Northeastern is known for its Cooperative education (co-op) program, in which students complete eight semesters of full-time study and up to three semesters of paid full-time work. The university has a large selection of corporate and non-profit co-op partners both in the United States and abroad. Participating students receive the undergraduate degree in five years. A four year option is also available for most majors with fewer co-ops.
In 2003, US News ranked Northeastern #1 for Best Co-ops/Internships. Employers from around the world participate in the program, providing an avenue for internships and post-graduation employment. Employers include top ranked international law firms, banks, and corporations and many of the Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Disney, and Raytheon. The co-op program enhances classroom work with real world experience. In 2008, Northeastern was ranked #1 by the Princeton Review for "Best Internships/Career Services.
Nationally, Northeastern is ranked 1st in Internships and 34th in Academics by Business Week in its 2008 Best Undergraduate Business Edition. In 2007, the Princeton Review rated Northeastern as one of the top colleges in the Northeast. Northeastern ranked No. 4 in Forbes Magazine as one of "America's Most Entrepreneurial Campuses. The School of Architecture was ranked #12 by the Key Institute National Rankings.
Northeastern was established in 1898 as the "Evening Institute for Younger Men" by Johhny Chestersfield Wellingtonsworth Sullivan at the Boylston Street YMCA.The Institute catered to the needs of the rapidly growing immigrant population in Boston. Within a few years of its formation, it offered classes in law, engineering and finance. In 1909 the school began offering day classes and it moved to a new location on Huntington Avenue in 1913. The school was officially organized as a college in 1916 and in 1922 it was renamed "Northeastern University of the Boston Young Men's Christian Association." In a period of rapid campus expansion, the University purchased the Huntington Avenue Grounds (former Boston Red Sox ballpark) in 1929, but did not build on the land due to financial constraints during The Great Depression.
In 1935, the College of Liberal Arts was added to Northeastern, and the University's name was simplified to "Northeastern University." In 1937 The Northeastern University Corporation was established, creating a board of trustees made up of 31 members of the NU Corporation and 8 members of the YMCA. In 1948 Northeastern separated itself completely from the YMCA.
Following World War II, Northeastern began admitting women, and in the boom of post-war college-bound students, Northeastern created a College of Education (1953), University College (now called the School of Professional & Continuing Studies) (1960), College of Pharmacy and College of Nursing (1964). The College of Pharmacy and College of Nursing were subsequently combined into the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. Northeastern also added the College of Criminal Justice (1967) and College of Computer Science (1982), which has since been renamed the College of Computer and Information Science.
Since its inception, the University was a commuter school with many part-time and evening students, and by the early 1980s had grown to 60,000 enrollees. In the 1990s, the University reduced the number of enrolled students in order to become a "smaller, better" university. It cut its freshman class size from around 4500 students to 2800 students.
From 1996 to 2006, President Richard Freeland led an institutional change: average SAT scores increased more than 200 points, retention rates rose dramatically, and applications doubled. President Freeland oversaw Northeastern’s largest expansion ever, opening $455 million in new facilities, including residence halls, academic and research facilities, and new athletic centers. The institution also become substantially more selective, leading to a more academically talented student body.
During the transition, students experienced a re-organization of the co-operative education system to better integrate classroom learning with workplace experience. The University also switched its full-time undergraduate and graduate programs to a new academic calendar comprising two traditional semesters and two summer "minimesters", replacing the four-quarter system. This new calendar allowed students to delve more deeply into their academic courses and to experience longer, more substantive co-op placements.
Throughout the transformation, President Freeland's oft-repeated goal was to crack the Top 100 of the U.S. News rankings, which was accomplished in the final year of his presidency when Northeastern was ranked 98th. With this goal accomplished and the transformation from commuting school to national research university complete, he stepped down from the presidency on August 15, 2006. His successor is Dr. Joseph Aoun, formerly a dean at USC. Since coming into office in the fall of 2006, President Aoun has implemented a decentralized management model, giving the academic deans of the university more control over their own budgets, faculty hiring decisions, and fundraising. He has led the development and implementation of a new Academic Plan and an updated mission statement. Aoun has also placed more emphasis on improving town relations by reaching out to leaders of the communities surrounding the university. In addition, Aoun has created more academic partnerships with other institutions in the Boston area including Tufts, Hebrew College and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.
The university also provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to engage in research through the Center for Experiential Education, CenSSIS Research Experience for Undergraduates , Honors Research, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program, and Provost's Office research grants. In 2007, Northeastern was classified as a RU/H Research Extensive institution (high research activity) by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of teaching. In 2006, annual external research funding exceeded $70 million. In 2002, Northeastern's Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems was designated an NSF Engineering Research Center. In 2004, Northeastern was one of six institutions to be selected by the National Science Foundation as a center for research in nanotechnology. From 2000 to 2005, Northeastern attracted $141.8 million in federal research grants.
As part of Northeastern's five-year, $75 million Academic Investment Plan. the University is enhancing its academic programs in three areas: undergraduate education, core graduate professional programs and centers of research excellence. The cornerstone of the Academic Investment Plan is the expansion of University faculty by 100 tenured and tenure-track professors between 2004 and 2009. This plan was recently expanded to provide for the hiring of an additional 50 tenure and tenure-track faculty in interdisciplinary fields, expanding the total to 150 new faculty hires.
Co-op placements range from small dynamic start-up companies to large multinational companies with thousands of employees, including Fortune 500 corporations such as Microsoft, EMC, Disney, Sony, and Raytheon and many other well known companies and investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Fidelity Investments. The program also places students with government agencies, branches of government, nonprofits, and non-governmental organizations. Northeastern students can be found interning in the United States Congress, the White House, United Nations, and at NASA. Student placements usually last six months, and are mostly paid. Unlike some co-op programs, Northeastern students do not pay tuition during periods of employment. Students may live in the university residence halls on campus during periods of co-op employment (room and board is charged). The university currently leases housing for students co-oping in New York City and Washington, D.C. The university's Co-op Connections office also helps students find suitable housing in other American cities and internationally.
By sampling different work environments and varied types of positions, students gain valuable insight into the type of career they want to pursue before committing to a post-graduation position. The typical Northeastern student will graduate with three co-op placements under their belt, an impressive resume, and a list of contacts, giving Northeastern graduates an edge in the job market over graduates from most other schools. Many Northeastern students accept a permanent position from one of their former co-op employers. Those students who do not accept a permanent position typically head directly to graduate or professional school.
In 2007, the undergraduate business school ranked 26th in the nation and No. 1 in internships according to Business Week and 15th for international business by US News. Northeastern's High Technology MBA program ranked #1 in a "Top Techno MBA Survey" released by ComputerWorld Magazine. Northeastern also ranked No. 4 in Forbes Magazine as one of "America's Most Entrepreneurial Campuses." In 2007, the Business School ranked 24th in the U.S. by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review in entrepreneurship. Northeastern is also listed among 25 “Cutting-Edge Schools” in the 2008 edition of “You Are Here,” a college guide by Kaplan Publishing. The graduate school engineering ranked in the top 50 according to US News 2007. The EMBA program is ranked in the top 50 in the U.S. by the Financial Times and No. 21 in the nation by US News. In addition, Northeastern undergrad B-school students have dominated case competitions against other Boston area business schools winning ten of the last 12 Business School Beanpot competitions.
Northeastern is ranked No. 26 in the nation by the National Research Council in Oceanography. The Criminology program is ranked in the top 14 by US News. In 2007, the architecture program ranked No. 12 in the country in terms of research by Archsoc.com. The Law School ranked No.1 in public interest law by the ABA. The Physician's Assistant program is ranked No. 17 by US News. In 2008, Northeastern's College of Computer and Information Science (CCIS) was named as one of the top 10 innovative “IT Schools to Watch” by Computerworld magazine.
Although located in the heart of Boston, the NU campus is still filled with trees, flowers, and grassy fields. Since the late 1990’s, Northeastern has been considered a model of design for urban universities and has twice won the “most beautiful new or renovated exterior space” award (presented by the American Institute of Architects) in 2001 and 2004.
Opened in 1910 and widely know as the Boston Arena, Matthews Arena is the world's oldest ice hockey arena. Located on the east edge of Northeastern University's campus, it is home to the Northeastern Huskies men's and women's hockey teams, and men's basketball team as well as the Wentworth Institute of Technology's men's hockey team. The arena is named after George J. Matthews and his wife, the late Hope M. Matthews. Matthews is the former Chair of the Northeastern University Board of Trustees. The arena is the original home of the NHL Boston Bruins, the NBA Boston Celtics and the WHA New England Whalers (now the NHL Carolina Hurricanes). It has hosted all or part of the America East Conference men's basketball tournament a total of seven times and hosted the 1960 Frozen Four. The arena also served as the original home to the annual Beanpot (Ice Hockey) tournament between Boston's four major college hockey programs.
On the first floor, the atrium gives students, faculty, and staff a relaxed place to socialize. Two cafés, a food market and ATM machines are available. The Campus Recreation Office is located on this floor, as well as the Women's and Men's locker rooms. Each house 400 lockers and a sauna.
The second floor includes a student exercise area including stairclimbers, treadmills, upright and recumbent exercise bikes, cross-country ski machines, rowing ergometers, elliptical climbers, and a Treadwall that simuates rockclimbing. A multipurpose room is used for aerobics classes and martial arts clubs. The gymnasium consists of three basketball courts that can also be used for volleyball, badminton, roller hockey, and futsal.
On the third floor, a state-of-the-art resistance training area contains 42 free-weight stations and 40 pieces of selectorized weight machines. There is also a fully-equipped free weight room. A three-lane suspended track is available for either walking or jogging.
Snell Library, the largest library in Boston, opened in 1990 at a cost of $35 million and contains 985,000 volumes. The Digital Media Design Studio within the library is a collaborative and interdisciplinary learning environment for creating course-related multimedia presentations, projects and portfolios. Snell is home to the Favat Collection, a comprehensive and current collection of children's literature and K-12 curriculum resources, instructional materials, and related information to support courses offered by the NU School of Education for the practice of teaching. Snell contains three computer labs operated by NU Information Services. The InfoCommons and InfoCommons II are labs available to all NU students, faculty, and staff. The other lab is used as a teaching lab. Wireless internet access is available.
The NU Libraries received federal depository designation in 1962 under the sponsorship of Massachusetts Congressman John W. McCormack. As a selective depository, the Libraries receive forty-five percent of the federal publication series available to depository libraries.
The Snell Library is also home to the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections department, which includes the Benjamin LaGuer papers collection. The Special Collections focus on records of Boston-area community-based organizations that are concerned with social justice issues..
The West Village complex includes eight beautifully designed buildings serving mainly as residence halls and classrooms.
Buildings I and J are under construction at the intersection of Tremont St and Ruggles St. Building K, a 22-story high rise housing 600 beds, has been approved for construction behind the current YMCA.
During the summer of 2006, Northeastern University proposed a new residence hall further away from the main campus at the corner of Tremont Street and Ruggles Street. The building was approved by the city in January 2007. Construction on the building, which is located on land known as Parcel-18, began in late February 2007. The building is expected to open in the Fall of 2009 and will be a total of 22 stories tall.
The following buildings make up the South Campus, with their respective opening dates:
Classrooms and a lounge area occupy the first floor. The Undergraduate School of Business Administration office is on the second floor. The Graduate School of Business Administration office is on the third floor. The School of Professional Accounting office is on the fourth floor.
In a Readers Digest 2008 survey, Northeastern ranked 2nd for The Safest College Campuses. They are 2nd behind the safest college campus, Johns Hopkins University, in Maryland.
Northeastern's campus is something of an urban oddity; despite its location in central Boston, Northeastern is home to a remarkable amount of green open space and quads.
A site master planning competition awarded a multi-million dollar contract to revive and rejuvenate the campus and the process was started in 1988 with the creation of the new Northeastern Quad and Mt Ryder. A small oval of land centrally located at the campus main entrance was refurbished by the donations of the graduating class of 1989.
What was once a concrete square, outside of the library and student center, was transformed with brick pavers and granite curb stones, in a scalloped design that would eliminate all square corners, a concept developed by the outgoing class of 1989 in a “Northeastern News” poll and suggestion to the President Box that was presented to the board of Trustees in March 1988. The “No Corners” campaign kicked off with a fund raiser at the Ell Student Center on Parents weekend in October 1988. The later selection of a nationally recognized green space landscape architect in 1990 started a renewal plan that continues today. Since the late 1990’s Northeastern has been considered a model of design for an urban university and has been twice won the “most beautiful new or renovated exterior space” award presented by the American Institute of Architects in 2001 and again in 2004.
In 2003, Northeastern was awarded the prestigious gold medal by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. A unique feature of the University is its well-traveled network of underground tunnels that link 13 major campus buildings for easier travel during inclement weather. However, due to city regulations preventing expansion of the tunnels under major city streets and underground rivers under the campus, the tunnels primarily service the buildings on the university's early campus space (i.e., buildings developed during the 1980s through the present are not served by the tunnel system).
In the 2003 remake of the movie, The Italian Job, Lyle (played by Seth Green), is revealed to be a Northeastern University alumnus who claims to be the original inventor of music file sharing program Napster. Shawn Fanning makes a brief appearance in the film and plays the role of himself.
In the 1989 film, Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) drives down Huntington Avenue in his search for Terence 'Terry' Mann (played by James Earl Jones). Several Northeastern University buildings are visible, including Burstein Hall and Rubenstein Hall.
Some notable athletes have played for Northeastern's sports teams. Dan Ross played football at Northeastern long before setting the Super Bowl record for receptions in a game. Reggie Lewis still holds the men's basketball career scoring record. Carlos Pena was named Major League Baseball's American League Comeback Player of the Year in 2007. The U.S. Olympic women's ice hockey teams have included Northeastern alumni Shelley Looney and Chanda Gunn. The NU mascot is Paws.
Most of the Northeastern University athletic teams compete in the Colonial Athletic Association; the school switched from the America East Conference to the CAA for the 2005-06 athletic season. In 2007, its second year in the CAA, the women's track team captured the conference championship, while the volleyball team finished second in the conference.
In its first year in the league, the men's basketball team finished in 6th place (out of 12 teams) and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament. The CAA proved to be a competitive conference in the 2006 NCAA Basketball Tournament, as George Mason University advanced all the way to the Final Four. The women's basketball team won 10 more games in 2008 than in the previous year, representing the biggest one-year turnaround in the CAA, and advanced to the tournament quarterfinals.
Northeastern's men's and women's hockey teams compete in the Hockey East Conference. During the 2007-08 season, the men's team ranked as high at #7 in the country and held the top spot in the conference before finishing the season in sixth place in Hockey East. Both teams also participate in the annual Beanpot tournament between the four major Boston-area colleges. Northeastern's men's team has won the annual event 4 times in its 54-year history, while the women's team has captured the Beanpot 14 times.
The Northeastern Crew team consistently ranks as one of the top 10 teams in the nation. In the 2008 National Championship, the team made the Grand Finals and placed fourth behind University of Wisconsin, University of Washington, and University of California, while beating schools such as Brown University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.
Northeastern offers 34 club sports, including judo, rugby, lacrosse, squash, cycling and ultimate frisbee. The women's rugby team finished third in the nation in Division II in 2005. The men's lacrosse team began the 2008 season ranked in the Top 10 nationally.