Christian Brothers University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Christian Brothers University
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Christian Brothers University

Memphis, Tennessee

Christian Brothers University is a private, Catholic, comprehensive university committed to preparing students of all faiths and backgrounds to excel in their professional and public lives. The College provides challenging educational opportunities in the arts, business, engineering, the sciences, and teacher education. CBU’s commitment to the Lasallian ideals of faith, service, and community is reflected in its mission statement: Educating minds. Touching hearts. Remembering the presence of God.


Christian Brothers College was founded in 1871 by members of the Institute of the Brothers of Christian Schools, a Roman Catholic teaching congregation. Throughout its history, the college has functioned as an elementary school, high school, and college. Christian Brothers College began offering four-year degrees in 1953. A graduate program was established in 1987, and the institution was officially renamed Christian Brothers University in 1990. Today, CBU serves approximately 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students representing 27 states, 25 countries, and 33 faiths. CBU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,408 undergraduate students
92% of undergrad students are full time
48% male 52% female
18% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
100 full-time faculty
86 part-time faculty
11.8 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
67% of first year students live on campus
47% of all students live on campus

School Location

CBU’s 75-acre campus is located in the center of Memphis, one of America’s great cities. Students experience a close-knit community surrounded by a city rich with cultural history and natural beauty. The urban campus is within close walking distance to the 342-acre Overton Park, which contains a nine-hole golf course, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the world-renowned Memphis Zoo, the Levitt Shell Pavilion, Rainbow Lake, and the Old Forest State Natural Area. Also within walking distance are two arts, entertainment, and residential districts, Overton Square and Cooper Young. Art galleries, award-winning dining, and boutique shopping are nestled among historic homes rich with architectural character. Overton Square also plays home to a thriving theatre district, including Playhouse on the Square, Circuit Playhouse, TheatreWorks and Hattiloo Theatre, one of few free-standing, independent Black theatres in America.
Less than five miles to the west of campus is the fabled Beale Street, where students can take in live music nightly, cheer on the home-town Memphis Grizzlies Basketball team, and take a walk on the bluffs along the storied Mississippi River. A dozen miles to the east is Shelby Farms Park, one of the largest urban parks in the United States – five times the size of New York’s Central Park. Memphis is home to over a hundred miles of dedicated space for bicyclists, making it one of the fastest growing bicycle cities in the U.S.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses  
Collaborative Assignments and Projects  
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning  
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

Retention Fall 2015

80% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2015

52% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 6%
Hispanic/Latino 7%
Black or African American 29%
White 43%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 5%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 6%


NCAA Division II, Gulf South Conference. 7 Men’s and 8 Women’s Varsity sports.
Men’s sports: Baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, track and field.
Women’s sports: Basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, volleyball.  

Mascot: Buccaneers
Colors: Red and gray

Academic Programs

School of Arts: Applied Psychology, Creative Writing, Cultural Studies, Early Childhood Education, English, English for Corporate Communications, History, Liberal Studies, Psychology, Religion & Philosophy, Special Education Modified K-12, Visual Arts 

School of Business: Accounting, Business, Business Administration

School of Engineering: Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (dual degree), Engineering Management, Mechanical Engineering

School of Sciences: Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedical Science, Chemistry, Computer Science, Ecology, Engineering Physics, Mathematics, Mathematics & Computer Science, Natural Science, Nursing, Physics

Interdisciplinary Programs: Cybersecurity & Forensics, Interdisciplinary Studies

Undergraduate Minors:

College of Adult Professional Studies Majors:

Graduate Majors:

Undergraduate Research

Many students are engaged through mentored research programs at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, the Memphis Zoo, and the Minority Health Internship Research Training program. Others conduct mentored research with highly qualified CBU faculty members. The university offers numerous internship, externship, and co-op opportunities, enabling students to gather valuable real life experience at many corporations and nonprofits.

Study Abroad

CBU students take advantage of myriad stud7-abroad programs. Popular destinations include Rome, Barcelona, London, Paris, and other great international cities. For students who wish to spend an entire semester or a summer to experience another culture, CBU maintains partnerships with universities in Austria, Brazil, France, and Spain. The Lasallian International Programs Consortium invites CBU students to study in Argentina, Australia, China, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Africa, and Spain. Since the De La Salle Christian Brothers are present in 81 countries, students may also make arrangements to travel to countries not listed above. These include virtually all nations in Central and South America, Singapore, the Philippines, Europe, and parts of Africa. CBU encourages its students to be explorers. Studying abroad is a life-changing experience and has a positive impact on students’ careers, as many employers attach particular value to international exposure.


To demonstrate their concern for the environment and sustainability, CBU students are instrumental to the university’s very successful recycling program and environmental clean-up efforts. The Sustainability Living Learning Community serves to strengthen student interest in environmental issues. CBU students also maintain a successful community garden on campus. They embark on field trips both near and far, and many are members of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Instantly Applying Knowledge

As up-and-coming professionals, CBU students engage early in their chosen professions. They present papers of their research at academic conferences and frequently win awards for the quality of their work. They also engage in competitions with students from other universities. CBU engineering students navigate the Mighty Mississippi in concrete canoes and race the competition in moon buggies and mini-bajas constructed in the university’s engineering labs. Science majors publish their research papers in prestigious peer-reviewed journals. In the liberal arts, the social sciences, and business, students regularly travel to conferences to discuss their research in posters or papers.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band  
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band  
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN  
Music ensembles  
Musical theater  
Pep band  
Radio station  
Student government X
Student newspaper  
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra  
Television station  

Student-Teacher Collaboration

With a student to faculty ratio of 13:1, Christian Brothers University has a well deserved reputation for teaching excellence. CBU students find that their instructors are not only outstanding teachers but also active researchers who frequently involve their students in their research. Such collaborations are invaluable. They provide students with a profound knowledge of their fields and with opportunities to hone important skills such as presenting papers and posters at professional conferences. Frequently, such work leads to publications in peer-reviewed journals, giving students a significant advantage as they apply for graduate or professional school.

Students and faculty also work together in honor societies that have annual national and regional meetings. There, CBU students present their research findings and mingle with students from other institutions. Such interactions encourage students to network and to broaden their horizons. CBU makes a special effort to recognize individual student researchers during its academic convocation at the beginning of the fall semester.

Inspiring Faculty

Christian Brothers University is a vibrant community of scholars. CBU faculty care deeply about their students, and they structure their classes to ensure the success of each student. They encourage students to think outside box and to become involved professionally in their chosen fields long before graduation. Both students and faculty are driven by an intense intellectual curiosity. They want to learn and contribute to the body of knowledge. Perhaps more importantly, they seek to use their education to improve the community at-large. Thus, a CBU education transcends the interests of academic disciplines and individuals. Its ultimate purpose is to serve God and humanity.

Academic Programs

Befitting its status as the longest-serving institution of higher learning in Memphis, CBU offers a healthy mix of traditional majors as well as degrees in fields such as cyber security, which did not exist even ten years ago. All majors emphasize the skills most desired by employers as well as graduate and professional schools: the ability to communicate effectively, to think critically, and to work in a team. To ensure that all CBU graduates possess these skills, the core curriculum seeks to provide students with a values-based broad education. Since both core and major courses are small, there is ample opportunity for personalized instruction and learning. Professors are in a position to identify quickly the interests and strengths of each student.

Complementary Programs for Learning

The Honors Program and five Living Learning Communities (Freshman Experience, Sustainability, Science/Engineering, Honors, and Business) constitute important centers of learning outside the academic departments. Students interact regularly with professors during informal get-togethers and special events. The Math and Writing Centers offer students additional opportunities to engage with their professors.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts  
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Philosophy X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X

Class size breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 132 180 123 20 3 2 0 460

Living Learning Communities

At Christian Brothers University, learning transcends the classroom and the lab. CBU’s five Living Learning Communities (Freshman Experience, Sustainability, Science/Engineering, Honors, and Business) help create lasting bonds by bringing together students and professors with similar interests and pursuits in the Living Learning Center dorm. Students take common courses, walk to class together, build friendships through off-campus retreats and events, and give one another a sense of home away from home. Relationships are formed and enriched through class discussions that carry over into the LLC lounges and each Community’s residence floor. Doors are left ajar so that floor mates can enter at will to join the conversation. Students engage regularly with the professors who direct the Living Learning Communities in special events and informal get-togethers. For example, students in the CBU Honors Program’s Living Learning Community have the opportunity to engage in dozens of enrichment opportunities each semester, from providing service for non-profit agencies to attending Broadway plays. Their relationships with faculty are solidified through small discussion and project-based classes that often take them into the broader Memphis community.

Another example of the ways that LLCs help students explore their career path includes the Business Living Learning Community’s dinner with CBU alums who have successful careers in the sport industry. After the dinner, they attended a Memphis Grizzlies game together to better understand the different hospitality, client acquisition, and consumer behavior dimensions that go into a successful event of this nature. These students often intern as upperclassmen with the alum and institutions they engage in these Learning Community experiences.

The Living Learning Center

The Living Learning Center sponsors public, monthly events that are linked to key elements of CBU’s mission. Students from different Learning Communities engage with the university’s surrounding neighborhoods by volunteering at Caritas Village community center in diverse Binghampton and walking over to attend Memphis’ thriving Cooper-Young Festival. Students experience the Lasallian emphasis on social justice by breaking bread with members of the university’s Christian Brothers order to discuss balancing life’s priorities and by participating in the Catholic Climate Covenant’s national “From St. Francis to Pope Francis to You: Creating a Climate for Solidarity” event. In cooperation with organizations like the Black Student Association, the Living Learning Communities jointly sponsor civic engagement series like taking students to do early voting and hosting debate events representing different political candidates’ platforms.

Student Life

Community-building and learning outside the classroom are also at the heart of the activities sponsored by the Office of Student Life and the Office of Mission and Identity. Throughout the semester, Student Life makes it possible for interested students to attend concerts, plays, movies, athletic events, and exhibits in the Memphis metropolitan area for free or at sharply reduced rates. The Maurelian Lounge in the eponymous residence hall serves as a vibrant social space for first year students during evenings and weekends, and as a classroom during weekday mornings and afternoons. CBU’s 40+ student organizations also ensure that learning continues long after students have exited lecture halls and laboratories. Several organizations regularly bring speakers to the campus.

Office of Mission and Identity

To foster spiritual and intellectual growth, the Office of Mission and Identity organizes retreats. These give both participating students and faculty members the opportunity to turn inward and to reflect. Students are also involved in planning and executing the campus’ weekly mass. Those with a particular interest in CBU’s Lasallian mission may travel to participate in formation events in other U.S. cities and abroad. After studying the life and work of St. John Baptist De La Salle, the founder of the Christian Brothers, some students are so inspired that they volunteer to become Lasallian volunteers after graduation. All students value the interaction with the Christian Brothers who live on campus. During such encounters, students learn not only about the De La Salle Brothers and their calling, but also about important watersheds in the history of Memphis and the American South.


Students also learn much from one another. CBU’s student population is very diverse, acting as a testament to the fact that the university provides a welcoming environment to students of all backgrounds. Organizations representing different groups ensure that students feel a strong sense of belonging. They also host events that enable students to learn about other cultures and religious faiths. The students’ daily encounters on campus—in the classroom, the cafeteria, the computer lab, the library, the residence hall—also constitute important learning opportunities.

Guest Lectures

Throughout the academic year, CBU makes a special effort to have renowned authors speak on the campus. The Fresh Reads/Memphis Reads program has arranged speeches and other public appearances by Wes Moore, Dinaw Mengestu, and Andy Andrews, just to mention a few. The academic departments and schools also sponsor speakers whose work is of interest to the campus. They usually draw large crowds, and their talks are open to CBU students. Recently, the Vatican’s astronomer, Father George Coyne, and the biologist Diane Fossey excited overflow crowds in the university’s theater.


Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms X
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students  
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing X
Other housing options  


Other: Living Learning Communities 

Successful Citizens

Upon graduation, CBU students possess all the skills to be successful in the workplace as well as in professional or in graduate school. They communicate effectively, think critically, and work well in teams. They have also developed a strong sense that a CBU bachelor degree is very special and obliges its holder to work for the betterment of the community-at-large. CBU graduates view this as a lifetime commitment. They have internalized the university’s emphasis on faith, service, and community, often working through churches, civic organizations, clubs, neighborhood associations, employers, and government to effect positive change in the community. CBU’s focus on educating the whole person thus pays rich dividends to the graduates themselves and to the communities in which they live and work.

Service Learning

Christian Brothers University offers its students countless opportunities to be engaged and to serve. Incoming first year students participate in service projects on campus and in the wider community as early as Welcome Weekend, which marks the official beginning of the academic year. A few days later, the Honors Program’s “September of Service (SOS)” takes assisting others to a new level. During this month alone, students and other members of the CBU campus community provide close to 2,000 hours of service throughout the Memphis metropolitan area. Fraternities, sororities, honor societies, and other student organizations ensure that CBU students continue their community involvement throughout the academic year. Activities include entirely student-led fundraising events such as “Bowling for Uganda,” “Autism Speaks,” and “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”


Admissions Fall 2015

2,321 Total Applicants
1,063 Total Admissions
312 Total Freshmen Enrollment

45.80% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling Admission? Yes

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Standardized test scores

Academic GPA

Rigor of secondary school record
Class rank
Application Essay
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Geographical residence
Volunteer work

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading    
SAT Math    
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 21 27
ACT Math 20 26
ACT English 22 28
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator


Tuition $29,316
Fees $820
Total $30,136
Room and Board (on campus) $7,908
Estimated Total On Campus $38,864


Average Financial Aid Packages 2014-15 estimated

$26,869 First year students
$22,486 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-15 estimated

74% on average, the percentage of need that was met
20% of financial need students that had need fully met

$18,357 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$3,754 Average need-based loan


All applicants are considered for merit scholarships based on academic performance.  These range from $7,000 to $15,000 annually.  Students may be invited to participate in scholarship competitions that award full tuition scholarships.   

Trustee Scholarship – This is CBU’s most prestigious scholarship for full-tuition and fees.  Students compete for four scholarships by interviewing with faculty and alumni.  To be considered for the Trustee Scholarship, students must have a minimum 27 ACT, 3.6 gpa, and be admitted to CBU. 

Leadership Scholarship – This is a leadership based scholarship awarded to two students each year for outstanding leadership and service in his or her community. Recipients of these full-tuition scholarships will receive support from Student Life in developing a New Student Organization that can have a lasting impact on the university. To be considered for the Leadership Scholarship, students must have a minimum 21 ACT, 2.75 gpa, be an active leader, and be admitted to CBU. 

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