2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog


Northwest Missouri State University began in 1905 as Missouri’s Fifth District Normal School to provide teachers for the schools of a 19-county region in northwest Missouri. The University still fulfills that function, but the institution has now grown into a comprehensive state university that offers more than 120 undergraduate programs, 40 master’s degrees, two collaborative graduate programs, three specialist degrees, a cooperative doctoral program and five certificate programs.

Northwest’s history includes three name changes. In 1919, the Missouri General Assembly changed the name to Northwest Missouri State Teachers College and established the privilege of granting baccalaureate degrees. On July 21, 1949, the Board of Regents changed the name to Northwest Missouri State College. The final name change occurred August 14, 1972, when the Board of Regents, recognizing the evolution of the school into a comprehensive institution, changed the name to Northwest Missouri State University.

Northwest has evolved into a vibrant and diverse learning community with an enrollment of more than 6,500 students from 39 states and 30 countries. About 700 faculty and staff are employed by the University, which offers classes on its Maryville campus, at centers in Kansas City and St. Joseph, online and through instructional television (ITV).

In 1987, Northwest unveiled its unique Electronic Campus program that was designed to accelerate student learning and enrich faculty teaching and research by placing a computer terminal in every student residence hall room and faculty office. The program was the first of its kind on a public college or university campus in the United States. Today, all full-time students are provided a fully-loaded laptop computer, enabling all students access to technology and the software they need to be successful.

The Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing was founded at Northwest in 2000. The rigorous program is an accelerated, two-year residential program for high school juniors and seniors academically talented in science, mathematics or technology. Students are challenged by college coursework tailored to individual abilities and taught by Northwest faculty. Students who complete the program earn both a high school diploma and associate of science degree.

Northwest serves its community and region in economic development. The state-of-the-art 46,679-square-foot Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which opened on the campus in 2009, is a mixed-use business incubator and an academic facility that fuels high-tech enterprise and creates jobs while providing academic opportunities and career paths for students. Additionally, the facility houses the University’s undergraduate program in nanotechnology.

With its emphasis on student success - every student, every day - the university is focused on providing an exceptional student experience that places high value on scholarship and life-long learning, intercultural competence, collaboration, respect and integrity, strategic thinking and excellence.