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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 to expect when pursuing a degree at NCU.

What is accreditation and why should I care?
Accreditation is a higher education seal of approval for schools, employers, and most importantly, for students. Students who earn a degree at an accredited institution can be confident that the quality of education, and commitment of an institution to maintain and improve quality, meets the standards of the accrediting body.

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. 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?
The increased demand for access to quality higher education has increased the demand for online programs that are more flexible in their delivery, allowing working professionals around the world to attain the same quality education they would get at a brick and mortar school, but with the necessary ability to continue to manage their personal and professional responsibilities while in school.

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 WASC Senior College and University Commission. 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?
As part of our University-wide Mission, Northcentral is committed to utilizing advanced delivery modalities to connect our students around the world to degree programs at a regionally accredited university with world-class doctoral faculty.

We use a centralized, web-based Learning Management System (LMS), known as NCUOne. 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 NCUOne, 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.

Am I ready to learn online?
There is a common misconception that online learning is easier than learning in-person at a brick and mortar university. At NCU, we know that our rigorous online degree programs require the same commitment that you would expect from our brick and mortar and online counterparts.

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?
NCU offers a Campus Message System that allows you to contact administrators, members of your support team, faculty and even fellow students as needed through email. However, many students utilize additional technologies to communicate with faculty, including:

  • Telephone
  • External Email
  • Chat
  • Skype
  • 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?
By learning online at NCU, you have the flexibility to choose when and where to work on your weekly assignments. This way, you can arrange your coursework around your job or other responsibilities to make sure you meet your due dates. The academic requirements are rigorous, however, and require your active engagement in learning.

How long will it take me to complete my NCU program?
The amount of time it takes you to complete your NCU program depends on the type of degree you are pursuing, the number of transfer credits you receive, and how fast-paced you decide to make your course schedule. Please contact an Enrollment Advisor to discuss your scheduling options either by phone: 1-866-776-0331 or email:

What kind of computer/Internet access do I need in order to learn at NCU?
At NCU, we want to make our degree programs as accessible as possible, while maintaining a quality online experience. View our Technical Requirements to learn more.

What additional educational resources does NCU provide?

Our library offers sophisticated searchable databases containing full-text articles and abstracts of leading publications in fields relevant to all degree programs. We also have an interlibrary loan (ILL) program that allows that can help you obtain resources from other institutions with the exception of book borrowing.

Academic Success Center
We established the Academic Success 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 Academic Success 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.

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.

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?

Yes! Northcentral holds a graduation ceremony every year for graduates, their families and friends in the beautiful state of Arizona. This event is truly the highlight of our year at Northcentral as we get to see hundreds of students honored for their academic achievements.

What benefits can I expect as an NCU graduate?
Your connection to NCU doesn’t just go away after you’ve earned your respected, regionally accredited degree in the field of your choice. Throughout your program, you may have the opportunity to connect and network with faculty and even fellow students in your field. We encourage you to build and nurture those relationships.

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