Frequently Asked Questions
Even if you’ve studied online before, learning online at Northcentral University may be a little different. Read through some of our frequently asked questions below to learn more about what learning online at NCU will be like.
What is accreditation and why should I care?
There are different kinds of accreditation. Institutional accreditation (regional or national) looks at the institution in its entirety and focuses on academic quality, administrative effectiveness, and excellence in other institutional-related services. Regional accrediting agencies review schools in a specific geographical location. Arizona, for example, is one of the 19 states in the region where colleges and universities are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC). Programmatic or specialized accreditation focuses on a department, program or school’s academic quality. For example, business programs in the School of Business and Technology Management at Northcentral University are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
Visit our Accreditation page to learn more about NCU’s accreditation.
How does my degree online from Northcentral compare to degrees from brick and mortar schools?
In fact, there are studies showing how effective distance education can be. It may even be more rigorous than learning at a brick and mortar school because you cannot cut class or sleep in the back of a lecture hall. You must be engaged in learning.
In addition, Northcentral University has the same regional accreditation as other degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the Northcentral Association of Colleges and Schools. This assures you that our programs meet the stringent requirements of academic quality that many employers look for in their talent.
What is NCU’s online course room like?
We use a centralized, web-based Learning Management System (LMS), known as the Student Portal. This is basically your personal degree program headquarters that links to the wealth of resources and support available to you, including:
- Request information
- Pay tuition
- Access syllabus and learning materials for current courses
- Communicate with Faculty, Academic Advisors and other University staff
- Keep in touch with other Students through discussion boards and chat rooms
- Visit the bookstore and library, and access writing programs
- Post completed assignments in your online course rooms
- View Faculty reviews of your work, and grade postings
- Access academic program updates and support services
In fact, when you enroll at Northcentral, one of the first things you’ll need to do is take the Student Success Tour, which will introduce you to the Student Portal, the Course Room, your support team, and NCU messaging system. Think of it as your NCU campus map, which will show you the ins and outs of your NCU education experience.
The Learning Management System is one of the most important aspects of learning at NCU. We are currently updating the system to enhance the student experience and provide enriched opportunities for substantive interactions between students and faculty. The updated LMS will include a redesigned student course room and virtual academic center, and will support other interactive methods and activities to further improve our online learning experience.
Am I ready to learn online?
In order to help you make a successful transition to learning online, your first course will be a foundations course that introduces you to online learning at NCU and the essential skills needed to complete your program successfully, such as time management, academic integrity, using the Northcentral Library, understanding research articles, APA form and style, and professional communication.
How do I interact with faculty or fellow NCU students?
- External Email
- Video Conferencing
Discussion boards are also available in each course, as well as the university-wide discussion board and chat room where you can ask questions and connect with your fellow students.
How flexible is the course schedule at NCU?
How long will it take me to complete my NCU program?
What kind of computer/Internet access do I need in order to learn at NCU?
What additional educational resources does NCU provide?
The library is well organized, containing a variety of tools that allow you to locate important and relevant publications and articles, and our librarians are always available to help you find publications available online or through interlibrary loans.
The Writing Center We established the Writing Center to help you gain the knowledge and skill to communicate effectively and according to The American Psychological Association (APA) editorial style, the standard we use for scholarly writing at Northcentral.
At our Writing Center, you can get support materials and writing assistance, including the Northcentral Writing Process, a five-stage approach that helps you master academic writing through focus, development, organization, style and conventions.
Dissertation Center Our specially designed support center can help you develop a dissertation of the highest quality. We provide convenient access to style guides, and a general overview of dissertation structure. We also offer a section for each of our schools that provides discipline-specific updates and helpful information describing each dissertation process.
Smarthinking This valuable technological resource for students provides access to a live, on-demand tutoring service that empowers students to get the help they need. Students may work directly in real-time with a tutor, communicating using virtual whiteboard technology. NCU students receive 10 hours of tutoring at no cost for their program, and are able to purchase more time on their own if necessary.
Time Management Training Balancing work, school, and personal responsibilities can be challenging. This is why NCU has partnered with Mark Woods of Attack Your Day! Before It Attacks You to incorporate time management training in our Foundation Courses.
Virtual Bookstore At our online bookstore, you can locate your course number, order books and course materials, and pay online using a credit card. Our online bookstore also has a large inventory of used books, and we buy back many textbooks when courses are completed.
ePortfolio Your Student Portal provides an ePortfolio that allows you to organize, store and display a wide variety of your work, including written documents, photos, spreadsheets, graphics and references to other Web sites. You can create an ePortfolio Briefcase for a selected set of materials, build in a variety of views, and create specific password-protected showcases for family, friends, employers, faculty and others to review your work.
Honor Societies Northcentral University schools hold membership in honorary societies listed below. Acceptance into these programs is based on academic excellence.
- Golden Key International Honor Society – all schools
- Kappa Delta Pi – School of Education
- Delta Mu Delta – School of Business and Technology Management
- Alpha Phi Sigma – School of Business and Technology Management, Criminal Justice
Is there an NCU graduation ceremony I can attend after I complete my program?
What benefits can I expect as an NCU graduate?
Here are a few additional ways you can stay connected to NCU long after you’ve graduated:
Library Access NCU alumni have access to certain database resources in the NCU Library for personal use, including Academic Video Online, Annual reviews, Ebrary, Films on Demand and ProQuest. They also have access to RefWorks, an online research management, writing and collaboration tool. Alumni can access these databases by logging into their Alumni portal (formerly their Student Portal) and clicking the link to access the Library’s home page.
Higher Degrees We love to hear from our alumni and learn about what they are doing and how they are putting their degrees to good use. We often choose alumni to feature in our quarterly newsletter: Higher Degrees. Higher Degrees is designed specifically for NCU students and alumni and is a great way to keep up on the latest NCU News and read the success stories of fellow graduates and students.
Read the latest Higher Degrees