Northeastern University – Acceptance Rate, Tuition, Requirements, and More

Located in the heart of Boston, Northeastern University is at the center of innovation in many fields, including healthcare, technology, and education. Despite being in the middle of the city, the campus is recognized as an arboretum thanks to the many trees and open green spaces.

With over 18,000 undergraduate students and eight colleges, Northeastern allows students to create personalized learning experiences. The school has a renowned approach to learning and is characterized by its connections with the world beyond the Boston campus. Northeastern also tops rankings for its high proportion of international students and commitment to diversity.

As a leader in cooperative education for over 100 years, Northeastern is best known for its experiential learning opportunities with over 3,000 partners worldwide. Their internship program, one of the largest globally, integrates classroom study with professional experience. Students can engage globally, develop necessary leadership skills, and create industry connections that serve them for years to come. It is this commitment to experiential education that inspires many students to choose Northeastern.

Acceptance Rate

Northeastern University
Piotrus, Centennial Common, Northeastern University, CC BY-SA 3.0

Just ten years ago, Northeastern’s acceptance rate was at 34%, meaning that the school admitted one in three candidates. Today, the university is among the most selective institutions nationwide, accepting 18% of applicants. Less than one in five applicants are accepted into the university, showing that only the top students are getting in. 

Northeastern is a private school with an acceptance rate among the best public universities across the United States, such as UC Berkeley, UMich, and the University of Texas. This impressive feat is due to an increasing number of applicants who value the real-world experience provided by Northeastern’s co-op program. In the fall of 2021, the school received a staggering 75,000 applicants hoping to become a member of the Class of 2025.

Requirements & Admission Tips

To get into Northeastern, it is essential that applicants are academically prepared and can show it through their test scores and GPA. The school typically admits students in the top 5% of test scores with an average SAT score of 1390 – 1540 and an average ACT score of 32 – 35.

Primarily A- students are accepted and attend Northeastern, with an average high school GPA of 3.9. However, meeting academic requirements alone is not enough. The admissions team notes that the most competitive applicants have completed four years of significant subjects, including English, history, foreign language, science, and math. Being well prepared academically is a high priority but not the only factor.

Northeastern looks for students who represent diverse backgrounds and interests. Passionate students are well-suited to take advantage of the many opportunities that Northeastern offers. Applicants can show what makes them unique through their personal essays, teacher recommendations, and extracurriculars.

Notable Alumni

From healthcare to entertainment, many successful alumni call Northeastern their alma mater. Wendy Williams, host of her own Emmy-nominated talk show since 2008, attributes her initial success to her communications professor at Northeastern. Besides hosting the Wendy Williams Show, she is also known as an actress, author, and fashion designer.

After earning a degree in pharmaceuticals at Northeastern, George D. Behrakis successfully developed and launched Tylenol. He is also the founder and CEO of two successful companies, Dooner Laboratories and Muro Pharmaceuticals, that work to advance therapies for patients. He uses his success for many philanthropic efforts, including Northeastern’s College of Health Sciences and the Behrakis Health Sciences Center.

Larry Meyer, the CEO of Uniqlo USA, is known for his supply chain magic that has helped brands like Forever 21, Zara, and H&M succeed. Under his leadership, Uniqlo has expanded to nearly 50 stores nationwide, including Boston locations in Faneuil Hall and on Newbury Street. He returned to Northeastern to speak as part of the Venture Accelerator to inspire tomorrow’s leaders in the online retail industry.


Students at Northeastern learn from professors who are innovators and experienced in their fields. Walter V Robinson, a renowned investigative reporter and the Editor-at-Large for the Boston Globe, was a Distinguished Professor of Journalism from 2007-2014. Today, he remains a Professor of Practice at Northeastern. Robinson started the Initiative for Investigative Reporting, where his students produced over 25 investigative stories that went on to be published by the Globe. His Pulitzer Prize-winning work continues to inspire journalism students to use their education to bring awareness to the public.

As a Distinguished Professor of Biology and the Director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Center, Kim Lewis has been involved with antimicrobial drug discovery for over a decade. His work centers around promising antibiotics and treatments for Lyme disease that offer hope to patients with limited options. As one of the top researchers at Northeastern, Lewis is consistently named a Highly Cited Researcher, ranking in the top 1% of citations in his field.

Similar Schools & Ranking

Two decades ago, Northeastern ranked #162 nationwide. Ever since, the school has worked to hire impressive faculty, improve amenities, and reduce class sizes to improve the quality of the college experience. As one of the top colleges today, Northeastern has risen through the rankings to place #43 in the top private universities, according to Niche. The school’s overall ranking of A+ is based on academics, diversity, professors, and student life.

US News places Northeastern as #49 overall in the United States, #1 for co-ops and internships, and #11 for most innovative. Based on nominations from college presidents and deans, these rankings show that Northeastern is respected by other top universities for their impressive programs.

Similar schools to Northeastern have an urban campus with many opportunities for students to apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom. Whether through co-ops and internships, research, or study abroad, these schools must support students with strong academic programs and learning opportunities. Drexel University and RIT both have vital co-op programs for students to participate in experiential learning. If students are looking to stay in an exciting area for innovation, schools such as BU, UMich, and UC Berkeley are good alternatives.


To help students pay for tuition, Northeastern offers guaranteed scholarships for up to eight academic semesters. 88% of students have their financial needs met, with an average need-based scholarship of $38,000. There are several competitive scholarship programs to reward students with outstanding academic achievement. Students in the top 15% of applicants are automatically considered for competitive merit scholarships from $10,000 – $28,000.

Showing the school’s commitment to educational access, the Torch Scholars Program is for students who have overcome extraordinary challenges and have the potential to excel academically. Undergraduates are supported through a summer immersion program and financial support for room and board, tuition, and fees.

Current students looking to participate in a global co-op are eligible to apply for the Presidential Global Scholarship. This award enables over 400 students to take advantage of their Northeastern education and experience new cultures by offsetting the price of meals, travel, and housing.

Is Northeastern University Right For You?

With Northeastern’s commitment to experiential learning, they are looking for students who will succeed in the real world and represent the school well on co-op and beyond. Students who have experience through work experience, internships, or volunteering are well-positioned to succeed at Northeastern. If you prefer classroom learning to hands-on experience, then this is not the right school for you.

Northeastern students are top-tier learners who do not fit into the mold. Through co-op and study abroad programs, they will use their knowledge from the classroom and engage with the world around them. They are worldly, ambitious, and proactive, taking advantage of the many opportunities offered by Northeastern.

Students who are strong academically, with an entrepreneurial spirit and community outlook, are likely to thrive at Northeastern. Whether it is in the classroom, the workplace, or the laboratory, undergraduates must actively pursue their passions to get the most out of their college experience. Through embracing change, Northeastern students drive innovation in society.

Co-operative Education

Northeastern wouldn’t be Northeastern without its globally renowned co-op program. As a leader in cooperative education for over a century, they have refined the program and developed key relationships. They have partners that span all seven continents, allowing students to gain early access to the job market in any location.

While on co-op, students alternate semesters of classes with full-time work. This allows them to explore potential career paths, make industry connections, and develop skills necessary to succeed in their fields. As a result, Northeastern graduates are highly sought-after, with 97% employed full-time or enrolled in higher education within nine months of graduating.
Although Northeastern students are independent and proactive, they are supported throughout the hiring process. Co-op classes teach students the necessary skills for the job search process, from resume creation to professional etiquette. As a result, 96% of undergraduates participate in at least one co-op, and 78% engage in two or more. Students who choose not to go on co-op must fulfill experiential learning requirements through research, service learning, or study abroad.