Northern Kentucky University is a public, four-year institution located in Highland Heights, Kentucky, within the Cincinnati metropolitan area. Formally established as an independent school in 1968, Northern Kentucky University began as an extension campus for the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1948. After 20 years o operation as an extension center for the UK, the school became an autonomous four-year college known as the Northern Kentucky State College (NKSC) with Dr. W. Frank Steely serving as the college’s first president in 1970. Shortly after, the Salmon P. Chase College of Law, a previously independent law school from Cincinnati, merged with the NKSC, causing it to expand and a year later in 1972, the main campus moved from its original location in Covington, KY to Highland Heights were it remains today. NKSC’s first bachelor’s degrees were awarded in 1973 and by 1976 the college had achieved university status.
Northern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and has been so since 1973. The University’s mission is to deliver “innovative, student-centered education and [to engage] in impactful scholarly and creative endeavors, all of which empower [NKU] graduates to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives, while contributing to the economic, civic, and social vitality of the region.” Northern Kentucky University is made up of several colleges and schools, namely the College of Arts & Sciences, the Haile/US Bank College of Business, the College of Education and Human Services, the College of Informatics, the College of Health Professions, and the Chase College of Law.
More than 75 bachelor’s degrees are offered at Northern Kentucky University, with the most popular programs being Organizational Leadership, Elementary Education, Communication Studies, and Accounting. The University also offers nearly two dozen graduate programs, and several doctoral programs, including Juris Doctor, Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, and Doctor of Nursing Practice. All of Northern Kentucky University’s classes are taught by either full-time or part-time faculty – no graduate students assist in the teaching.
Northern Kentucky University has a total enrollment figure of over 15,000 – including more than 12,000 undergraduate students. Just over 15% of undergraduate students choose to live in University Housing and Northern Kentucky University offers accommodations for nearly 2,000 residents. Northern Kentucky University’s campus is located on 400 rolling acres which offer views of both the lush Kentucky hillside as well as the downtown Cincinnati skyline. The campus features modern buildings which are clustered in a pedestrian-friendly arrangement, purposefully designed to foster a community atmosphere as Northern Kentucky University takes pride in its “up close and personal” campus lifestyle. Northern Kentucky University recently renovated its lake area and Loch Norse, which is framed by earthen swells, wide sidewalks, trees, and an iconic bridge above the lake’s waterfall, serves as one of the most memorable places on the University’s campus.
More than 200 student-led clubs and organizations exist on campus, catering to a wide range of interests. Competing at the NCAA Division I-AAA level, Northern Kentucky University boasts more than a dozen varsity sports teams. The University’s Athletic Department is a member of the Horizon League Conference.