Capital University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Capital University
Capital University is a comprehensive, independent university in Central Ohio. Its students engage in...

Capital University

Columbus, Ohio

Capital University is a private four-year undergraduate institution and graduate school located in the Columbus, Ohio, community of Bexley. Capital is about transforming lives and, ultimately, transforming the world through the impact the students will have on it.


Each year, more than 600 new Capital students embark on a journey toward their future, bringing with them a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences. Whether it’s their first time in college, a few years into the pursuit of their bachelor’s degree, or their journey toward a graduate degree, Capital students immerse themselves in a rigorous curriculum grounded in the liberal arts and relevant to the world that awaits them. Capital offers a choice of 60 majors and 52 minors along with 11 graduate programs. Capital is proud of the passionate and engaged faculty, each of whom are partners with the students on their educational journey.



Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
2,654 undergraduate students
93% of undergrad students are full time
43% male 57% female
10% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
159 full-time faculty
263 part-time faculty
12 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
88% of first year students live on campus
59% of all students live on campus

School Location

Capital University is located in Bexley, one of Columbus’s most historic neighborhoods. Bexley is a cozy community with picturesque homes and suburban side streets just minutes away from the big city. Main Street is dotted with eateries, coffee shops, art galleries, and a variety of retail options. Even an independent movie theater and gluten-free bakery call Bexley home.

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 X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

Retention Fall 2015

76.2% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2015

63% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 2%
Hispanic/Latino 4%
Black or African American 10%
White 75%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 5%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 3%


Capital University has 20 varsity teams competing in the Ohio Athletic Conference, NCAA Division III.  

Mascot:  Crusaders
Colors:  Purple and White

Academic Programs

Capital serves a diverse student body of nearly 3,500, including traditional undergraduates, students who have returned to college to complete their bachelor’s degrees, graduate students, and those seeking a specific license or certification. More than 60 majors, 50 minors, four undergraduate degrees, and seven graduate degrees are offered in: • Music, Arts, and Communication • Business and Management • Education • Humanities • Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computer Science • Nursing • Law • Social Sciences

More Distinctions

  • Capital University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its programs are recognized for their excellence by a number of accrediting bodies. Below are some of its accreditors.

  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing

  • American Bar Association

  • American Chemical Society

  • Association of American Law Schools

  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs

  • Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education

  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)

  • Council on Social Work Education

  • The Higher Learning Commission

  • League of Ohio Law Schools

  • National Association of Schools of Music

  • Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation

  • National League of Nursing

  • Ohio Board of Education

  • Ohio Board of Nursing

  • Ohio Board of Higher Education

Common Intellectual Experiences

Capital University is committed to the liberal education of whole persons, both in the majors offered and in the General Education program. A liberal education readies the mind and spirit for every arena of life – the workplace, the home, the market, houses of worship, and town halls. General Education enhances liberal education by developing intellectual skills and expanding the breadth of learning. This is accomplished through the exploration of several modes of enquiry, increasing cultural literacy and challenging students to examine foundational ethical and cultural assumptions. It enables students to think critically and reflect on vocation, citizenship, service, religious, and ethical commitments – as well as on the role of play, wonder, travel, and life-long learning in a rich and rewarding life.

The general education curriculum provides an educational experience that is differentiated by sequence across the entire four years of study. The curriculum culminates with an ethics course during senior year which is designed to be a capstone course.  This course integrates the student’s entire intellectual journey, preparing them to enter the world as intellectually prepared, values informed and civically engaged individuals.

The General Education curriculum strives to be holistic. There are courses designed to enhance students intellectually, inform them scientifically, expose them to cultural and artistic heritage, and engage them civically, while challenging them through values (e.g., ethics and religion) and humanities courses. General Education courses assist in preparing students for other roles they will need to fulfill in their daily lives in communities, in society, and in the various stages of their life. The curriculum introduces students to ideas and disciplines which opens the opportunity for the student to re-engage these ideas while at Capital as well as later in life.

Undergraduate Research

Over the past decade, Capital University has increasingly recognized the benefits of student-faculty collaborative scholarship. This collaboration includes mentoring of independent student projects, supervision of student projects conducted as part of regular classroom activities, and engagement of students in a faculty member’s own scholarship program. Given the diverse majors offered and consistent with the diverse definitions of scholarship used by faculty for promotion and tenure purposes, Capital University employs a broad definition of student scholarship, which includes:

  • Action research
  • Case study research projects
  • Community engagement and demonstration projects
  • Integrative literature reviews
  • Original artwork
  • Original creative writing
  • Original empirical research
  • Performance pieces, which includes writing and directing
  • Scholarly critiques

Capital University celebrates student scholarship during its annual Symposium on Undergraduate Scholarship and in its criteria for promotion and tenure of College faculty. All departments require that faculty supervise student scholarship projects and work with students to disseminate their work in professional venues. Student publications such as ReCap and Epistimi also make student scholarship public.

Diversity/Global Learning

Capital University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion provides programming and support to students from underrepresented populations as well as students who are exploring cultures and ideas that are different than their own. The office partners with areas across campus to provide academic support, celebrate diversity and cultures, and coordinate a pre-orientation program for students of color and difference as well as their allies and first-generation students.

Capital University offers study away opportunities, including long- and short-term programs in every academic major. Students may study off campus for an academic year, a single semester, or for a couple of weeks. Faculty regularly lead short trips that allow for active learning in specific areas of study.

Activities Offered

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

First-Year Seminars and Experiences

The highest-quality first-year experiences place a strong emphasis on critical inquiry, frequent writing, information literacy, collaborative learning, and other skills that develop students’ intellectual and practical competencies. First-year seminars can also involve students with cutting-edge questions in scholarship and with faculty members’ own research.

The chemistry department uses introductory courses to obtain frequent student assessment and feedback on learning including graded homework, quizzes, laboratory reports, and weekly chemistry workshops. Often faculty members meet with students after their first quiz and exam. The chemistry department recognizes the need to be more consistent with interventions including advisor notification and use of university student alert memos. They are also considering the advantages of a timeline, as well as a process used by all instructors for identification and feedback to students at-risk.

Communication faculty who teach UC 120, the general education oral communication course, require all students to practice at least one presentation with the faculty before the graded classroom presentation. Communication faculty provide specific feedback (written and oral) after each student’s presentation. Again, this direct contact early in a student’s first year at Capital helps to identify students who might be having adjustment problems.

Writing-Intensive Courses

As part of the general education curriculum, Capital University’s first goal is Reading and Writing skills. The students will be able to read critically and express ideas clearly in standard, written English. In addition, all General Education courses address and incorporate goals from other general education requirements, thereby establishing continuity through the general education curriculum.

Prior to a traditional undergraduate student’s arrival on campus, they must submit a required essay related to the university’s Unified Theme program.  The assessment rubric developed by the English department focuses on five key elements, including critical thought and argumentation; organization; clarity and style; mechanics; and documentation and formatting. The faculty identify students who holistically perform above expectations, at the expected level, and those whose work is below expectations for college-level reading, thinking, and writing.

Honors Program

The Capital University Honors Program supports the university’s mission of transforming lives through higher education by recruiting, challenging and supporting highly motivated and academically strong students. Breadth of knowledge is achieved through the Honors Program course of study. Depth of knowledge is achieved through independent scholarship activities within a chosen discipline. Honors students engage in service and leadership activities that connect them to the Capital community and the broader world. The Honors Program encourages and supports lifelong learning and personal growth.

Common Core

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


Other: Global Studies and Religion 

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 160 275 278 38 8 14 0 773

Learning Communities

Capital University has five Learning Communities in addition to themed housing. Students can elect to live/participate in a community of learners who share an affinity for the Honors program, nursing, music, service, or healthy living. Students take classes as a cohort and engage in co- and extracurricular programming to enhance classroom learning.


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


Other: Gender neutral 

Service Learning, Community-Based Learning

Capital University’s mission is rooted in service to others. Students live out the mission through their work in service-learning courses, community-based research, mentoring programs, short-term and long- term service collaborations, and alternative break experiences. Through this mix of active learning experiences, students are able to not only serve, but immerse themselves in the community around them, bringing discussions to both their classrooms and student organizations.

Service-learning course options vary greatly based on academic department and course content.  In some cases, students serve with different community partners in an area that interests them, while applying the same principles from their course work as their peers. This type of course allows for rich conversation about a given topic through the eyes of multiple community partners.  Other courses offer one problem or situation that is examined by the entire class through small group work, research, and discussions.  Options for service-learning courses are endless, which only enhances the academic rigor offered to enrolled students.


Capital University students are well-trained in the classroom and are encouraged to take those skills into the community through internships. When students graduate, they have the knowledge to not only be highly employable, but the experience and a portfolio of work to help get them started.  Students also have the opportunity to connect with leaders in their fields, and this often leads to  a mentor relationships last long after an internship ends.  

Capital’s location, just minutes from the heart of Columbus, Ohio, offers a unique advantage to students seeking internships. Columbus, and more broadly, Central Ohio, has it all: corporations, non-profit organizations, small businesses, public and private schools, and more. If students want to intern across the country or even the world, the staff is ready to help.

Internships are coordinated at the departmental level, with a designated faculty representative who assists the student in securing the placement and supervising work in the field. The student completes assignments and readings to connect the experiential learning to the classroom.

The Career Development office at Capital University is available to all students and alumni and provides information about employment and internships. The office has peer and professional staff who assist the student in exploring and securing an internship placement.

Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience

Whether they’re called “senior capstones” or some other name, these culminating experiences require students nearing the end of their college years to create a project of some sort that integrates and applies what they’ve learned. The project might be a research paper, a performance, a portfolio of “best work,” or an exhibit of artwork. Capstones are offered both in departmental programs and, increasingly, in general education as well.

Across several departments, the curriculum is designed to create research-capable students. The students build the skills needed for scholarship within their respective disciplines across different courses within their major. This often culminates in a capstone project that integrates the students’ prior learning. Some examples of this curricular design are:

  • Conservatory faculty members have incorporated assignments into primarily performance courses to strengthen writing. When students repeat this process across their first three years of college, they are much better prepared to write professional program notes for their senior recital.
  • Students studying athletic training, biology, criminology, environmental science, nursing, political science, professional studies, psychology, social work, and sociology develop their research skills across a couple of courses. Students in most of those majors take statistics and research methods. In statistics they learn how to work with data, and in research methods, they learn how to apply data. Students in athletic training, political science, and psychology then practice those skills, again, in a subsequent course.  Athletic training students conduct a senior project, political science students participate in a capstone course, and psychology students take an experimental psychology course. Additionally, nursing students work in clinical settings on research projects.
  • Similar to the model established above, students in the honors program have sequenced courses that build their scholarship skills.  In the first course they develop a proposal for their capstone project, working with a faculty mentor in their discipline and immersing themselves in the literature of their topic. In the second course they conduct their project and present it as appropriate for their respective disciplines.

Independent Learning

There are other curriculum-based mechanisms for students to engage in independent experiential learning activities that contribute significantly to a life of learning. Students are able to enroll in a 491: Individual Study class where they work on an individual, independent study project with a faculty mentor.


Admissions Fall 2015

3,718 Total Applicants
2,685 Total Admissions
671 Total Freshmen Enrollment

72.22% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling Admission? No

Closing Date: May 1
Priority Date: Dec 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Rigor of secondary school record
Extracurricular activities
Alumni/ae relation
Geographical residence
State residency
Religious affiliation/commitment
Racial/ethnic status
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 480 610
SAT Math 480 580
SAT Writing 460 590
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 22 28
ACT Math 21 27
ACT English 21 28
ACT Writing 20 26

Application Dates

High school students may apply between September and April (for best consideration) using Capital’s application or the Common Application. A completed application includes an official high school transcript and ACT or SAT test scores.

All students are encouraged to visit Capital University’s campus during the admission process. Individual visits are offered most weekdays throughout the year and provide a student (and family members) the opportunity to tour campus with a student ambassador, meet with an admission counselor and schedule optional activities such as lunch, class shadowing, meetings with faculty or coaches and more! Special events such as Saturday Open Houses are also held throughout the year and provide an in-depth overview of Capital in a fun, interactive group setting.


Net Price Calculator 


Tuition $32,630
Fees $200
Total $32,830
Room and Board (on campus) $9,250
Room Only $4,490
Board Only $4,760
Estimated Total On Campus $42,080


Average Financial Aid Packages 2014-2015 FINAL

$27,997 First year students
$26,676 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015 FINAL

80.4% on average, the percentage of need that was met
26% of financial need students that had need fully met

$21,700 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,704 Average need-based loan


Capital awards need-based aid and also encourages all families to file the FAFSA between October 1 and March 1 of the senior year of high school. Financial aid awards are sent in the spring and last year’s average award package totaled more than $25,000 including grants, loans and work-study options.


Students receive automatic consideration when they apply. Merit award notifications begin in December for all accepted students. The average award has recently been more than $20,000 renewable.

PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARSHIP Academic performance and standardized test scores

CAPITAL AWARD Academic performance, standardized test scores, housing status and more

MUSIC & MERIT SCHOLARSHIP Academic performance, standardized test scores and audition performance

MUSIC GRANT Exceptional level of audition performance on a primary instrument

MUSIC COMPOSITION SCHOLARSHIP Conservatory of Music composition majors based on composition portfolio and evaluation

COLLEGIATE FELLOWSHIP * Competitive scholarship (by invitation only) awarded to selected high school seniors with at least a 28 ACT composite or a 1250 SAT math/verbal total (not including the writing portions of either test) – FULL TUITION

CAPITAL SCHOLARS AWARD * Competitive scholarship (by invitation only) awarded to selected high school senior multicultural students with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and at least a 21 ACT composite or 980 SAT math/verbal total (not including the writing portion of either test) – FULL TUITION

BATTELLE SCHOLARSHIP * Competitive scholarship stipend (by invitation only) awarded to a selected high school senior from Franklin or contiguous counties in Ohio who competes in either the Collegiate Fellowship or Capital Scholars competition. Please see those awards for qualification requirements.  This full-room and board award is based upon standard occupancy rates.

REV. RUFUS TARRANT GRANT Multicultural students who identify themselves on the admission application

ALUMNI AWARD Legacy students who identify a relative who graduated from Capital on the admission application

DISCOVER CAPITAL GRANT Students who indicate they live outside of Ohio on the admission application

LUTHERAN HERITAGE GRANT Members of Lutheran congregations who identify themselves on the admission application

PARTNERS IN EDUCATION Members of participating Lutheran congregations (matching funds up to $500)

SIBLING DISCOUNT Dependent full-time undergraduate student whose sibling is also a full-time traditional undergraduate at Capital

CHILDREN OF PASTORS Dependent students whose custodial parent is an active, rostered Lutheran clergy person – HALF TUITION

ROTC Merit, leadership potential and physical aptitude. Contact the ROTC office Full tuition with at 614-236-6808 for information on the application process.  This is a room & board scholarship (standard occupancy rates)

NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM National Merit scholarship students who attend Capital full time and live on campus.   Semi-finalists receive half room & board and Finalists receive full room & board (standard occupancy rates)

* Apply by Dec. 1 of your senior year of high school to be considered for these competitive scholarships

#CapFam Profiles: Remembering why I chose Capital

Amber E. Hampton Class of 2005 Double major in Psychology and Spanish When comparing the differences between a mega-sized, metropolitan university and the cozy, walkable grounds of Capital University, Amber Hampton remembers the reasons she chose to...

Resolved: Capital Debaters are National Champions

After two days and eight grueling rounds of competition, the Capital debate team of Jordan Council, senior, and Erin Brown, first-year, claimed first place in the National Education Debate Association (NEDA) national competition held at...

Distinguished Senior Leadership Award Recipients 2016

Ciarra Davis New Castle, Indiana Psychology major with a minor in biology Ciarra Davis came to Capital University by way of the softball field. The New Castle, Indiana, native was recruited as a student-athlete and...

Distinguished Senior Leadership Award Recipients 2016

Jacob Deemer Pittsburg, Pennsylvania Major: Nursing As a high school football player who grew up in the backyard of the Pittsburg Steelers, Jacob Deemer was crushed when he didn’t make team captain. Feeling rejected, inferior...

Distinguished Senior Leadership Award Recipients 2016

Alora Conner Grove City, Ohio Major: Business Management with minor in Human Resources Exchange a couple sentences with Alora Conner and you’ll find it difficult to imagine she was ever tentative about anything. But this...

Distinguished Senior Leadership Award Recipients 2016

HiuHan Chan Hong Kong, China Organizational Communication and Public Relations HiuHan Chan knew she would learn most effectively in small classes where she could develop relationships with her professors. She wanted to be part of...

The Freedom to Write

It’s every writer’s dream: to be freed from the daily worries of life with plenty of time to write. Abby Goodhart’s dream came true when she was awarded an Undergraduate Research Summer Fellowship to spend the summer...

The World-Wide Leader in Sports Social Media

Amanda Shirka DeCastro (’06) is a master social media communicator. She had a Facebook account the second it became available to Capital students. Today, she tweets, blogs, produces video and develops social media strategy for...

Drawn to Success

Steve Harpster’s popular books and school appearances help kids rediscover the joy of drawing and imagination. Steve Harpster is one of those people born with a unique and enviable ability: he can draw just about anything....