Airport is 27 miles from campus; Midway Airport is 30 miles.

group of students walking through downtown naperville

Student Population

Total enrollment

  • Undergraduate: 2,538
  • Graduate: 201

Full-time undergraduates

  • Illinois residents: 91%
  • Men: 46%
  • Women: 54%
  • Minority:  24%
  • States represented: 27
  • Foreign countries represented: 32
  • Average ACT: 25
group of students walking on campus

Academic Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Music Education
  • Master’s degrees in 12 areas

Tuition and Fees

Tuition ........................ $39,860
Room and Board .........$11,456
Activity fee ........................$180

Financial Aid and Scholarships

More than 95% of new students receive scholarships or grants. Renewable merit-based scholarships are available for academics and talent in fine arts. For more information, please contact the Office of Financial Aid. 


The College’s academic calendar consists of two 18-week semesters, a May term and a summer session.


North Central College’s faculty is distinguished for its teaching.

A distinctive professional term and faculty development grants encourage continued research and professional growth for faculty who regularly publish numerous articles and books but whose primary mission is teaching.

  • 151 full time (108 tenure track)
  • 100% of tenure-track faculty hold Ph.D. or terminal degree in field
  • 67% of courses taught by full-time faculty
  • No teaching assistants
  • Average class size 20
  • Student/faculty ratio 14:1
Professor standing in front of class


From the first graduating class in 1866 to today, North Central College’s alumni have taken their commitment to reform and improve the world far beyond Naperville. Among the notable accomplishments of our alumni: discovering a synthetic form of the antibiotic chloromycetin, performing on Broadway, serving as the United States Supreme Court law clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas, gaining recognition twice as the Illinois Teacher of the Year, earning the title of COO, CEO and CFO of major corporations, becoming one of the first minority owners of a professional sports team, and winning an Olympic Gold medal.

Ranked among the top “Grateful Grad Colleges” by Forbes, North Central College has more than 16,500 alumni living in and around the Chicagoland area, more than 30,000 worldwide and has an alumni donor participation rate of 17 percent—one of the highest in the region. 

alumni at football game

International Study

North Central College has exchange partnerships with universities in Australia, England, France, Greece, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and Turkey; and fall term group programs abroad in China/Japan, Costa Rica and England. Students may also select one of North Central College’s direct enrollment programs in Australia, Chile, China, England, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore and Spain for a fall term or an entire academic year abroad. Twenty-two (22) of our study abroad programs allow students to earn academic credit while conducting research, participating in an internship or completing a practicum in their degree field.

The College also offers short-term courses abroad during the May-Term in countries such as China, England, France, Germany, Greece/ Italy, Japan, Morocco, and Spain.



Students may choose from more than 75 active clubs, special interest organizations, student government boards and preprofessional groups.

They may focus on:

  • Academics
  • Community service and social action
  • Faith and spiritual life
  • Honor societies
  • Intercultural
  • Leadership
  • Media and publications
  • Music, art and activities
  • Sports and recreation

Fine and Performing Arts and Cultural Events

Each year, North Central College hosts more than 500 fine and performing arts performances in our state-of-the-art venues. World-renowned artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Vienna Boys Choir and The Tenors have graced our stages. Our performance venues include:

  • 617-seat Wentz Concert Hall
  • 150-seat Madden Theatre
  • 239-seat theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall
  • 1,057-seat Pfeiffer Hall
  • 150-seat Koten Chapel

In addition, the College has hosted Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel Peace Laureates, best-selling authors and expert commentators on the issues of our times.

student playing musical instrument


North Central College student-athletes compete in 26 intercollegiate sports (13 for men and 13 for women) in NCAA Division III and the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin. North Central College has won 34 team national championships and 129 individual national championships. A total of 408 student-athletes have earned 1,057 All-America selections and 268 student-athletes have earned 473 national academic awards. Varsity athletic teams include:

  • Baseball (M)
  • Basketball (M,W)
  • Bowling (W)
  • Cross Country (M,W)
  • Football (M)
  • Golf (M,W)
  • Lacrosse (M,W)
  • Soccer (M,W)
  • Softball (W)
  • Swimming and Diving (M,W)
  • Tennis (M,W)
  • Track and Field - indoor and outdoor (M,W)
  • Triathlon (W)
  • Volleyball (M,W)
  • Wrestling (M,W)

Learn more about Cardinal athletics.

Financial Strength

The 2016-2017 fiscal year was the 46th consecutive year to conclude with a balanced budget. As of July 30, 2017, North Central College’s endowment was $110.0 million ($115.3 million when charitable trusts and similar funds were included). The College publishes its annual report every December.

North Central College flag



At North Central College, sustainability is the collective effort of students, faculty, staff and visitors working toward the development of a socially just, environmentally responsible and economically functional campus community. Successful projects include solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, solar thermal panels, energy storage system, geothermal heat pumps, the Community Garden, food scrap composting, Cardinal Red Bike Program, electric vehicle charging stations, LED lighting, Solar thermal panels, many recycling initiatives and much more.

North Central College is one of the first colleges to achieve Gold Status through the Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact and was included in The Princeton Review Guide as a “Green College” in 2016, which acknowledges North Central as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. Learn more about the College’s sustainability initiatives.



Oesterle Library offers students and faculty ready access to more than 36 million items from 87 college and university libraries in Illinois in addition to more than 250,000 items in our collections, and electronic access to a wide-ranging array of full-text documents.



North Central College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 230 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1411. Phone: 800-621-7440.

Conference Services and Camps

North Central College facilities are available for external groups, including state-of-the-art classrooms, athletic facilities, performance and lecture venues, wedding and reception spaces, and air-conditioned, townhouse-style residence halls. For more information, about renting North Central College facilities, please contact Conference Services. A variety of summerathletic, and fine arts camps are also offered by the College.

New Residence Hall Entrance

Distinctive Academic Opportunities

North Central College offers students unique opportunities to practice intellectual and personal leadership and create experiences that will help define their futures.

  • College Scholars Honors Program
  • Shimer Great Books School
  • Undergraduate student research
  • Richter Grants
  • Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research
  • Leadership, Ethics and Values program
  • Study abroad
  • Chicago Term
  • D-Term
  • WONC-FM 89.1–Named the Best College Radio Station in its market and awarded the Abraham & Brost Award for Best Overall Radio Station in the nation in 2015.
  • Enactus–North Central consistently ranks as one of the top teams in the nation.
  • Student publications: The Kindling, The Chronicle, 30 N., Viewfinder,
  • Model United Nations—North Central College is consistently one of the top five delegations competing in the Model United Nations Midwestern Conference.
  • Forensics—Nationally recognized program
  • Mock Trial
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Cardinal Video


Performing Arts Opportunities

  • Concert Choir
  • Chamber Singers
  • Women’s Chorale
  • Cardinal Chorus
  • Opera Workshop
  • Naperville Chorus
  • Concert Winds
  • Symphony Band
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Flute Choir
  • Clarinet Choir
  • Brass Quintet
  • Woodwind Quintet
  • Chamber String Ensemble
  • Big Band
  • Vocal Jazz Ensemble
  • Jazz Combos
  • Cardinal Athletic Band