Birmingham-Southern College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Birmingham-Southern College
"Committed to providing a liberal arts education of distinctive quality, BSC challenges its students...

Birmingham-Southern College

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham-Southern College (BSC) is a four-year, private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Committed to providing a liberal arts education of distinctive quality, BSC challenges its students today to think independently, to examine the arts and sciences aesthetically and critically, and to communicate clearly.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,346 undergraduate students
99% of undergrad students are full time
50% male — 50% female

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
98 full-time faculty
61 part-time faculty
13 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Highly residential: 86% of students live on campus

School Location

Birmingham, Alabama – set on 192 wooded acres three miles west of downtown Birmingham

Retention Fall 2015

86% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

61% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 0%
Hispanic/Latino 2%
Black or African American 11%
White 79%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 5%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 1%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 0%


NCAA Division III, Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. Birmingham-Southern offers 23 varsity sports for its scholar-athletes: baseball, football, softball, volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, swimming, and indoor and outdoor track and field.

Other Information

Birmingham-Southern College is a four-year, private, liberal arts institution founded in 1856 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Academic Programs

Art & Art History, Asian Studies, Biology, Biology-Psychology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Economics, Education, Engineering ( 3-2 program), English, English-Theatre Arts, Environmental Studies (3-2), History, History-Political Science, International Studies, Mathematics, Media & Film Studies, Music, Musical Theatre, Nursing (3-2 program), Philosophy, Philosophy-Politics-Economics, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Religion-Education, Religion-Philosophy, Sociology, Sociology-Political Science, Sociology-Psychology, Spanish, Theatre Arts, Urban Environmental Studies

More Distinctions

  • College’s That Change Lives has again selected Birmingham-Southern as one of the 40 colleges that are “outdoing the Ivy League schools and the major universities in producing winners.”

  • The Princeton Review includes BSC as one of America’s Best 377 Colleges and as one of America’s 286 “Greenest Colleges.”

  • Three of Alabama’s “Best Professors” in the past decade as determined by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation teach at Birmingham-Southern.

  • Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, which ranks “the top schools that provide a high-quality education at an affordable price,” includes Birmingham-Southern on its 2011-12 list of the Best Values in Private Colleges.

  • The Parents & Colleges website ranks Birmingham-Southern No. 1 on its list of the "Top 10 Most Engaging Greek Life Schools" in the country. The college received high marks for scholarship, leadership, philanthropy, and inclusiveness.

  • Birmingham-Southern is one of only 310 colleges in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain highlighted in the 2012 Fiske Guide to Colleges as one of the "best and most interesting" schools.

  • BSC is the highest ranked liberal arts college for safety preparedness by Reader’s Digest.

  • The college is on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

preparing students for the professional world

BSC offers small classes, accessible faculty, a beautiful campus, and abundant activities and organizations for everyone to find a niche. BSC enjoys national recognition for the high percentage of its graduates accepted into medical, dental and health career programs. Throughout its educational programs, BSC stresses critical-thinking skills, writing, and an interdisciplinary approach, all essential for success in today’s workplace.

above and beyond

BSC is noted for its strong service learning program, in which 70 percent of its students participate; its study abroad (including exchange programs with international colleges and universities) and leadership studies programs; and its January Exploration term, which provides flexible options for hands-on education. Another unique aspect of a BSC education is its requirement that all students attend forty cultural events during their college career, which include lectures, art exhibits, and musical and theatrical performances. These events often connect with students’ course work. In addition, seniors give public presentations of their four-year research, much like the oral requirement of doctoral programs.

study abroad and internships

During the school’s January term, many students choose to study abroad or domestically. Scholarships and other funding are available, making these experiences accessible for many. BSC students who choose to remain on campus in January enjoy very small classes and often take advantage of internship opportunities in Birmingham, especially in the medical, legal, banking, and fine arts fields. Birmingham’s medical facilities are considered among the best in the nation.

BSC fosters the advancement of scholarship, resourceful learning, and comprehensive advising. BSC is distinguished by its dedicated faculty, undergraduate research, service learning, and cross-cultural opportunities.

engaged faculty

The low student-to-faculty ratio of thirteen to one allows students to have personal interactions with faculty members often and in a variety of ways. In addition, students work  on research projects side-by-side with faculty members. Many students even co-author publications with faculty members, and together they present their findings at regional and national conferences.

involved learning

Within the general education foundations program, freshmen take two first-year seminars their first year. These courses are interdisciplinary, often include a service component, and provide an introduction to the liberal arts. One recent example includes BSC music students who worked with a local elementary school to create, compose, and produce an opera. First-year courses include language studies and courses with a deep engagement in the arts.

honors program

The honors program provides academic challenges to highly motivated, intellectually curious BSC students who are encouraged to take risks and explore new subject areas. About thirty-five students are admitted to the program each year.

diverse and friendly

Birmingham-Southern’s 1,300 students come from about thirty-three states and fifteen foreign countries. More than 85 percent of students live on the wooded 192-acre-campus just three miles west of downtown Birmingham. The campus tone is friendly and courteous, typical of a Southern college. The campus police are highly respected and are seen as a great resource for students.


BSC housing includes four suite-style residence halls, an apartment complex and fraternity and sorority houses. Living and learning communities are available, and resident advisors are active and present in BSC students’ daily lives.

student activities

Students are involved in more than eighty student organizations, as well as NCAA Division III athletics and 75 percent of students stay on campus on weekends. About 50 percent of BSC students are involved in Greek life, and fraternities and sororities provide many social activities and community-service opportunities.

a city for everyone

Birmingham, Alabama, known as the Magic City, is located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and in the heart of the southeastern United States. It is a major urban center with more than one million people in the Birmingham metropolitan area. The city is the center for medical research, banking, music, technology, art and engineering. There are also many opportunities for local community service, such as participating in Habitat for Humanity projects, tutoring elementary students, or working through the mayor’s office on internships.

directed toward success

BSC students who take advantage of the college’s strong academic advising often graduate in four years. Students can also take advantage of career-planning services such as interest inventories, career- and job-search classes, resume assistance, interview training, on-campus job interviews, and an alumni network. Each year, over 50 percent of graduates go on to graduate school. Nationally, the college ranks high in terms of graduates accepted to medical, dental, law and professional schools. Within one year of graduation, 60 percent of BSC alumni enter the workforce in jobs related to their undergraduate fields of study. Many are hired by local Birmingham businesses and law firms as well as national corporations. In addition, the average BSC student graduates with far less debt than students at most other private colleges or major public schools.

international alumni

BSC alumni are studying and working in 38 foreign countries, from China and Australia to Turkey, Ecuador, and Zimbabwe. Successful alumni include NASA employees, lawyers, doctors, a nationally acclaimed playwright, banking CEOs, college professors, and public service professionals.


Admissions Fall 2015

3,679 Total Applicants 
1,952 Total Admissions 
441 Total Freshman Enrollment

53.06% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 480 590
SAT Math 500 610
SAT Writing    
ACT Composite 23 29
ACT Math 22 28
ACT English 23 30
ACT Writing    




Tuition $31,954
Fees $1,174
Total $33,128
Room and Board (on campus) $13,008
Room Only $8,168
Board Only $4,840
Estimated Total On Campus $46,136


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

100% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
73% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$23,694 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$7,147 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates