Norfolk State University


Norfolk State University (NSU) is a public liberal arts school in Norfolk, Virginia. A historically black university (HBCU), the school is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Norfolk, which serves over 6,000 students each year, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Its mission is “to provide an affordable, high-quality education for an ethnically and culturally diverse student population, equipping them with the capability to become productive citizens who continuously contribute to a global and rapidly changing society.” The school is classed as a Master’s College and University I by the Carnegie Institute.


Information Summary

Ranks 34th in Virginia and 1092nd overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 79.1
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $24,995
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 21 / 1030
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 18 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 70% / N/A
Enrollment Total (all students) 5,204


Founded in 1935 as a branch of Virginia State College, the school became independent and changed its name to Norfolk Polytechnic College in 1942. Just two years later, it again merged back with the state institution due to governmental regulations. The college divided from Virginia State yet again in 1969. It received university status ten years later, when it also received its current name.


norfolk university_building :: Norfolk State University
Wilder Center :: Norfolk State University


Norfolk State University offers academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In addition to the Graduate School and the Honors College, the university is comprised of the following:

  • School of Business
  • School of Education
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Engineering, Science & Technology
  • School of Social Work
  • School of Extended Learning

Undergraduate Studies

Students can pursue over 30 bachelor’s degrees in a variety of fields. Degrees at the undergraduate level can be earned in areas including accounting, finance, tourism and hospitality management, education, criminal justice, history, political science, biology, engineering, nursing, and social work. Undergraduate science majors have the opportunity to conduct research with laser spectography, crystal growth, and an electron beam accelerator.

Graduate Studies

Norfolk offers various doctoral degrees and master’s degrees. Graduate programs, which are offered in all schools except the business school, include master’s level programs in education, sociology, music, criminal justice, visual studies, urban affairs, computer science, optical engineering, and social work. Doctoral degrees are offered in social work and clinical psychology.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Unique Programs

Honors Program

Students are considered for admission to the undergraduate Honors Program upon application to the university. Once admitted to the Program, students will be able to enroll in smaller classes, attend special seminars and lectures, and work closely with faculty on independent study programs. The Honors Program makes Norfolk State one of only a handful of universities that are part of the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) project “Bridging the Gap Between the Humanities and Science.”

Continuing Education and E-Learning

Continuing education is offered through E-learning as well as branch campuses in Virginia Beach and Portsmouth. Both graduate and undergraduate courses are offered at the Portsmouth Tri-Cities Center, and online certificate courses are offered through the Virginia Beach campus in healthcare, business, and various computing areas. Online courses are also available for regularly enrolled students in some subjects.


Some of the other unique opportunities available at Norfolk include the ACCESS (Academy for Collegiate Excellence and Student Success) program, which provides advising, mentoring, and counseling for high school graduates and returning adult students who need assistance with basic study skills.


Undergraduate Admissions

NSU has no undergraduate admissions deadline, except for the Nursing Program, whose deadlines vary with the degree sought. However, students who apply by December have an early action option. Applications can be submitted online or by mail and must be accompanied by the required application fee.

Applicants must submit official high school transcripts or proof of GED and scores, along with SAT / ACT scores and letters of recommendations from a teacher, guidance counselor, or employer / supervisor. Applicants must also submit a medical history form. Students who are enrolled in high school at the time of application will need to have their official final high school transcripts sent to the Admissions Office after graduation.

Applicants should complete the following courses during high school: 4 units of English, 3 units of mathematics, 3 units of history and social studies, 3 units of science, 2 units of health and physical education, 1 unit of fine or practical arts, and 6 units of electives. Students wishing to pursue nursing or business tracks may also have additional requirements.

Graduate Admissions

Prospective graduate students should consult the individual department or program to which they are applying, as requirements and prerequisites vary The application fee and deadline also vary from program to program. General requirements include a bachelor’s degree and GRE, GMAT, or other appropriate test scores.

Transfer students and international students will have varying requirements depending upon their prior educational background. These students are advised to check with the Admissions Office for more information.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is awarded to eligible students. Common types of aid include grants, scholarships, and loans. Work-study jobs that allow selected students to work part-time on campus are also available. Students who wish to apply for financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year that they are in school.

In additional to federal financial aid, NSU offers institutional scholarships for eligible students, many of which are for science majors. The financial aid office may also be able to recommend outside scholarships, including some for minorities.

Graduate students may be eligible for financial aid in the form of teaching or research assistantships, including a stipend and a waiver of a portion of tuition and other fees. Graduate students should consult with their individual department about what sort of programs available and about the details of the application process.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 383rd for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Virginia.


Student life includes numerous opportunities in a diverse range of activities and organizations. Campus is home to several fraternities and sororities, professional and honor societies, interest-based groups such as the concert choir, the university players, the Baptist Student Union, and the Young Democrats. Students can also write for newspaper or help produce the yearbook.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The university is an NCAA Division I School and the NSU Spartans compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, tennis, and track & field. Women’s sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. Athletes are encouraged by the university’s cheerleading squad and marching band. Several student athletes have gone on to become Olympic medalists.

Athletic facilities include a 30,000 seat football stadium and a track.

Local Community

Norfolk is bordered by the Elizabeth River and Chesapeake Bay. This port city is has a population of approximately 240,000. and is home to a Navy Base and shipyards. Nearby attractions and amenities include a zoo, botanical gardens, the National Maritime Center, the Norfolk-Southern Railway, a Triple A minor league baseball team, and several historical sites and museums.

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