Founded in 1878 as a single-gender undergraduate institution, Brenau University now comprises a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including doctorate and other terminal degrees, in its colleges of Health Sciences, Fine Arts & Humanities, Business & Communication, and Education. Taking seriously its mission to prepare students for extraordinary lives, Brenau offers the comfort of a small college with the global outlook of much larger institutions.
Attracting students from around the world, Brenau structures its academic programs and student life initiatives to meet the needs of each individual. Students easily form bonds and relationships with faculty, other students, and university personnel at all levels. The university operates as a vital part of surrounding communities, offering students opportunities for personal, educational, and professional engagement alike.
- Brenau’s name is as unique as the institution itself. It comprises the first four letters of “brennen,” a German word related to refining precious metals, and the first two letters of the Latin word for gold, “aurum.” BREN+AU. It is pronounced “bre-NOW.”
- The translated meaning became the motto for Brenau College women: “as gold refined by fire.”
- Brenau’s mascot is the Golden Tiger, “H.J.,” named to honor the institution’s longest-serving president, H.J. Pearce, who both provided the name for the institution and authored “The Brenau Ideal,” which for generations has been the mantra for Brenau students.
- Brenau’s history dates to 1878 when it was first organized as the Georgia Baptist Female Seminary. However, the institution has never been affiliated with any religious domination.
- The not-for-profit, private institution has been governed by an independent Board of Trustees since the 1940s.
- Brenau Women’s College, which has an enrollment of about 900 residential and non-residential students, continues to thrive as one of the few remaining single-gender, four-year colleges in the United States.
Get to know Brenau University
- Choral groups
- Concert band
- International Student Organization
- Jazz band
- Literary magazine
- Music ensembles
- Musical theatre
- Pep band
- Radio station
- Student government
- Student newspaper
- First-Year Seminars and Experiences
- Collaborative Assignments and Projects
- Diversity/Global Learning
- Service-Learning, Community-Based Learning
- Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience
At Brenau, learning does not begin or end at the classroom door. Brenau encourages students to explore beyond boundaries, real or imagined, and work outside their comfort zones.
FOUR PORTALS OF LEARNING
Brenau faculty and academic administrators are committed to upholding Brenau’s Four Portals of Learning, a liberal arts-based curriculum that transcends traditional academic disciplines and touches on all learning platforms. The Four Portals through which Brenau students pass expand students’ world views; improve communication and language skills; excite intellectual curiosity through scientific and social research; and stimulate artistic and creative expression through exposure to the arts.
In its ambitious plan to reform liberal arts education by blending it with professional preparation, Brenau creates an environment for improving students’ critical thinking—“the ultimate transferable job skill.”
Students have many opportunities to get involved both on and beyond campus through meaningful service and social engagement. For the last seven years, early childhood education majors have worked with local elementary school students, helping them illustrate, write, and publish their own book, aptly titled “Tiger Tales” in honor of the Brenau mascot.
In 2014, Brenau initiated 2+2 partnerships with Anhui Normal University in Wuhu, China. This international connection allows ANU students to complete the first two years of their degree program in China and then spend their final two years at Brenau, earning dual degrees from both institutions. The 2+2 partnerships currently exist in early childhood education, English, and environmental design degree programs.
The first graduates of the partnership received their diplomas in the spring of 2018, a true mark of success and global engagement. What’s more, this partnership also allows native Brenau students to travel to China as ambassadors annually, further enriching the culture of the university.
But global enrichment does not stop at this new 2+2 partnership; Brenau students are encouraged to study abroad through the university’s partnerships with top educational institutions in China, Europe, and Latin America.
The number of sections of each class size.
2-9: 177 | 10-19: 145 | 20-29: 66
30-39: 32 | 40-49: 3 | 50-99: 5 | 100+: 0
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Nonresident aliens: 4%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 32%
White, non-Hispanic: 46%
American Indian or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic: 0%
Asian, non-Hispanic: 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic: 0%
Two or more races, non-Hispanic: 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown: 4%
TEACH NOT PREACH
Brenau’s committed, dedicated faculty, many of whom have enjoyed professional success outside the academic environment, serve the mantra, “teach not preach.” They direct their focus to real-world experiences, which include frequent master classes, special programs, and engagement opportunities with leading professionals in a wide range of fields.
The university’s class sizes are small with an average student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1. Professors and instructors deal personally with each student and encourage collaborative learning.
Brenau online courses have evolved as a significant academic delivery platform, but that doesn’t make professor-student relationships any less involved. Many of the same faculty members who teach on-ground also teach online with some courses offered as hybrids involving both platforms.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
The Undergraduate School offers 39 majors with a variety of concentrations and 22 minors that lead to associate and baccalaureate degrees. The Sidney O. Smith Jr. Graduate School offers a wide range of master’s degree and specialist programs, including a terminal Master of Fine Arts in interior design. The university also boasts three doctoral degree programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, and nursing practice.
The possibilities for growth are endless, and students who want an even greater challenge with more opportunities can get involved in the honors program.
First-year students at Brenau do not simply share a common reader; they share an entire host of common experiences. From the beginning, students explore all the Four Portals of Learning through study, discussion, and hands-on experiences in an introductory, community-building seminar. One example of this first-year seminar took students through an exploration of the works of internationally acclaimed author Khaled Hosseini. After an introduction to his writing, they were able to meet the author himself, ask him questions, and witness striking discussions between him and fellow students from Afghanistan.
Likewise, Brenau students got the chance to meet Kathryn Stockett after reading her best-selling novel, The Help. They then travelled as a group to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta—Brenau’s academic partner—for a special civil rights-era exhibit created solely for them.
Undergraduate health science and doctoral physical therapy students have the rare opportunity to work together with Dr. Heather Ross, associate professor of physical therapy, and Dr. Jessi Shrout, cytotechnologist and assistant professor of biology, on groundbreaking laboratory research. Studying stem cells in rat brains, these students play a crucial part in the pursuit of finding new treatments for stroke victims.
About 3,800 undergraduate and graduate students currently pursue degrees at Brenau as the foundation for lifetimes of personal growth, all enhancing their intellectual capabilities and technical skills for professional development.
Brenau takes pride in its diversity with a student population that is about 47 percent Caucasian, 36 percent black, 7 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Asian, and 8 percent from other races and non-U.S. nationalities.
ART AT BRENAU
As a traditional showplace for fine arts, Brenau boasts one of the most impressive permanent art collections of painting, sculpture, and other art works of any institution of its size. The university is the first—and only—academic partner of the world-class High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Among the roughly 6,500-piece Permanent Art Collection is an impressive selection of pop art and mid-20th century modern works by such artists as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist.
Among many clubs, organizations, honor societies, and profession-oriented groups on campus are eight national sororities, six of which are members of The National Panhellenic Conference, with the other two standing as members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council: Alpha Delta Pi, Phi Mu, Zeta Tau Alpha, Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Gamma Delta, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and Delta Sigma Theta.
The Gainesville Theatre Alliance is a collective partnership between Brenau University, University of North Georgia, and local community theatre amateurs and professionals. With such a thriving community, Brenau students have many opportunities to participate at all levels in impressive theatrical productions. Part of the 30-year-old partnership is WonderQuest, which brings more than 7,000 North Georgia school children to the Brenau campus each year, exposing them to an artform that most of them would not otherwise get to experience.
Building from its base in Gainesville, Georgia, Brenau’s campus offers interesting and diverse geographic surroundings as well as local communities that consider the university and its students welcome additions.
Brenau’s main campus in Gainesville is located in the foothills of the beautiful North Georgia mountains, right by the shores of one of the largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River, Lake Lanier. It is in close proximity to the city of Atlanta, which is packed with cultural, recreational, and commercial opportunities.
Regional campuses throughout Georgia provide both undergraduate and graduate opportunities to local students who live in neighborhoods that are otherwise underserved by higher education. Accessibility is always at the forefront of Brenau’s development.
The main campus is in the historic district of Gainesville, GA, about 50 miles north of Atlanta. Other campuses are located in Augusta, Norcross, and Fairburn, GA, as well as Jacksonville, FL.
Brenau University is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and participates in the Appalachian Athletic Conference with 12 Varsity sports: softball, basketball, volleyball, cross country, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, competitive cheerleading and dance, golf, lacrosse, and track & field.
Mascot: Golden Tiger, “H.J.”
Colors: Black and Gold
The 2017-18 school year marked the first year of competition within the Appalachian Athletic Conference in which the Golden Tigers performed exceptionally well—tennis and swimming & diving won their respective championships, and softball and track & field finished in the top three!
Percent of students living on campus.
First-time, first-year (freshman) students: 62%
Campus housing options.
Apartments for single students
Special housing for disabled students
Brenau prepares its students to live extraordinary lives for immediate careers, continuing education, and personal fulfillment.
Brenau counts among its alumni pioneers and leaders in virtually every profession. Just a few graduates of Brenau include:
- Helen Dortch Longstreet, a nationally prominent environmentalist. She was the first woman to get her portrait hung in Georgia’s State Capitol, having acted as a presidential adviser before women had even won the right to vote.
- Rosalyn Wallace, the first woman to run an internationally renowned cancer research laboratory
- Delores Ward, the first woman to work as a “disc jockey” on a nationally broadcast radio program
- Janie Bryant, the Emmy Award-winning costume designer for such TV series as Deadwood and the highly acclaimed Mad Men
- Amanda Blake, “Miss Kitty” on the long-running television series Gunsmoke
- Sally Foster, who developer of a multimillion-dollar gift wrapping paper enterprise
- Dr. Gale Allen, a top NASA executive
RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE
Brenau consistently ranks among the best higher education values in the Southeast by both U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Its pioneering Occupational Therapy program, one of the first OT tracks to require a master’s degree for completion, ranks nationally as one of the top graduate programs in the profession.
Rigor of secondary school record
Class rank | Standardized test scores | Application Essay
Recommendation(s) | Interview | Extracurricular activities
Talent/ability | Character/personal qualities | First generation
Alumni/ae relation | Volunteer work | Work experience
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
25th Percentile: 440 | 75th Percentile: 560
25th Percentile: 420 | 75th Percentile: 530
25th Percentile: 17 | 75th Percentile: 23
25th Percentile: 16 | 75th Percentile: 22
25th Percentile: 16 | 75th Percentile: 23
Brenau’s rolling admissions policy means students may apply at any time—online at www.brenau.edu/apply—using the Brenau secure server. Once applications are received and reviewed, students are contacted with details about additional credentials or documentation required for completion. Students typically receive their admissions decisions within 7-10 business days from the time their applications are completed.
A great way to determine whether Brenau is a good fit is to tour a campus in person. The university offers different types of tours and information sessions in order to tailor to prospective students’ specific needs. To schedule a visit, please go to www.brenau.edu/admissions/visit or call (770) 534-6100.
Tuition & Cost
Room & Board: $12,418
Brenau University is committed to student success—and making it affordable. The Office of Admissions and the Office of Financial Aid helps students take advantage of financial assistance opportunities, including multiple scholarships and grants that are made possible through the generosity of donors to the university.
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