Carthage College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Carthage College
Carthage’s beautiful campus on the Lake Michigan shore is home to 2,600 full-time students....

Carthage College

Kenosha, Wisconsin

Founded in 1847, Carthage College is a four-year, private college of the liberal arts and sciences in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Carthage combines an environment of reflection and self-discovery with a culture of high expectation so that students uncover and ignite their true potential. Ideally located midway between Chicago and Milwaukee, Carthage allows students the opportunity to learn in a professional context. Its beautiful campus—an 80-acre arboretum on the shore of Lake Michigan—is home to 150 scholars, 2,600 full-time students, and 400 part-time students.


Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, including biology, finance, international political economy, education, theatre, and neuroscience. Carthage emphasizes interdisciplinary study, undergraduate research, hands-on learning, individual attention, and vibrant discussion and debate in the classroom. The curriculum is designed to promote critical thinking while challenging students to express themselves effectively. The rich academic experience equips students with foundational knowledge and skills, preparing graduates to be lifelong learners and to lead meaningful, productive lives.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
2,863 undergraduate students
92% of undergrad students are full time
47% male — 53% female
70% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
158 full-time faculty
167 part-time faculty
12 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
90% of first year students live on campus
70% of all students live on campus

School Location

Carthage’s campus is an 80-acre arboretum located on the shore of Lake Michigan in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The campus offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan from almost every building on campus, including many residence hall rooms. Carthage is located just an hour north of Chicago and an hour south of Milwaukee, giving students easy access to two of the world’s most dynamic cities. From internationally known art museums to professional sporting events, students can head to the city for a day, a weekend, or with the new Carthage in Chicago internship program, an entire semester. Kenosha was recently named one of the nation’s top 50 cities to live in by USA Today.

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

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

6 Year Graduation Rate 2015

59% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 4%
Black or African American 4%
White 75%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 11%


Carthage fields 24 NCAA Division III teams competing in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. About a third of the student body participates in varsity intercollegiate athletics, and another third participates in the many intramural and club sports offered. Carthage’s mascot is Torchie. School colors are red, white, and black.

Other Information

As a four-year, private liberal arts college with roots in the Lutheran tradition, Carthage places a strong emphasis on both moral and intellectual values.

Academic Programs

Accounting, Archaeology, Art (Studio Art), Art History, Asian Studies, Astronomy, Athletic Training, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Chinese, Classics, Climatology, Coaching, Communication, Computer Science, Creative Writing, Criminal Justice, Dance, Economics, Education, Engineering, English, Entrepreneurial Studies, Environmental Science, Finance, French, Geography and Earth Science, Geographic Information Science, German, Graphic Design, Great Ideas, History, History of the Arts, International Political Economy, Japanese, Latin, Management, Marketing, Mathematics, Meteorology, Music, Music Theatre and Opera, Neuroscience, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Opera, Paleontology, Pharmacy, Philosophy, Physical Education, Sport and Fitness Instruction, Physics, Political Science, Pre-Health, Pre-Law, Psychological Science, Public Relations, Religion, Social Science, Social Work, Sociology, Spanish, Technical Theatre Production and Design, Theatre, Theatre Performance, Women’s and Gender Studies, Self-Designed Major

Carthage refuses to confine learning to limitations—not even to gravity. students fly in zero-g with NASA, improve health conditions in Nicaragua, and stray far beyond their comfortable majors to see problems from multiple angles.

“I can’t think of one class I have taken, or one professor I’ve had that hasn’t impacted me in a positive way. If you go into a class with an open mind and a commitment to learn, you’re going to have an amazing experience.” — Carthage College junior


Undergraduate research is a priority at Carthage. It starts as early as freshman year in courses like Phage Hunters, an intensive genomics class for biology majors. Students use equipment often reserved for faculty and graduate students at larger universities. Professors guide students in original research on campus and connect students to elite research opportunities across the country.

Carthage students have conducted research for NASA for eight straight years, flying in zero gravity conditions aboard NASA aircraft. The research is real, contributing to long-term significance regarding the design of spacecraft and satellite systems. The team is currently working on a new propellant gauging technique that may change how fuel is measured in space.

Every summer, 20 to 40 students are chosen for Carthage’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, or SURE. A hallmark of the curriculum since the 1990s, SURE pairs students with faculty mentors for full-time (and paid!) collaborative research on campus.


Carthage is one of the few schools in the country to require a senior thesis; every student must complete a major work of research, scholarship, or creativity to complete the degree. Theses can take the form of a research project, research paper, performance, or art exhibit.


J-Term, or January Term, is a favorite time of year for Carthage students. Many spend it in destinations like South Africa, Vietnam, Sweden, Costa Rica, or Cuba on faculty-led study tours. Carthage recently established its first international field station in Nicaragua at which two groups annually provide drinking water and medical treatment to some of the world’s poorest residents. Other students stay on campus for unique course offerings.

Carthage is ranked No. 4 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. This prestigious recognition is mostly due to J-Term, but many students also choose to study abroad for a full semester or year. Students who major in a language must spend at least a full semester abroad.


The new “Carthage in Chicago” program takes full advantage of Carthage’s location just an hour north of Chicago. This semester-long program provides students with the opportunity to hold full-time internships or complete major academic projects, take classes, and join in weekend activities, all while living in one of the world’s most dynamic cities.

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 x
Music ensembles x
Musical theater x
Opera x
Pep band x
Radio station x
Student government x
Student newspaper x
Student-run film society x
Symphony orchestra x
Television station  
Yearbook x

Carthage’s devoted faculty comprises nearly 150 scholars, 90 percent of whom hold the highest degrees in their fields. Students might take a class from a paleontologist who’s frequently interviewed about tyrannosaurs, a free-market economist who helped Mikhail Gorbachev reform the Soviet economy before defecting, or a Hindi-speaking religion professor who has advanced degrees from both Harvard and Columbia. Most importantly, faculty members have passion for their students’ success. Professors, not teaching assistants, teach all classes, all of which average to a size of 17 students each. “From day one, the professors make it clear that they will help you grow,” states one Carthage College sophomore. “The professors here are extremely compassionate and give you the right tools so that you can excel in your major.”

“The professors here take the time to get to know their students and build lasting relationships, which creates a level of understanding unlike any other.” — Carthage College junior

“What has surprised me the most is that professors really do make connections with students. The professors I had first semester freshman year still remember my name.” — Carthage College senior


Professors regularly team up to teach single courses, tackling topics from their two distinct disciplines. These team-taught courses are called Carthage Symposia, and every student must complete at least one to graduate. Exploring subjects through two completely different lenses enriches student understanding, better preparing them for the versatility and complex thinking required in their future careers.


Professors invite students to collaborate in ongoing research. The Summer Undergraduate Research Experience pairs selected students with professors for paid summer research positions. Faculty also lead students on research trips around the world, from digging up dinosaur bones in Montana to excavating a centuries-old temple in Israel.


Carthage’s new science center features collaborative learning areas outside faculty offices at which students and professors gather for informal discussions, continued learning, and project work. The center also features research labs saved exclusively for student projects, an outdoor classroom overlooking Lake Michigan, and Technology Enhanced Active Learning classrooms that allow professors to leave the podium for more interactive lessons.

Common Core

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

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 110 176 190 47 7 0 0 530

With 70 percent of students living on campus, Carthage students learn as much outside the classroom as they do in class.

“Carthage has so many opportunities inside and outside of the classroom. It is a close-knit community that truly promotes learning and personal development for students to succeed.” — Carthage College junior

“The second I arrived at Carthage for my first visit, I knew it was the right fit. It was a beautiful campus full of passionate and friendly people who truly cared about helping me get on the right path.” — Carthage College senior


Carthage’s home of Kenosha, Wisconsin, is a vibrant area with art galleries, museums, theatres, shopping, and restaurants. Kenosha was recently named by USA Today as one of the nation’s top 50 cities to live in. With its ideal lakeside location an hour from Milwaukee and Chicago, Kenosha offers small-town charm with easy access to world-class amenities.

Peace and quiet is within easy reach, too. Almost every building at Carthage offers views of Lake Michigan, including many residence hall rooms. The campus is an arboretum lush with stately oaks and the winding Pike River.


There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, with new clubs formed by students every year. Clubs include academic organizations like the Chemistry Club and “Nu Rho Psi,” Wisconsin’s first national honor society in neuroscience; performance organizations like the touring Carthage Choir and the Merely Players improv troupe; and pre-professional organizations like Velocity Consulting, the country’s first consulting company run entirely by undergraduates.

Nationally recognized for excellence in theatre, the Carthage Theatre Department stages six to eight productions every year. The College’s New Play Initiative brings prominent writers to campus so that they may work with students to premiere new works. Recent playwrights have included Emmy-winning writer Keith Huff of “House of Cards;” Academy Award-winning writer Jeffrey Hatcher; and Emmy-winning “West Wing” writer Rick Cleveland.


In the popular Hannibal Lecture Series, faculty and visiting scholars present talks about texts being studied in the freshman Western Heritage seminars. The Hannibal Lectures have grown to include Hannibal dinners at professors’ houses and an annual Hanni-Ball.


About a third of Carthage students participate in varsity intercollegiate athletics—Carthage fields 24 NCAA Division III teams—and another third participate in intramural and club sports. The N. E. Tarble Athletic and Recreation Center, better known as the TARC, is home to racquetball courts, an indoor rock-climbing wall, a fitness center, a swimming pool, and an indoor track.

Community Service

Carthage students volunteer in student organizations like Circle K, Carthage World Relief, Carthage United to Rescue Earth, Colleges Against Cancer, and Live.Love.Donate, a group started by Carthage students to promote organ donation. The Carthage chapter of ONE regularly wins the national ONE Campus Challenge, with titles in fall 2013, spring 2014, and fall 2014.

Major campus events like Relay for Life and the Every Kid Needs a Superhero 5K draw big numbers for great causes, including the American Cancer Society and the Kenosha Boys & Girls Club.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

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

Carthage graduates leave college prepared for more than a specific career track. After taking a broad complement of courses and actively participating in student groups, they emerge with the ability to adapt to changes in the workplace, the leadership skills to direct a team, and an appreciation for the importance of service to their communities.

  • Not only do our graduates leave prepared for the job market, they leave on time. 95% of Carthage graduates complete their degrees in four years.
  • In a 2015 alumni survey taken several months after graduation, 96 percent reported they were employed in a job or internship, completing their student teaching requirement, or attending graduate school.
  • Four 2016 Carthage graduates won Fulbright fellowships to teach English in nations across Asia and Europe. A dedicated director of student fellowships helps students identify opportunities and enhance their applications.
  • Both halves of the term “student-athlete” are taken seriously on campus. Need proof? The Lady Reds had the Capital One Academic All-American Player of the Year in 2014 among NCAA Division III athletes, and the Red Men followed with a first-team Academic All-America player in 2015.

Career Services

Carthage Career Services provides resources, counseling, and educational opportunities that empower students to make important life and career decisions.

The services provided include career counseling, interest and ability assessment, internship and job search assistance, on-campus interviewing, career development workshops, and guidance with graduate school selection and application. Additionally, the Career Services office pairs interested students with alumni mentors and holds an annual networking dinner at which impending graduates meet alumni who are established in a variety of fields.

Learn more at


Admissions Fall 2015

7,165 Total Applicants
5,028 Total Admissions
752 Total Freshmen Enrollment

70.17% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling admissions? No

Closing date: Aug 15
Priority date: Feb 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Class rank
Application Essay
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
Volunteer work
Work experience

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 500 620
SAT Math 500 620
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 22 28
ACT Math 21 27
ACT English 21 28
ACT Writing    

Application Process

Carthage welcomes students from all backgrounds and interests to join its diverse and dynamic community. Carthage’s broad range of academic and extracurricular activities will help all students explore their passions and fully realize their potential. Believing in the unique abilities and potential of every student, admissions representatives review every application individually.

During the evaluation process, admissions representatives consider all aspects of a student’s academic background. Primary emphasis is on a student’s secondary school record, including the number and nature of courses completed, GPA in academic courses, and rank in class. ACT and/or SAT scores are also considered.

Students graduating from an accredited secondary school with a strong college preparatory background are best prepared for academics at Carthage. Carthage recommends, but does not require, that students complete a minimum of 16 academic units in high school, including English, foreign language, science, mathematics, and social studies.

High school students should submit the following when applying for admission:

  • A completed application
  • An official high school transcript
  • Official results from the SAT or the ACT standardized tests (optional*)
  • $35 application fee


*Visit for additional requirements.




Tuition $38,375
Room and Board (on campus) $10,460
Estimated Total On Campus $48,835


Average Financial Aid Packages 2016-2017 ESTIMATED

$30,476 First year students
$21,928 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-2017 ESTIMATED

61.7 % on average, the percentage of need that was met
18% of financial need students that had need fully met

$21,928 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$8,730 Average need-based loan


Carthage awards more than $20.3 million in assistance, with $14 million in grant and scholarship assistance.

  • Carthage’s Presidential Scholarship Competition distributes more than $4 million each year to incoming students who demonstrate leadership skills and academic strength. Awards range from 75 percent of tuition to full tuition, room and board.
  • Carthage offers scholarships in business, mathematics, science, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and the fine arts.
  • Carthage awards scholarships to transfer students up to full tuition.


Learn about all Carthage scholarships at