S1 Group Go 'Cats. Northwestern University (NU or, inaccurately, NWU) is a private research university with campuses in Evanston and Chicago in Illinois, United States. Northwestern has 12 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools offering 124 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees. orthwestern was founded in 1851 by John Evans, for whom Evanston is named, and eight other lawyers, businessmen and Methodist leaders to serve the people of a region that had once been known as the Northwest Territory. Instruction began in 1855; women were admitted in 1869. Today, the main campus is a 240-acre (97 ha) parcel in Evanston, along the shores of Lake Michigan. The university's law and medical schools are located on a 25-acre (10 ha) campus in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. In 2008, the University opened a campus in Education City, Doha, Qatar with programs in journalism and communication. In academic year 2010-2011, Northwestern enrolled 8,397 undergraduate and 7,870 graduate and professional students.