students walking on campus

North Central College At-A-Glance


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 2,700 students and offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, 60 additional undergraduate minors and concentrations, and 19 graduate degree programs.


With a population of a nearly 150,000, Naperville, Ill. is ranked third in “Best Cities to Live in America” (Niche 2021) and is among the “Safest College Towns” (SafeWise 2019). Naperville anchors the Illinois Research and Development corridor along I-88, from Argonne National Laboratory on the east to 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: 2,404
  • Graduate: 324

Full-time Undergraduates

  • Illinois residents: 85%
  • Male: 48%
  • Female: 52%
  • States represented: 40
  • Countries represented: 40
group of students walking on campus

Academic Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Music Education
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Master’s Degrees in 19 areas
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy***

Tuition and Fees


Tuition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $44,114

Housing and Food. . . . . . . . . . $14,444

Fees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $280

Financial Aid and Scholarships

100 percent of new students receive scholarships or grants. Renewable merit-based scholarships are available for academics and talent in fine arts. For more information, visit tuition-aid.


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


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.

  • 162 full time (120 tenure track)
  • 100 percent of tenure-track faculty hold Ph.D. or terminal degree in field
  • 70 percent of courses taught by full-time faculty
  • No teaching assistants
  • Average class size 20
  • Student/faculty ratio 13:1
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 18 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, Germany, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Taiwan. Students may also select one of North Central College’s direct enrollment programs in Australia, Botswana, Chile, China, England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Malta, New Zealand, Scotland or Spain. Students may participate in an education abroad program for a semester and/or an academic year. In addition, there are three semester group programs abroad in China/Japan, Costa Rica and England. Twenty-five of the education abroad programs allow students to conduct research, participate in an internship, volunteer or complete a practicum in their degree field.

The College also offers Cardinal Destination Courses Abroad (CDCA) which include a short-term international travel component in May (May term) in countries such as China, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Japan, Morocco and Spain.



Students may choose from more than 100 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

For a full season lineup, visit 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 14 for women) in NCAA Division III and the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin. North Central College has won 43 team national championships and 151 individual national championships. Student-athletes have earned 1,303 All-America awards and 895 national academic awards.

  • Baseball (M)
  • Basketball (M,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 2020-2021 fiscal year was North Central’s 50th consecutive year to conclude with a balanced budget. As of June 30, 2021, North Central College’s endowment was $144.9 million.

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 systems, geothermal heat pumps, the Community Garden, food scrap composting, the Cardinal Red Bike Program, electric vehicle charging stations, LED lighting, recycling initiatives and much more. North Central College is one of the first colleges to achieve Gold Status through the Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact, which acknowledges North Central as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. In January 2020, North Central was upgraded to a Level II-accredited arboretum for implementing professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens. To learn more about the College’s sustainability initiatives, visit



Oesterle Library offers students and faculty ready access to more than 40 million items from 85 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 to external groups, including state-of-the-art classrooms, corporate reception spaces, athletic facilities, performance and lecture venues, wedding ceremony spaces, and air-conditioned residence halls. For more information, visit facilities. A variety of summer camps are offered by the College, including athletic, educational and fine arts programs. North Central also offers a unique housing program for summer interns, featuring apartment-style suites.

New Residence Hall Entrance

Unique Academic Opportunities 

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

  • North Central College Honors Program
  • Shimer Great Books School
  • Undergraduate student research
  • Richter Grants
  • Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research
  • Leadership, Ethics and Values program
  • Education abroad
  • Chicago term
  • May 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.
  • Coffee Lab » Enactus–Students work with coffee farmers abroad to form self-sustainable business practices through a direct trade relationship.
  • 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


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