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The University of Illinois prides itself to be a world leader in research, teaching, and public engagement. The school also emphasizes on the variety of programs it offers and its internationally renowned faculty. It operates campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield, enrolling about 70,000 students. The campus at Urbana-Champaign is known as "Illinois", "U of I", or “UIUC”, whereas the Chicago campus is known as “UIC” and the Springfield campus as "UIS".

The University of Illinois was founded in 1867 with the Urbana-Champaign campus, and was chartered as the Illinois industrial university. The institution is one of the original 37 public land-grant institutions created after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act in 1862, while it currently perceives its faculty as one of the most significant resources it has. A lot of the faculty members are highly recognized with memberships in the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering. Furthermore, there are a good number of recipients of the Nobel Prize, Crafoord Prize in Biosciences, Japan Prize, National Medal of Science, Pulitzer Prize, the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, and MacArthur Fellowships. The university sends at least one student per year to Cambridge on a post-graduate fellowship. The school is very proud with all of the other prestigious scholarships it provides, some of which are the Rhodes, Truman, Marshall, Gates, Goldwater, Churchill, Luce, and Fulbright Scholarships.

Another important point about the university is that it is home to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, developer of the internet browser Mosaic(TM), and therefore is a world leader in supercomputing design and applications.

As far as rankings are concerned, the U.S. News & World Report for America's Best Colleges put Illinois on 15th place among public universities and 47th among all national institution. Moreover, the College of Business is ranked 14th in undergraduate programs nationally, while the Ph.D. Computer Science program is ranked 5th nationally. The College of Engineering is ranked 6th in undergraduate and 5th in graduate programs nationally.

Facilities at the University of Illinois are simply outstanding. The institution is very proud of its library, which owns one of the largest public university collections in the world – with more than 10.5 million volumes and over 6 million manuscripts, periodicals, and other non-print materials. In addition, there are 37 more libraries on campus, together with the US largest engineering library, an amazing agricultural library, and the famous Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The computerized cataloging system the school developed was the first in the world to serve as the primary access to a large academic library. More than 53,000,000 users worldwide access the online catalog annually.

Other major facilities within the school are the multipurpose Assembly Hall with 16,500 seats, hosting concerts, theatre, and sporting events; the Campus Recreation Center, which turns out to be the largest recreational facility of its kind on a university campus - it is spread on 470,000 square feet of land, between two newly expanded campus recreation and wellness centers. Not to forget Memorial Stadium, site of Big Ten Conference football games. The list goes on with Illini Union – organizing a variety of programs, lectures, musicals, and concerts; Japan House and Arboretum – providing formal and informal tearooms, stroll gardens, and art and cultural classrooms; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts – already mentioned earlier, includes four theatres, seating about 4000 people.

The university has also taken care of diversity by forming four cultural centers – Afro-American, Asian-American, La Casa Cultural Latina, and Native American. Finally, the university has been rated number one for providing access to facilities and education to students with disabilities – it is the most ‘disability friendly’ university in the United States, as it was first to provide students with disabilities access to all services, classes, and facilities; most importantly, it designed and instituted a wheelchair-accessible bus system, and was first to offer comprehensive wheelchair sports programming.

The Urbana-Champaign campus is the main university campus, which is the largest, and also considered to be the most prestigious one. A notable point about the campus is that the National Center for Supercomputing Applications is located there, where the first HTML browser capable of rendering images was developed. Furthermore, the first light-emitting diode (LED) was created there, which is one of the many reasons the place is highly recognized for its contributions in electrical engineering. We already talked about the library – the largest public one in the country. The campus also distinguishes itself with the world’s most technologically advanced Computer Science building, Siebel Center, together with many other research laboratories.

Some other notable landmarks that the Urbana-Champaign campus proudly presents are the Alice Campbell  Alumni Center; Altgeld Hall - considered one of the finest examples of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture in Illinois; The Alma Mater - designed by University graduate Lorado Taft; the Armory – where more than 2,000 soldiers were housed during World War I; the Astronomical Observatory - the site for developing the selenium cell and the photoelectric cell; Foellinger Auditorium - considered an example of the Beaux Arts Classical style, it was completely renovated with funds provided by alumna Helene Foellinger; and many others.

As far as the Chicago campus is concerned, it is the largest university in the Chicago area. The biggest medical school in the US is also located there, playing an essential role in Illinois health care. For this reason, UIC operates the state’s most extensive medical center, acting as the principal educator of Illinois’ physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Last but not least, the Chicago campus is recognized as the fourth most diverse one in the country, fully reflecting the character of the city.

Finally, let us look at the Springfield campus, which is the smallest of all three campuses. It was transformed from an upper division university into a full four-year institution with an undergraduate program. It enrolls about 5,000 students in 20 master's degree, 20 undergraduate programs, and a Doctorate in Public Administration. Furthermore, the Springfield campus received a formal invitation to join the GLVC athletic conference starting in the fall of 2009, with the condition to install a baseball program by 2010. Overall, it is ranked as the 4th best public university in the Midwest.

All Programs Available:
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Language of instruction


Type of school

Public University


(309) 438-2111


Normal, Normal, IL, The United States, 61790

More information about Academic Programs

The university consists of 17 Colleges and Instructional units:

  • College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
  • College of Applied Health Sciences
  • Institute of Aviation
  • College of Business
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Fine and Applied Arts
  • College of Law
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • College of Media
  • Division of General Studies
  • College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Graduate College
  • Graduate School of Library and Information Science
  • College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign
  • School of Labor and Employment Relations
  • School of Social Work

Admission Requirements

Undergraduate admission to the university is highly selective. In the 2007 Freshmen class, students in the middle 50 percent had ACT scores between 26 and 31, while 55 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes. Application has to be made directly to a major program, and once it is complete, it is reviewed for completion of all requirements before sending it to the review committee. The aim of the university is to accept the best possible candidates, and if the candidate is not admitted to their first choice program, they are automatically considered for other programs from the college they applied to. If they are still not accepted, they are considered for other majors or for the Division of General Studies.

When considering an application, academics are normally the most important factor, but extracurricular activities, personal characteristics and talents are taken into account as well. The university strongly considers the rigor of the curriculum followed by students, and it highly appreciates challenging courses like Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. Here is a guideline of the minimum required years of coursework for each subject:

English – 4; Maths – 3 or 3.5; Social sciences – 2; Lab sciences – 2; One Foreign language – 2; Flexible academic units – 2.

As far as ACT and SAT scores are concerned, the committee considers the highest ACT composite or SAT total from a single test date. Sub-scores are considered for admission and course placement, though; the highest sub-scores available will be the ones to be used. For this reason, it is to your advantage to send all scores available, while lower scores on file do not hinder your chances for admission.

On top of that, students are asked to write two essays: Essay 1 is an essay of 300 words or less, discussing your academic interests and/or professional goals, while essay 2 is an essay of 300 words or less, for which you have to choose one extracurricular activity, work experience, or community service project from the list you provided on the application and explain why you initially chose it, why you continued with it, and how you benefited from it.

The essays are used to evaluate how the student links their interests with the major they are applying for; how passionate you are about extra activities and work experiences you have participated in, and how these essays demonstrate your maturity and self-development achieved through past experiences. The style and strength of writing are very carefully considered, too.

Finally, for international candidates – proficiency in the English language has to be demonstrated. The requirements are a minimum of 79 on the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), 213 computer-based, or 550 paper-based. The Colleges of Business, Engineering and Media require minimum scores of 100 ibt, 250 cbt or 600 pbt. Or, you should score a minimum of 6.5 total on the International English Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6 on all four modules.

A final important point is that the admitted class of students is reviewed to ensure students represent a variety of socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, cultural and geographic locations, languages spoken, and special talents.

Financial Aid

For international applicants, there is no need-based financial aid available, while F-1 visas allow very limited opportunities with the University for students to work. For this reason, all foreign undergraduate students are expected to have sufficient funds for their entire period of study.


The University of Illinois requires all first year students to stay either at the University Residence Halls, or in University Private-Certified Housing. Students are also required to buy some kind of a meal plan, although they can eat somewhere, too. They can use this meal plan in any of the university halls dining rooms.

Overall, accommodation is provided through the means of twenty-two residence halls in both Urbana and Champaign. For freshmen, the university recommends a Living-Learning community option, which suggests living with other students with similar interests. Examples of Living-Learning communities are:

Global Crossroads -  offering an international perspective to students living there Health Professions - students striving to make a difference in the greater health care community Innovation LLC – this is a relatively new community, concentrating on entrepreneurship, invention, and encouraging positive change in the world Intersections- a diverse community, focusing on open intercultural dialogues LEADS - for students interested leadership excellence Unit One - a small-college atmosphere with a community, focused on creativity Weston Exploration - a community of students looking for various academic and career choices Women in Math, Science, and Engineering (WIMSE) – for women, following similar academic interests

Of course, other living options are available, too. Private accommodation is offered on campus, together with a number of houses that are out of the Greek system and offer a more communal living experience. These private options are more expensive, but students always have the option to choose between public and private accommodation.

A great number of undergraduates move into apartments or the Greek system after their first or second year, and the university offers very good support in this. A very good summary of choices is available on the university’s website.

There is a bus system, operating on campus, which receives a student-approved transportation fee from the university. It provides unlimited access for students, faculty, and staff. This arrangement also includes a bus line, running between Willard Airport and Illinois Terminal.

Finally, the university has also built a solid system of off-street bike paths and on-street bike lanes on campus. All students are expected to register their bicycles with the campus public safety department.

Services and Activities

The university has the largest Greek system in the world by membership. There are currently 68 fraternities and 36 sororities on the main campus. Overall, the Urbana-Champaign campus has more than one thousand clubs and organizations, ranging from cultural and athletic, to community service and philanthropic. Students can easily establish their own organization in case their interest is not addressed by the already existing ones. The Campus Recreation Center East has been recently renovated and offers students amazing opportunities to balance their mental and physical activity throughout the day. There is also an ice arena, a roller hockey rink, and playing fields of all types. Intramural athletic clubs and teams are amazingly well represented on campus, ranging from badminton to basketball, broomball to Ultimate Frisbee. Students can organize their own teams or sign up on the Intramural Free Agent list.

Furthermore, there are four theaters on campus, with the capacity of about 4,000 people; annually they host 350 student and professional performances, commencements, lectures, and other events, many of which are free.

Urbana-Champaign was ranked as one of the world’s top ten ‘Hot New Tech Cities’, and it is considered to combine the vibrancy and cultural diversity of a cosmopolitan city with the cozy atmosphere and neatness of a smaller town. On top of that, Chicago is less than three hours, while you also have the opportunity to canoe, sail, fish, camp, and hike in the surrounding area. One of student’s favorite places to hang out is the university’s Allerton Park. Local climate is welcoming students to do things outside, too.

Cultural activities are abundant both on and off-campus, with a great pool of museums and theatres, while restaurants represent cuisines from all over the world. The Champaign part of the twin cities is famous for its music scene as well.

As a final point, cost of living in the area is relatively low, while other cities that are nearby and are easily accessible include St. Louis and Indianapolis.

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