Northwestern State University of Louisiana


Northwestern State University of Louisiana (NSU) is a four-year university and member of the University of Louisiana System. Its main campus is in the city of Natchitoches. Branch campuses are also located in Leesville/Fort Polk and Alexandria, and the NSU nursing campus in in Shreveport.

NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and offers more than 50 accredited degree programs. The school serves over 9,000 students, both graduate and undergraduate, each year.

According to its mission statement, Northwestern State is “a responsive, student-oriented institution that is committed to the creation, dissemination, and acquisition of knowledge through teaching, research, and service.” It is classed as a Master’s College and University I by the Carnegie Institute.


Information Summary

Ranks 19th in Louisiana and 1099th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 79.0
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $22,672
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 24 / 1160
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 20 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 71% / 53%
Enrollment Total (all students) 11,081


The institution was founded in 1884 as Louisiana State Normal School with the purpose of training the state’s teachers. It was also the first school in Louisiana to offer degrees in nursing and in business education. It became known as Northwestern State College of Louisiana in 1944 and received its current name in 1970.


Northwestern State University of Louisiana 2 Northwestern State University of Louisiana
university building :: Northwestern State University of Louisiana demon head :: Northwestern State University of Louisiana


The university offers academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Students pursue their studies in the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Nursing, the College of Science and Technology, the College of Electronic & Continuing Education, the Graduate School, the University College, and the Louisiana Scholars’ College.

Associate degrees can be earned in business administration, electronics technology, general studies, nursing, office administration, and veterinary technology.

Bachelor’s degrees can be earned in areas including anthropology, business administration, history, home economics, journalism, mathematics, nursing, music, education, radiologic technology, social work, and theatre. There are also pre-professional program in agriculture, engineering, forestry, and medical fields.

Graduate programs can be earned in education, nursing, English, art, heritage resources, music, and health & human performance. An emphasis is on education; no graduate programs are offered in the physical sciences or technology, any social sciences other than psychology, or in liberal arts other than the ones listed above. There are no doctoral degrees. The Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree is offered through the College of Education in educational leadership & instruction with several different concentrations.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Unique Programs

The Aviation Science Program educates airplane pilots who wish to fly professionally. The program is approved by the FAA and provides courses to obtain certification and ratings for Private Pilot, Commercial Pilot, Instrument Rating, Flight Instructor Airplane, Flight Instructor-Instrument, and Rotor Craft Helicopter to Fixed Wing Transition. Graduates earn the Bachelor of General Studies degree and a concentration in Aviation Science.

The JOVE program is a competitive scholarship for students in the College of Science and Technology who major in biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics. JOVE is supported in part by NASA, and gives students the opportunity to conduct research projects in their respective field. Participating students receive stipend each year and often earn internships at such institutions as Mississippi State University, University of Arkansas, and the University of California Riverside. The Space Science Group at NSU has programs for elementary and secondary school students to learn more about space science as well as basic science.

The Louisiana Scholars’ College is the state’s designated undergraduate Honors program in the liberal arts and sciences. Students who seek admission to the Honors Program must meet minimum ACT / SAT score and GPA requirements. Honors students can take seminar-style classes, live in an Honors-designated dorm, and write a senior thesis. Students may also be able to receive scholarships and out-of-state fee waivers.


Undergraduate Admissions

Northwestern State University has no stated application deadline, but the priority deadline for scholarships is December 1 for the following fall. Students who are enrolled in high school at the time of application will need to have their official final high school transcripts sent after graduation to the Admissions Office.

Prospective undergraduate students must complete the Regents’ High School core curriculum known as TOPS (Tuition Opportunity Program for Students). The curriculum includes four units of English; two units of a foreign language; and one unit each of Algebra I, Algebra II, advanced math (such as geometry or calculus), biology, chemistry, earth science or advanced physical science, American history, world history, civics, fine arts, and a computer science. Upon completion of the TOPS curriculum, students may then qualify for admission to Northwestern provided they require no more than one remedial course and have either a cumulative high school grade point average of 2.00 or better, a minimum ACT score of 20 (SAT equivalent of 950), or rank in the top half of their high school graduating class. Students who do not meet these admission criteria may be admitted under conditional criteria.

Graduate Students

Students applying to graduate programs must hold a bachelor’s degree and a 2.5 or higher undergraduate GPA. Applicants should consult the individual department and/or school to which they are applying for full information and requirements. General requirements for the school’s master’s programs include GRE or other appropriate test scores (such as the GMAT) as well as two letters of recommendation.

Other Information

Applicants who are re-entering the university, are senior citizens, or who do not plan on graduating may be admitted under other criteria and should contact the university’s admissions office for further information. Requirements may also vary for transfer students and international students.

Fee exemptions are often available for people in some special categories (such as senior citizen or fire fighter dependent). Out-of-state tuition waivers are also available for some students who participate in spirit groups, athletics, band, or music.

Financial Aid

Students who seek financial aid must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility as well as award types and amounts.

Grants, scholarships, and loans are available for eligible students. Work-study programs and other on-campus jobs are also in place for students who demonstrate financial need. The financial aid office coordinates the appointment of students for university employment. Employment includes general employment or scholarship employment. Students employed under the “general” category must be enrolled for a minimum number of credit hours per semester, while students under “scholarship” employment must meet scholarship award criteria.

Common types of aid received by students include the Pell Grant, SEOG, and LEAP grants, as well as federal student loans. There are many institutional scholarship opportunities available for excellence in character, service, or particular subjects / disciplines. Students must submit both an application for admission and a scholarship application to be considered for scholarship aid.

Graduate students may benefit from student teaching or research assistantships, stipends, and/or a tuition and fee waivers. Graduate students should consult with their individual department for further details.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 4576th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Louisiana.


Student life at Northwestern State University includes numerous clubs and organizations, including fraternities and sororities, academic and professional groups, service groups, political groups, and special interest groups such as Lifted Voices (a choir), the African American caucus, and the Diamond Dolls (baseball fan group).

Concerts, recitals, and exhibits are sponsored through the Department of Creative and Performing arts, and there is an NSU Theatre which puts on student plays. There is also a Distinguished Lecture Series. Intramural sports include flag football, swimming, volleyball, and softball, and there is a club rowing team.

Campus is also home to a vibrant student media group, including the student-run newspaper, Current Sauce, a student radio station, and a faculty-administered television station. NSU also hosts the Miss Northwestern-Lady of the Bracelet, a leg of the Miss America pageant.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Northwestern State University Demons and Lady Demons compete in the NCAA’s Division I and the Southland Conference. Sports include baseball, football, hockey, rowing, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball.

Athletic facilities at Northwestern State University include a football stadium, a coliseum, a pool, an intramural building, a track field, a field house, and a baseball diamond.

Among the championships and awards that Northwestern State has received are NCAA postseason competition in several sports, conference championships in football, baseball, and men’s basketball, and individual academic awards. NSU athletes, including San Diego Padres pitcher Brian Lawrence, have gone on to compete in professional sports. Other student athletes have competed in the Olympics.


Since 1962, Chief Caddo, an eight-foot-tall likeness of a Caddo Indian tribal leader, has stood on the NSU campus. The material for the statue, a one-ton piece of gum tree, was presented as a gift from Stephen F. Austin College of Nacagdoches, Texas, symbolizing the two universities and the two towns’ bond with their Native American ancestors. The statue took over 200 man-hours to carve from hand, and remains a point of pride today.

Legend has it campus is haunted by a ghost named Isabella, who reportedly once lived in a building that is now part of the NSU campus, but committed suicide in her grief over a lost love. There are many stories documenting her appearance in numerous buildings over the years.

Local Community

Natchitoches proudly proclaims itself “the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase territory.” As such, it has a wealth of historical sightseeing and museums to partake in. Tours include cemeteries, historic houses, galleries, and trolley rides. The people of Natchitoches have also established a children’s tour for younger history buffs. One of the most prestigious is the Cane River Plantations tour, 35 miles of beautiful southern riverside homes. Natchitoches also encourages outdoor adventure and is a paradise for fishing, hunting, and watching wildlife.

Nearby attractions include museums, parks, historical areas, and an aquarium. There is an annual jazz festival, a zydeco festival, a trail ride, and an American Indian crafts festival, among many other activities.

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