Northern Illinois University is a comprehensive research university offering programs from the baccalaureate through the doctorate. Colleges include business, education, engineering and engineering technology, law, liberal arts and sciences, health and human sciences, and visual and performing arts. On-campus enrollment is approximately 18,000 students. The university also offers more than 200 extension courses each semester to students in communities throughout northern Illinois.
The main campus is located in DeKalb, 65 miles west of Chicago's "Loop" and 40 miles southeast of Rockford. In addition to the main campus, NIU has three education centers in Hoffman Estates, Rockford, and Naperville. DeKalb/Sycamore, with a population of about 50,000, is a modern paradox, a rural/urban community. It is simultaneously recognized for its manufacturing and rich farmlands. The site of the first manufacture of barbed wire and the development of hybrid seed corn are evidence of its diversified history. The blend of industry and agriculture, coupled with the cultural and recreational facilities of the university and supplemented by easy access to Chicago and Rockford, provide an enjoyable environment in which to live.