Rivier University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Rivier University
Recognized for its strong academic programs, focus on experiential learning, and commitment to service,...

Rivier University

Nashua, New Hampshire

One of the most affordable universities in the region, Rivier University offers 30 distinctive degree programs to undergraduate students. The University prides itself on its small classes led by accomplished faculty who create an active, experiential learning environment. At the heart of the Rivier experience are Catholic values. Founded in 1933 by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, Rivier University is a Catholic institution committed to its mission of transforming hearts and minds to serve the world.


With Nashua, New Hampshire as its home and the world as its classroom, the Rivier experience ensures that students develop leadership skills as well as an awareness and appreciation for diverse cultures. The University is ideally located in the heart of New England. The campus is a short distance from Nashua’s downtown, an hour’s drive to Boston and the seacoast, and just two hours from the White Mountains; Hartford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; and Portland, Maine.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,344 undergraduate students
58% of undergrad students are full time
28% male — 72% female
49% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
68 full-time faculty
135 part-time faculty
16 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

52 percent of the students live in one of the four residential halls on campus.

School Location

Rivier University is located in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Retention Fall 2015

77% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2015

43% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 0%
Hispanic/Latino 4%
Black or African American 3%
White 79%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 3%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 8%


NCAA Division III

13 intercollegiate sports
Men’s: baseball, basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball
Women’s: basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, volleyball

Mascot: Raider
Colors: Blue & Grey

Other Information

Rivier University is a Catholic, coeducational institution that offers professional preparation and a liberal education for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. Rivier’s mission is transforming hearts and minds to serve the world.

Academic Programs

B.S. Biology, concentrations in Allied Health, Environmental Science, and General Biology
B.S. Biotechnology 
B.S. Business Administration/M.B.A. (4+1), B.S. Finance, B.S. Marketing, B.S. Business Management
B.A. Early Childhood Education, B.A. Education and Community Leadership, B.A. Elementary Education, B.A. Special Education
B.A. Secondary Education Biology, B.A. Secondary Education English, B.A. Secondary Education Mathematics, B.A. Secondary Education Social Studies
B.A. English
B.S. Criminal Justice, B.A. Global Studies, B.A. History, B.S. Homeland and International Security, B.A. Political Science
A.A. Liberal Studies, B.A. Liberal Studies
B.A. Mathematics
B.S. Nursing, B.S. Public Health
B.A. Human Development, B.A. Psychology
B.A. Sociology
Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Law, Pre-Veterinary

More Distinctions

  • Named a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs Magazine in 2010-2016

  • Designated a Yellow Ribbon School by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs


At Rivier University, students are encouraged to be active learners. Through internships, student-driven research opportunities, and service learning projects, students have an exciting opportunity to apply their learning in the real world as they answer the challenges of today’s global economy.


Many students, especially those studying the sciences, participate in independent research projects at Rivier. Under the guidance of their instructors, students engage in each step of the research process from developing a question, predicting outcomes, conducting experiments or studies, and analyzing and reporting results. Through this process, students make original contributions to their studies and take ownership of the material in a unique way.


Service learning gives students similar benefits to independent research, but provides the added dimension of helping others. By integrating service into the curriculum, Rivier challenges students to connect their coursework to today’s most pressing community needs, inviting them to discover meaningful and impactful solutions. While Rivier requires students to participate in an in-depth community service project during their undergraduate years, students are encouraged to seek additional service opportunities. By participating in service learning, students become engaged with the campus community and the wider communities they assist, and gain a deeper and more informed understanding of the world around them.


The University emphasizes a global learning experience to prepare students for the 21st-century workforce. Through coursework, service learning, campus events, international faculty-led field experiences, study abroad, and internships, students develop a global perspective and expanded worldview that enables them to successfully manage people, complexity, and change in any field.


Rivier University offers students a quality education that builds a strong foundation for future success. With 30 undergraduate majors, the University features an exciting mix of academic programs. Rivier’s top-notch faculty mentor and guide students, and equip them with the analytical and critical thinking skills necessary to develop an understanding of the world around them and succeed in their careers.

Rather than relying solely on lectures, faculty members facilitate learning by using pragmatic student-centered teaching methods like hands-on activities, discussions, and presentations. Thus, instructors allow students to make the material their own and foster a true learning community. Professors are renowned experts in their disciplines, and since many have worked in their fields, they infuse their teaching with real-world experiences, providing unique insights and perspectives.


The First-Year Seminar is guided by Rivier’s core curriculum, Journeys of Transformation. Students explore challenging questions: Who am I? Who is my neighbor? What is the world? How shall I live? What shall I do? Opportunities for service learning, servant leadership, civic engagement, or community service are incorporated throughout the core to support the intellectual growth of students and enhance student leadership. Their shared experience includes a first-year and community book reading related to social justice and their responsibilities as global citizens.


The facilities benefit students of all majors. Regina Library contains access to more than 90,000 volumes, 45,000 e-books, and 100 licensed databases spanning every academic subject. Education majors study in the University’s Benoit Education Center, a 43,000-square foot complex featuring a complete curriculum library and a wealth of teaching aids for Rivier’s student-teachers to use in their classrooms. Housed in the Education Center, the Landry Early Childhood Center offers on-campus day care, preschool, and kindergarten programs. Rivier students can work there and observe children in their early stages of development. The University’s Nursing Center offers a complete Simulation Lab and teaching facilities. Rivier’s campus also has laboratories for other disciplines, including the sciences, computers, psychology, and writing. Business students can track real-time global financial data in the McLean Center for Finance and Economics.


Learning at Rivier is not limited to the classroom. Throughout the academic year, the University offers numerous speakers, seminars, and events on various topics designed to allow students to expand their educational horizons. Student clubs and organizations, as well as the University’s athletic program, add to Rivier’s tradition of experiential learning.


Rivier University features a variety of on-campus student activities that foster a community spirit among the student body. Through its 13-team, NCAA Division III athletic program, Rivier University offers student-athletes the chance to continue their education beyond the classroom, building leadership skills that can make them successful, both on the playing field and in life. Many students regularly attend athletic events, coming together to cheer on their peers in competition. On-campus social events, such as the Spring Carnival, engage students and build community. Trips to Boston, New York City, ski resorts, the seacoast, and other off-campus venues allow students to explore and enjoy New England.


Beyond opportunities for socialization, University-sponsored events also help students continue their learning after classes end. Continuing the University’s dedication to its mission of transforming hearts and minds to serve the world, the Office of Campus Ministry offers many opportunities for community service. These opportunities include serving meals at a local soup kitchen and extended U.S. and international service trips. The Office of Multicultural Affairs provides interactive on-campus events that help students increase their awareness and appreciation for diversity in today’s global society.


At Rivier, student clubs and organizations are the heart of the University community, serving as popular ways for students to complement their academic experience. Clubs and organizations bring together students who share similar interests or allow them to explore something new. They sponsor trips to various cultural sites, host evening lectures and seminars, and provide valuable community service activities. Membership in student organizations can foster personal development, allowing students to increase their confidence and team-building skills.


Rivier University prepares its students to succeed in the world through a solid foundational curriculum that includes core courses in the liberal arts and sciences. Rivier is deeply committed to graduating students who have an informed perspective of their world and are ready to be tomorrow’s leaders.

A Rivier education focuses on developing 21st-century skills, defined by employers as: critical thinking, skillful communication, complex problem-solving, ethical judgment and integrity, intercultural awareness, and a commitment to lifelong learning. These skills, developed through a combination of classroom and experiential learning, provide graduates with a distinct advantage as they enter the job market.


Regardless of their major, Rivier offers students rewarding internship experiences to cultivate an interest in a particular career field. Rivier students have participated in meaningful and practical experiences with local and regional corporations, social services agencies, and nonprofit organizations in various industries. Internships give students the chance to immerse themselves in many professional areas, using the training they have received in the classroom to positively impact the organization and the world. Whether the experiences include teaching in a local school district, working with patients at a well-respected healthcare facility, processing reports for a municipal police department, or engaging in any other aspect of work, internships give students a competitive edge in the job market.


The University also offers an array of support systems and services for students. A dual-advising system provides all students with an academic advisor and a faculty advisor. The Writing and Resource Center is fully staffed with writing professionals and tutors across all disciplines. The Career Development Center works with students to choose their majors and careers, and helps them with job searches. The Office of Disability Services ensures that qualified students with disabilities receive an equal educational opportunity, and the Office of Information Technology works to provide students with a technologically advanced environment in which to learn.

Students build their knowledge, networks, and resumes through internships, capstone and research projects, and clinical and student teaching experiences; many majors require these experiences for graduation and certification. The Career Development Center (CDC) looks beyond college, helping students identify a suitable major and what career they may want to pursue after graduation. The CDC also helps students with their job searches, posting job opportunities and offering résumé writing assistance, interview preparation, and follow-up strategies. Outcome assessment is very important to Rivier, and the University reports that 96% of graduates are employed within nine months of graduation.


Rivier is so confident that its educational experience prepares students to succeed, that it is willing to back it up. It is the only institution in New Hampshire, and one of the few in the nation, to do so. Rivier promises students that, if they participate in and complete its Employment Promise Program, they will secure a job within nine months of graduation. If not, they will receive additional financial or education support from the University. Details are available online at rivier.edu/employmentpromise.


Rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition, Rivier University seeks to foster a sense of the sacred and the dignity of the human person. Students graduate from Rivier University well positioned to think critically, act ethically, communicate precisely in visual, oral, and quantitative formats. In four years as an undergraduate, Rivier students build a solid foundation for future success whether they directly enter the global workforce, pursue graduate studies, or choose another vocation.


Admissions Fall 2014

1,688 Total Applicants
1,056 Total Admissions
176 Total Freshmen Enrollment

62.56% of applicants admitted

Freshmen Profile Fall 2014

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 440 520
SAT Math 440 530
SAT Writing 430 520
ACT Composite 18 22
ACT Math 16 19
ACT English 14 21
ACT Writing 2 8


Net Price Calculator



Tuition $28,300
Fees $575
Total $28,875
Room and Board (on campus) $10,940
Room Only $5,890
Board Only $5,050
Estimated Total On Campus $39,815


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

99% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving any financial aid
98% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving student loan aid

$12,727 Average amount of federal state local or institutional grant aid received
$10,404 Average amount of student loan aid received by full-time first-time undergraduates

Addition Aid Information

Financial aid and merit scholarships are handled with great personal attention. Students should include Rivier’s Title IV Code 002586 when they file their FAFSA. For financial aid assistance, families should contact Rivier’s financial aid team via email at finaid@rivier.edu or by phone at (603) 897-8510.

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