Sports fans, particularly those who follow college football, are no doubt familiar with the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL for short), thanks to its five national championships, which include three during a magical four-year span during the 1990s.
But what about recognition the UNL off the gridiron and in the classroom? Is the University of Nebraska Lincoln a good school?
With nearly 100 academic departments and 150+ majors, the University of Nebraska Lincoln is the Cornhusker State’s flagship school. In-state students would be happy to know that the university’s national metrics are trending upward and certain programs, like business, rank among the nation’s best.
Roughly 70% of the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s 25,000 students are native Nebraskans and as a public school, it is not only one of the more affordable options in Nebraska but in the entire Midwest region as well.
Read on to learn how the University of Nebraska Lincoln is making big strides to elevate its standing in the national academic landscape and how the Huskers are winning in the classroom.
Is the University of Nebraska Lincoln a Good School
Founded in 1869, the University of Nebraska Lincoln is a nationally recognized public institution located in the state of Nebraska’s largest city and capital.
With a long and storied tradition of success competing in college athletics (first the Big 12 and now the Big 10 conference), the UNL’s sports teams, known affectionately as the Huskers, have made the University of Nebraska a national brand with legions of fans.
On the scholastic front, the UNL has made significant strides as part of a concerted effort to elevate its standing among major universities and colleges.
With the breadth and diversity of offered academic programs along with their improving national rankings, the University of Nebraska is cementing its position as Nebraska’s top public institution for higher learning.
The University of Nebraska Lincoln Undergraduate Programs and Rankings
As the flagship public university of The Cornhusker State, the University of Nebraska Lincoln has ten colleges on campus:
- Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
- Arts and Sciences
- Education and Human Sciences
- Fine and Performing Arts
- Graduate Studies
- Journalism and Mass Communications
In addition, the UNL has satellite schools of Dentistry and Nursing at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, as well as the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at a sister campus. There are nearly 100 academic departments housed within the ten colleges at the UNL encompassing studies in a wide range of fields, including:
- Business and accounting
- Various ethnic studies
- Multiple engineering tracks
- Agricultural disciplines (including animal sciences)
- Hard sciences
- Social sciences
- Fine arts
- Communications and media
All told, undergraduate students at the University of Nebraska Lincoln can embark on a meaningful and fulfilling academic journey of their own choosing with over 150 majors offered by the UNL. Some of the most popular undergraduate programs include:
- Public Relations
- Foods, Nutrition, and Wellness Studies
- Family Studies and Consumer Sciences
- Mechanical Engineering
It is worth noting that with a student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1, the University of Nebraska Lincoln not only offers a wide and diverse infrastructure of undergraduate studies but also provides intimate settings to students to maximize their learning experiences.
According to a recent U.S. News & World Report survey, the University of Nebraska Lincoln ranks as the 136th-best institution in the nation overall.
Among public universities, the UNL comes in much higher at number 64. As far as specific academic programs are concerned, the University of Nebraska Lincoln boasts two that are considered to be the finest in the nation:
- Among schools offering a doctorate degree, the University of Nebraska Lincoln has the 11th-best hybrid biology/agriculture program in the country.
- The UNL’s undergraduate business programs are gaining in national prominence with its College of Business recently ranking as the 30th-best among public universities and its accounting programs coming in as the 59th-best among all institutions, public or private.
Additional metrics used to gauge a university’s overall stature among peer institutions are its reputation through the collective lens of college presidents, provosts, and deans, and student outcomes, which is an assessment based on student retention and graduation rates.
On both fronts, the University of Nebraska Lincoln places among the top third of all national universities.
The University of Nebraska Lincoln Graduate Programs and Rankings
In addition to its extensive catalog of undergraduate courses, the University of Nebraska Lincoln is a major hub for graduate studies.
There are nearly 5,000 graduate students at the UNL pursuing advanced degrees and certificates in their chosen fields of study. With over 70 graduate programs offered, the University of Nebraska Lincoln is the best public in-state option for post-graduate work.
These are some of the more notable graduate programs at the UNL with their national rank:
- Audiology (#20)
- Speech Language Pathology (#20)
- Political Science (#59)
- Education (#64)
- Computer Science (#75)
- Chemistry (#81)
- Economics (#83)
- Law (#87)
- Biological Sciences (#90)
- Engineering (#93)
As far as the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s masters and doctoral programs are concerned, these are some of the most popular choices among graduate students:
- Educational Administration
- Audiology and Speech Language Pathology
- Mathematics and Statistics
- Music History and Literature
- Crop and Soil Science
Graduate degrees conferred by the University of Nebraska Lincoln include Master’s, Post-Master’s Certificate, Doctorate – Professional Practice, and Doctorate – Research/Scholarship. In addition, there are a number of hybrid programs that offer combined degrees, including:
- BA/BS and D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery)
- BA/BS and J.D. (Juris Doctor)
- BS in Engineering and Master of Architectural Engineering
- BA/BS and DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine)
- BA/BS and M.D. (Doctor of Medicine)
- BA/BS and D. Pharm. (Doctor of Pharmacy)
- BA/BS and MA in Political Science
With such a wealth of options, the graduate programs at the University of Nebraska Lincoln demonstrate that the commitment of the UNL to the ideals of higher education extends far beyond undergraduate studies.
Tuition at the University of Nebraska Lincoln
As a public institution and the state of Nebraska’s flagship school, the University of Nebraska Lincoln represents one of the more affordable options to earn a degree from a major university in the Midwest region.
In fact, tuition at the UNL is the lowest among all schools in the Big 10 conference footprint, which includes notable state institutions like the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois, and the Ohio State University.
Here is a closer look at tuition costs at the University of Nebraska Lincoln:
- For in-state students, tuition at the UNL is $9,872 which is considerably less than the national average in-state tuition of $11,331. Thus, native Nebraskans who elect to stay in-state and attend their state’s flagship university can expect to pay significantly less than their counterparts in other states.
- Out-of-state students attending the University of Nebraska Lincoln can expect to pay $27,002 in tuition costs. The national average for out-of-state tuition across the nation is $27,028 so the out-of-state tuition at the UNL is right on par.
To assist students in meeting the financial obligations of attending the University of Nebraska Lincoln, there are a host of need-based and merit-based financial assistance programs that are available.
Related Article: 425 Colleges Charging In-State Tuition for Out-of-State Applicants
It is estimated that 91% of the student body at the UNL receives financial aid in some form with 82% receiving institutional grants and 47% relying on loans to pay their college costs.
The University of Nebraska Lincoln also offers its Nebraska Promise program, which covers tuition costs for students who satisfy these requirements:
- The Nebraska Promise program is open to Nebraska residents (e.g., in-state students) only
- The student’s family income (based on adjusted gross income) cannot exceed $60,000
- Participants must be enrolled as full-time students (minimum of 12 credit hours per semester)
- Students must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA in their courses at the University of Nebraska in order to continue to be eligible for benefits under this program
What all of these aid programs demonstrate is that tuition affordability should not be a deterrent to attending the University of Nebraska Lincoln, particularly for native Nebraskans who aspire to study at their in-state school.
Does the University of Nebraska Lincoln have Honors Programs
For highly motivated students with a demonstrated commitment to academic excellence, the University of Nebraska Lincoln offers its University Honors Program, which affords talented undergrads unique opportunities to:
- Enroll in specialized courses with smaller class sizes
- Participate in exclusive honors activities designed to develop leadership and collaboration skills
- Live in dedicated housing reserved for honors students
- Engage with top instructors and researchers and participate in special research projects
- Earn honors credit for study abroad, internships, civic engagement, and off-campus research
- Become part of a tight-knit community of like-minded peers
In addition to these benefits, acceptance into the UNL’s University Honors Program also provides opportunities to earn merit-based scholarships as well as graduate with the honors distinction.
There are year-by-year requirements that must be satisfied in order to maintain honors status, including:
- Maintaining a full course load (minimum of 12 credit hours) each semester
- Complete a minimum of 27 credit hours of honors coursework with a cumulate grade average of a B- or better
- Maintain an overall (for all coursework) cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better
- Successfully complete an Honors Senior Thesis
The honors program at the University of Nebraska Lincoln is not for everyone. It is a rigorous and demanding test reserved for those students who are exceptionally talented in the classroom and motivated to take on extra academic challenges. But the rewards that await those who successfully complete the University Honors Program are immeasurable.
Is the University of Nebraska Lincoln a Party School
According to a popular poll, the biggest driver of parties and festivities at the University of Nebraska Lincoln should come as no surprise, as 81% of respondents answered that football games are the preeminent party events of the year.
As far as the year-round party scene at the UNL, here is a glimpse into what it looks like based on student reviews:
- Wednesday through Saturday are the days of the week when the most parties can be found (49% of respondents)
- On weekends, the best parties are held at fraternities and private houses (28%)
- Raging parties can be found regardless of the day of the week (2%)
Interestingly, 1 out of 5 (21%) of students polled responded that:
- Parties are difficult to find at the University of Nebraska Lincoln
- Good parties are a rare occurrence at the UNL
Accurate or not, there is a perception among students (and perhaps parents) that the most active party hosts and goers on a college campus are fraternity and sorority members. That being said and for what it is worth, there is a prominent Greek system at the University of Nebraska Lincoln with an estimated:
- 19% of male students belong to a fraternity
- 24% of female students belong to a sorority
According to the same party poll, 48% of students believe that Greek life at the UNL is “pretty big”. Recognizing that it is operating a major university campus with an enrollment of roughly 25,000 students, the University of Nebraska Lincoln has taken steps to proactively educate its student body about drinking (or abstaining) responsibly. Here are some highlights of this awareness program:
- Students should feel comfortable refusing alcohol at a party and resist any peer pressure to drink
- Attending parties is a personal choice and one that is not for everyone
- There are plenty of opportunities and options for socializing that do not involve alcohol
- The legal drinking age is 21
- When drinking legally, be with people that are known, have a fully charged phone at all times, do not accept drinks poured by strangers, and have a transportation plan (e.g., a designated driver or Uber/Lyft)
By all accounts, parties can be found at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, particularly on game days and weekends. But as even a significant portion of its student body seems to recognize, the UNL is by no means a party school nor does it aspire or pretend to be.
As notable University of Nebraska Lincoln alumnus Warren Buffet famously said, “price is what you pay; value is what you get.”
With competitive tuition costs for in-state and out-of-state students along with a demonstrated commitment to allocating the necessary resources to improving its academic infrastructure, the UNL is becoming an increasingly appealing higher learning option for native Nebraskans and undergrads from beyond The Cornhusker State.
Whether by cultivating homegrown, in-state talent, or attracting top-notch students from out-of-state, the University of Nebraska Lincoln is demonstrating a steadfast commitment to elevating its stature as an affordable, all-around academic institution serving undergraduate and graduate student populations alike, all the while proudly representing the great state of Nebraska.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.