University Without Walls (UWW) is based on demonstrated learning outcomes that lead to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. UWW students bring life and work experiences that count toward their credits for graduation. Students are asked to design and complete approved experiential curricula as an alternative to traditional courses.

Application Process

You will need to apply to the University Without Walls program first. To do this, you will need to have:

  • Attend a Prospective Student Meeting (PSM). Learn more about these meetings and how to reserve a spot, please visit our PSM page.
  • Autobiographical statement
  • Prior and proposed learning in the Depth Area
  • Prior and proposed learning in the Breadth Areas
  • Prior and proposed learning in Effective Communication
  • Documentation of prior learning
  • Official sealed, paper transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  • Official high school or GED transcripts

These items will be organized into a Narrative Application To see an example of the Narrative Application please click on the Narrative Application Template.

Completed Narrative Applications can be submitted to the Nontraditional Degree Programs Office via in person in B Building, Room B 147 or by email at

Note that you will need to have your official, sealed transcripts from your high school or your GED results sent to the NDP office. As a recommendation, you should have two copies sent to your place of residence; one for your personal records and one to turn in. After receiving your transcript, please turn one copy into the NDP office (along with your application) located in Room B 147 in the B Building on NEIU's Main Campus.

In addition, each UWW student works with an Academic Advisor who is an NEIU faculty member or administrator with knowledge in the student’s academic concentration. The Academic Advisor:

  • assists the student with the development of their Learning Contract
  • helps students develop an Independent Study plan and, if necessary, chooses NEIU courses 
  • ensures documentation of all learning
  • evaluates and approves the Learning Contract  and Semester Reports
  • provides written feedback on Independent Study and progress towards degree completion each semester
  • assists the student in preparation for the Graduation Review Board and is an integral member of the Review Board.

Each UWW student also works with an off-campus Community Advisor who has professional and/or academic expertise in the student’s academic concentration. The Community Advisor:

  • acts as a resource person for the student's Depth Area
  • helps design the Learning Contract
  • evaluates Semester Reports
  • serves as a member of the  Graduation Review Board.

The Community Advisor is selected by the UWW Applicant. It is important to have the Community Advisor selected when applying.

Upon review, you will receive an email stating the decision of your enrollment status. If accepted to the program, you will need to do the following:

  • Complete an application for admission to Northeastern Illinois University
    • ​To complete a University application, ​please come to the Nontraditional Degree Program's office, located on the Main Campus, in Room B 147 (NEIU Campus Map and Directions). Or, email us at so that an NEIU application can be emailed/mailed to you. Please note: On the NEIU application that you must disclose all previous colleges/universities attended.
  • There is a $30 application fee associated with applying to NEIU. 
  • If you are currently an NEIU student within another program, you will not need to complete an NEIU application for admission. Instead, please stop by the Nontraditional Degree Programs office in Room B 147 on the Main Campus to complete an Internal Transfer form.​
  • Please contact us at if you have already submitted these files to the University. 

Your file will be complete when we have received:

  • a completed and signed NEIU application (or internal transfer form);
  • your official transcripts from all previous colleges/universities attended;
  • your official high school/GED transcript (if applicable) and
  • the $30 application fee.

You will receive a notification of your acceptance to NEIU within a few weeks. Once you have received the notification, you will need to attend the mandatory UWW New Student Orientation meeting. An email will be sent once the date and time have been determined.​

Per University policy, there are certain requirements that need to be met in order to graduate. These requirements consist of:

  • Writing Intensive course (The Nontraditional Degree Program offers NDP 310 Diversity in the Workplace)
  • Human Relations course (If you are taking NDP 310 Diversity in the Workplace Writing Intensive Course, this would satisfy the requirement.)
  • Math/Quantitative reasoning (Must be college-level; no fundamentals of mathematics)
  • Minimum 24 credit hours earned at NEIU (Includes Independent Studies) 
  • Approved Learning Contract
  • Approved Narrative Transcript
  • Graduation approval from Review Board
  • No Incomplete grades

We also have plenty of resources to help you fulfill requirements that are expected of the university. We have tutors that can help you, please contact NDP at for further guidance.  

How do I meet the University requirements?

Meeting the Math/Quantitative Reasoning Requirement

In order to meet the Math/Quantitative Reasoning requirement you must earn a grade of C or higher in a pre-approved math course (3 credit hours) - OR - have a transfer credit with a grade of C or better in any math course (college algebra-level or higher).

If you have not met these requirements, please contact NEIU's Testing Services for math placement scores and testing times (students who plan to fulfill the math requirement through an NEIU class must take NEIU's math placement test). Click the link below to get more information on placement testing.


​UWW students may also contact Arish, the office's math tutor, to set up a math tutoring session. Please email for appointments.

Meeting the Improving Human Relations Requirement

In order to successfully complete the Improving Human Relations Requirement, you will need to have, or take, a class that deals with improving human relations. Please note: NDP 310: Diversity in the Workplace will count as your Improving Human Relations requirement.

Meeting the Writing Intensive Program Requirement

The Writing Intensive Program is comprised of undergraduate courses, across the curriculum, that fulfill the writing intensive graduation requirement. Undergraduate students must successfully complete a writing intensive (WIP) course, of at least 3 credit hours, within their discipline in order to graduate. Students should speak with their Academic Advisor to learn which course(s) will fulfill the WIP requirement.

WIP courses are content courses that are designed to help students master the course content, learn about writing in their chosen discipline, and improve their writing skills. The Center for Academic Writing (CAW) provides tutoring for students enrolled in WIP courses. WIP peer tutors are selected by their departments, and are hired/trained by CAW to provide support to students working on writing assignments in WIP courses. Students should speak with the instructor of their WIP course and/or contact CAW for information about WIP peer tutoring​.

​UWW students may also contact Ulisa, the office's writing tutor, to set up a writing session. Please email for appointments.

Center for Academic Writing
4th Floor of the Ronald Williams Library
​(773) 442-4492

For more information on CAW, click the link below:


During the first semester in the UWW Program, students are expected to:

  • Take the Math Placement Test
    • The Math Placement test determines your mathematics skill level if you have not already fulfilled NEIU's Math/Quantitative Reasoning Requirement
  • Make an appointment with your UWW Academic Advisor to discuss the UWW program and review sample Learning Contracts (LC)
    • Begin documenting prior and new learning
  • Prepare a draft of the UWW Learning Contract (LC) with the assistance of their Academic Advisor
    • This draft will be used to obtain an Academic Advisor if one has not already been identified
  • Make an appointment with UWW Academic Advisor to prepare the Independent Study/Tutored Study Request form
    • UWW Independent Study New Student Contract, and the UWW Independent Study Contract for additional credit hours after the original three credits hours submit a Semester Report (SR) with documentation by the deadline each semester

Breadth Areas

These are the areas that you will help you become a well-rounded student here at NEIU. There are four main categories:

  • Fine Arts
  • Humanities
  • Social/Behavioral Science
  • Natural Sciences

The key is to develop two demonstrated learning outcomes in each of the four required areas.

Breadth Areas will:

  • ​Mimic general education/liberal arts curriculum
  • Ensure exposure to a variety of subjects
  • Include learning goals and activities to attain those goals, and documentation of achievements

See below examples of the Breadth Areas.

Fine Arts

Social/Behavioral Science

  • Visual Art

  • Art Appreciation

  • Art History

  • Studio Art

  • Media and Theatre

  • Music

  • Music Appreciation

  • Studio Music

  • Dance

  • Anthropology

  • Economics

  • Geography & Environmental Studies

  • History

  • Justice Studies

  • Political Science

  • Psychology

  • Sociology


Natural Sciences

  • Communication

  • English

  • World Languages Literature

  • Linguistics

  • Philosophy

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Earth Science

  • Physics

Depth Areas

Substantial knowledge and understanding in a specific area of academic expertise. This is experience that you bring in and want to further develop. You should look at what you are interested in and what you feel is important to your learning. It will be up to you, the UWW Faculty Advisor, your Academic Advisor, and your Community Advisor to select a depth that is similar to your studies.

Effective Communication

Effective Communication will showcase demonstrated learning outcomes in world languages, oral and written proficiency in English, or another communication form. This area can also include any digital media you may have encountered prior or during your studies at NEIU. Keep in mind how you use technology to present or explain content. Below are examples of how Effective Communication may appear in daily life:

  • Using social media, and/or technology, as a communication outlet
  • Using software applications to present information
  • Creating content that can be shared in digital or physical form

Talk to your Academic Advisor about how you use language to communicate important information to others. How do you usually communicate with others; what resources do you use?