University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71497-0002
p. 318-357-6011
w. www.nsula.edu/

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Northwestern State University of Louisiana Rating: 3.9/5 (53 votes)

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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.


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.


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 4794th 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.

Information Summary

Ranks 14th in Louisiana and 953rd overall
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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

Campus Crime Statistics

Ranks 0th in Louisiana and 221st overall on StateUniversity.com‘s Safe School Index
  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault 2 0.02
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape N/A N/A
Robbery N/A N/A
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 33 0.36
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft N/A N/A
Arrest 6 0.07

Local Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 People
Aggravated assault 131 0.71
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter 3 0.02
Forcible Rape 10 0.05
Robbery 19 0.10
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 509 2.75
Larceny 661 3.57
Vehicle theft 22 0.12

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Master's Colleges and Universities (larger programs)
UndergraduateBalanced arts & sciences/professions, some graduate coexistence
GraduatePostbaccalaureate with arts & sciences (education dominant)
Undergraduate PopulationMedium full-time four-year, inclusive
EnrollmentVery high undergraduate
Size & SettingMedium four-year, primarily nonresidential

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringPost-master's certificate
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District2204

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 1403rd for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $4,486 $4,486 $14,606
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $1,760 $1,760 $1,760
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $293 $293 $293
FT Graduate Tuition $5,388 $5,388 $15,508
FT Graduate Required Fees $1,601 $1,601 $1,601
PT Graduate per Credit Hour $347 $347 $769
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $18,436 $18,436 $28,556
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $19,822 $19,822 $29,942
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $11,033 $11,033 $21,153

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $5,049 $5,557 $5,049 $5,557 $13,619 $14,923
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $1,200(N/C)
On-Campus – Room & Board $7,300 $7,511
On-Campus – Other Expenses $2,888 $2,998
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $8,326 $8,642
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $3,435 $3,566
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $3,435 $3,566

Admission Details

Effective as of 2014-09-19
Application Fee RequiredN/A
Undergraduate Application Fee$20
Graduate Application Fee$20
First Professional Application FeeN/A
Applicants 2,812 (1,002 male / 1,810 female)
Admitted 2,362 (816 male / 1,546 female)
Admission rate 84%
First-time Enrollment 1,231 (453 male / 778 female)
FT Enrollment 1,160 (431 male / 729 female)
PT Enrollment 71 (22 male / 49 female)
Total Enrollment8,944

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record  /  N/A / 
College Prep. Completion
Formal competency demoN/A
Admission test scores
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NCAA
NCAA Football Conference Southland Conference
NCAA Basketball Conference Southland Conference
NCAA Baseball Conference Southland Conference
NCAA Track & Field Conference Southland Conference

ACT Test Admission

977th for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting ACT results 89%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 20 / 25
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 17 / 23
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 19 / 24

SAT Test Admission

989th for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting SAT results 6%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 430 / 518
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 443 / 550
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 873 / 1068

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm Capacity1,478
Meals per Week19
Room Fee$5,042
Board Fee$3,080

Student Completion / Graduation Demographics

Total 19 465 42 16 21 1,159 53 1,816
Accounting 7 15 1 23
Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching 6 1 12 1 20
Art/Art Studies, General 1 3 4
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 20 3 37 1 64
Business Administration and Management, General 34 1 1 50 5 94
Business Teacher Education 1 1
Business/Commerce, General 8 1 11 1 21
Clinical Psychology 1 4 1 8 14
College Student Counseling and Personnel Services 2 2 4
Computer Teacher Education
Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services 5 5
Criminal Justice/Police Science 6 1 9 1 18
Criminal Justice/Safety Studies 29 2 1 27 1 61
Curriculum and Instruction 1 1 6 8
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General 4 1 19 1 25
Early Childhood Education and Teaching 5 1 12 18
Education, General 1 1
Education, Other 1 1 20 22
Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs 7 7
Education/Teaching of the Gifted and Talented 10 10
Educational Administration and Supervision, Other
Educational Leadership and Administration, General 13 22 35
Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering Technology/Technician 1 4 9 1 15
Elementary Education and Teaching 4 1 2 32 41
English Language and Literature, General 5 1 15 22
English/Language Arts Teacher Education 3 3
Family and Consumer Sciences/Home Economics Teacher Education 1 1
Family and Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences, General 1 26 1 1 20 4 55
Fine/Studio Arts, General 3 1 7 1 12
General Studies 105 6 1 5 146 6 277
Health Services/Allied Health/Health Sciences, General
Health and Physical Education/Fitness, General 1 7 1 1 1 36 2 49
History, General 4 1 17 24
Homeland Security
Hospitality Administration/Management, General 1 1 1 12 15
Industrial Technology/Technician 3 5 1 9
Information Science/Studies 1 6 1 12 20
Junior High/Intermediate/Middle School Education and Teaching 3 1 10 1 15
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies 1 1 1 13 2 18
Mathematics Teacher Education 4 4
Mathematics, General 1 4 6
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other 5 5
Music Performance, General 6 1 10 17
Music Teacher Education 2 11 15
Organizational Leadership
Physical Education Teaching and Coaching 2 6 8
Physical Sciences
Political Science and Government, General 1 1 2
Psychology, General 1 33 4 1 51 1 92
Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiographer 9 2 2 34 4 51
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 3 61 9 6 3 315 13 419
School Librarian/School Library Media Specialist 1 25 3 30
Secondary Education and Teaching 4 25 1 30
Social Studies Teacher Education 1 1 2
Social Work 23 1 14 40
Special Education and Teaching, General 1 1 18 1 21
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 1 8 1 6 16
Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling 4 1 1 5 12
Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Levels and Methods, Other 3 3
Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language/ESL Language Instructor
Veterinary/Animal Health Technology/Technician and Veterinary Assistant 2 1 8 12

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 2724th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $56,469 ($60,371 male / $51,135 female)
Number of FT Faculty 266 (108 male / 158 female)
Number of PT Faculty 390
FT Faculty Ratio 0.7 : 1
Total Benefits $7,825,921

Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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