Chapman University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Chapman University
"Tracing its history to 1861, Chapman University is one of California’s oldest and most...

Chapman University

Orange, California

Picture Yourself at Chapman


Chapman University offers the best of both worlds: a classic liberal arts foundation and pre-professional programs of distinction with strong ties to their industries. The university is known for providing a uniquely personalized education (with a student/faculty ratio of 14:1) and extraordinary learning experiences that begin right at the first day a student arrives on campus. The University’s variety of academic opportunities spans everything from performing arts, humanities, and business to economics, film, and the sciences.



Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
6,281 undergraduate students
96% of undergrad students are full time
39% male — 61% female
36% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
417 full-time faculty
534 part-time faculty
14 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
91% of first year students live on campus
34% of all students live on campus

School Location

Chapman’s beautiful residential campus in Orange, California, is situated on 82 tree-lined acres, featuring a mixture of landmark historic buildings and state-of-the-art facilities. It is located in the historic Old Towne district of Orange in which the its city plaza conjures up images of Main Street USA—it is complete with outdoor dining, antique shops, and boutiques. Chapman’s campus is just 12 minutes to Disneyland, a few blocks to major league sports venues like Angel Stadium or the Honda Center, 17 miles to California beaches, 75 miles to snow-capped mountains, and an easy Metrolink train ride to the heart of downtown L.A.

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

90% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 year graduation rate 2015

79% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 4%
Hispanic/Latino 14%
Black or African American 1%
White 58%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 10%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 6%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 4%


NCAA Division III, Member: Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). 21 varsity sports, 6 club sports, and a wide variety of intramurals.

School mascot, Panther
School colors, cardinal, gray, & black

Other Information

Chapman is a four-year, coeducational university that offers undergraduate, professional, law, and graduate degrees. Founded by the Disciples of Christ in 1861 as Hesperian College, the school later merged with California Christian College in Los Angeles. In 1934, the institution was renamed in honor of C.C. Chapman, an Orange County entrepreneur and benefactor of the school. In 1991, the college became Chapman University, reflecting its evolution into a comprehensive institution of higher learning. Chapman remains affiliated with the Disciples of Christ as well as the United Church of Christ, but nevertheless supports an interfaith model with no required religion coursework.

Academic Programs

Accounting, Art, Art History, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biological Sciences, Business Administration, Chemistry, Communication Studies, Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, Creative Producing, Creative Writing, Dance, Dance Performance, Digital Arts, Economics, English, Environmental Science and Policy, Film Production, Film Studies, French, Graphic Design, Health Sciences, History, Integrated Educational Studies, Kinesiology, Mathematics, Mathematics and Civil Engineering, Music, Music Composition, Music Education, Music Performance, News and Documentary, Peace Studies, Philosophy, Physics and Computational Science, Political Science, Psychology, Public Relations and Advertising, Religious Studies, Screen Acting, Screenwriting, Sociology, Software Engineering, Spanish, Strategic and Corporate Communication, Television Writing and Production, Theatre, Theatre Performance, and Undeclared.

Majors with Additional Department Requirements 
Applicants for Art, Dance, Film & Media Arts, Pharmacy, Music, and Theatre must complete the requirements listed for their area of study in order to have their application reviewed by the Admission Committee; details are available at

More Distinctions

  • Chapman University is accredited by and is a member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). 

  • The business programs are accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • The juris doctorate has been granted accreditation by the American Bar Association.

  • The graduate program in physical therapy is accredited by The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

  • The athletic training program is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation on Athletic Training Education.

  • The marriage and family therapy program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.

  • The dance program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance.

  • The music programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

  • The school psychology program is accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists and The International School Psychology Association.

  • The theatre program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre.

  • The university's teacher training and credential programs are approved by the California State Department of Education's Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.

  • The communication sciences and disorders program is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

  • The educational studies program is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.

Students interested in a diverse, multicultural environment will feel right at home at Chapman. With a mix of students from a wide variety of backgrounds, Chapman fosters a community of inclusiveness that encourages growth and participation…

Prepared for Academic Success

Chapman students begin their extraordinary education with a First Year Foundations course. Taught by a select group of faculty, these courses provide rigorous intellectual introductions to university life as well as a foundation for future learning.

Once students settle in to Chapman University, they can truly enjoy the variety of academic opportunities offered to them. Chapman allows students to select from 49 majors and 61 minors, while student/campus life offers over 175 clubs and organizations as well as 21 intercollegiate teams and 6 club sports.

Study Abroad

Part of the mission at Chapman is to foster global citizenship. Chapman makes it easy, offering thousands of courses in hundreds of locations worldwide for students to partake in global experiences. Students can select from semester- and year-long programs; short term, faculty-led Travel Courses; and summer international internships. Approximately 42% of students participate in some form of global education before they graduate. The Center for Global Education at Chapman University is a proud member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the Forum on Education Abroad, the Institute for International Education, and International Student Exchange Programs.

Internship Opportunities

Students can and are taking advantage of internship opportunities provided to them through resources at Chapman. Some 76% of Chapman students report that they have held an internship during their undergraduate experience. Opportunities are provided through professors, departments, the Chapman Connect network, and the Career Development Center.

Undergraduate Research

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (OURCA) is available to everyone, allowing each student to go beyond the classroom in every discipline. It provides students one-on-one faculty contact so that they may develop inquiry-based learning approaches through high-level, independent research. Through OURCA’s many funding and grant opportunities, students get support to present at conferences, publish peer-reviewed journals, and gain valuable skills for future careers. One of the benefits of of Chapman’s medium-size institution is that it is able to offer greater access to research than small school without sacrificing its funding in the same way larger universities do.

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

Chapman combines its comprehensive educational core with world-class learning and research opportunities in all of its colleges. With nearly 85 percent of faculty holding Ph.D. or other terminal degrees, a Chapman education is a remarkably intensive yet intellectually panoramic experience.

Personalized and Comprehensive

Chapman’s curriculum is designed to turn every student into an inquiring, ethical, and productive member of the global community. As an institution with a liberal arts foundation, Chapman encourages students to explore. Its six shared inquiry areas—artistic, quantitative, natural science, social, written, and values and ethics—truly allow students to pursue interdisciplinary and comprehensive approaches. The curriculum begins by establishing a strong base in writing, speaking, and critical reasoning skills. It then culminates in a capstone course that integrates all students’ experiences, providing every graduate with a deep knowledge in his or her field. Every student is ensured to develop an excellent perspective of the interdependence of all disciplines.

A variety of innovative programs give Chapman students interesting options for their education. They can pursue majors in unique fields such as Peace Studies or Kinesiology, or they may enroll in more traditional programs like Business Administration, English, or Chemistry.

Honors Program

The Chapman University Honors Program is a broad, interdisciplinary course of study based on great books and events from cultures around the world. The goal of these dialogical exchanges is to engage a collaborative and intentional learning environment  in which students and faculty connect enduring and emerging ideas. Together, they draw on shared texts, lectures, seminar discussions, and cultural experiences. The program features a community of students and professors who are dedicated to dynamic and interactive learning. In the Honors Program, classes are small and discussion-based, promoting critical thinking and in-depth learning.

Common Core

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


Other: Diversity

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 71 473 342 258 37 35 1 1217


Set in the heart of Southern California, Chapman’s location offers much in the way of education, culture, entertainment, and great weather! Students can enjoy many things such as Warner Brothers Studios; Lakers basketball and Ducks hockey; south coast-area beaches; local mountain ranges; Rodeo Drive; Hollywood; and, of course, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. A daily sea breeze sweeps over the Chapman campus, the average year-round temperature floating around 72ºF.

Offering the safety and security of a small-town with convenient access to Los Angeles (40 minutes north) and San Diego (90 minutes south), the City of Orange is the perfect college environment.

Living-Learning Communities

Students’ journeys at Chapman begin with living-learning communities. First-year students who choose to live on campus are assigned to residence halls based upon their academic program and the college of their major. These assignments assist first-year students in the forging of connections with like-minded friends. These communities help encourage students to engage in interdisciplinary, university-level, critical inquiry. This includes off-campus excursions or visits from faculty to help students deepen their understanding of course material.

The Department of Student Engagement

The Department of Student Engagement helps fulfill Chapman’s mission of shaping tomorrow’s leaders. The office provides the necessary resources and inspiration for Chapman University students to discover, define, and develop their personal leadership identities through critical thinking, community building, and social responsibility. Opportunities for student leadership include paid and volunteer positions in student civic engagement, diversity and equity initiatives, student organizations, student union management, and marketing.

Student Activties

Nearly 175 clubs and organizations provide a great way to get involved on campus. Students can become advocates in the Student Government Association, organize large-scale concerts and weekend excursions, perform among the many dance teams, play on club sports teams, direct or be involved with student-produced shows or plays, and affect change in the surrounding community with service and social justice organizations.

Where Diversity Thrives

Diversity, equity, and mutual respect are rooted in Chapman’s heritage and community. There are 14 different committees composed of more than 250 student, staff, and faculty volunteers in the Chapman Diversity Project. These committees are focused on strategic institutional change related to diversity, inclusion, and the strengthening of the campus climate for all members of the Chapman community. Additionally, the “I Am Chapman” campaign was established to build compassion through education about diversity, equity, and social justice by encouraging students to celebrate their individuality and diversity by sharing their stories.

Orange County Opportunities

Orange County is America’s sixth-largest county with more than 3 million people. Chapman’s location provides students with valuable connections for internships and job opportunities. Many of America’s largest corporations such as Allergan, Disney, Ford Motor Co., and Blizzard Entertainment call Orange County their home or U.S. headquarters. Furthermore, most of the Fortune 500 companies also have an Orange County office, providing ample opportunities for students seeking internships or employment.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

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


Other: Housing for married students

Unlimited Opportunities

Chapman is located in one of America’s most business-oriented counties and less than an hour from one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas; it’s the perfect place for internships. With a variety of programs and hundreds of possible sites, Chapman makes it easy to get hands-on experience, make contacts in any field, and build impressive résumés.

Senior Capstone

The educational experience is culminated through the “Capstone” programs in which seniors draw together what they have learned during their four years at Chapman. Most academic programs have some type of culminating class or project that varies from hands-on field work to extensive research in a topic of their choosing. Examples include Public Relations and Advertising students’ campaign for external and internal organizations and Integrated Educational Studies students’ presentations at an annual research symposium.


Chapman alumni are a highly visible group of scholars that have achieved success in virtually every field imaginable. They are found around the world providing ethical and innovative leadership in their communities and disciplines. Graduates now excel in film and media arts, performing arts, educational studies, business and economics, law, humanities, and the sciences. A strong network of alumni gives Chapman students the edge they need to succeed. A featured alumni video is highlighted below; please visit Chapman’s You Tube Channel: One Chapman Family, Many #ChapmanStories for a more complete look at alumni stories. 


Admissions Fall 2015

13,670 Total Applicants
6,504 Total Admissions
1,426 Total Freshmen Enrollment

47.58% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling admission? No

Closing date: Aug 15
Priority date: Feb 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Class rank Academic
GPA Standardized test scores
Application Essay
Character/personal qualities

Extracurricular activities
Volunteer work

First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Geographical residence
State residency
Racial/ethnic status
Work experience

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 550 640
SAT Math 550 650
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 25 30
ACT Math 24 29
ACT English 25 32
ACT Writing    




Tuition $48,310
Fees $400
Total $48,710
Room and Board (on campus) $14,368
Estimated Total On Campus $63,078


Average Financial Aid Packages 2014-15

$34,054 First year students
$16,096 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-15

72% on average, the percentage of need that was met
13% of financial need students that had need fully met

$16,096 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,876 Average need-based loan

Scholarship Information

Merit-based scholarships are awarded up to $30,000 per year to high achieving, academically qualified students based upon their GPA, test scores, and the discretion of the Admission Committee. Students are automatically considered for these awards during the admission process, and so no additional forms are required.

Talent-based scholarships are available, offered based upon a student’s chosen major. Areas of study that offer talent-based scholarships include film and media arts, art, music, theatre, dance, English, journalism, and the sciences.