About UNL

For 147 Years, A Leader in Higher Education

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln, chartered in 1869, is an educational institution of international stature. UNL is listed by the Carnegie Foundation within the “Research Universities (very high research activity)” category. UNL is a land-grant university and a member of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The University of Nebraska was founded on February 15, 1869.

A Strong Foundation

Always a place of high ambition, this was one of the first institutions west of the Mississippi River to award doctoral degrees—the first was granted in 1896. The University of Nebraska established the world’s first undergraduate psychology laboratory. The discipline of ecology was born here, and the campuses reflect that tradition, being recognized as botanical gardens and arboreta. An early institutional interest in literature and the arts provided the foundations for today’s Prairie Schooner literary magazine, for the University of Nebraska Press, and for the Sheldon Museum of Art, which houses one of the world’s most significant collections of 20th century American art.

Today, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is one of the nation’s leading teaching institutions, and a research leader with a wide array of grant-funded projects aimed at broadening knowledge in the sciences and humanities.

Better to Best

In Fall 2015, for the twelfth-straight year, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln was among the top 50 public universities listed in U.S. News and World Report’s annual evaluation of America’s Best Colleges. UNL is ranked near the top third of all national universities both public and private. UNL is also listed in the ranking report among “A-Plus Schools for B Students.”

  • Princeton Review Best Value Public University, 2014
  • Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges, 2016
  • The National Jurist #1 Best Value Law School in the U.S., 2015
  • U.S. Dept. of Education College Scorecard Low Costs, High Graduation Rate

Excellence in Undergraduate Education

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is a research-extensive institution with an extraordinary focus on undergraduate education. Our undergraduates learn from faculty who create new knowledge, are leading scientists and scholars, and care about students’ success. Several signature programs exemplify this commitment to undergraduate success.

The Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences Program (UCARE) connects faculty and students to work collaboratively on independent study projects that advance new knowledge.

The Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management develops leaders for this era of expanding information technology and business globalization. Students are selected for this innovative program based on high academic achievement, outstanding leadership experience, demonstrated interest in computer science and business, and career goals. The program provides an education balanced in technology and management while developing professional skills in leadership, communications and collaboration.

Over the past two decades, the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues has established itself as one of the most distinguished speakers series in higher education. The mission is to bring a diversity of viewpoints on international and public policy issues to the university and the residents of the state to promote understanding and encourage debate. 

The Heuermann Lectures focus on the sustainability of food, natural resources, renewable energy and rural communities for all people. 

Research & Economic Development

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is the intellectual center for the state of Nebraska, providing leadership in education and research. The citizens of Nebraska benefit from the knowledge and research generated by our faculty and students. This research-based service to our state is a feature that distinguishes UNL as a land-grant university.

UNL’s research expenditures totaled more than $266 million in 2013, the most recent fiscal year for which expenditure information is available. This total included more than $98 million in federal research expenditures. The National Science Foundation accounted for 30 percent of UNL’s federal research expenditures, followed by 20 percent from the Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health, and 12 percent from the Department of Defense. UNL’s goal is to achieve $300 million in total research expenditures by 2018, with at least half coming from federal agencies.

At Home in Lincoln

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is located in an up-and-coming and safe city of 300,000 people that has many of the cultural and entertainment benefits of a much larger city, with the feel of a friendly Midwestern community.

Students hang out at a rooftop restaurant in downtown Lincoln.

New Arena in 2013

Lincoln voted for bigger concerts and events, and now the Pinnacle Bank Arena is here. Around it, the Historic Haymarket has expanded into a buzzing entertainment district. Lincoln residents enjoy more restaurants, more options in downtown nightlife and more ways to enjoy time with friends. What remains the same is the short walk downtown from UNL’s City Campus.

Beautiful Parks

Many people are surprised to learn that Lincoln has more parkland per capita than Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and all but a handful of U.S. cities.

Legend & Legacy

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has been home to many legendary figures, including the literary naturalist Loren Eiseley, geneticist George Beadle, artists Aaron Douglas and Weldon Kees, social researcher Alvin Johnson, investor Warren Buffett, comedian Johnny Carson, diva Barbara Hendricks, artist and engineer Harold Edgerton, soldier John J. Pershing, authors Willa Cather and Mari Sandoz, and many others. Today, students are building on this legacy through their research involvement in fields as diverse as sociology, geosciences, virology and agricultural sciences.