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College of Education Facts and History



  • The College employs some 90 tenured and tenured-track professors.
  • Online graduate programs in the NIU College of Education continue to perform near the top of the country, according to new rankings released today by U.S. News & World Report. NIU tied for fourth in the current honor roll of 200 schools, earning a fifth consecutive spot among the nation’s Top 5 and its sixth nod overall.
  • 100% pass rate in fall 2016 and 98 percent pass rate in spring 2017 and fall 2017 for edTPA, the mandatory licensure state test for all teacher candidates.
  • NIU has a top five national ranking in PayScale’s "Best Schools by Salary Potential for Education Majors" College Salary Report released in 2015. The report ranks more than 1,000 colleges and universities by median alumni salaries.
  • There are more than 50,000 living COE alumni. More than 60 percent of them live in Illinois.
  • One out of every five Superintendents in Illinois is an NIU graduate.
  • One out of every 12 Principals in Illinois is an NIU graduate.
  • One out of every 12 Teachers in Illinois is an NIU graduate.
  • The College will distribute approximately $200,000 in scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year.
  • In fall 2017 the College enrolled 1,250 undergraduate students and 1,203 graduate students.
  • The COE’s six departments offer a total eight undergraduate programs14 master’s programssix doctoral programs and one educational specialist program.


  • Chartered in 1895, Northern Illinois University first opened its doors in fall 1899 as the Northern Illinois State Normal School to prepare college-educated teachers. A total of 173 students enrolled; the first class of 16 students graduated the following June.
  • The original student body represented 34 Illinois counties and two states. In all, one-fourth of the students came from DeKalb County, and most, 146, were women.
  • NIU’s first international students were enrolled in 1904. The Philippines sent 11 young men to receive teacher training here.
  • McMurray Hall was built in 1911 to house an experimental school to provide training for kindergarten teachers, one of the country’s first and most advanced early education programs.
  • Fanny Ruth Patterson graduated in 1915, the first African American student to graduate at NIU.
  • In 1921, Northern Illinois State Normal School became Northern Illinois State Teachers College.
  • Beginning in July 1943, the state of Illinois required that all teachers have a four-year degree.
  • In 1955, Illinois State Teachers College became Northern Illinois State College.
  • Northern Illinois State College become Northern Illinois University on July 1, 1957.
  • An advanced degree - the Master of Science degree in education - was first approved in 1951 followed by the certificate of advanced study in 1958.
  • The College of Education was established in 1959, consisting of nine departments: Education Administration Services, Elementary Education, Secondary and Adult Education, Student Teaching, Nursing Education, Outdoor Teacher Education, Physical Education/Men, and Physical Education/Women.
  • The doctorate in education was approved in 1961. The first doctorates in education were conferred in 1965.
  • Today the College of Education consists of six departments: Counseling, Adult and Higher Education (CAHE); Educational Technology, Research and Assessment (ETRA); Kinesiology and Physical Education (KNPE); Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations (LEPF); Curriculum and Instruction (CI); Special and Early Education (SEED).

Contact Us

Dean's Office
General Information
Phone 815-753-1949
Graham Hall 321

Student Services
Phone 815-753-8352
Gabel Hall 138

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