Are you considering attending Norfolk State University? If so, you’re in for an incredible experience. Norfolk State University is a historically black university that offers an unbelievable combination of academic excellence, vibrant campus life, and meaningful community involvement.
From cheering on the Spartans at the football game to attending campus events and exploring the local eateries, there’s something for everyone at NSU. This guide will provide you with an overview of life at Norfolk State University, from what to expect when you first step on campus to how to make the most out of your time here.
You’ll also get insider tips from current students about the best places to eat, hang out, and have fun. So, get ready to have the time of your life at NSU!
Overview of Norfolk State University
Norfolk State University is a public, HBCU located in Norfolk, Virginia. NSU began as an extension of the city’s public school system in 1902. Over the years, it has grown into a comprehensive institution offering more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and has developed into one of Virginia’s leading public institutions of higher learning.
NSU is well known for its dynamic academics, beautiful campus, and a strong sense of community. The Norfolk State Spartans compete in the NCAA’s Division II and are members of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA). Some notable alumni include Kenneth Thompson, Ralph Samp, and James “Boots” Clemons.
Academics at Norfolk State University
NSU offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The most popular majors are Biology, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Communication Studies. The majority of the programs are offered on a semester-based system, except Business Administration, which is offered on a quarter system.
The overall graduation rate for all undergraduate students is approximately 42%. The retention rate for full-time undergraduate students is approximately 86%. The average class size for undergraduates is approximately 30 students.
The most popular areas of study for international students are Business Administration and Biology, followed by Communications and Criminal Justice. The average undergraduate GPA is 3.00, while the average graduate GPA is 3.25. The majority of undergraduates complete their degrees in 2-3 years, while the majority of graduate students complete their degrees in 1-2 years.
Campus Life at Norfolk State University
NSU offers a variety of ways for students to get involved both on campus and in the local community. Some notable campus organizations include Black Student Union, Criminal Justice Club, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc (the first African American service fraternity).
You can also get involved in NSU’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), NSU’s Model United Nations (MUN), and Student Government. There are many regular campus events to attend, including coffee houses, theater shows, the annual homecoming celebration, the art show, and the annual Honors Convocation.
The Honors Convocation is an event held annually to recognize the achievements of graduating seniors. In addition, NSU hosts several conferences, including the annual Virginia Communications and Humanities Conference and the annual Virginia Folklife and Traditional Arts Conference.
a. Student Organizations
Black Student Union:
The Black Student Union (BSU) is the oldest and largest student-led organization at NSU. The BSU serves as a cultural and social hub for students who are interested in the study of African American culture and history, and a platform for the development of black leadership within the NSU community.
Criminal Justice Club:
The Criminal Justice Club is the premiere organization for students in Criminal Justice at NSU. The club strives to provide students with professional development and networking opportunities, as well as information and support for the rigorous program.
Model United Nations Club:
The Model United Nations Club (MUN) is a student-led organization for students interested in participating in the real United Nations. MUN members engage in simulated diplomatic conferences and experience first-hand what it’s like to be a part of the real United Nations.
The Student Government (SG) is the representative governing body of the student body at NSU. SG members facilitate collaboration between students and administration; host events and programs that provide educational, recreational, and social benefits to the NSU community; and provide a student voice in decision-making at NSU.
NSU competes in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Division II and has 21 varsity sports teams, including men’s and women’s basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track & field; and men’s baseball, football, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field.
Some notable alumni include Kenneth Thompson, Ralph Samp, and James “Boots” Clemons. The home games for football, basketball, and baseball are held at the Delaware State University Convocation Center, while the remaining sports are held at the E. J. Whitmire Physical Education and Athletic Center.
c. Greek Life
There are three main Greek organizations at NSU: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. The Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council are the governing bodies for NSU’s Greek community.
The governing body for all Greek organizations at NSU is the Interfraternity Council (IFC). The IFC is made up of a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and five council members from each of the six Greek organizations.
The governing body for the Panhellenic Council is the Panhellenic Executive Council (PEC). The PEC is made up of a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and five council members from each of the eight Panhellenic organizations.
d. Campus Events
NSU hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the annual Honors Convocation, Virginia Communications, and Humanities Conference, Virginia Folklife and Traditional Arts Conference, the Homecoming Celebration, and the Art Show.
Held annually at the end of each academic year, this event celebrates and recognizes the achievements of graduating seniors. The event is typically hosted at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott Hotel and is open to the public.
Virginia Communications and Humanities Conference:
This annual event is hosted by the Virginia Academy of Humanities and features keynote speakers from a wide range of disciplines. This event is free to the public and open to all NSU students, faculty, staff, and surrounding community members.
Virginia Folklife and Traditional Arts Conference:
This annual event is hosted by the American Folklore Society and features keynote speakers from a wide range of disciplines. This event is free to the public and open to all NSU students, faculty, staff, and surrounding community members.
The annual NSU Homecoming Celebration is held during the fall semester and features a wide range of events, including a parade, pep rally, Homecoming football game, and dance. The homecoming parade, pep rally, and football game are held at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront while the dance is held at the Omni Hotel in Virginia Beach.
Held each semester, the Art Show is an exhibit that showcases the art of local and regional artists. The event is free to the public and open to all NSU students, faculty, staff, and surrounding community members.
Exploring the Norfolk Area
Whether you are new to the area or a long-time resident, there are plenty of activities to enjoy in Norfolk. The Norfolk State University campus is located in Downtown Norfolk’s Cultural District, which is home to a variety of museums and cultural attractions.
Some notable museums include the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Virginia Air & Space Center, and the ODU Contemporary Art Galleries. In addition, there are a variety of annual events taking place in Norfolk, including:
- the Riverwalk Festival
- the Virginia Beer Festival
- the Virginia Beach Air Show
- the Tidewater Comicon
- the Virginia Beach Seafood Festival
- the Virginia Beach Crab Festival
Insider Tips from Current Students
This is your chance to learn from current students about what to expect when attending Norfolk State University. Here is their best tip: Come visit the campus as often as you can. The first time you see NSU will be completely different from the last time you visit.
Daniel Hill is a Catholic educator with over 10 years of experience in the field. He holds a Master’s degree in Catholic theology from Brescia University and has taught at several Catholic schools across the country. John is passionate about promoting Catholic education and helping students develop their faith alongside their academic skills. He has written extensively on Catholic education topics, including curriculum development, faith formation, and the role of Catholic schools in society. His work has been published in numerous academic journals and he is a frequent speaker at Catholic education conferences. In his free time, Daniel enjoys volunteering at his local parish and spending time with his family.