How Big Is Northwestern University?

August 13, 2022
By AdmissionSight

How Big Is Northwestern University?

Is Northwestern A Large Campus?

The three campuses and international reach of Northwestern University go beyond the bounds of conventional higher education. One of the top private research universities in the nation is Northwestern.

To answer the common question among applicants “How big is Northwestern University?”, the main campus in Evanston covers 240 acres. About 12 miles north of downtown Chicago, there is also a 25-acre campus. Both of these campuses are on the shores of Lake Michigan. Qatar’s Doha is home to a third campus.

You might ask “Is Northwestern a large campus?” More than 13,000 graduate and professional students as well as over 8,000 full-time undergraduate students attend Northwestern.

The Bienen School of Music, Feinberg School of Medicine, School of Professional Studies, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Graduate School, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Pritzker School of Law, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University in Qatar, and School of Communication are among the university’s 12 colleges and schools.

The two main types of housing at NU are residential colleges and residence halls. There are a variety of traditional residence halls on campus, housing anywhere from 25 students to more than 500. Every structure has a distinct personality, spirit, and advantages.

An arch in a campus with the school's name on it.

Living in the residence halls is a fantastic way to meet people from all over the world. Meanwhile, there are 40 to 250 students in the residential colleges. Others are multi-thematic while some have a single unifying theme, like international studies.

Since 1970, the University Library, which was created by architect Walter Netsch, has been the primary library on the Evanston campus. The Main Library is one of the busiest buildings on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, receiving about 800,000 visitors yearly.

What Is the Area Around Northwestern Like?

There is a lot to do and many opportunities to fully immerse yourself in campus life and the Northwestern community when you visit Northwestern. You can benefit greatly from your visit not only from the active Northwestern community but also from the nearby communities of Evanston and Chicago. So, what is the area around Northwestern like?

Evanston, which is conveniently located just north of Chicago, combines the charms of a small town with all the amenities of a large city, including a bustling downtown, a vibrant arts scene, and a ton of interesting shops and galleries. Evanston is not your typical college town, even though Northwestern University is located there and is known throughout the world.

Old Northwestern university building covered in vines.

Indeed, this diverse neighborhood has recently been recognized as one of the “Coolest Suburbs in America” because of the abundance of green space, accessibility to public transportation, and vibrant cultural offerings.

Here are ten amazing experiences to try to see how big is Northwestern University’s neighborhood:

1.) Tour Northwestern University’s campus.

Northwestern University, a renowned institution of higher learning with a beautiful campus and a wide range of cultural offerings to match, is situated in the center of Evanston.

A stroll through Northwestern’s grounds can take you to some pretty incredible locations, such as the alluring and private Shakespeare Garden or the Northwestern Lakefill, which offers unrivaled views of the Chicago skyline. The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, one of the community’s most adored free museums, is located on the campus of the university.

2.) Try a few locally produced spirits.

While still paying homage to its past, Evanston has emerged in more recent years as one of Chicagoland’s busiest distilling and brewing hubs. Evanson is also home to the Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. and Sketchbook Brewing Co. for even more inventive drinks.

3.) Consume food and drink outside.

One of the best neighborhoods in Chicagoland for foodies is Evanston, which has a ton of fantastic spots to enjoy a delectable snack or drink on a warm summer night. Some of Evanston’s top eateries, including Five & Dime, Peckish Pig, Found Kitchen and Social House, Mid Kitchen, and others, have outstanding patio and rooftop areas.

4.) Visit the Dearborn Observatory to view the stars.

Chicagoland is home to many beautiful sights, but unless you know where to look, it’s not always the best location for stargazing. The Dearborn Observatory is worth the visit. The Observatory’s historic 18.5-inch refracting telescope is available for use by the public every Friday night when this Northwestern University facility opens its doors to the general public.

5.) Visit the Grosse Point Lighthouse to learn about history.

Want to learn about a genuine piece of regional history? One of the symbols of northern Chicagoland is the Grosse Point Lighthouse, which has been in existence since the 1870s.

In Lake Michigan, this stunning lighthouse was constructed to aid in the safe navigation of boats after a string of tragic shipwrecks and maritime mishaps. Currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this Evanston landmark is accessible to the public for tours and photos.

6.) Attend a show at a nearby venue.

One of the most distinctive concert venues in the Chicagoland area is SPACE, which is situated in the center of Evanston. Thousands of diverse musical acts from all genres have performed at SPACE since it first opened its doors in 2008, providing audiences with amazing soundscapes in an intimate setting.

SPACE has an impressive lineup of touring bands, a cutting-edge recording studio, and a dining area shared with Union Pizzeria, one of Evanston’s favorite restaurants for artisanal Neapolitan-style pizzas.

7.) Explore the Rose Garden in Merrick.

One of Evanston’s favorite hidden gems is the Merrick Rose Garden, which is tucked away at Lake Street and Oak Avenue. This charming neighborhood is home to more than 2000 roses in several hundred different varieties, as well as hundreds of eye-catching rose bushes. The old Centennial Fountain is also housed in the garden.

8.) Find your favorites at the Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market.

The Downtown Evanston Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday morning from May through November and is located at University Place and Oak Avenue. More than 60 distinctive vendors sell everything from locally made crafts to fresh produce and meats to mouthwatering baked goods at this well-liked weekend event in Evanston.

9.) Unwind on the beach.

Evanston, like many other North Shore communities in Chicago, provides unmatched access to Lake Michigan’s stunning waters. Students, locals, and tourists congregate on Evanston’s lakefront beaches during the spring and summer to soak up some sun and enjoy the gentle surf.

A beach with outdoor chairs near the shore.

In Evanston, which is home to a few well-known locations, you have your choice of beaches. These include Lee Street Beach, Greenwood Street Beach, and Clark Street Beach, all of which are close to the tranquil and lovely Arrington Lagoon and the lovely green spaces of Dawes Park.

10.) Shop a Special Item at an Evanston Shop.

Some of the region’s most unique and interesting boutiques and shops can be found in Evanston. The tidy stacks of Bookends and Beginnings, the handcrafted home goods of Stumble & Relish, the vibrant bouquets at Bloom 3, the minerals, gems, and fossils on display at Dave’s Rock Shop, and the expansive and reasonably priced selection at Vinic Wine Shop are a few highlights.

How Many People Apply to Northwestern in A Year?

As an applicant, you should know “How many people apply to Northwestern in a year?” A total of 51,554 applications were submitted to Northwestern for admission to the Class of 2026. Compared to 2021, when 47,663 students applied to NU, there have been about 4,000 more applications. In contrast to the Class of 2024, which had an admission rate of 9.02 percent, Northwestern University’s Class of 2026 accepted only 7% of all applicants.

Early Decision applicants have made up about half of the incoming class in recent years. There were 4,411 students who applied for Early Decision, a number that increased by about 9% for the Class of 2026. You can find how big is Northwestern University’s applicant pool below:

Class Total Applications Accepted Total Applications Received Total Admissions Acceptance Rate
2026 3,609 51,554 7%
2025 3,239 47,633 6.80%
2024 3,542 39,261 9.02%
2023 3,611 40,577 8.90%
2022 3,392 40,425 8.39%
2021 3,371 37,050 9.10%

What Is Northwestern’s Acceptance Rate?

One thing that you need to consider when applying should be “What is Northwestern’s acceptance rate?” Back in 1993, 42% of applicants to Northwestern were accepted; even in 2009, a respectable 27% of those who submitted an application eventually heard positive news. Since 2006, acceptance rates have significantly decreased at Northwestern and its rival University of Chicago, reporting 83 percent and 80 percent decreases, respectively.

In accordance with the study, UChicago accepted 38 percent of applicants in 2006 but only 6.5 percent of applicants in 2017. Similarly, over the 19-year span, Northwestern’s admissions rate decreased from 32% to 6.5 %. Simple math tells us that applying to this prestigious private research university in the Midwest will be three to four times harder in 2022–23 than it was approximately years ago.

Students sitting on the bench while doing school work.

As more students apply to a wider range of universities, these previously more regionally well-known schools have now gained national and even international recognition. Out of all Northwestern schools, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences received the most applications, followed by McCormick School of Engineering.

So, how big is Northwestern University’s acceptance rate this year? Seven percent of the 51,554 applicants were accepted into the Class of 2026 (or about 3,609 students; this compares to about 3,239 from last year). The acceptance rate for the Class of 2026 actually increased from 6.8 percent from the Class of 2025 to 7 percent this year, despite the record number of applicants, as a result of the higher number of admission offers.

What Is the Average Class Size At Northwestern University?

A lower student-to-faculty ratio typically results in a better learning environment, more social interaction among the class members, a greater emphasis on providing individualized attention (based on the learning needs and pace of the students), and better resource management (such as time and facilities). Therefore, it is assumed that the teaching process and results will be better the lower the ratio.

Three students taking the SAT exam.

To give you a clearer picture of what is the average class size at Northwestern University, it has a 6:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and 77.7% of its classes have fewer than 20 students. An indication of student satisfaction is the average freshman retention rate, which is 98 percent.

How Many Majors Does Northwestern Have?

The most popular majors at Northwestern University are journalism, neuroscience, econometrics and quantitative economics. In fact, Northwestern University awards 220 degrees each year to students majoring in quantitative and econometrics. Do not worry if you’re not interested in those majors, you might wonder how many majors Northwestern have. You can check the variety of majors the school can offer as follows.

Advanced Asian Languages Minor
African American Studies Major
African American Studies Minor
African Studies Adjunct Major
African Studies Minor
American Studies Major
Anthropology Major
Anthropology Minor
Applied Mathematics Degree
Architectural Engineering and Design Minor
Art History Major
Art History Minor
Art Theory and Practice Major
Art Theory and Practice Minor
Asian American Studies Major
Asian American Studies Minor
Asian Humanities Minor
Asian Languages and Cultures Major
Biological Sciences Major
Biological Sciences Second Major for ISP Students
Biomedical Engineering Degree
Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering Minor
Brady Scholars Program
Business German Minor
Business Institutions Minor
Catholic Studies Minor
Chemical Engineering Degree
Chemistry BA/MS
Chemistry Major
Chemistry Minor
Chemistry Second Major for ISP Students
Chicago Field Studies
Civic Engagement Certificate
Civil Engineering Degree
Classics Major
Classics Minor Concentrations
Cognitive Science Major
Cognitive Science Minor
Communication Studies Major
Comparative Literary Studies BA/MA
Comparative Literary Studies Major
Composition Major
Composition Minor
Computer Engineering Degree
Computer Science BA/MS
Computer Science Degree
Computer Science Major
Computer Science Minor (McCormick School of Engineering)
Computer Science Minor (Weinberg College)
Computer Science Second Major for ISP Students
Conducting and Ensembles
Creative Writing Cross-Genre Minor
Creative Writing Major
Creative Writing Sequence-Based Minor
Critical Theory Minor
Dance Major
Dance Minor
Data Science and Engineering Minor
Data Science Minor
Earth and Planetary Sciences Major
Earth and Planetary Sciences Minor
Earth and Planetary Sciences Second Major for ISP Students
Economics BA/MA
Economics Major
Economics Minor
Electrical Engineering Degree
English and American Literature Major
English and American Literature Minor
Entrepreneurship Minor
Environmental Engineering Degree
Environmental Engineering Minor
Environmental Policy and Culture Minor
Environmental Sciences Major
Environmental Sciences Second Major for ISP Students
Ethics and Civic Life
Film and Media Studies Minor
Financial Economics Certificate
First-Year Seminars
French BA/MA
French Major
French Minor
Gender and Sexuality Studies Major
Gender and Sexuality Studies Minor
General Engineering
Geography Adjunct Major
Geography Minor
German Major
German Minor
German Studies Minor
Global Health Studies Adjunct Major
Global Health Studies Minor
Hebrew Studies Minor
History Major
History Minor
Human Communication Sciences Major
Human Communication Sciences Minor
Human Computer Interaction Certificate
Human Development in Context Major
Humanities Minor
Industrial Engineering Degree
Integrated Marketing Communications Certificate
Integrated Science Major
Interdepartmental Communication Options
International Studies Adjunct Major
International Studies Minor
Italian
Italian Literature and Culture Major
Italian Minor
Jazz Studies Major
Jewish Studies Major
Jewish Studies Minor
Journalism Degree
Latin American and Caribbean Studies Minor
Latina and Latino Studies Major
Latina and Latino Studies Minor
Leadership
Learning and Organizational Change Major
Learning Sciences Major
Legal Studies Major
Legal Studies Minor
Linguistics BA/MA
Linguistics Major
Linguistics Minor
Managerial Analytics Certificate
Manufacturing and Design Engineering Degree
Materials Science and Engineering Degree
Materials Science Major
Materials Science Minor
Materials Science Second Major for ISP Students
Mathematics Major
Mathematics Minor
Mathematics Second Major for ISP Students
Mathematics Second Major or Minor for MMSS Students
Mechanical Engineering Degree
Middle East and North African Studies Major
Middle East and North African Studies Minor
MMSS Adjunct Major
Music Cognition
Music Cognition Major
Music Cognition Minor
Music Education Major
Music Education Minor
Music Technology Minor
Music Theatre Certificate
Music Theory Major
Music Theory Minor
Musicology Major
Musicology Minor
Native American and Indigenous Studies Minor
Naval Science
Neuroscience Major
Neuroscience Second Major for ISP Students
Performance Studies Major
Performance Studies Minor
Persian
Philosophy Major
Philosophy Minor
Physics Major
Physics Minor
Physics Second Major for ISP Students
Piano Major
Political Science Major
Political Science Minor
Portuguese
Portuguese Language and Lusophone Cultures Minor
Premedical Scholars Program
Psychology Major
Psychology Minor
Radio/Television/Film Major
Religious Studies Major
Religious Studies Minor
Russian
Russian and East European Studies Minor
Science in Human Culture Adjunct Major
Science in Human Culture Minor
Secondary Teaching
Segal Design Certificate
Slavic Languages and Literatures Major
Social Policy Major
Sociological Research Minor
Sociological Studies Minor
Sociology Major
Sound Design Minor
Spanish Major
Spanish Minor
Statistics Major
Statistics Minor
String Instruments Major
Summer Field Studies Program
Sustainability and Energy
Theatre Major
Theatre Minor
Transportation and Logistics Minor
Voice and Opera Major
Winds and Percussion Instruments Major
World Literature Minor
Writing Program

At Northwestern, computer science, journalism, and communication are the three most sought-after majors. At least 40 Pulitzer Prize winners have come out of Northwestern’s journalism program, which is ranked among the best in the country for its kind.

Students majoring in journalism at the undergraduate level have the chance to complete journalism residencies at more than 120 American media organizations, preparing them for fast-paced careers in news broadcasting and marketing.

Checking how big is Northwestern University’s applicant pool and all the outstanding students you must compete with is stressful enough as it is, but it is even more so when you have to decide what major to pursue. AdmissionSight can help you relieve stress in your college admissions journey. You may check AdmissionSight to see the various programs we can offer that can assist you in any hurdle in your application.

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