Olivet Nazarene University
"Experience superior academics, countless ministry opportunities, competitive athletics and a thriving social life at...
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Olivet Nazarene University

Bourbonnais, Illinois

“Education with a Christian Purpose.” Since 1907, Olivet has made this not only its motto, but a mission. Faith is at the heart of superior academics, nationally competitive athletics, thriving social atmosphere and countless ministry opportunities.


Home to 4,877 students (2,926 traditional undergraduates), Olivet’s beautiful, park-like campus is located in Bourbonnais, Illinois, just 50 miles south of Chicago’s loop.


Student Profile

2,926 traditional undergraduate students from 42 states, several world areas and more than 40 denominations

Faculty Profile

134 faculty, 17:1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

2,338 students living on campus.

School Location

Bourbonnais, Ill.


20 intercollegiate teams that participate in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)

Men’s sports: baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, track

Women’s sports: basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball

Mascot: Tigers

Colors: Purple and gold

Other Information

Olivet Nazarene University is a Christian, liberal arts university, a service to the Church of the Nazarene, founded in 1907.

Academic Programs 

More Distinctions

  • U.S. News & World Report: “Best Colleges".

  • Best Christian Workplace Institute: “Best Christian Workplace”

Engaged Students

At Olivet, you won’t find yourself sitting passively listening to lectures. Ours is a dynamic, engaging, interactive experience designed to empower you to achieve your goals in life — whether it’s getting into an elite graduate or medical school, or being offered that dream job.

Service to the local and global community is a central theme in many of Olivet’s academic programs. Social work students organize an annual Christmas party and toy drive for children of jail inmates. Business students have created integrated marketing plans for small, local businesses in Swaziland and Haiti, and helped raise thousands of dollars in disaster relief for Haiti. Senior engineering students have travelled to South America to install wells they designed themselves, to provide clean drinking water for impoverished, remote villages. Physical science students conduct interactive astronomy shows in Olivet’s all-digital planetarium for hundreds of elementary students every year.

Olivet students prepare for graduate school and future careers through numerous opportunities for expanded scholarship and research. Math and science students, for example, can work closely with faculty members on forward-looking, 10-week research projects through the Pence-Boyce Research Program and Fellowships and Olivet Research Associates Program. Students even receive stipends so they can work full-time on their projects.

During Scholar Week, students from all academic disciplines — along with faculty and other guests — are invited to present results of their academic research projects during a week-long series of lectures and discussions.

Olivet also offers many opportunities for study abroad or off-campus study. Whether trekking through the jungles of Fiji, exploring the political currents of the Middle East, interning in the Los Angeles film industry, or debating with world-renowned scholars at Oxford University, Olivet works with students to find programs that meet their plans and aspirations.

A sampling of program destinations where Olivet students have traveled includes: Australia, China, Colorado Springs, Costa Rica, Egypt, England, Fiji, Hungary, Japan, Los Angeles, Mexico, Romania, Russia, Uganda and Washington, D.C.

Great Teaching

Olivet offers more than 100 undergraduate areas of study and holds the accreditation of the nation’s top associations. Seasoned faculty members challenge each student, believing that Christians can increase their impact on the world through excellence in scholarship, thought and communication.

As a student at Olivet, you will:

  • Study in small classes with a student-faculty ratio of just 17:1.
  • Learn from professors, not teaching assistants.
  • Actively participate in learning, and collaborate in groups.
  • Gain real-world experience through internships and field placements.

Olivet’s Honors Program encourages and nurtures academically gifted students, preparing them to become the Christian scholars and servant leaders they were meant to be.

Honors Program highlights include:

  • One-on-one mentored research with a professor of your choice, funding provided; or study abroad opportunities during your junior year,
  • Presentation of research at an Honors Research Symposium and
  • Numerous community service and cultural event opportunities.
  • In 2012, Olivet announced a new partnership with the Center for Law and Culture, which will now be housed on Olivet’s campus. Through this partnership, a premier legal studies program is now available that provides training for students desiring to pursue careers in public life, particularly in the fields of law, government and politics.

    Accreditations for Olivet include:

    • The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
    • The American Dietetics Association
    • The Council on Social Work Education
    • The National Association of Schools of Music
    • The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • The Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc.
    • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education
    • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education programs

Vibrant Communities

Olivet is about more than just classrooms and books, offering countless opportunities for spiritual and personal growth. When they are not at one of the University’s coffeehouses, campus events, in Chicago or working out in the state-of-the-art fitness center, Olivetians can be found doing …. just about everything!

Students participate in nearly 70 different clubs and organizations. Whether your interests lie in business, student government, equestrianism, theatre or biology, there is a club or an organization that’s just the right fit for you.

Among these organizations are nearly 20 different student-led ministries, through which students serve the community and world in hundreds of different ways. Olivetians can be found leading worship at summer camps for junior high students, playing checkers with veterans at a nursing home or building the next “Habitat for Humanity” house. During spring and summer breaks, Missions In Action groups travel globally — in the U.S. and abroad — to extend the love of Christ.

Across Olivet’s 20 intercollegiate athletic teams, champions are trained for success — on and off the playing field. Competitors bloom while playing for national titles; they become champions by serving the community around them.

Approximately 80 percent of the student body participates in Olivet’s vibrant intramural program. Intramural activities include:

  • Basketball
  • Dodgeball
  • Euchre
  • Flag football (men’s and women’s)
  • Homecoming 5K run
  • Pool (billiards)
  • Racquetball
  • Soccer (indoor and outdoor)
  • Softball
  • Volleyball (indoor and sand)
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis
  • Ultimate Frisbee

Olivet also boasts three club sports:

  • Men’s basketball
  • Men’s volleyball
  • Women’s volleyball

Weekly chapel services, student-led Party with Jesus, and local churches offer students, faculty and staff the opportunity to worship and grow together. Chapel services, held in the 3000-plus seat Centennial Chapel, regularly feature some of today’s most renowned spiritual, business, political and other leaders who offer instruction and inspiration for the ONU community.

Successful Outcomes

No matter their destination after graduation, Olivet graduates find success — in every sense of the word. Olivet has a worldwide network of more than 30,000 alumni, living in all 50 U.S. States and 60 world areas. As educators, medical professionals, musicians, engineers, pastors, lawyers, missionaries and business professionals, Olivetians are living out the “Olivet difference” in their homes, workplaces, churches and communities.

The Davld L. Elwood Center for Student Success, a cooperative effort among faculty and staff, helps foster a campus-wide culture of success. Its services are aimed at helping students develop their full potential during their college years and beyond. They seek to foster a balanced Christian worldview that results in students embracing lifelong learning, personal integrity, commitment to God and His Church, and leadership opportunities at home, at work and in society.

In recent years, alumni have gone on to obtain graduate degrees from such prestigious schools as the Naval Aerospace Institute, Harvard, Yale, Boston University, Wharton Business School, and highly-rated law schools such as Stanford, Notre Dame, Ohio State.

Pre-med students have been accepted at Michigan State University, University of Illinois, Indiana University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Tennessee, Ohio State University, Wayne State University Loyola University, and other outstanding medical schools.



Admissions and Financial Aid

2015–2016: Comprehensive tuition: $40,690 (Tuition and fees: $32,790). 99 percent of students receive financial aid.

Olivet Nazarene University admits qualified students based on high school record (or college transcripts for transfer students) and ACT score. The average ACT score for incoming freshmen is 24.

Olivet does not seek to be the least expensive option available in higher education, but rather to offer a quality experience for our students, with a commitment to excellence in every area.

We are passionate about making the Olivet experience attainable for students from all walks of life and economic backgrounds. With a highly individualized financial aid system, countless students who once believed the price tag was beyond their means have been admitted to — and graduated from — Olivet Nazarene University.

Approximately 99 percent of traditional undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. Last year, students received a total of $81 million.