Norfolk State College was founded in 1935. The College, brought to life in the midst of the Great Depression, provided a setting in which the youth of the region could give expression to their hopes and aspirations. At this founding, it was named the Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University. In 1942, the College became the independent Norfolk Polytechnic College, and two years later an Act of the Virginia Legislature mandated that it become a part of Virginia State College.
The College was able to pursue an expanded mission with even greater emphasis in 1956 when another Act of the Legislature enabled the institution to offer its first Bachelor's degree. The College was separated from Virginia State College and became fully independent in 1969. Subsequent legislative acts designated the institution as a university and authorized the granting of graduate degrees. In 1979, university status was attained.
The University is guided by its mission: Through exemplary teaching, scholarship, and outreach Norfolk State University transforms lives and communities by empowering individuals to maximize their potential, creating life-long learners equipped to be engaged leaders and productive citizens. The university's vision is to be recognized nationally for its outstanding academic programs, innovative research, scholarship, and global outreach, advancing the transformative power of education to change lives and communities.
Norfolk State University's strength lies in its core value system of academic excellence, student centered focus, diversity, integrity and collegiality, and engagement, embody the principles, ideals, and beliefs of our students, faculty, staff, and Board of Visitors. They form the foundation for the University's actions and reflect what is important to the members of the Norfolk State University community and the Hampton Roads region.
Norfolk State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. The Commission on Colleges can be contacted at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Norfolk State University.
Norfolk State University has degree-granting authority through its Board of Visitors (BOV) from the Commonwealth of Virginia. The BOV confers degrees as authorized by the Code of Virginia (Code of Virginia § 23.1-1902(C)) and Board of Visitors Bylaws (BOV Bylaws § 2.01). Additionally, NSU's degree-granting authority is regulated by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), which is authorized by the Code of Virginia to review and approve or disapprove all new academic programs which any public institution of higher education proposes, including both undergraduate and graduate programs (Code of Virginia § 23.1-203). All NSU degree programs have been approved by SCHEV and are published on SCHEV's degree inventory website.
The University has eight academic colleges/school s and 49 degree programs that operate on one campus. The organizational structure for the University depicts the overarching leadership hierarchy illustrated in the institution’s organizational chart.
Amended October 2016
Equal Opportunity Statement - Norfolk State University does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, or against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities, whether carried out directly or through a third-party, or any other entity with which Norfolk State University arranges to carry out its programs and activities.